Donors hate ‘em. Fundraising gurus say that “increase response by a third.” What to do? This week’s What’s in my Mailbox.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology knows how to surprise and delight. How could you emulate their creative new class? This week’s What’s in my Inbox.

Warren Buffet’s Family Has Pledged $90 Million—And Devised An Innovative Way Of Sharing It

When one of our members recently wrote asking about how to handle a board member indicted for embezzling, I put the query to my smart colleagues and got some interesting responses. Including this thoughtful post on employee theft from Gayle Gifford.

Rich charities keep getting richer. That means your money isn’t doing as much good as it could. How can YOU compete? By building those deeper, one-on-one relationships…by growing the power of small (think monthly) donations.

Vu Lee says All right, “color-blind” colleagues, we need to have a talk. He couldn’t be more right.

The ACLU raised $24 million in online donations in one weekend, contrasted with the $4 million it normally raises. How will they be working to retain those donors? ACLU Tests Strategies to Keep Wave of New Donors. New from The Chronicle.

What’s Wrong with Tom Brady’s Partnership with Best Buddies? Everything. New from Joe Waters.

Emotion is key. Try Getting Emotional – It Will Help! New from Richard Perry.

What Makes A Great Fundraising Event? New from The Agitator. Fortunately for us, the oh-so-smart and savvy event planner extraordinaire, AJ Steinberg, has already been teaching the lessons from the latest research in our Basics & More class, Smarter Events, coming later this year.

Learning Opportunities

Dead people, through their estates, give away more money year after year than all US corporations combined. It’s true. Does your organization have a planned giving program? In our next four-week Basics & More™ class, you’ll learn you’ll learn the myths behind planned giving (bequests don’t come from the wealthy), which donors to target for your program, how to develop a budget, how to make your case, how to predict future revenue, and more. Early Bird pricing ends today. Enroll now.

What are the two things your organization’s major donors need? Plan to join us for our next Motivate Monday for a discussion with Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group and Major Gift Academy. Save your seat here. And join us Monday, May 1 at 1:00 pm EST.


What’s In My Mailbox | A tried and true that needs to make like a dinosaur (hint: donors hate them)!

April 26, 2017

 For this week’s mailbox installment, I’m going *there* once again, venturing off into the land of “how not to.” I’m also going to vent a little bit, but it’ll be short, and it’ll actually be worthwhile for you to hear. I promise. I’m going to start off by pointing out something that’s not only true, but […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Cornell Lab Bird Academy’s ultra creative “early bird” special

April 26, 2017

I’ve never seen anything quite like this email communication, and that’s just one reason why I wanted to share it with you. So for this week’s inbox installment, I’m casting my spotlight on the most recent message from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which contains an early bird offer for enrolling in their self-paced ecourse, Be […]

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Power of Storytelling | What can you do with just 30 seconds of video?

April 17, 2017

  Birmingham-based Neverthirst is a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to providing clean water solutions to the poor, particularly those who live in North Africa and Southern Asia. Below their “Donate Now” button is a caption reading, “Where there is clean and living water, life flows.” It’s not so much a compelling catchphrase as a universal truth. […]

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Do you need a new attitude…or a new job?

April 17, 2017

Do you remember Stay or Leave? Pros and Cons of Changing Jobs? If you’ve been in the sector for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced the following… Locking down the ideal job, and then, as if out of the blue, having a micromanaging boss arrive on the scene. Or coping with a cut in […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 14, 2017

April 14, 2017

Last Saturday’s SNL spoke to the slacktivist in all of us. Thank You, Scott. This week’s Power of Storytelling. We’ve written about thasks, AKA a thank you that contains an ask, a lot. In this week’s What’s In My Inbox, you can see this strategy in action – and see how I felt as a […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Stewarding monthly and sponsorship donors

April 12, 2017

If your organisation has a monthly giving program in place — or a sponsorship program — what steps are you taking in stewarding your donors? I actually get this question a lot. Because while your monthly donors may not fall into the category of “major gift donor” (although one of our SDS members has a monthly donor […]

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What’s In My Inbox | To ask or not to ask…that is the question

