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

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

The Cadence Trap

As most email fundraisers have discovered, increasing the frequency of emails almost always raises more money. In the short run. And if you are chasing monthly targets, you have almost certainly indulged in a couple, or six, more emails as the month drew to a close. But when we do that, here are the questions… Read more

The Positive Results of Going Negative

Doom and gloom. It gets a bad rap. Nearly anyone who has ever tested the effectiveness of good news vs. bad news in a fundraising solicitation acknowledges that going to the dark side raises more money. That doesn’t stop onlookers from condemning the “negativity” of fundraising messages. This Jeff Brooks blog post from last year… Read more

Do you really care what your donors think?

Don’t be so quick to answer in the affirmative. Sometimes treating a donor with dignity and respect and making your monthly nut come into direct conflict. Most of us, myself included, usually resolve those tensions in favor of making budget. But that doesn’t make it right or even strategically smart. Dr. Adrian Sargeant has been… Read more

Welcome to End of Year Fundraising, 2016

That’s not a typo. When folks come to us in November and ask for help on their end of year campaign, our first question is always “what have you been doing all year long?” Good fundraising is about building relationships. Good relationships are built on communication, two-way communication. How will you listen to your donors… Read more

An Ode to Doom and Gloom

“We want you to be edgy. Just don’t offend anyone.” If I had a nickel for every time we’ve heard that from a client… Usually the asker is unhappy with the answer, though it’s the correct answer: “because that’s what works in fundraising.” Turns out this phobic shunning of doom and gloom is bigger than our nonprofit… Read more