Blog Roll

I love the idea of incorporating our donors’ stories into our website. And many organizations are doing it well, particularly with examples from planned giving donors. But what about exploring this idea even further? This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling.

Heifer International produces exceptional fundraising copy, and we’ve featured their digital fundraising examples many times (see here and here). This week’s What’s in my Inbox.

Are grandmas really angels in training? In this week’s What’s in my Mailbox, you’ll see a quick *before* and *after* fundraising appeal letter from yours truly.

Have you ever imagined what you’d do with The Powerball millions? First on MY list would be to start a family foundation — and that’s exactly what Carmen and Alcario Castellano did. What they learned about diversity and inclusion in the nonprofit world might surprise you. Or not.

22-Year-Old Rapper Meets 81-Year-Old Words With Friends Opponent and your heart will melt.

Do those old fashion fundraising thermometers really work? Turns out the research says *yes!* Getting to Your Year-end Gooooooooaaaaaaaal! New from The Agitator.

From the Archives

Do you have a schoolteacher like this lurking in your donor database? Might behoove you to give ’em some love now…

Learning Opportunities

Ask for money and get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice. Who ever thought they’d be getting fundraising advice from…Pitbull? But smart fundraisers know: when you get to your donors’ “why,” you raise more money, and with less effort. Donor surveying will help you uncover your best planned, major, and even monthly giving prospects. And if you’re planning a capital campaign any time soon, you should start with a survey.

How are you regularly surveying your donors? Join us for the newest course on our roster, Raise More Money With Donor Surveys | Basics & More™. You’ll discover how to raise more money by actively listening to your donors. Registration ends TONIGHTClick here to learn more.

Motivate Monday is on hiatus! We’ll be back on Monday, December 18. In the meantime, check the Archives for what you missed.

We’re adding classes to Basics & More U, including Nonprofit Storytelling. Have you checked it out?


What’s In My Mailbox | Are grandmas really angels in training? A before and after year-end appeal!

December 6, 2017

In November, an emergency appeal letter came in from Diana Russell, Director of Fund Development at Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, a “place of peace, prayer, and hospitality,” based in Ohio. I’ve worked with them before, and they are a Basics & More Alum. Diana asked if I could liven up their appeal, […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Heifer harnesses cuteness in the name of gifting hope

December 5, 2017

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. People aren’t exactly sure about the original source of this quote. Scholars have debated its origins for decades, if not centuries. Nevertheless, its truth and impact has endured throughout time. And […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | What do your donors’ stories look like?

December 4, 2017

I travel from Philadelphia to Connecticut an average of once or twice a month via Amtrak. And when I do, I always take the opportunity to read The National, Amtrak’s bi-monthly magazine. It features some of the best writers around, great regional restaurant coverage, and more. Case in point: I loved the “Getting to know your fellow […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Doctors Without Borders hits all the right buttons

November 28, 2017

The quest to optimize the online giving experience for donors is a never ending one. This isn’t a question of “set it and forget it.” The savvy fundraiser is always paying attention to how individuals interact on their website. And because I am always learning and trying to make things better (and I’ll bet you are, […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | “That’s why your donation is so important.”

November 22, 2017

Development Director Cindy Timmerman of  Community Link has hit a home run with her first-ever fundraising appeal letter. Cindy, who participated in our Best Year-End Fundraising EVER: The System webinar series, made it a point to attend nearly every session live. She notes: “Community Link hasn’t sent anything like this in the past. I’m working with […]

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What’s In My Inbox | A Basics & More alum invites their donors into their mission

November 21, 2017

The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection is a Tucson-based nonprofit, and they’ve got their online donation systems on lock down. In fact, during my unofficial “Two Gifts a Week” giving study a few years back, crowning them a standout couldn’t have been easier. Their online giving process for making a gift was super streamlined, accessible, and […]

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Power of Storytelling | A Basics & More alum employs storytelling to showcase changed lives

November 20, 2017

Erie Homes for Children, a Nonprofit Storytelling | Basics & More alum, has used storytelling as a tool to illuminate their mission and the wonderful work that donors empower them to do. EHC provides personalized services to people with multiple disabilities and medical needs. EHC’s relationships with those in their care aim to achieve both physical healthfulness and […]

