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Jeff Brooks
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How well does your donation form work? Could be better? Here are some tips from npENGAGE, at 5 Tips for the Perfect Online Donation Form: Your Donation Form Should Exist on Your Homepage Keep it Simple and Mobile Nudge Your Donors Upward (Suggest higher gift amounts) Translate Money into Tangible Impact Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Number 3, #4, and #5 are also great advice for paper donation forms. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Future Fundraising Now
It's sounds like a great idea: Ask donors how often they'd like to be contacted by your organization. Considerate and donor-respecting ... thus effective. Right? Maybe not, as noted by the Veritus Group blog at Follow What Donors Will Do, Not What They Say: ... if you ask a donor about mailing or contact frequency -- how often you should be in touch -- the answer will be that your contact with the donor should be less frequent, not more. But if you have a program to present to the donor that matches her passions and interests, believe me, the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
From The Nonprofit Marketing Blog, 7 Reasons Why Donors Give: Mission-driven (they give because they support what you do) Desire to make a difference Personal satisfaction Family and upbringing Personal stories Religious beliefs Social networks Tax benefits Only the first item here has anything to do with your organization. The rest are about their inner motivations. (And really, mission-driven giving can easily go to a different organization that does roughly what you do.) Note some things that are not reasons donors give: Your brand/logo/colors Your mission statement The fact that it's your 20th anniversary Your excellent methods The experience and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Here's a quick look at some things you can do to maek your donor newsletter more relevant and effective from the Ringer Blog, at 6 Takeaways from Our Donor Newsletter Webinar: You can't overuse the word "you." (In my experience, the word you can be as many as one in 10 of all the words in many articles.) Highlight volunteer opportunities for donors. Make it worth their time to read. (Easy, interesting, and about them.) People are hard-wired for stories. Choose your photos wisely. A newsletter should be a vehicle of joy for donors! The main thing to know about... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
Design makes a difference. A well designed fundraising message does better than a poorly designed one. But what's the difference between good and bad design? It's probably not what's taught in design school. In fact, beautiful, pleasing, impressive design -- the kind that wins awards and gets you good grades in design school -- is usually not good design in fundraising. Here are some tips from MarketSmart, at 7 ways to make sure your print designs win hearts and minds (not design awards): Make the fonts at least 12 point. 14 point is even better. Use mostly serif fonts. Make... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
I read a blog post a while back that was written by a young blogger, apparently new to fundraising but already pontificating on what we should and shouldn't be doing in our fundraising messages. Some of the points the blogger made were on target about how fundraising copy ought to be but often isn't. But one of the points went like this: I got a 12-page appeal letter in the mail. That's ridiculous! Edit your copy! The blogger apparently thought that the folks who sent the 12-page letter haplessly wrote a ridiculously long message and then neglected the important step... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
DONATE NOW. It's pretty much the stand-by call-to-action phrase for fundraising. It works. But is it best? Here are 12 Call-to-Action Phrases That Will Convert Your Users from The Daily Egg. These are all from commercial marketing, so take them with that in mind. But they're strong and proven in their original context, so they're worth considering: "Yes, I Want X!" Snag/Grab/Seize/Score/Gain X Now! Start Your Journey Toward X Do You Want to X? Yes or No Activate X Today! You're Running Out of Time! Add to Cart Add to Wishlist Join X Other [Category] as Subscribers to My Email... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
Rage givers, like emergency givers, are different. Less likely to ever give again. That's why it's worth targeting them especially for becoming monthly giving. Converting even a small percentage of them to monthly giving can have a powerful long-term impact on your revenue. From A Direct Solution, here are Crucial Steps to Converting Rage Donors to Long-Term Supporters: Create a simple donation page within your own system, create a short, easy-to-remember-and-use URL and start sharing that link. Create a powerful thank-you message the donor receives as soon as he or she clicks the “submit” button. Have it link to a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
