This is Jeff Brooks's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Jeff Brooks's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Jeff Brooks
Recent Activity
Your relationship with donors is almost completely based on how it feels to give to your organization. It's up to you to do all you can to foster positive emotional experiences. Smart commercial marketers understand this, because it applies to them also. Here's some advanced thinking on creating emotional connections with customers, from Customer Experience Matters. It's a free ebook titled 25 Tips For Tapping Into Customer Emotions and it's downloadable here. Here are some of those tips, the ones I think apply best to fundraising: Focus on evoking specific feelings. Incorporate emotions into customer journey maps. End on a... Continue reading
Posted 18 hours ago at Future Fundraising Now
One of the things that makes fundraising hard is the lack of trust many donors have for nonprofit organizations. A steady stream of charity scandals, amplified by the press, which frequently has added wide innuendoes, has created an atmosphere is distrust. Deserve it or not -- and that vast majority of organizations don't deserve it -- our sector has low trust, which means donors are slow to give and reluctant to commit. The Bloomerang blog has help at How Transparency Drives Donor Loyalty: As in all relationships, the relationship between donors and fundraisers all boils down to trust. If your... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Future Fundraising Now
I recently came across the late Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing. Leonard was a novelist, most famously of crime fiction. But his rules apply surprisingly well to fundraising writing. Here they are, along with my annotations for fundraisers: Never open a book with weather. (Probably not a good idea for a fundraising appeal either. Unless it's about a hurricane.) Avoid prologues. (Yes!) Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. (Yes!!) Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said. (Yes!!!) Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Check this out from Classy Blog: 6 Fundraising Psychology Hacks You Need to Know. These are the so-called tricks experienced fundraisers work with all the time: Identifiable Victim Effect (It's much easier to care -- and give -- if you see one person in need.) Psychic Numbing (This is the opposite of the Identifiable Victim. When you depict the problem as gigantic, you numb people's compassion. I call it Fundcrushing.) The Time-Ask Effect (In many cases, if you first ask someone to give their time -- and then for their money -- they can be more open to donating. After... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
The other day I got an newsletter from a local nonprofit (which I won't name). The lead story on page one starts out like this: We are pleased to share [Charity]'s new brand with you! After much research, serious analysis and consideration, we made a decision on a new "look and feel" for our organization. You will see this new brand reflected in future newsletters, mailings and our website. While our outward appearance is new, our commitment to [the organization's cause] remains the same. It goes on and on in that vein: Proud but boring navel-gazing about their new "brand."... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Its hard to get your emails open. One thing worth trying: truly unusually subject lines, as described at My Emma: 3 risky tactics to try in your next email. Risky? Maybe. But how much more risky than getting the same old low open rates? Use a wacky subject line. (Don't even try to be relevant. Just be weird. You make break through the clutter.) Be vague -- very vague. Change your "from" name. (Make is a person's name. Or even use it to reinforce the message, as in, Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Donor psy Maybe you're listening to your donors too much. Surprised to hear me ask that? After all, fundraisers are completely in the business of supplying donors with what they want and need. The problem is, what they tell you they want is so often not at all what really motivates them to respond. Virtuous blog tells the sad tale of some customer-listening done by Walmart, at When Not Listening to Your Donors Is the Right Thing to Do. Seems the retail giant did some research and found out that most customers wished the stores were "less cluttered." I get... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Here's part of the menu board on a food truck near my office. They sell french dip sandwiches... (In case that's a bit hard to read, it says: Like the original french dip, all of our sandwiches come "pre dipped.") I'm a sort of french dip devotee. A good french dip is a thing of culinary beauty. I frequently order french dip, and when they're truly good -- which is surprising rare -- I become a very loyal customer of that establishment. So when I saw a french dip truck among the food trucks, I expected great things. But here's... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Ready for the secret to success in fundraising? The Veritus blog reveals it at The Beauty of Discipline: ... no discipline, no growth. Major gifts work is all about staying focused on the plan and working it. This requires meeting consistently with a manager to discuss what has been done and what you will be doing to nurture relationships with your donors. Do this, and you will be successful. This is true of all fundraising, not just major donor work. In fact, it's the key to success in all disciplines of every kind. If you want to have amazing success:... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
by guest blogger George Crankovic, Senior Writer at TrueSense Marketing he blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. Herschell Gordon Lewis passed away recently. Most people knew him as the "Godfather of Gore." Lewis achieved cult status as the creator of such over-the-top horror films as "Blood Feast," "A Taste of Blood," "She Devils on Wheels," and "Two Thousand Maniacs." In fact, he pioneered the genre of horror known as the splatter film. His movies are unapologetic festivals of campy violence. He gained the same cult status in another area as well. Lewis will be forever remembered as a master of direct-response... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Excerpt from How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing 1. Educating Is Not Fundraising When you try to educate people into giving, they don't give. And they don't become more educated. There's a simple reason why: Most people, most of the time, have no interest in becoming more educated. You're wasting your time, and theirs, if you try to hammer into them something they don't care about. Here's an example of fundraising that tries to educate donors into giving: You might not know this, but the typical homeless person in our area is... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Committee writing is a terrible thing: Lifeless, drab, confusing, unmotivating. One place most often afflicted by committee writing: Taglines. They're small and short -- and a lot of people in the organization care about them. Every cook crowds into the kitchen, and the result is predictable: Stew. And not the good kind. And committee-style stew-writing is so common, some writers write that way even when they're working on their own. Here's one way to tell if you're venturing into committee writing on a tagline: The Three-Verb Fumble. This is using three nearly synonymous verbs when one would do. Committees do... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
