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Jeff Brooks
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The most results-impacting element of any fundraising email is the subject line. If you don't get them to open your message, they can't respond to it. There's a secret weapon that can expand what you can do and say with that tiny slice of information: You can use emojis -- symbols -- in addition to words. The Campaign Monitor blog notes that emojis have shown to improve open rates. They make emails stand out in crowded inboxes and can communicate thoughts and emotions in a smaller space. So how do we use them? Here are some hints at The real... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Future Fundraising Now
Errors and inaccuracies in your donor data are probably the most harmful mistakes you can suffer, doing massive, sometimes irreparable damage. If you want to concentrate on one thing to get right, make it your data. Here are some of the errors to avoid from Markets For Good, at The 7 Biggest Mistakes in Handling Donor Data: Assuming Data Entry/Gift Entry Needs No Guidelines Never or Seldom Running an NCOA Update (do it at least once a year) No Recording of Personal Donor Interactions (be sure to record phone, email, or face-to-face conversations with donors) Not Backing Up Your Data... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Why don't people care about us? Our work is so great! Have you said that, bemoaning your small, stuck-in-the-mud donorbase? Here are some ways to think about your challenge, from the Achieve blog, at 5 Reasons the Public Is Losing Interest in Your Cause: You've become too focused on internal stakeholders. You're preoccupied with results. (Your fundraising is a big success-fest. Donors respond to need.) You've never really had a public engagement strategy. (You just talk about your organization and your programs; not donors and their values and they things they care about.) Your donors aren't invested in your cause.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
I finally gave in and admitted it: Brainstorming sucks. This was difficult for me, because I've been in brainstorming sessions that worked virtual miracles, the surfaced ideas that astounded us with their clarity and brilliance. But let me be realistic: For every great brainstorming session I've experienced, I've been in several that were soul-sucking, time-wasting monstrosities that killed ideas, sapped enthusiasm, and left us worse off than we were without the brainstorming. Because brainstorming sucks. Here are some ideas from the Design School blog to do it better, at 4 Reasons You Can’t Brainstorm Creative Ideas – And What You... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Recorded on Friday afternoon, October 23, 2015. Hurricane Patricia was barrelling toward the coast of Mexico, and we didn't yet know if it was going to be a humanitarian disaster or not. (Thankfully, it wasn't.) Some disasters give us advance warning. Others, like earthquakes, don't. Some disasters get the attention of the whole world. Others are only noted by a local area (like unusually cold weather) or even a neighborhood (the local school burns down). In this podcast, we look at ways you can be relevant and useful with disaster fundraising. When to do it, when not to, and how... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Fundraising is heart, not head Giving is emotional. Not a rational act. To persuade someone to give, connect with the emotions. Tell stories, don't make the case with facts and statistics. Stats deaden people's sense of compassion and connection. Fundraising is about action, not education Fundraising is about asking donors to do something specific and meaningful. Not giving them a lot of facts that will turn them into donors. You simply can't teach someone into giving. But you can thrill them into giving by offering specific action. Fundraising is specific, not general "Support our cause" isn't fundraising. It's wishful thinking.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Your donors don't care about the same things you care about. There's only one thing you and your donors both care about: The good things you are doing together to make the world better. The mistaken belief that all the things we in the organization care about are meaningful, important, or motivating to donors -- that's the cause of a lot of unsuccessful fundraising. Take a look at this diagram from Queer Ideas Then go read the post: The fundraising paradox. When you internalize this idea, your fundraising will enter the donor's world. And you'll raise more money. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
In case you were wondering, the Bloomerang blog has an answer to an important question: The Single Simplest Way To Improve Fundraising Results Is. The answer: Have a first-time donor communications strategy. That means a lot of things. Here are the top seven things you must accomplish with your new first-time donors: Donor perceives your organization to be effective in trying to achieve its mission. Donor knows what to expect from your organization with each interaction. Donor receives timely a thank you. Donor receives opportunities to make his or her views known. Donor is given the feeling that he or... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Think about that: An eight, followed by 12 zeroes. It's nearly half of the US national debt. That's how much US Boomers are going to give to charity over the next 20 years, according to a recent study (Giving in Retirement: America's Longevity Bonus, reported by The Chronicle of Philanthropy at Baby Boomers Poised to Give $8 Trillion, Study Says: People give at higher rates after they retire, so extended life spans mean people are in their prime donor years longer than in previous eras, and that is good news for nonprofits smart enough to capture the attention of such... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
How many times have you heard this one Someone -- often a board member -- looks at your fundraising and says, This is just like all the other fundraising I see! Followed by the unspoken (sometimes even spoken) conclusion: That's why it's no good. Think about that for a moment: The assumption is that fundraising that's like other fundraising is crummy, but fundraising that's totally unlike other fundraising would be good. Other than avant garde art, can you think of any other profession where that is true? When the plumber comes to your house to fix your sink, do you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Are you ready for the biggest online giving day of the year? It's December 31. You can't afford to let it slide! Here's some help from Techsoup on how to get ready, at 7 Steps to Get Ready for Year-End Online Giving: Plan Ahead for Messaging Think Multichannel Craft Your Year-end Message Prepare Your Website Go Mobile with Email Make It Social Measure Everything You Can The days of taking the week between Christmas and New Year are over for most fundraisers. But even more important, now is the time to get ready for that crazy surge of online giving! Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Everyone wants to find a silver bullet, a new idea that will make their fundraising magically better. The thought of one Big Idea that changes everything has a seductive power. And there's a steady stream of consultants and agencies that claim to have one to sell you. But that's not what you need, according to Get Fully Funded, at Why you don't need a new nonprofit fundraising idea. Here's what you need instead: A better approach to the ideas you already have. More follow through. Fresh inspiration. Almost every time I start working with a nonprofit organization, I discover a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
