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Jeff Brooks
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Are you getting the most out of lunch? If you always work through lunch, you're doing it wrong. A recent post at thr Hubspot Marketing blog gives 14 Things You Could Be Doing During Your Lunch Break: Work on a side project. Organize a "Lunch and Learn." (gather with co-workers to teach each other interesting new things) Find the most interesting person in your company and invite him or her to eat lunch with you. Get the heck outside. Establish a Finer Things Club. Establish a club that mercilessly mocks the Finer Things Club. Learn a new language. Figure out... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Future Fundraising Now
We're in it: The last quarter of the year. For most of us, this is when the real fundraising action happens. Have a good last quarter, and you have a good year. Here are some tips on making your year-end fundraising strong, from npEngage: The 5 Rules for Supercharged Year-End Fundraising... Make Sure Your Message is Consistent Be Mission-Focused, Not Gimmicky Make Multichannel Asks Cultivate Year Round in Each of those Channels Run Year-End Giving Like a Campaign The end of the year comes just once a year! Good luck! Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Future Fundraising Now
How often have you seen a nonprofit thanking its donors by strutting about like a body-builder at the beach, basically saying, Look how awesome I am! rather than, You're awesome! Thank you! That's why I love this list from Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog: 12 Phrases that Give Your Donors Credit for Helping. Because that's what fundraising is about: Giving donors the credit. Check these out: You did it! Today we reached our $1.7 million goal for water projects in Rwanda. We couldn't have done it without you. (charity: water) We can do so much more because of you. Every gift... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Listen to an excerpt from the new book, How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing by Jeff Brooks, reading the chapter titled "The Evil Cousin of Fundraising." Learn about the all-too-common practice of fundcrushing -- using large numbers and overwhelming facts as the means for coaxing donors into giving. The truth is, it rarely works. Find out what to do instead of fundcrushing that will motivate donors to give. (It's not that difficult!) How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing, is available at: Amazon The publisher... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
I know you would never make this horrendously expensive mistake. But a lot of organizations do. It costs nonprofits collectively billions of dollars in lost revenue every year. (Yes, "billions" with a B. Maybe even "zillions" with a Z! Here's the mistake: Remove a bunch of high-performing donors from your direct mail file and assign them to major gift officers. It's understandable: The personal touch of a MGO can coax a lot more money from a donor. In the right situation. But more often than not, it doesn't work. The MGO thing doesn't do the trick like you thought it... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
If you're like most fundraisers, you spend a lot of time creating and consuming PowerPoint presentations. How much of that time is a screaming waste that not only fails to communicate, but also destroys your effectiveness? It doesn't have to be that way. Used properly PowerPoint can be a great communications tool. Used the way it's typically used, we would all be far better off if it (and slideware in general) had never been invented. There's one easy thing you can do to turn your PowerPoints from communications disasters to great tools: Stop making slides with bullet points! I think... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
The old myth that sending direct mail can chase away donors has transferred itself to email. Many organizations live in the same fear that their emails are like deadly file-killing time-bombs -- and the fewer of them you send, the less danger you are in of making all your donors angry. That's not something you should be worrying about. Here's something that should worrying you, from Clairification: Warning: Your Nonprofit is Sending Too Few Emails. If you're afraid you're sending too much email, read this very carefully: ... the sweet spot for email seems to be 16-30 campaigns per month,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Are your donors old and dying? Are they so old they don't respond to the modern look you want for your organization? Are they so set in their ways that they don't respond to your great new positioning? Is it time to drop everything and start going after Millennials? Before you do anything drastic, read We need a new audience! at Fundraising Fundamentals: You don't want younger donors. [H]aving an elderly donor base isn't a bad thing. On the contrary, it's great news. Old people give massively more to charity than young people. They have more money and more of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Giving Tuesday (December 1 this year) gets a lot of hype in our industry. Does it deserve it? And more important, should Giving Tuesday be part of your online fundraising