I recently opened my mailbox to find an envelope from Sierra Club, sent from their Oakland, CA office. It was of standard size but packed thick, and that’s what caught my attention second. What caught my attention first? The envelope itself. Because it’s not every day that I stumble across a bumblebee the size of a baby’s clenched fist. Hovering above the picture of the bee’s unfortunate carcass were the words BUZZ KILL in what I estimate to be 40-point font, all caps. And below that, a tagline in much smaller font: INSIDE: Why America’s honeybees are dying and how you can help!

And that’s just the envelope. You can see why I picked this piece first.

This is an acquisition piece and it basically has everything going on. First off, there’s the letter’s content, which includes some concise storytelling that kicks off on a sci-fi note and seamlessly segues its way into horror. No honey, strawberries, avocados, peaches, pumpkins, and over one hundred other fruits and veggies??? The devastating consequences of neonicotinoids on the honeybee population doesn’t just touch the beekeepers; it touches us all. Therein lies the urgency: save the honeybees today!

Second off, there’s the three-part call-to-action. Plant the seeds sent inside the mailing, help reach out to Congress by signing a petition to Nancy Pelosi, and commence your Club membership through gifting a perfectly reasonable $15 donation.

Then there’s the three-part response device, which is in itself a triple threat. The responder includes a membership card and urges me to join the Club now, a space to make my gift, along with an option of denominations, and lastly, an opportunity to petition Nancy Pelosi to use her power to fast-track the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2015 to prevent further damage to the honeybee population. Whew!

Last thing? Seeds, stickers, and flyers, oh my! One flyer spotlights a chance to choose between two different bags emblazoned with Sierra Club logo upon commencing my membership at introductory level. The other flyer delves into the details of the toxic relationship between neonicotinoids and honey bees in a way that is clear, logical, and accessible, free of scientific jargon. It’s prime time for seed planting, and I want nothing more than to go plant them right now. And the stickers aren’t just beautiful, featuring high-resolution photographs of my honey-making friends and foliage — they’re informative. On the back of the sticker pack are 7 reasons why one should join Sierra Club.

Is it any wonder how Sierra Club has climbed the nonprofit ranks and established itself as a formidable, mission-oriented worldwide environmental brand with mass appeal? Their direct mail communications are epic affairs worthy of far more space than a single blog post allows. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got seeds to plant, a donation to make, and a petition to sign!

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Click to download this pack.


Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Greenpeace, Shell & The Arctic: the people versus corporations battle

July 18, 2016

Greenpeace is an environmentally-focused organization with a strong international presence and reach. Through campaigning, they engage in peaceful protest and creative communication as a means to both expose global environmental issues and promote resolutions to these problems. Who Greenpeace is and what they do — the work to which they’re passionately dedicated, and their mission […]

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Fundraising Friday | July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016

On a Scale of 0 to 10, How Appreciated Do You Feel in Your Job? New from NonprofitPRO. All of a sudden Pokémon GO is everywhere! My friend Allyson Kapin with Pokemon 4 Easy Ways Your Nonprofit Can Use Pokémon GO to Engage People. I was honored to work with the Veritus Group over the […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Reaching Out On a Special Day

July 13, 2016

HOPE (Helping Other People Everyday) Outreach, Inc. is a small-staffed nonprofit dedicated to empowering communities through offering their services to youth, families, and the elderly who need them. HOI’s volunteer force is crucial in carrying out the important work that this organization does, which involves helping people who face a variety of obstacles, including: job […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Everytown for Gun Safety: United in the fight for positive change

July 12, 2016

Post Dallas, Everytown for Gun Safety reached out to me through the words of Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Her perspective shed some fresh light on an all-too-familiar American story that has become our reality. Regardless of where we live, we cannot escape this tragedy, and with collective […]

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Fundraising Friday | July 8, 2016

July 8, 2016

You must read the statement that the Sierra Club just came out with in support of #BlackLivesMatter.  A reminder that we are united in our work to create a brighter world. It is everyone’s responsibility to speak out against injustice. Appleseed Ministries’ nonprofit email newsletter leads with gratitude and keeps it simple. This week’s What’s […]

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Fundraising Lessons from Trader Joe’s for the Small Nonprofit

July 7, 2016

If today, in the year 2016, your job title falls under the category of “one-person development department,” it’s very likely that sometimes, you feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off. I mean, think about it. The mere prospect of a OPDD is enough to trigger even the most seasoned CFRE to […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Grace Cafe packs an emotional punch

