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Jeff Brooks
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Award bait. It's one of the most common causes of stupid nonprofit ads. It works like this: Ad agencies pride themselves about their "creativity." But their clients rarely let them be as "creative" as they want to be. (Those annoying clients have this dumb need to actually get some kind of measurable results from their advertising dollars. The nerve!) So how can they show off their true creativity? Create really, really "creative" ads for clients that don't care about the actual effectiveness of those ads. Partly because they aren't sophisticated enough to know effective from ineffective, but mainly because they... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Failure is inevitable in fundraising. Show me an organization that never fails, and I'll show you one that's not prepared for the future. Even the very near future. Here are five categories of fundraising failure -- and how can survive them and make the best of it: Abject Failure. Flat-out, unambiguous, it-didn't-even-come-close failure. You tried, but you just missed. This most often happens because what you were selling, they weren't buying. Maybe you had no clear call to action. Or your offer and your audience were not aligned. Or audience wasn't really donors. When you experience Abject Failure, at least... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
A number of years ago, I had two different clients that were both engaged in fighting poverty. Both quality, well-run organizations. One organization banned the word "poor" from their vocabulary. They felt it unfairly stereotyped the people they served, undermined their dignity, and created in donors an insidious sense of superiority. The preferred word for describing poverty-stricken people was "needy." The other organization banned the word "needy" from their vocabulary. They felt it unfairly stereotyped the people they served, undermined their dignity, and created in donors an insidious sense of superiority. The preferred word for describing poverty-stricken people was "poor."... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
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Does the logic of prompting people to give by sending them coins bother you? I understand. I don't get it either. But here's the thing: In many cases, it works. It works very well. That's right: It's stupid, annoying, and infuriatingly illogical ... and it works. This is how you become a real fundraiser: You leave your preferences at the door. You question your logic. You ignore your pet-peeves. Because those things don't give you useful information about fundraising. The true professional fundraiser keeps an open mind and a spirit of curiosity and looks at odd techniques like sending coins... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Every once in a while, you'll hear someone in fundraising ask a strange question: Is it ethical to appeal to donors' emotions? There's a weird assumption behind that question: an assumption that appealing to the emotions is some kind of a tactic, something you can choose to do or not do -- the way we can choose to use address labels in direct mail. Emotion is not a tactic. You can't turn it on or off. You can't decide it's unethical, ineffective, or annoying and replace it with non-emotional fundraising. Like it or not, your fundraising is bursting with emotion.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
You probably remember that old piece of marketing wisdom that people who buy drills don't actually want drills. They want holes. Fundraising Coach reminds us of a similar truth: No donor wants to make a donation. Instead, they want to make a difference. As Marc puts it, this is how you sell drills: Because of your gift, we were able to do this amazing thing. And this is how you sell holes: You did this amazing thing because of your gift. Sell holes. The thing the donor wants to happen. Not drills: The process you use to make it happen. Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
by guest blogger George Crankovic, Senior Writer at TrueSense Marketing. He blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. It's popular in fundraising to tell donors they're heroes. As if that alone is a fundraising proposition. In reality, it's often not a solution but a problem in itself. The problem is that "you're a hero" is not a relevant donor benefit. Can you imagine a fundraiser talking with a donor in person and saying with a straight face, "You'll be a hero when you give"? Would any rational donor accept it? It just isn't believable. There's lots of research about why donors give.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
How many of your new donors have given their second gift? That's an important question, because it's fair to say a donor isn't really a donor until they've given twice or more. To motivate that critical second gift (and every other gift), the best thing is to make the donor feel good about what they've done. Make the donor feel like a hero. The hero, as posted on the Communicate! Blog at My Hero! For your donor to renew, she or he has to feel like the hero of the story. You are the one who is going to make... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Staring at a blank screen, trying to start your fundraising letter? Try these tips from the Better Fundraising blog, at Five Tips for the First Sentence of Your Next Appeal Letter: Short and Sweet (make sure your first sentence is easy to understand) Drama, Drama, Drama What’s The Point? (try: "I'm writing to you today because ...") Who Cares? (try "I know you care about...") Less is More (after you’ve written your first draft, delete your first few sentences; this almost always improves it) Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
One of the most useful things I ever learned from a commercial advertiser was this: Sell the sizzle, not the steak. What does that mean? It means sell the benefits, not the features. Sell the spirit of excellence and competition, not just a pair of shoes. Or, as Angel Aloma, executive director of Food for the Poor puts it in NonProfit PRO: Sell the experience, not the features. Because sizzle not steak is just as important in fundraising as it is in commercial marketing. More important, really. Because your donor doesn't experience any features at all. It's benefits only. Here's... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Men: You are turning into your father. If you don't have kids, and/or you're under 30, you might not believe me. But it's one of the most powerful forces you'll encounter in your life. Most likely in a situation with your kids, you'll suddenly realize with mixed horror and wonder: I just did exactly what Dad would have done. I'm my Dad! The same thing happens to women. You are turning into your mother. Resistance is futile. We're seeing this in fundraising as Boomers move into the ranks of donors in meaningful numbers. They're turning into their parents. They swore... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water (and a fan of this podcast) reveals some of the thinking behind this innovative nonprofit that came on the scene 10 years ago and his virtually re-written the fundraising playbook in many ways. Get the inside scoop on: How charity:water takes its donors on a journey -- every time How they manage and market their promise that 100% of a donor's gift goes to the field The power of "productizing" (which anyone can do!) Charity:water's biggest challenge and how they're tackling it We learned a lot from Scott. You will too! To listen, click here... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Can we talk? Yes. We can. One of the great things about being a fundraisingologist at Moceanic that we offer free coaching sessions to anyone who wants them. That means you can schedule 25 minutes with me (or with Sean Triner) by click here. We can talk about any fundraising issues you want to talk about. Can I help you? Maybe. Just see what these smart fundraisers had to say about their free coaching: Tami Rust of YWCA Cass Clay, Fargo, ND, USA James Bisheko, ADRA Uganda Interested? Click here to schedule a free coaching session. Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
One of the strangest surprises about fundraising is this: When you go to donors with incontrovertible proof that the problem you want them to help solve is really, really big ... you chase away donors. Donors don't want to solve problems because the problems are big. The want to solve them because they are solvable. And, if you think about it, big and solvable are pretty much opposite features. That's the important point of The Surprising Way to Raise Money for Big Problems at the Guidestar Blog: ... if you want to change the world ... don't present a challenge... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Fundraising is not just asking. When it is, it doesn't work very well. Worse, it contributes to the sadly common belief that charitable giving is for chumps who pointlessly dump their money into ineffective and/or fraudulent nonprofits. Fundraising is just as much about what happens after the donors give -- maybe more. The Veritus Group blog points out this important fact at Why Your Donor Will Give Again. Here's why donors will give again: You will thank them properly and promptly, with enthusiasm and genuine gratitude You will tell them how their gift made a difference. Not once, but many... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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It's been a long time since a Stupid Nonprofit Ad has been featured on this blog. More than a year. I'm not sure if that's because there's less nonprofit stupidity out there or because I'm just becoming numb to it. (I hope it's the former, but it's probably the latter.) This example of nonprofit stupidity is interesting, because it's trying to do something smart. Bit it tripped and fell into a big vat of stupid along the way. It's part of a series of print ads (I guess that's what they are) done for Oxfam UK, a long-standing champion (or... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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 Jun 22, 2017 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 Jun 21, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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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 Jun 20, 2017 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 Jun 19, 2017 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 Jun 16, 2017 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 Jun 15, 2017 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