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Jeff Brooks
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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 16 hours ago 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 yesterday 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 5 days ago 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 6 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
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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 7 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
WIIFM: What's in it for me? Commercial marketers are constantly reminded to keep WIIFM top-of-mind, because they're tempted to sell their wares on how great those wares are. Not what's in it for the customer. We have the same issue in fundraising. Too often, we think the reason people give to us is because we are so excellent. Nope. They give because there's something in it for them. (We still have to be excellent; that's the price of admission for them to even consider giving to us.) Here are some things donors might get from giving to you, the real... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Don't you hate making errors? They make you look and feel stupid. But errors are funny things. It's impossible to predict what damage they'll do. Surprisingly often, they hurt your pride a lot more than they hurt anything else. Since I know you like to gloat about other people's errors (well, I like to gloat, so I think you might also), here are some examples of painful errors I've been part of through the years: Two embarrassing typos: We meant to say, "Sign and return the enclosed placemat." What we got was, "Sign and return the enclosed placenta." Second: a... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
There's a vital difference between facts and opinions. Knowing that difference often separates floundering, confused, opinion-based fundraising programs from successful programs. Here's an example of an opinion that flies in the face of facts: It's a blog at Third Sector, a UK publication for nonprofits. This anonymous blog is written by "Felicity Donor," who's described as "a professional young woman [who] gives to charities." She writes about "which causes she chooses and why." It's often interesting to hear what donors say about their giving. You can get useful insights. But you can also get badly misdirected by their opinions. As... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Most fundraising experts doggedly point out that photos of people are absolutely critical for successful fundraising messages. They're half right. A great photo makes all the difference. It can crystallize a message and drive home its emotional core more powerfully memorably than words can. But the wrong photo can shoot your message down, making the best copy in the world ineffective and irrelevant. There are two things that most often make a photo hurt your fundraising message: The photo contradicts the message This happens all the time: The letter says "Children are going hungry ... won't you help them?" --... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
I'm going to be quite a few places the next couple of months, and this means maybe you and I can meet in the real world. For the next couple of weeks I'm on vacation. But thanks to the wonder of scheduled posting, it will seem like I'm working as usual, posting away nearly every day. Alert readers may notice more than the usual number of rerun posts. I hope you'll think of them as "Classic Future Fundraising Now." I'll also be Tweeting and blogging at Moceanic. Here's where I'll be: May 17-19: Festival del Fundraising. Verona, Italy May 31-June... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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Where do you find major donors? At golf courses, yacht clubs, and ritzy to-dos? Not so much. Most of them are sitting at home reading their direct mail. Like all the donors. So if you need more major donors, take a look at your general direct mail donors. There are some potential mega-donors there! The Analytical Ones blog shows how important it is to look among your donors for potential major donors, at Major Donors – In the Beginning. Looking where the major donors to an organization came from -- that is, where people who became donors of $1,000 or... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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A great way to do better fundraising is to be better. Let me tell you about something that's better. It's a line of blank notebooks called Moleskine. The small one that I use costs around $10. Pretty dumb, huh? I could get a notebook at the drugstore for under $2. And every time I go to a conference I bring home two or three little notebooks for free. Yet I shell out ten bucks for a Moleskine. Because it's better than the other options: 1. It has better features The paper is acid free, so it won't turn brown and... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Want to know the easy way to turn your fundraising message from dud to dynamite? Ask for help for fewer people. One person, ideally. A lot of fundraisers seem to think their job is to present donors with the enormity of the problem they're working to solve. That's why they don't do as well as they should, according to Ignited Fundraising, at Telling the Story of One vs Many = More Money. When you tell the big number story you encourage some unfortunate feelings in would-be donors. Instead of feeling moved to give, they feel: Overwhelmed. (Donors want to solve... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Have you ever wished you could find a few more major donors? Here's how, from Fired Up Fundraising: Prospecting for Major Gifts? Top 6 Indicators of a Great Prospect. Don't just dream up the names of wealthy people and then contact them. That seldom accomplishes anything. Instead, look for these factors: Past charitable giving to your organization. (This is the main one, the by-far best hint that someone might become a major donor.) Past charitable giving to other nonprofit organizations. Involvement in nonprofits as a foundation trustee or director. Political giving. Real estate ownership. Business Affiliations. Wealthy people are pretty... