What Quentin Tarantino can teach you about fundraising copy

Quentin Tarantino knows how to write dialogue. His characters’ conversations intrigue (from Pulp Fiction), provoke suspense (from Inglourious Basterds) and entertain (from Reservoir Dogs). His dialogue often reveals more about his characters than anything else onscreen. While crucial to screenplays, dialogue is often missing from fundraising copy. But why? I presented at Fundraising Day NYC a few… Read more

The three simple elements of a story: Take them to 11

Stories are — at their core — very simple. They need: A relatable character (AKA the protagonist) A desire the protagonist wants Conflict and obstacles that get in the way of the protagonist getting what they want Of course, on top of these basics, storytellers weave in advanced techniques like point of view, subplots, time… Read more

Does Your ED Have Bounty Hunter Syndrome?

Fundraisers come in different flavors. EDs often have trouble pinpointing the flavor they have, and predictable conflict arises when the ED has one notion and the fundraiser has another. The vast majority of fundraisers are not bounty hunters, but my guess is a high percentage of EDs of smaller organizations, and especially startups, think that’s… Read more

5 ways to fall gracefully

“The bad news is that you are falling. The good news is that there is no ground.” That’s a lesson my spiritual teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught. When I read that quote, I said to myself, “I guess I better learn to fall gracefully. If there’s no ground, falling with fear and struggle is simply… Read more

You are a Fundraiser

Congratulations! For your compassion and hard work, you can expect the following: You will be asked to raise more money than is reasonable. You will be punished if your goal is not met. When, against all odds, you succeed, you will be rewarded by having your goals increased. You will be reviled by program colleagues… Read more

What your middle donors are saying behind your back

In our research work, Mark and I talk to mid level donors all the time. We ask them about their passions. We ask them about their experiences with non profits. We ask them about what programs and projects excite them the most. What we learn is fascinating. Here are some samples of what middle donors… Read more

What have you done for me lately?

It may be an exaggeration to say that hell hath no fury like a donor scorned, but it’s not a bad place to start. Research by PR giant Ketchum shows that Baby Boomers, and Baby Boomer women in particular, are more likely than other demographic cohorts to make abrupt changes in their lives, including their… Read more