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Jeff Brooks
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by guest blogger Sean Triner, founder of Moceanic. Face-to-face. Street fundraising. Chuggers. Does it work? Let me show you some facts. Then you can decide if it works. For a long time face-to-face has dominated monthly giving acquisition in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and many other places. Here in Australia, we've gathered an amazing amount of data about face-to-face fundraising. Here's what we know: Face-to-face has achieved something that no other channel has: getting younger people to donate in strategic numbers. By younger, I mean under 60. Face-to-face brings in donors with an average in the early to mid... Continue reading
Posted 12 hours ago at Future Fundraising Now
Urgency is one of the most important features of strong fundraising. That's because for most donors, deciding they'll give later is a default decision not to give ever. That's why knowing how to create a sense of urgency is so important -- one of the key tools for fundraisers. Here's some help on building urgency from John Haydon: How to Add Urgency to Your Fundraising Appeals Without Being Pushy. (In my experience, being too pushy is not something you should worry about; you are in far greater danger of failing to be emphatic enough than you are of being too... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Future Fundraising Now
Emotionraising by Francesco Ambrogetti Okay, you can skip the rest of this review, because this is a book you almost surely need. Run as fast as you can (well, click as fast as you can) and get this book! Let me show you why, with an example: Rationally we do not like to think that we respond to emotions such as fear or anger, but emotionally our brain is more inclined to react to this type of input than to rational or positive stimuli.... Appeals and fundraising campaigns that use sad images receive more donations than those using faces with... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Why do so many donors click through to your donation page and then not complete it? It's largely problems with the page that drive them away. Here of the 9 Common Donation Page Mistakes (and Solutions!) from npENGAGE: Hidden Donation Forms Requiring Donors to Give Too Much Information Overfilling Your Donation Page Forgetting Security Certification Not Being Mobile-Savvy Avoiding Different Giving Levels Not Suggesting Recurring Donations Ignoring Social Media Failing to Say Thank You Lots of details and examples in the post. Check it out! Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Fantasy Fundraising Somewhere there's a vast cemetery of failed fundraising efforts, all of them beautiful fantasies that nonprofit organizations wanted to do. They believed they couldn't go wrong. But donors didn't respond. It always goes that way. When you use your own tastes and preferences as a guide, you miss what real donors respond to. Failure is the only outcome to fantasy fundraising. Fad Fundraising Before you jump on the bandwagon of the Next Big Thing, think it through: Just because it worked for someone else, does that mean it will work for you? Even more important, ask yourself this:... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? It happened in the Summer of 2015 when the ALS Association in the US (and a number of related organizations around the world) became the beneficiaries of a gargantuan fad. They raised more than $220 million worldwide. It sparked a groundswell of demand: We need our own Ice Bucket! By now, nearly two years later, it's clear to almost everyone that trying to launch your own Ice Bucket Challenge is like trying to fund your organization by buying a winning lottery ticket. You could win -- somebody has to! -- but realistically ... it's not... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
by guest blogger George Crankovic, Senior Writer at TrueSense Marketing. He blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. Peter Singer wants donors to give based not just on emotion but also on cold, hard facts and clear-sighted reason. He says donors should calculate where their dollars will have the greatest impact, and give only to those charities that demonstrate the best outcomes. It's like a cost-benefit analysis applied to philanthropy. He calls this effective altruism. You can read about it here. It's an idea that some donors find appealing. The way Singer looks at it, giving involves the larger issue of living... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
It's possible that your job title is so terrible, it's chasing donors away. That's what a new study by researcher Russell James finds, as reported on the MarketSmart blog, at Why fundraiser job titles suck and cost you a lot of money! The study asked people, "Who at the charity are you more likely to contact?" It gave them an array of typical nonprofit job titles. The title that fewest people wanted to contact: Director of Advancement. Others people didn't want to get in touch with: Chief Advancement Officer Director of Institutional Advancement Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Think you can... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
