A Culture of Philanthropy: Further Reading

For attendees at Rachel Muir’s and my AFP Presentation, and for anyone who is interested, here are the links to the two documents I cited: Haas Foundation Report on Culture of Philanthropy Transforming Organizations

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

Welcoming New Members: Boring May be Beautiful

Not boring for your new list members. Boring for you. Much has been written about welcome emails. Most of the conventional wisdom fails to match up to the reality we see on the ground however. Here’s an example. When we helped with a site redesign for a major aquarium some years ago, much jesuitical discussion… Read more

Caution: Sudden Wealth Syndrome

Mary wins the lottery. A million dollars. Mary goes on a spending spree. She buys her mom a house. She buys a Lexus for her son. She donates a little to charity. In a matter of months the money’s gone. Jack wins the lottery. A million dollars. He hands 90% of it over to a… Read more

You’re Richer Than You Think

“Who’s gonna create all this content?” We hear that a lot when we suggest that midlevel donors, sustainers and other high-value but not quite major donor folk get treated as more of an insider. It’s all well and good to say you need to give these folks richer content, but where is that content going… Read more

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