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

The Cadence Conundrum

The never-ending debate over how many emails is too many roils on. On the one hand most fundraisers, including yours truly, have seen no diminution of income caused by too-frequent asks. The latest musing on the subject (it’s a good one) is here. On the other hand, if we’re only looking at income, is it… Read more

Mind the Ripples

This is a true story, but names and some details have been changed to protect the innocent. Mary’s a generous soul. Mary and her husband Bob had just moved into a new house, and that left their rented apartment vacant for the final month of their lease. Steve, an activist and friend, needed a place… Read more

Game of Thrones, Dot-org Edition

With the arguable exception of Cersei Lannister, none of the Game of Thrones characters is truly evil. What’s driving the drama and the conflict isn’t ‘good vs. evil.” It’s a beautifully engineered set of cross purposes, where in pursuit of their passionate objectives, each character inevitably collides with another character and mayhem ensues. We see… Read more

Fundraising Large and Small

Do you read the Agitator? If not, you’re missing out on some of the most important thinking in fundraising. I’m proud to call Roger Craver a mentor. His latest post, on the relative merits of working with large vs. small organizations comes down squarely on the side of small. Less bureaucracy, less internal tribalism, more… Read more