One of the main culprits for poor fundraising results is boring fundraising. Here are seven topics to avoid if you don't want to be a boring fundraiser: The things your organization doesn't do. What you don't do is meaningless. Talk about the cool things you do. Staff training. Why would anyone care about the amazing conference someone went to, or somebody's new CFRE? Do your job well and talk about the results. Your philosophy. Philosophy is important, because it guides your actions. Unfortunately, it's also really, really boring. Talk about your actions instead. Your new brand. Yeah, it was a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
NO, says the Experience Matters blog, at Customer Experience Myth #1: The Customer Is Always Right: Like all human beings, customers aren't always right. They sometimes complain when the company did nothing wrong, request things that the company can not or should not provide, and periodically just make mistakes. What does this mean for fundraisers? It means always listen when donors complain, but don't let complaints drive your strategy! Someone who complains about your fundraising -- the style, the frequency, the perceived cost, whatever -- is someone who cares. You should engage with them and work to satisfy them. They... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
Is there a way to persuade people to care by using statistics? Maybe. It's not by bowling them over with huge numbers. That just tells people not to give because they can't make a difference. But there just might be a type of stat that doesn't do that, as reported by The Agitator at The Reality Distortion Field: Focusing on the One. In some testing, a certain kind of statistic was found to work just as well as individual stories: ... the winning statistics were brought down to a unit -- one in six children or one in 11 adults... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
The moment was so clear and obvious that I could virtually hear a click. The moment I became a fundraising writer. I was already a writer. I could spit out graceful, readable prose. Sometimes even interesting or insightful. But that didn't do the trick for fundraising. As a fundraiser, I was a serial failure. Fortunately, I got lucky. I got a mentor who knew his stuff. And who didn't spare my feelings. He used a needle-sharp pencil to mark my fundraising writings with cross-outs rewrites. I can still remember exactly how those pencil-scratches sounded, and the electric sharpener he used... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
You'll be equipped and inspired by this interview with Jen Love and John Lepp of Agents of Good in Toronto. They are powerful spokespersons for the idea and practical expression of loving donors. You'll learn how Courier font is a practical tool for donor love, why innovation in fundraising so often doesn't work, why ugly powers great fundraising, and how fundraisers can take care of themselves in our sometimes emotionally draining work. Click here to listen, download, or subscribe to the podcast. Or listen right here: Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
US fundraisers are being handed a rare gift this year: an early Thanksgiving: November 22 (the earliest it can be). This is a gift, because it creates room for extra fundraising between Thanksgiving on the end of the year. Find out more how to grab this opportunity, see Steven Screen on this helpful, practical video at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference. Movable holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, and Passover present a challenge for fundraisers. Sometimes the date makes things difficult for us. But sometimes it makes things better. Grab the advantage while you have it. Next year, Thanksgiving is the latest it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
As you may have heard, the great fundraiser Jerold Panas passed a few weeks ago. But before he left us, he prepared a post for the GuideStar blog: Nurturing Your Potential as a Fundraiser. It's a fitting and wonderful final piece of foundational advice for all of us from someone who really knew what he was talking about. Here's what he had to say about being a fundraiser: You are a communicator Success is always coupled with perseverance You are high-touch, low tech You have an unwavering commitment to your organization and a near-militant belief in its mission You know... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
What makes a fundraising story work? A lot of things, but here are some important observations from the Conversation Agent blog, at The Four Truths of Great Stories: Great stories are true to the audience. They connect with your donors' values and experiences. They make the donor (not your organization) the hero. Great stories are true to the moment. They might be timeless, but they speak to people now. Great stories are true to you. They are real. Great stories are true to a higher ideal. Values. Emotions. Beliefs. The most important time of the fundraising year is just around... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
I'm not saying your mother wears army boots, but your mother is an unreliable source of marketing information. Regardless of her footwear choices. I'm only bringing it up because I so often hear about fundraisers who use their mothers as uncompensated one-person focus groups. They learn (correctly) that their target audience is strong on elderly women. And they note (also correctly, in most cases) that Mom is an older woman. It's possible she's literally a donor to the cause. But asking your mother to tell you how effective your fundraising is like asking a fish to tell you the chemical... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
