Emotional Exceptionalism

You would think that wildlife conservation folks and animal welfare types have a lot in common. But you would be wrong. Most wildlife conservation professionals are terrified of even the slightest whiff of emotion. They slap the label “science-based” on their work and claim that everything they do is driven by the almighty algorithm. They… Read more


A typical Hollywood movie is 100 minutes long. In general, things don’ start getting better for our protagonist until the last 20 minutes – that’s the canonical third act. The other 80 minutes is jammed with trials, tribulations, setbacks, bullies, monsters, suffering and tears. 20% positive, 80% negative — Just think about that the next… Read more

What a good hug can teach you about communications and fundraising

I love a good hug. Holding someone close and giving them a big squeeze says so much. It’s intimate. It’s connected. At it’s best, a one-on-one hug is a physical representation of our shared human experience. Group hugs are good too. Locking limbs with a group of friends and family is an expression of group… Read more

Your Brain on Story

Alia and I have been doing these storytelling workshops all over the country for more than a year now. And we’re always scouring the Internet for great examples, sage advice, and other media to bolster our key point, which is this: Fundraising is based primarily on emotion and there is no better key to emotion… Read more

Stay Calm and DO SOMETHING!

Nothing is more lethal than loss of hope. It’s an insidious toxin and it’s slowly infiltrating efforts to combat the worst of climate change. To those people who say there is nothing we can do, Audubon Prez David Yarnold says “horsepucky!” Actually what he says is far more inspiring than that. Read for yourself.