program? I don't know the correct answer for you, but I do know there are two other days that are likely more important for your online fundraising than Giving Tuesday.... December 31 In the US, this is THE online giving day. It dwarfs Giving Tuesday. If you aren't taking steps to maximize the last day of the year, you are missing the boat. If for some reason you have a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Take a look at the contents of my new book, How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing: Four Things That Don't Work in Fundraising. Four approaches that everyone is tempted to do (I've tried them all) -- and why they never work. Fundraising Writing Is Different. How fundraising differs from other common writing disciplines. Be SURE about Your Writing. Simple. Urgent. Repetitive. Emotional. The Call to Action. What you want donors to do is the single most important thing to focus on in fundraising. The Magic Words. There's a good-magic word and an... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Bragging isn't fundraising. Bragging also isn't an effective way to report to donors what their giving accomplished. Bragging is just bragging, and nobody's interested in it. So how do you tell donors your work is effective without boring them? Check out How You Can Share Accomplishments Without Bragging at Ann Green's Nonprofit Blog: Be donor-centered. (Give donors the credit.) Share a story. (Give them the information in a format that communicates with the heart.) Focus on why. (What you do is far less interesting than why.) Show don't tell. When you're communicating with donors, the primary topic should always be... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Raising funds on Facebook? Some people are making it work. If you want to see a Facebook fundraising winner, check out Soi Dog Foundation a dog rescue organization in Thailand. They've raised $8 million through Facebook. And an important part of their success: Going old school in this new medium. Sean Triner's blog has the skinny, at What Works on Facebook: Old Fashioned Direct Mail Offers. Here's what works: Classic strong headlines A "person" in need (a dog, in this case) looking straight to camera. Making the donor the hero. Consequences of not giving made very clear. Great before and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
There's a lot that can go wrong with fundraising. But there's one super-common error that costs the nonprofit sector billions every year. If your fundraising is making this mistake, it's costing you dearly. This isn't just my opinion, you can read about this deadly fundraising error at The 1 Big Mistake That Ruins a Nonprofit Fundraising Appeal at Get Fully Funded. The mistake? Being self centered. Making your message about your organization. Not about your donors. Here, from Get Fully Funded, are four questions to ask yourself that will help you from wandering into self-centered fundraising: What action you want... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
One of the biggest sources of fundraising errors happens when we make up stories about donors. It's a natural thing to do: It helps us think non-abstractly about these real people. It goes astray when we depart from what we know and build elaborate fictions about donors -- wild guesses about their behaviors that wander far away from what donors really do. Here's an example: You're thinking about including a large red word URGENT on the outer envelope of your next piece of direct mail. That's not a bad idea. Based on my experience, this has a good chance of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Excerpt from How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing A TV newscaster in Australia gets a dream assignment: Interview the Dalai Lama. He decides to start the way he often does -- by telling a joke to put his subject at ease. Unfortunately, he decides to tell the Dalai Lama a Dalai Lama joke. It goes something like this: "The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza joint and says, 'Can you make me one with everything?'" His Holiness looks at the newscaster blankly. He asks an aide what pizza is. The newscaster tries... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Have you met one of these consultants? The guy who tells you to throw everything you have into "Twitter fundraising," but he only has 800 followers on Twitter, and has never transacted any business of any kind on Twitter. The switch everything to mobile right now guy. Who communicates with you by email and phone. The guy (yes, they're pretty much always guys) who says donors will be transacting in Bitcoin within the next couple of years, and you need to start switching over to the digital currency. What does he charge for his help? Well, it's in dollars, not... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
