Surveying to engage

Surveying to engage

In the thank you economy you can’t thank your donors – or survey them – too frequently. Take a cue from The Other 98%, a nonprofit dedicated to “making our democracy, economy and media work for everyday Americans, not the special interests or the political fringe.” With...
Four ways to ramp up your annual appeal

Four ways to ramp up your annual appeal

Crisis alert. Picture this. You’ve been on your new Development Director job for all of two days when the Executive Director informs you that the organization’s annual appeal should have gone out two weeks ago and urges you to “just doctor up last year’s appeal.” Last year’s appeal sucks. What...
10 Blogs I Always Read

10 Blogs I Always Read

If you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of time to spare.  Every day my workload grows.  Finding the time to get to my own projects is presenting more and more of a challenge.  And every day a new blog pops up in the Internet stratosphere – new opinions, new cutsie names and logos and people...
Nonprofits Need to Lose the “Free” Mindset.  Now.  Please.

Nonprofits Need to Lose the “Free” Mindset. Now. Please.

There’s an old adage (cliche’?) that “you get what you pay for.” Try telling that to nonprofit organizations. Several years back I worked with a small nonprofit agency with an annual budget of approximately half a million dollars.  Early on in my role as development director – and throughout...
… And What Does Cesar Millan Have to Do With Online Giving?

… And What Does Cesar Millan Have to Do With Online Giving?

If Paula Dean provides an example of how a larger than life personality and killer branding can overcome mediocre email marketing, Cesar Millan is a classic example of how an equally big personality gets email marketing right. If you’re not familiar with Cesar, star of the National Geographic show,...
To Engage With Younger Donors … Connect With Them Where They Live

To Engage With Younger Donors … Connect With Them Where They Live

A recent joint study by Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies, “Early Signals on Mobile Philanthropy:  Is Haiti the Tipping Point?”pointed to some striking statistics on text giving.  Prior to January 12, 2010, “little more than $1 million had been raised via mobile text.” ...
Keep Christmas in Your Heart All Year Long

Keep Christmas in Your Heart All Year Long

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.” Charles Dickens Many years ago I was working for the Philadelphia Bar Association at their offices on South Market (near the famous Reading Terminal Market … about the only positive about working for the Philadelphia Bar Association...
5 Down & Dirty Tips to Ramp up Your End-of-Year Appeal

5 Down & Dirty Tips to Ramp up Your End-of-Year Appeal

It’s already November, and, if you’re working for an understaffed agency with too much to do and not enough time or resources, think twice before you regurgitate last year’s annual appeal letter and call it a day. First off, ask yourself a few questions: Will you be mailing out your letters in-house...
Fundraising Fun?  You Betcha!

Fundraising Fun? You Betcha!

Nonprofit blogger and Twitterer, Marc Pitman, recently twitted that “many see fundraising as an evil, a necessary evil but evil nonetheless.” I couldn’t agree more and, frankly, I just don’t get it! Fundraising is challenging, it’s people-centered, it’s constantly...
6 Tips for Collecting Great Nonprofit Stories

6 Tips for Collecting Great Nonprofit Stories

If you’ve been in this field for any length of time, you’ve heard all about how important it is to capture your organization’s story. Most nonprofit marketing bloggers, however, tend to focus solely on one aspect of your organization’s story when, in fact, having an entire cache of stories...
How To Lose Donors & Persuade People To Hate You

How To Lose Donors & Persuade People To Hate You

I’m a big fan of John Carlton. For those who aren’t familiar with John’s work, he’s one of the highest paid copywriters in the world and a very successful marketer. He recently hosted a couple of events, one in San Francisco and the other in Las Vegas, and experienced some interesting hotel...
Foundation Prospect Research – On a Shoestring

Foundation Prospect Research – On a Shoestring

Back in the day when I was running an entire development department alone on a tight budget, I recognized the importance of regular foundation prospecting research. Once a month or so I would trek into Philadelphia to spend a day at the public library researching funders on using Foundation Center,...
Pamela’s List – The Best in Nonprofit Books

Pamela’s List – The Best in Nonprofit Books

We all learn differently. My daughter, Samantha, is a visual learner and an avid reader.  She has always learned best by reading.  My other daughter, Abigail, on the other hand, has never cared for reading.  She learns best in the classroom or a one on one setting and has always appreciated audiobooks. I...
The Real Secret for Fundraising Success … It’s All About the Story!

The Real Secret for Fundraising Success … It’s All About the Story!

Have you seen the Sarah McLachlan television appeal for the BC SPCA End Animal Cruelty campaign? It begins with footage of one animal after another, their pained eyes gazing out into the world as if to say “Whatever did I do to you? Why would you hurt me?” with Sarah’s song, “Angel” playing...
How to Be a Nonprofit Development Director – Charting Your First 100 Days

How to Be a Nonprofit Development Director – Charting Your First 100 Days

President Roosevelt, coming into office in the midst of the desperate years of the Great Depression, set the standard for new presidents to make their marks within their first 100 days in office. And, like FDR, incoming President Barack Obama enters the White House at a time of great crisis with his...

Fundraising in a Recession – 7 Tips

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Unfortunately, the world of nonprofit development can be notoriously fickle and unfocused. Clearly we are in a major recession with no end in sight. The trick is not to...