Brand building vs. direct marketing

I believe that non profits, by the nature of what we “sell,” should align our strategies with the brand building game, not the direct marketing game. Why? Here’s what Roy H. Williams had to say about the difference. (And here’s a link to the whole post): “Direct response marketers usually sell products that have a… Read more

Rage is Sexy

Rage is all the rage. There of course many good reasons to be feeling rage. How can you not feel it on behalf of members of our society who have been oppressed, bullied, attacked, ignored or left behind? How can you not feel it in light of the outbursts of pure unadulterated hate blooming around… Read more

What’s your North Star?

We’re in scary, murky territory right now. When things are this uncertain, it’s important to ask yourself – what are your personal core principles. What’s your true North. For Alia and me, it’s love and kindness, qualities that seem in desperately short supply. What’s yours?

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

How can two different truths exist at the same time?

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” The world is filled with tensions. Things exist in states of dualities — or opposing forces. As Texas sage Roy H. Williams points out,… 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

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