I know fundraisers whose mental picture of their work is something like this: Asking for money is an annoying imposition. Donors don't really like to give, so each time you ask them, their irritation grows, and it could blow up at any time. Be cautious, apologetic, and very afraid! That attitude is what's behind a lot of ineffective fundraising programs. The ones with donor retention in the toilet and low rates of donor upgrading. That attitude also leads to being miserable in the fundraising profession -- so miserable and depressed, you should flee to something you find more positive for... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Here are seven common storytelling sins that make your story ineffective: It's about you, not your donor. It doesn't have conflict. The problem is too big. It's a story about success, not need. It's over-written. It's too hard to read. It's aimed at the wrong audience. This podcast is a preview of the presentation we'll be making at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, November 12-13 in Seattle. Seats are filling up fast, but there may still be room for you! To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Want help telling great stories that will motivate your donors to give? Check out this video with me and my podcasting partner, Steven Screen. Watch it here: 7 Crucial Storytelling Tips to Improve Your Fundraising. Steven and I will be presenting some companion material at the fast-approaching Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, November 12-13 in Seattle. With only a few spaces left, the doors are about to slam shut on this powerful conference! Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Have you read my new book, How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing? If not, now is the time. Everyone is reading it! Leaders who know how important it is to motivate people to donate. All kinds of leaders! People who want to be heroes by raising more money for good causes. People you might not expect to be involved in fundraising. All kinds of people are reading How to Turn Your Words into Money. It's time you joined them to give your fundraising abilities a boost that will raise you to a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
You probably know that the magic word in fundraising is you. But there's another magic word, and it'll surprise you: it's because. Check it out at Clairification: Foolproof Fundraising Trick Mom Knows and You Need. Mom's version is the is bulletproof: Because I said so. But studies show this magic work to make any statement more persuasive: "Because" is one of the persuasion principles that help explain the psychology of why people say "yes" without thinking. The human brain is wired to react when it hears because. It is a magical word — an automatic trigger for compliance. Sure, you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
I like candy. That's why I like Halloween -- the only reason, come to think of it. The other day, I was "sampling" the candy we've bought to give the kids who come to the door (we can't give away candy I don't personally endorse, can we?). I ate a couple of Tootsie Fruit Rolls. These are fruit-flavored versions of regular brown-flavored Tootsie Rolls. The regular kind taste like an unholy combination of fake chocolate, wax, and dirt. The fruit version is pretty yummy. While I was eating a Fruit Roll, I noticed the release of saliva that followed biting... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Your best emails don't accomplish a thing if they don't have effective subject lines. That's where you should spend a big chunk of your time. Here are some things to focus on, from the Bloomerang blog, at 6 Considerations For Fundraising Appeal Email Subject Lines: The law (the CAN-SPAM act makes it clear you can’t use misleading or deceptive subject lines) Spam filter trigger words and characters (check with your service provider; there are different opinions on what activates spam filters to keep you messages out of inboxes) Clean data Words humans ignore (here are some words found in a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Here's a webinar you don't want to miss: The Fundraiser's Guide To A Great Website. It's free. Presented by the great Sean Triner (I'll be there too.) 90 minutes. No matter where in the world you are, you can attend at a decent time. (See the dates and times below.) Easy tips to transform your website into a fundraising powerhouse. No massive redesign needed. Here's what you'll get: What you need to know BEFORE you touch a website Understanding target audiences How to maximize use of images, video, and copy What do you want someone to do and why Copy... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Is your website failing to get donations? Chances are, the main problem is your landing pages. Here's some help finding and fixing the problems, from npEngage, at 7 Most Costly Sins of Donation Forms: No mobile version Not accessible to those with reduced vision Requiring a login Too many fields on the form Too many steps to complete the donation Using Capcha Unbranded Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
It's easy to say you're donor-focused. But what exactly does it mean in your day-to-day life? Here's good advice from the GuideStar Blog on ways you can reap the rewards of focusing on donors, at 5 Ways Every Nonprofit Can Be Donor-Centric: Thank Every First-Time Donor Three Ways (those three ways are 1. a personalized thank you letter within 48 hours; 2, a phone call to say thanks within 30 days; 3. a follow-up letter stating the result(s) of the gift within 3-6 months) Establish Real Donor Service (make it so donor can reach someone who can answer any question... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Your donors are not your donors -- as in, an asset you own or control. But your organization is their charity -- something they use to accomplish their goals. Keep this distinction in mind, and your fundraising will be a lot better. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Have you sat through a presentation from this guy? He says we need to move a big chunk of budget away from direct mail or some other boring channel and into mobile payment systems. Why? Because two-thirds of Kenyans now use mobile phones to pay for pretty much everything they buy. And a quarter of Kenya's gross national product flows through mobile phones. Wow! Or he tells the inspiring story of a blogger who assembled an audience of more than a million readers and now uses his platform to sell all kinds of books, videos, and other high-margin stuff. Woohoo.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Check out my recent talk on Movie Mondays. It's less than four minutes long, and it'll help you write effective fundraising messages: (Or watch it here.) S.U.R.E.? It's an acronym: Simple Urgent Repetitive Emotional This material is taken from my new book, How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing. It's available at: Amazon The publisher (best bet if you're ordering in bulk) Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now