If you want to raise a lot more money for your organizations, there are three things you should focus on: Major donors Planned giving Monthly giving Let's look at #3. It's probably the biggest deal, and here's a great post from A Direct Solution with hints from a nonprofit that has converted about 30% of its donors to monthly giving: When Is the Best Time to Ask for a Monthly Gift?. Here's what they do: Every September, they take over the homepage with a direct link to their monthly donation page. They send a special appeal, with a match offer,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Why is it hard to raise funds? One reason is that large numbers of people don't believe what you're saying. No matter how obvious and self-evident you thing it is. That's what Seth Godin reminds us at Facts are not the antidote for doubt: ... facts won't change a mind that doesn't want to be changed. More facts don't counter more doubt. Someone who is shaking his head, arms folded, eyes squinted and ears closed isn't going to be swayed by more facts. This tells us a lot about the weird state of US politics these days. But more to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
I've been in the fundraising business for a long time, so I've been on a lot of tours of nonprofit facilities. Mainly hospitals and performing arts venues. Some of those tours have knocked my socks off, making me thrilled to be connected to the organization I was seeing. Others ... not so much. I've come away tired, confused, irritable -- and not very enlightened about the organization. I'm not the real target for a tour. That would be donors. And they need to have a great experience, not the tiring and annoying one. Here are some qualities that make the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
We're in the part of the year when it gets a little harder to raise money for most nonprofits. Does that mean just go on hiatus and stop connecting with donors? Not according to Ann Green's Nonprofit Blog, at Don't Be a Stranger. Keep in touch with your donors: Share an update Say thank you Create a better newsletter Tie in current events Focus on relationship building in your appeal Best of all, just ask for a gift. I've never seen evidence that asking a donor for a gift hurts the relationship. But I've seen ample and repeated evidence that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Is it time to give up on your newsletter? The Big Duck suggests so at It might be time to kill your newsletter: It's time to say goodbye to the newsletter as we know it. Chances are your investment in it is simply just not worth the time and energy as it used to be. If by "newsletter" you mean email newsletter, I might agree. I've not yet seen an email newsletter I'd call a success. They rarely get decent engagement of any kind -- open rates, click-throughs, or response. There are many other things you can do in email... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
I got this the other day in the mail from a local organization that I'm not a donor to. (I've hidden the identity, because it's a local hard-working organization that really doesn't deserve public ridicule.) "Cancer is a word, not a sentence." Pretty clever. It might be a comfort to someone facing cancer, though I can't help but think if I had cancer, I'd be saying I really don't care about cancer in general; tell me about my cancer. This is a case of sloganeering in lieu of fundraising. It's a common error, caused by fundraisers mistakenly taking their cue... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
How many times has this happened to you: While working on a fundraising appeal, you are filled with an unusual energy. You end up creating a real masterpiece, something you're proud of. And then it bombs. Doesn't work at all. It's happened to me many times. The appeal you love is the appeal that doesn't work. Pamela Barden has seen it too, and written about this frustrating phenomenon at A Tale of Two Appeals: The One You Want to Write Vs. the One Donors, Prospects Want to Read: ... there is one important thing everyone involved in the process of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
One of the most important things to keep in mind in fundraising is the age of donors. Which, for almost everyone, is older than you! The National Institute on Aging has a great tip sheet called Making Your Website Senior Friendly (PDF). It'll help you get digital right for older users: copy, design, and information architecture. Here are a couple of examples: Be direct. Instead of, Restaurants that offer senior discounts may be a good choice for older adults who like to eat out. say, If you like to eat out, go to restaurants that offer senior discounts. Use action... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