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Fundraising Friday | November 17, 2017

November 17, 2017

How will you be retaining your digital donors? It’s true: donor retention for new online donors is in the toilet. Learn how to keep more of your first time online donors by catching Steven Shattuck’s Motivate Monday session from this week. Featuring one attendee’s thank you email redo. Are you still working on your year-end appeal? A great example from […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Basics & More Alum has learned the lessons of #donorlove

November 15, 2017

I’m proud to say that Intervale Center is a Basics & More alum who has mastered the lessons behind #donorlove. #donorlove, hashtagged or not, is never a buzzword. #donorlove is the framework that provides the tools for nonprofits to empower their donors and create lasting relationships. #donorlove is dynamic and always in flux, because as fundraisers, […]

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What’s In My Inbox | How will you be retaining your digital donors?

November 14, 2017

Steven Shattuck’s Motivate Monday visit was worth the wait. Due to some technical difficulties, we rescheduled his original session for this past Monday.  Over the course of a half hour, Steven shared his useful tips for how to retain digital donors. The question of how to turn those first dates into committed donor relationships comes up […]

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Fundraising Friday | November 10, 2017

November 9, 2017

Selecting a donor database is one of the most critical decisions your nonprofit will face. Does it make sense to entrust it to a group of largely uninformed opinions in a Facebook group? I spent close to a year deliberating my own CRM selection. Do your organization a favor and read Andrea John-Smith’s guest post, […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Are you forgetting that important last step?

November 8, 2017

  We agonize over our fundraising appeal letter, we gather our board members together to write sticky notes and hand-address envelopes, and we segment our mailings with the greatest care. But are we forgetting the last step? In our October 30 Motivate Monday session, the Direct Mail Man himself, Blase Ciabaton, joined us to answer your […]

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What’s In My Inbox | NARAL offers a space for donors to share their stories

November 7, 2017

When I was 22 years old, I was introduced to my lifelong love, running. The woman who introduced me to running was a coworker and friend by the name of Tomi (short for Thomasina). When we met, she was a 40-something single mom of four fabulous grown kids. One night, after one of our runs, Tomi […]

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The Pitfalls of Choosing Your Organization’s CRM

November 6, 2017

If there’s one question that comes up repeatedly in various nonprofit Facebook groups and listservs, it’s the database question. Selecting your organization’s CRM is one of the most important decisions your organization will make. Yet far too many nonprofits give more thought to the color of their gala invitation than they do selecting the system […]

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Fundraising Friday | November 3, 2017

November 3, 2017

Blog Roll What happened when one Basics & More member revived print after her organization had gone all digital? Find out in this week’s What’s in my Mailbox. Is there an app to help with your storytelling? You better believe it. This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. US philanthropy is in trouble. Big trouble. You’ve simply GOT to get cracking and […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | “My board wants to cut print and go digital.”

November 1, 2017

I feel lucky to get a lot of emails that inspire me. Often times, the ones that do are usually notes from Grow Report subscribers, Basics & More students, members, and alumni, and Simple Development Systems members. And then there are times when an email makes my week. I’ll start off by introducing Laura Block, […]

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The Power of Storytelling | Let Grammarly gently guide your nonprofit storytelling

October 30, 2017

I was recently lost within the depths of the Internet. If you’re online often, going down virtual rabbit holes is probably nothing new for you. I don’t remember what I was watching, but I remember the commercials interspersed between the clip. Funny, huh? There’s reasons why the commercials were memorable, though. First off, both were […]

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Fundraising Friday | October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017

If you’ve ever been hired to grow individual giving — and yet been admonished repeatedly by leadership to “weed out the database” to maintain it’s *free* status of less than 500 records (I know. CRAZY, right?), you know that getting everyone on board is not easy. Does your fundraising culture SUCK? Help is on the […]

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Donors for Life: A practitioner’s guide to relationship fundraising

October 26, 2017

A conversation heard ‘round the fundraising world happened within the last few months. A fundraising leader ignited the talk by publishing an article on his blog. His post focused on the idea that donor-centricity is problematic, and that fundraisers ought to instead look toward community-based fundraising solutions. Almost immediately, I noticed a huge problem: the […]

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