This is a conference you should consider. It's all about learning to tell the story that will accomplish your goals. There are no sales weasels with agendas. (Or they're behaving themselves.) It's approximately 7.4 times more fun then the next conference. I know because I was at last year's conference. And I'll be speaking about telling great stories at this one too: WHEN: November 12-13, 2015 WHERE: Seattle Besides me, you'll find a who's who list of expert nonprofit speakers, including: Tom Ahern, Shanon Doolittle, Leah Eustace, Peter Drury, Harvey McKinnon, Vanessa Chase, Marc A. Pitman, Tammy Zonker, R. Trent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Everyone is sometimes trapped inside their own head. It's a condition that blinds you to all perspectives other than your own. You think the way thing look to you is the way they look to everyone. And it's one of the most common causes of ineffective fundraising. The insidious thing about being trapped in your head is that you can't see that you're trapped. I recently came across a piece of marketing that reminded me of some of trapped-in-the-head fundraising. It shows what can happen when you're so trapped that you become unable to communicate clearly with other people. It... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
This should be obvious, but it's widely ignored: Communicate More Often to Renew More Donors -- from the Fundraising Coach. ... you should be in touch with your donors more often. Just look at the statistics on donor renewal. In the U.S., only 30% of first-time donors to nonprofit organizations renew their gift the next year. One of the most common reasons donors don't give again is they don't know they're needed. And if you're in front of them only a couple of times a year, you can make a pretty safe bet that they don't know they're needed. The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
There are two kinds of fundraising writers: Writers who got tricked into fundraising. Fundraisers who got tricked into writing. Either way, there's a learning curve -- and an unlearning curve -- for writing fundraising. Because fundraising writing is weird. So many people get thrown into the work of writing fundraising without ever being told about the weird they need to live with -- and master -- if they're going to succeed. Until now. My new book, How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser's Guide to Persuasive Writing, is specifically and tightly aimed at helping you write better... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
If you want to see the amazing power of dogs to pull the heartstrings, check out this video for the Fundación Argentina de Transplante Hepático: (Or view it here on YouTube.) This isn't fundraising. And as far as I know, it's 100% fictional. But you can't deny the emotional power. Dogs (and other animals, though I think less so) have a real emotional connection with us. We relate to them on a purely emotional level. So here's some of the best fundraising advice you can possible get: If in any way at all you can include a dog in your... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
What do your donors experience right after they make an online gift? Do you give them a rewarding experience that rewards and extends the donation? Or does a robot tell them to go away? Here are 21 Ideas For Your Nonprofit's Donation Confirmation Page from the Bloomerang blog: Say "Your donation was processed successfully!" with text Say "Thank you!" with text Say how the donation dollars will be used with text Say how the donation will impact those your organization serves (slightly different from #3) with text A photo or photos that show the impact of their donation. A video... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
You and your donor together are a world-changing duo of heroes. But what pair-of-superheroes model are you following? Are you the following the Batman Model? Batman is the Boss. Robin is the helper, the sidekick. All is well as long as Robin does what Batman tells him what to do. Batman gets all the glory. And a way cooler costume. The Batman Model in fundraising puts the fundraiser in the starring role. The donor is the helper whose donations help enable the work. Batman fundraising is full of phrases like: Please donate so we can... Help us help the children...... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Many fundraisers are specifically charged with raising "unrestricted support" for their organization. To make life easier for their accountants? To make it worse, some of those fundraisers seem to be in a perpetual snit about donors' penchant for supporting the cause in specific ways. So their fundraising often ends up berating donors to get it right and make unrestricted donations. That's a costly mistake, as this recent post at Clairification notes: Why You Should Stop Scolding Donors to Make Unrestricted Gifts. The funny thing is, most donors, when asked, are happy to give unrestricted gifts. But most of those same... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now
Remember how the American Cancer Society ran a huge experiment (stopping direct mail donor acquisition for a year and a half) to learn something that pretty much everyone should already know? Here's another similar case. This one looks more purposeful. As reported in the HubSpot Marketing Blog at How a Blank, 4-Minute Video Got 100,000 Views, an agency called Solve posted a four-minute video to YouTube that is nothing but blank white nothingness. Four whole minutes of it. And they got more than 100,000 views. As of this morning, there have been more than 150,000 views! (You can see the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2015 at Future Fundraising Now