Can Bad Fundraising Kill?

If you’re an American, you may have missed the $hitstorm that erupted in the UK recently over the suicide of a 92-year old poppy seller. It was alleged that incessant demands for money from charities drove her to take her own life. Whether or not oversolicitation killed poor Olive Cooke, the resulting brouhaha has laid… Read more

What have you done for me lately?

It may be an exaggeration to say that hell hath no fury like a donor scorned, but it’s not a bad place to start. Research by PR giant Ketchum shows that Baby Boomers, and Baby Boomer women in particular, are more likely than other demographic cohorts to make abrupt changes in their lives, including their… Read more

What Price Authenticity?

Just like you I have personal friends. And when I get an email with the following opening, I have a visceral reaction: From: Elis (personal) Subject: RE: RE: FW: ALERT for you Hey, friend:

As you can see below, Ali and the rest of the team are nervous. As it happens, some of my personal friends… Read more

Don’t be Stupid

I never get tired of railing against vanity metrics because people never seem to tire of following them. The most noxious vanity metric in our world is email list size. There are more ways to inflate that number than you can count. They all produce a bad outcome, if you consider list fatigue and a… Read more

The Future of Fundraising

Those clever folks over at Blackbaud have wrassled up a nifty new free ebook with short essays from a variety of folks on the front lines of fundraising. We live in interesting times, sad to say. This compendium is a great way to stay up to date with what works, what doesn’t, and what’s coming… Read more

How the Big Boys Blow It

Newsflash – fundraising is hard. So hard that even a corporate behemoth like the New York Times can’t get it right. Here’s how they bungled a recent attempted gift: I have for years, read the Times’ “neediest cases” stories, which apparently have been going on for more than 100 years. Today, as I was looking… Read more

Fundraising by Wire

A long, long time ago I was a guinea pig in a flight training experiment. The idea was teach budding pilots – I was 17 at the time – to fly first by learning to read the instruments – the altimeter, compass, airspeed indicator, artificial horizon, and navigational beacons. So I wore this hood which… Read more

Worst Metric Ever

Alia and I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days with 120 friends and colleagues at the 2014 Web of Change conference. One of the recurring conversations among this seasoned and accomplished group of digital communicators was the growing problem of vanity metrics. A vanity metric is a measure that looks great in… Read more

Step away from your routine

It’s easy to get stuck when you are doing the same things each day. Weekly meetings become routine. Colleagues become familiar. Expectations become rote. One of my buddhist teachers calls this “building a cocoon.” It feels safe, but it’s actually suffocating. It stifles creativity and it keeps us fearful of change. In a way, it reminds… Read more

Give your donors some love

Nurturing donors is something we should be doing all year long.  Cultivation helps to increase donor retention and overall revenue. But when things get hectic, cultivation is one of the first things we let slip. With the all important December fundraising season just three months away, now’s a great time to add some high-engagement touches… Read more