Forget about the money

I often am introduced as a “fundraiser who doesn’t care about the money.” It always gets a laugh at conferences, but the irony is that in many respect it’s true. To me, the rewards of fundraising lie in fostering a community of people united around an urgent cause. That they express their solidarity with their… Read more

When intuition fails

As an aspiring storyteller I love the Flannery O’Connor quote “I find everyone thinks they know what a story is until they sit down to write one.” It’s hard and there’s so much more to it than you think. And much of it is not intuitively obvious. I’ve come to realize that the same can… Read more

Data Shmata

Maybe I am the only one who feels this, but the hyper obsession with data – big, small, hairy, long-limbed – seems a bit over the top. I’ve been listening to Dan Goleman’s Primal Leadership on tape, and he raises some big questions about the limit of data-driven anything. What about intuition? What about heart?… Read more

Don’t educate your donors

Don’t try to educate your donors. The refrain of “we have to educate the donors” typically comes from a perfectly reasonable but utterly flawed notion: That if you, the donor, knew what I knew, you’d care about the things I care about. So instead of caring about furry animals with big eyes, I’m going to… Read more

Pick up the damn phone

Full disclosure: I generally hate the phone. I’d mostly be happier in an all-text, all-email world. But that’s just me. And it’s almost certainly not the case for most of your donors. We’ve been helping with thank you calls for a number of organizations and the donors never fail to be surprised and delighted that someone… Read more

Treating donors like $hit is bad fundraising

Why am I telling you something you already know??? Because chances are, you’re treating your donors like $hit. Here’s the problem: knowing and doing are two different things. Before you get all triggered, if you are treating your donors like $hit, it’s largely due to forces beyond your control. If there’s one thing we’ve learned… Read more

Getting the little things right

Continuing last week’s rant about focusing on stuff that’s boring to you but important to donors, my writing idol Jeff Brooks published this list today of steps you can take to build donor trust. Have you heard it all before? Probably? Are you doing all of these things? Unlikely. Jeff’s list (lifted verbatim): Be specific… Read more