April 11, 2017

In this installment of What’s In My Inbox, I’m imparting insight in the form of a lesson on what not to do. You probably already know this, but sometimes, knowing what not to do is just as vital as knowing what to do. Around this time last year, Sandy Hook Promise surveyed me, and I […]

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Power of Storytelling | SNL pays tribute to the armchair activist in us

April 10, 2017

Actor-comedian Louis C.K. hosted Saturday Night Live for the fourth time this past Saturday, and he got the ball rolling with an edgy opening monologue. Shortly after, in probably one of the best sketches of the season, he played the role of “Scott” an unassuming slacktivist and social justice Twitter warrior, who, preoccupied with clickbait, […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 7, 2017

April 7, 2017

This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling sheds light on the reality of homelessness by presenting a cohesive narrative that illuminates not only the problem but the people and their voices. Watch the video. One of our new students in this year’s Power of Thank You asked an interesting question about in-memoriam gift retention rates. And […]

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More than just a one-off: what in memoriam gifts really (can) mean for your donor relationships

April 4, 2017

When a donor makes an “in memoriam” gift, they’re presenting you with more than just a one-time gift. In fact, “in memoriam” donations often provide organizations with an opportunity that they let slip through their fingers. They don’t see it, and they don’t act on it. In memoriams are typically viewed as one-offs when the […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Homelessness is about people: Project Renewal shares Lisa’s transformation

April 3, 2017

For this week’s instalment of The Power of Storytelling, I’m tilting my spotlight toward Project Renewal. This New York City nonprofit organization fulfills a necessary role in the community where they currently reside, and they live out their motto through the life-changing, day-to-day work that they do. Renewing lives. Reclaiming hope. Project Renewal’s mission is […]

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Fundraising Friday | March 31, 2017

March 31, 2017

Yes, I’m a fundraiser (over 16 years in the trenches now). But I’m also a donor. Here are 5 simple things to optimise your online donation process. Millennials Aren’t Worth It. “It’s sexy to discuss strategies, tactics and best practices for grabbing your fair share of millennial donors, but does it really matter?” 10 Ways […]

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Donor Experience 101: 5 simple things to optimize your online donation process

March 29, 2017

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it. -Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird I wear my fundraising hat like a good suit; with great pride. But for awhile now, I’ve occasionally switched it out for my donor […]

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Fundraising Friday | March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017

When Stacey Schewaga shared her win at this week’s Motivate Monday, everyone wanted to see the impact report that raised over $10,000…with no ask. Your wish is my command. This week’s What’s in my Mailbox. How did one arts organisation take on the Trump Administration head-on? This week’s What’s in my Inbox. And, from Mary […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | This Impact Report raised over $10,000 – without an ask!

March 22, 2017

For this week’s instalment of What’s In My Mailbox, I’m shining the spotlight on The College of Dentistry at The University of Saskatchewan — namely, their 2016 impact report, aptly titled “The Joy of Giving Impact Report 2016. My interest, as well as the interest of the attendees during this past Motivate Monday, was piqued […]

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What’s in my Inbox | How one arts organization takes the Trump Administration head-on

March 21, 2017

During these trying times, we really have to look to ourselves when it comes to creating positive change in the world. I’ve heard the words “be the change” so often these days, they’ve practically become a mantra, whether uttered from lips or contained within emails or blog posts or somewhere within the realm of Facebook. […]

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Fundraising Friday | March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017

What’s it like to survive a mass shooting? This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling with a brilliant campaign. Brittany’s Hope is back and they’re showing how to steward those wonderful donors who make a commitment to sponsor a child. This week’s What’s in my Mailbox. IMPORTANT: Our friends over at The Agitator have launched TrueNCOA […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Stewarding your sponsorship donors

March 15, 2017

My fundraising career began in early 2000, and during that time, I became a $35-a-month sponsor via an international children’s organization. Within a week, I received a lovely welcome package featuring my child’s photo and story. I posted the picture of my child on the refrigerator. Every month, my $35 payment was deducted. And then…I’d […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | “I survived a mass shooting. Now, I’m fighting back.”

March 13, 2017

In this instalment of Power of Storytelling, I don’t only want you to notice the story (which in itself you simply can’t not notice), but how Everytown for Gun Safety deftly repurposed it for a second email communication. The story, or should I say, Steve Frappier’s story, aside from being the type of story you […]

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