Thanks for Nothing

Admit it, you’ve done this: Year-end fundraising is over. Everyone is exhausted. Now all that’s left is the thank you email. How to segment? Oh wait, you think, why segment at all? Send it to everyone! The people who actually gave will be thanked and the other deadbeats who didn’t give? Maybe they’ll feel guilty… Read more

How Many Emails Are Too Many?

The “how many is too many” question has supplanted the “which day is best” question as the most pondered issue in email fundraising. The planetary alignment of a grueling presidential campaign followed by the usual end of year email fire hose has made this question especially timely. There’s no easy answer. Maybe that’s why people… Read more

Don’t Give Me Money

“Don’t give me money” is not an everyday call to action coming from an organization that depends on contributions to survive. So when i got an email from Emily Jacobi, the founder and CEO of Digital Democracy, saying just that, it caught my attention. Under the subject line “Don’t Send us Money,” Emily alerts her readers… Read more

Rage is Sexy

Rage is all the rage. There of course many good reasons to be feeling rage. How can you not feel it on behalf of members of our society who have been oppressed, bullied, attacked, ignored or left behind? How can you not feel it in light of the outbursts of pure unadulterated hate blooming around… Read more

What’s your North Star?

We’re in scary, murky territory right now. When things are this uncertain, it’s important to ask yourself – what are your personal core principles. What’s your true North. For Alia and me, it’s love and kindness, qualities that seem in desperately short supply. What’s yours?

Last Time It Took an Asteroid

Welcome to the Anthropocene. For those of you who retain some parochial vanity about being human, here’s a new badge of honor. We have so transformed the face of our planet (and not in a good way) that geologists have declared a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. One of the defining features of this epoch is… Read more

Is Brandraising the Same as Fundraising?

I have a confession to make. In the many tensions between communications and fundraising folks I often feel like a man without a country. My true love was strategic communications, but after 16 years I no longer wince when I am introduced as a ‘fundraiser.’ Among intramural tensions between fundraisers and comms folks, few issues… Read more

You’ll Thank Me for This

There’s a lot of bad fundraising advice lurking out here on the interwebs, so when we come across something so on point, so valuable, and so ‘right,’ we can’t not share it. This brief video conversation with writer-God Jeff Brooks and Steven Screen offer essential advice on how to incorporate storytelling into your fundraising communications.… Read more

Do You Believe in Angels?

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union,… Read more

Then This Happened

I gave a research presentation to a well-respected albeit obscure conservation-oriented trade association last week. The Board chair of the development committee kept haranguing me. He kept asking why they couldn’t reach their goal of $3.5 million in annual unrestricted giving. He was getting increasingly annoyed that I didn’t have a simple answer. Finally, this… Read more