If your organization is any good at all, you know clearly how the funds you spend impact the world around you. You can track dollars to activities, and you know what those activities accomplish. Organizations that don't know that should figure it out quickly. Because they don't really deserve the support of donors. But being able to say what donor support means in terms of program activities is not fundraising. In fact, it's anti-fundraising, as reported at the 101fundraising blog: Feeling Good about Feelings, Facts and Fundraising. Why? Because psychology: What science has shown is that we feel before we... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Some digital fundraising programs are just big churn machines. Lots of people are getting onto the list, but lots are going away by unsubscribing or ignoring it. You might not think that's a problem, since churn doesn't cost you anything they way it does in direct mail. But there is a cost. And a non-churn program is far more effective at raising funds. Here are 4 Ways to Reduce Churn With Email Campaigns from the Kissmetrics Blog: Segment Your List. (Don't send everything to everybody. Be relevant!) Offer Educational Content. (Be useful. Send them stuff they can use.) Send a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Excerpt from How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing Let's look at the ingredients of a good headline: News. Headlines should reveal something of interest, not merely label a situation. It could be news in the journalistic sense (Last Night's Deep Freeze Sent Crowds of Homeless to Our Shelter). Or a personal story (Nick Says His Chemo Is Like Being "Rescued by a Monster"). People. Make headlines about people, not situations. Instead of Drought Strikes Northeast Africa, make it Families Flee Worsening Drought. Strong verbs. Use one- or two-syllable verbs that show action... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Some of your donors don't trust you. They've heard about so many charity scandals, they just thing we're all dishonest. That they give nevertheless is a testimony to the importance and power of charitable giving. But if you can help people believe that you are what you say you are and do with their money what you say you do -- you'll get more support from your donors. And more donors. Here are some ways to build trust, from MarketSmart: 7 captivating ways to build trust so your fundraising efforts work better. Here they are: Make sure your mission is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
It's a sad fact of life that sometimes you have no choice but to include pointless content in your fundraising because Somebody in your organization thinks it's important and they're a Somebody you can't ignore. In a perfect world, you could enlighten the Somebody by telling them you need to see things through donors' eyes and this piece of content amounts to a big fat waste of ink when you look at it that way. And they'd say, "Oh, I get it. Never mind. Use your fundraising to raise funds. I don't need my personal agenda promoted at the possible... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
by guest blogger George Crankovic, Senior Writer at TrueSense Marketing he blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. The gift string is one of the most overlooked parts of fundraising but also one of the most important. That's the assertion in "The Science of Ask Strings," a fascinating paper by Nick Ellinger. (You can download it here -- registration required.) Ellinger delves into the research on gift strings and talks about the mental shortcuts (heuristics) that we as humans take all the time in our everyday lives, and he shows how the science of gift strings can fit into those shortcuts to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
How many times have you seen fundraising that says something like this: Children in our city struggle with hunger... That, according to Colludo, is passive, and Your Passive Language is Bullshit. There are places where it's helpful to describe things with all the color and emotion removed. Fundraising is not one of those places. Why? Our donors aren't children. And we need them to feel something real if they are going to give a damn about the work we're trying to get them to help us with. So stop with the passive bullshit and go for the jugular. Fundraising is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
It's become pretty common for fundraisers to say that you is the magic word of fundraising. But it takes more than just throwing the word around. Because you acts like magic only properly used, as noted at Hands-On Fundraising: Are you using the magic fundraising word? If all you do is sprinkle that word in your otherwise organization-focused copy, you’re not likely to hold a reader’s attention long. When the protagonist in my little story stops being the organization and starts being the donor… then it’s natural that the word you appears often. Here's an unmagical use of the word... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Radio spots are some of the best and worst advertising you'll ever encounter. Some legendary ads have been created (and are still being created) for radio. And some real stinkers that aren't going to move anyone to do anything -- but just might make you aware of things not to do in your fundraising. If you spend all your listening time with Public Radio, you're missing an amazing education in how to persuade. And how not to. I encourage you to spend some time listening to commercial radio, and pay close attention to the ads. And check out this Monday... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Every donor needs three things from you in order to become as fully involved in supporting your organization as they can be: A problem to solve. The way you get the most people to donate is to put your requests in the form of a problem they can help solve. A child is hungry, and they can provide food. An ecosystem is endangered, and they can help protect it. Always present a real problem that has a solution. Evidence of success. Too many would-be donors think all charity is a scam. You can help them overcome that perception -- and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Landing pages are tough territory. Too many donors go to them and then just leave without making a donation. That might be your fault! The Duct Tape Marketing blog has some help for those self-inflected landing page problems, at 3 landing page blunders that can kill your conversions: Why should I care about your offer? (Remind them why they clicked their way to the page in the first place.) Drowning your conversion goal in distractions. (Don't have links to interesting (or boring) other destinations. They have one thing to do while on your landing page.) Failing to keep the scent.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Do negative images work in fundraising? There really isn't a meaningful answer to that question, because it's not a meaningful question by itself. It's a lot like asking "Do colors work in fundraising?" The Cause Marketing blog raised the issue at Don't Use Exploitive Images in Charitable Appeals, Real World Results Suggest. The post is about the Austin Humane Society, which used the image of a happy dog in fundraising, different from the typical sad animal imagery, and saw a significant increase in fundraising results. Does this prove that positive images are better for fundraising than negative? Not even close.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now
Do you ever hit writer's block -- that nasty sense that no good words will come no matter how hard you try? Here's some help from Goins, Writer, at What's Really Happening When You Get Writer's Block (and How to Overcome It). Writer's block is an excuse. It's usually some form of fear: fear of failure, fear of making enemies, even fear of success. Here's how to attack the problem: Acknowledge the resistance (take a look at yourself and understand what's blocking you) Identify the root problem (look the fear right in the eye) Ask what's the worst that can... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at Future Fundraising Now