July 6, 2016

A crowdfunding appeal for homelessness, hunger, and dignity: Grace Cafe, brought to you by Rachel Ramjattan My friend and fellow fundraiser, Rachel Ramjattan, CFRE, recently passed this absolute gem of an appeal letter on to me. It comes from a nonprofit called Grace Cafe, located in Danville, Kentucky. Rachel prefaced the appeal by explaining that […]

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What’s in my Inbox | A nonprofit email newsletter that keeps it simple

July 5, 2016

Appleseed Ministry Group, a member of our Simple Development Systems pilot program, is a nonprofit organization that aims to expand their dedicated group that trains leaders across Africa and Asia in multiplying churches in these underdeveloped countries, while also empowering the poor who reside within these locations through vocational training and education. Their mission is […]

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Fundraising Friday | July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

In this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling, we’re featuring “Golden,” a video that blossomed when art and storytelling collided. The fundraising I that I’ve witnessed from so many colleges and universities makes me want to cry. Why would you treat your loyal alumni like this? This week’s What’s in my Inbox. Why Do Your Donors […]

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What’s in my Inbox | And THIS is what I get from my alma mater?

June 28, 2016

A friend of mine, who  is whip-smart when it comes to nonprofit donor communications (she owns a communications firm), sent over today’s WIMI. She’s got a keen eye for uncovering the good, the bad, and the ugly on the donor communications front. Plus, she herself is a donor, and she recently forwarded me an email […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Stellar storytelling through video: “Golden” is a work of art

June 27, 2016

“Golden,” a short film by German filmmaker Kai Stänicke, presents itself as a condensed biography of a boy’s life. Spanning from birth to late adolescence, the clip is focused on a protagonist who is navigating the world in which he lives, all while being “different.” This difference is marked and inescapable, whether he’s in solitude […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 24, 2016

June 24, 2016

Nonprofit Storytelling alum, Rouge Valley Health System, highlights one family at a time in their My Rouge Valley Baby video stories. Great stuff in this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. My good friend, Sandy Rees, came through for this week’s What’s in my Inbox. The Human Society of Dayton’s email is clean, simple and elegant. […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | What does it mean to be donor-centered?

June 22, 2016

I recently opened a newsletter packet sent from Mercy Corps, a Portland-based organization I’ve spotlighted a handful of times in the past. Mercy Corps is renowned, established, and they’ve got a global reach. Their mission involves the fight against poverty, and through their work, they’re bridging economic gaps around the world by investing in and […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Animals in danger: The Humane Society Dayton needs YOU

June 21, 2016

My friend Sandy Rees recently forwarded this e-appeal from one of her favorite clients, The Humane Society of Dayton, my way, and it’s not very hard to see why. In fact, for me, the ‘why’ can be broken up into three parts: Short and sweet. One component of communicating frequently and communicating well is simplicity. […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Basics & More alum saves lives, one baby at a time

June 20, 2016

Rouge Valley Health System is a university-affiliated, community-based hospital that specializes in a number of different programs, including maternal and neonatal care in a state-of-the art birthing center and extensive pediatric services. An alum of my Nonprofit Storytelling Basics & More ecourse, RV is keenly aware of how to utilize the medium of video as […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 17, 2016

June 17, 2016

In this week’s Power of Storytelling, you’ll learn how one organization raised over $6k … for bed sheets – with a homemade video shot on an iphone. Tragedy as a reminder of our humanity: NCLR’s latest email in this week’s What’s in my Inbox. NonprofitPRO with 16 Ways to Lead Your Organization’s Culture Shift. Start […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Tragedy as a reminder of our humanity: NCLR’s latest email

June 14, 2016

The tragedy in Orlando has resounded around the world. I’m still in a state of shock and grieving, wondering how such evil and hatred still exist in our world today. I am worried for our future, and I know I am not alone. I know I am united with others in my despair. This email […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Over $6k raised through IndieGoGo for bed sheets? You better believe it!

June 13, 2016

At first glance, crowdfunding looks like some tricky territory, not to mention intimidating. Because in a space so heavily saturated with organizations promoting their own goals, the issue of being noticed is front and center. How can your organization navigate the waters of an IndieGoGo sea that already has too many fish swimming in it? […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 10, 2016

June 10, 2016

Having one of ‘those’ days? There’s help for that! Don’t miss this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling, where we share the story of Chris, a formerly incarcerated inmate who is still in the process of rebuilding his life. And, if you’d like to save $20 on our four-week storytelling extravaganza, register now. Today’s the last […]

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