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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There are two opposite impulses that almost all fundraisers fall prey to at some time or another. They are: Educating donors Abstraction They are guaranteed response-crushers. And the temptation to do both are powerful. With real-life examples, we'll show you how to avoid both errors and keep your fundraising strong. To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and subscription options. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Almost everyone says donor-focused fundraising is a good thing. But look into what exactly donor-focused fundraising means, and one of your most common findings will be this: So-called donor focused-fundraising is fundraising with a style and approach that the fundraiser feels good about. Which isn't donor-focused at all. In fact, it's probably donor-ignoring. Possibly even anti-donor fundraising. When you really focus on donors, you slam straight into the truth that you aren't your donors and your donors aren't you -- thus aiming at them means missing yourself. And vice-versa. True donor-focused fundraising will probably not appeal to you. That's one... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Charitable giving is growing at a faster rate (up 7% last year) than giving in general (up 1-3%). What does that tell us? Well, according to npENGAGE at What's Really Driving the Increase in Online Giving? it's not because we're getting better at online fundraising. The growth is mostly "cannibalization from other channels." And that's because older donors are increasingly online. Which is dynamite news! The dependable older people who are the life-blood of charitable giving are moving into the rich and cost-effective digital channel. ... to increase your online giving you need to continue to invest in direct mail... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
If you're having trouble raising funds, you might be tempted to blame it on donors: They're too uneducated. Too selfish. They don't get it! Blaming your donors is a lot like digging a hole: The more you do it the hard it is going to be to get out! Your attitude toward donors will get worse and worse, and you'll be less and less able to actually connect with these excellent people. So instead of blaming donors, look at yourself. Most fundraising failure is self-inflicted. That might be what's making it hard for you. The MarketSmart blog reveals a number... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
How can you tell if a fundraising consultant is lying? His lips are moving. Sorry. Wrong joke. I should emphasize that fundraising consultants are fine, upstanding people. They tell the truth literally dozens of times every year. I myself am a fundraising consultant, and you know you can trust me. But many consultants have the tendency to -- well, let's call it overstate things in order to land a client. Here are five warning signs that a consultant is not quite 100% above-board with you: When their pitch to you is a powerful new way to get young donors. You... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
CORRECTION: The fundraisers we choose for free consultations will not be chosen randomly, but by how interesting their answers are to us! Sorry for the incorrect information.
by guest blogger George Crankovic, Senior Writer at TrueSense Marketing he blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. Facts, explanations, information. This is the stuff you'd think donors would welcome. After all, how else are they supposed to know how many orphans there are in Africa, why there's an orphan crisis, what caused it, how it can be solved, what the programs are, how they work, and on and on? Problem is, if we go down that road in fundraising, we run into this: confirmation bias. It's people's tendency to accept information supporting our own beliefs and reject everything else. Of course,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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Remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy's house is finally dropped to earth by the tornado, and she cautiously opens the door to see where she is? As the door opens, you see outside -- and it's blazing with saturated, bright color. And it's only then that you realize the film to this point has been a sort of sepia monotone. It's a breathtaking moment of change. And something like it is happening to me right now. I have joined the staff and management team of Moceanic. That's right, I'm leaving TrueSense Marketing (whom I like, admire,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Is your fundraising stuck in low-involvement mode, where you have to communicate with your donors a lot, and you get low response rates, low average gifts, and have low donor retention? If so, you aren't alone. That's the way a lot of fundraising works these days. Transactional. Impersonal. And it just barely works. In the old days, it worked quite well. Which is why so many organizations use it. They seem to hope the clock will magically turn back to those days. There's a better way. You might call it relational fundraising. Donor focused. Or, as the MarketSmart blog calls... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
A strong brand can improve fundraising. A strong brand rarely happens by accident. It's all to easy to undermine your brand by accident, as noted on HubSpot's Marketing Blog, at 6 Branding Mistakes Undermining Your Image: Inconsistency Across Different Platforms and Media (While I agree this is a problem, there's an almost exact problem that's even more damaging in fundraising: Extreme consistency. Variety is the spice of life in fundraising, and testing proves it. If everything you do looks the same, fundraising results will drop.) Relying Too Heavily on Design Trends (That look that's sooooo cool and trendy today is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
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Some of the strongest fundraising is connected to specific holidays. Some of the most ineffective fundraising is also connected to specific holidays. The special edition podcast will show you how to put holidays to work for you. And when not to do it at all. To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and subscription options. Or subscribe with iTunes: Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now