The Fantasy of Zero Risk, High Return

Starting or expanding a fundraising program is exactly like launching a small business (or a big business in some cases). That means there needs to be a capital investment. There needs to be a clear brand and well-defined “customer market.” There needs to be disciplined marketing messages. There needs to be a remarkable product. Perhaps… Read more

When We Count Everything, Nothing Matters

The proliferation of marketing metrics is a mixed blessing. In theory all that data allows marketers and communicators to reach the exact right audience with the exact right offers in an ever more effective and powerful way. The reality is often quite different. In siloed organizations (probably including yours), each team pursues their own metrics… Read more

To “Tote Bag” or Not to “Tote Bag”

Whether to use premiums in fundraising is as hotly argued as the perennial debate over whether the toilet paper should roll out from the top or the bottom of the roll. The latest addition to the tote bag scrum suggests that the practice is counterproductive. Yale behavioral scientist George E. Newman’s recently published study, The… Read more

The Open Sesame Fantasy

We all read Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves as kids. The eponymous shlub discovers that by uttering the words “open sesame,” the gates of a hidden treasure cave open wide. Ali Baba’s a fairy tale, but it seems to have infected expectations around messaging for fundraising, advocacy and marketing. If only we can string… Read more