When you think about asking donors to give, which of these frameworks are you working from: The donor's generosity is one of the tools we use to do our good work. OR We are one of the tools the donor uses to do her good work. If it's the first, fundraising will always be an uphill battle for you. Because it's not in tune with the donor's framework. In the donor's world, you -- and every organization she chooses to support -- are how she accomplishes things that matter to her. She is not part of your army; you are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
Here's why the discipline of branding so often suppresses fundraising results: It emphasizes the wrong thing. It's all about your organization, not about the donor. (Of course, that's branding done wrong. But it's the way it so often plays out in real life.) Branding as a discipline came to us from the commercial world. Where, it turns out, they have exactly the same problem: Bad branding that's all about the awesomeness of the product or company. The Monday Morning Memo captures this challenge in the commercial world at Your Customer and Their Life: Bad advertising is about your product. Good... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
The raising money online is hard. And one of the hardest parts, where many otherwise great campaigns fizzle out, is the donation page. EveryAction blog has a great gallery of donation pages that don't fizzle out: 12 Nonprofit Donation Pages That Don't Suck. It's well worth your time to take a good look at these pages. Note what almost all have in common: They are mobile responsive -- they reformat for small screens, making it just as easy for users no matter what device they're using. No distracting navigation. Once someone is on a donation page, don't give them other... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
About 25 years ago, I was present at the creation of a great new fundraising vehicle. It was a new offer in a new medium, and it worked so well, it pushed a small and obscure organization to a new level of revenue and visibility. For a year or two, I watched this fundraising vehicle go from good to better, as testing and learning made incremental but meaningful improvements. Then I went elsewhere and stopped getting inside information. Years later, I came back into contact with the organization. That amazing old fundraising vehicle barely worked. Only inertia was keeping it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
From Catholic Fundraiser, Why email is the hottest trend in fundraising, along with some hints for getting emails to work: Be Personal. (Send emails from people to people, not "digital publications.") Use email regularly. (If you're emailing just once a month, you're not really connecting. Aim for once a week. Or more.) Don’t always ask for money. (Connect with your people in many different ways.) When asking, be emotional AND logical. Email is an important way to connect with donors. Make sure you're using it! Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
From the Heroic Fundraising Blog, 9 Ways to Create a Transformational Relationship. It really pays to think about the relationship you build with donors, and to consider ways of strengthening that bond: Make the Phone Call. A real call from a real person really cuts through the clutter and has been shown to meaningfully improve donor retention. Send a Handwritten Thank-You Note. A great way to thank a donor, or recognize relationship milestones. Send a Welcome Package . What can you send that will make donors feel special, important, and appreciated? Send it after their first donation! Send a Series... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
by guest blogger George Crankovic. He blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. In order to write fundraising copy that works, it's a good idea to look at copywriting that sells. Yes, some of the tips and tactics that work in commercial marketing will also work in fundraising. Here's one of them. It's the idea of giving power over to your donor in order to persuade her to accept what you're selling. You see this in commercial marketing all the time. For example, in commercial direct mail letters, there's often a line of copy something like this: "It's up to you whether... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now
The horror! Some dictionaries now give a new definition for the word literally! The entire planet is literally going up in flames! Or so you might think, to hear people react to the news that some dictionaries now acknowledge the odd way many English-speaking people use literally to mean almost exactly opposite of its main meaning. Something like, "not really, but in an emphatic way." Read about it here at Salon: According to the dictionary, "literally" now also means "figuratively". ... people increasingly use "literally" to give extreme emphasis to a statement that cannot be true, as in: "My head... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2018 at Future Fundraising Now