How do you communicate emotion to your donors? Easy. Feel the emotion yourself. Okay, maybe not so easy. But feeling it yourself is half the battle -- probably more. The Passionate Giving blog has some help for this at How to Insert Emotion Into Major Gifts: Get a fix on the core thing that your non-profit does. Identify the situation you are addressing. What problem does addressing this situation solve, or what benefit is provided to society or the planet? What if no one addressed this situation or no one provided this benefit – what would happen? If this mattered... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Pardon me if I get a little bit commercial here. But this is a super-cool job, and I have a feeling the person who should have the job reads this blog. Moceanic is looking for a Project Manager. Not just any project manager, but a super-smart, amazingly flexible, fun, cool, and ready to help change the world ... Not a whip-cracking nazi (though you need a little of that in you). Not a nasal-voiced whiner who bugs people about deadlines in a way that makes them want to leap in front of a speeding bus (though bugging people about deadlines... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
The experience of giving to a charity most of the time ranges between "uninspiring" and "dismal." Lack of attention paid to the donor experience is probably one of the reasons for dropping donor retention rates. But you can easily buck the trend, and here are three ways to do so from John Haydon, at How to Make Donors Feel So Awesome, They Can't Help but Give More to Your Nonprofit: Thank Donors Quickly (When donors wait weeks for an acknowledgement, subsequent retention drops) Make Your Donors the Heroes of Your Story (Break the bragging-about-your-awesomeness habit and instead talk about donors... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Plural audience. When you sit down to write, you might be thinking about that mailing list of 35,000 people, and come up with a sentence like this: Some of you might be wondering how we're going to complete this project. Oops. Rookie mindset. The professional visualizes one person and writes to that one individual. Plural writer. Just as you write to one person, you are also one person writing. The Rookie mindset gets muddled by the fact that several people are involved in the writing of the message, so they use an editorial we that depersonalizes the message: We know... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
You've heard about rage giving -- where people respond to political outrages by supporting nonprofits they hope will defend against those outrages. It's been a real windfall for some organizations that are positioned as defenders against President Trump. If you're working in one of the areas that can be seen as defending, you might be getting some rage gifts too. Are you ready? Wired Impact asks, Rage Donations: Is Your Nonprofit Ready for this New Trend? An important part of this post was about what you do with those new rage donors: Create a donor retention plan that will keep... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Here's some useful help from Equally Ours, a UK human rights organization: Talking about human rights (PDF). It's about communicating about human rights issues, but it applies well to fundraising -- or just about any attempt to persuade people to do good: Educating with facts. Because people make decisions on emotions. Facts are more likely to drive them the other direction. Arguments about legal and procedural issues. They may matter, but your donors don't care! Myth-busting. When you try to bust a myth, you're more likely to cement the myth in readers' minds. International arguments. Like, "We should support this... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Wouldn't you love to create some kind of breakthrough that would dramatically improve your ability to influence people, raise funds, get volunteers, and change the world? A lot of smart nonprofits are trying to do just that. Too many of them, though, are barking up the wrong tree. Doesn't matter how long or loud they bark. It's the wrong tree. The Breakthrough Squirrel isn't up there. Here are some wrong trees Better color pallet, modern-looking fonts, new and improved logo. Really cool mission statement. Tightly defined brand personality. Massive PR and/or advertising campaign. Here are some right trees Stronger, more... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
They skim. You must craft every sentence with great care. But your readers are going to tear through it like a bargain-hunter at a flea market. Make it easy for skimmers to catch the most important stuff: Short paragraphs, short sentences, underlining. They don't read everything. We know that many readers go straight to the P.S. of a letter. Make sure it includes the call to action. And make sure the call to action is sprinkled throughout the copy. They don't read in order. They bounce around, stopping wherever their eyes rest. So don't make your case dependent on an... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Everybody knows you should eat carrots. And we wish our kids would eat carrots instead of corn chips. A recent article in Fast Company shows how someone is getting kids (and grownups) to eat carrots: How Carrots Became the New Junk Food. They did something weird and utterly brilliant: They re-branded carrots. Specifically, they made baby carrots (which are really skinned and chopped down regular carrots) seem like junk food. Here's what one TV spot for carrots looks like: A skater dude rides a jet-powered shopping cart through a desert pass, dodging baby-carrot gunfire. Things blow up. There's a pterodactyl.... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now