Confession: this week’s Power of Storytelling has nothing to do with nonprofit fundraising. The story of the frozen kitten named Bagel was simply too good not to share. Have a smile – you need it this week.

When it comes to your organization’s stories, do you think you have to be always reinventing the wheel? This week’s What’s in my Inbox is all about the power of repurposing. Check it out.

How often should you change your thank you letter? This week’s What’s in my Mailbox features another entry from the wonderful Julie Edwards of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia with an answer to that question.

How Much Should You Request in Your Grant Proposal? Are you asking for too much…or too little? Smart ways to gauge your next ask.

And, if you missed Motivate Monday this week, you’ll want to catch the recording here. Julie Edwards gave a tutorial on loving your donors via Facebook Live. I really loved Julie’s focus on how she makes her donors feel like organization “insiders.”

More on Giving USA from the brilliant Helen Brown. Forest for the trees.

Should millennials be the focus of your marketing strategy? Not so much.

What are some ways that you can provide outrageous service to your donors? Jeff Schreifels has ideas.

What everyone is missing about the 2018 $410 billion giving figure from Giving USA. As usual, Greg Warner cuts to the chase.


In Ushering in the Age of Donor Realism: Six Ways My Donor-Centric Copy Is Shifting, Lisa Sargent drives home the importance of treating your donors like the *insiders* and partners they are.

Learning Opportunities

Emotionally compelling storytelling is key to all successful fundraising. Enroll now in the most comprehensive nonprofit storytelling class available online. Click here to learn more.

Though $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs every year, only about 1 in 10 eligible donors match their donations. Every year, about $6 to $10 billion of matched donations is left unclaimed. Join us next Monday when Hannah Silvers of Double Your Donation joins us to share how you can raise more through matching gifts.1:00 pm EST. Save your seat here for our next Motivate Monday session.


How Much Should You Request in Your Grant Proposal? How Much Do You Need?!

June 21, 2018

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How do you know how much to request when drafting a foundation grant proposal?” Well, how much do you need? Folks, this isn’t rocket science and I refer, once again, to my constant mantra of “systems, systems, and systems.” Have you been researching foundation funders on […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Smart fundraisers know…you can never say thank you too often!

June 20, 2018

Julie Edwards is Executive Director of The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. I’ve mentioned her before because she’s a dynamic personality who continually does cool stuff. She works Facebook Live like a pro, creating a wonderful example for nonprofits everywhere. She writes awesomely creative thank you letters. Day after day, through her work at HSNEGA, […]

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What you need to know about the latest Giving USA Report

June 20, 2018

Giving USA 2018, The Annual Report on Philanthropy that shows us, year after year, where the money in nonprofit fundraising really is, has just been released. The good news: Total estimated US charitable giving increased by 5.2% – to $410.02 billion! Individual giving increased by 5.2% Giving by foundations increased by 6% Giving by bequest […]

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What’s In My Inbox | An alpaca named Pamela?! Heifer is at it again!

June 19, 2018

Have your donor communications got you in a rut? Do you feel stuck? Uninspired? Listen, regardless of how passionate you are about your organization and mission, you’ve probably experienced writer’s block. And that’s okay. Writer’s block can affect us all. Heck, it’s even hit me on a day when all of the other stars felt […]

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Power of Storytelling | The adventures and misadventures of Bagel, the frozen kitten

June 18, 2018

Earlier this year, Nikki Martinez, a cat foster mom, put on her Superwoman cape and, along with her husband, rescued a small litter of frozen kittens. While walking her dog, a woman stumbled upon the trio of one-day-olds behind some shrubs, and she immediately called Nikki for help. Sitting in an AM/PM parking lot, Nikki […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

You’ve heard the rumors, but are they true? Are fewer Americans giving to charity? Where Are My Donors?, a new Chronicle of Philanthropy article, sheds some light on how rates have dropped. Back to Basics: How Nonprofits Can Combat Donor Decline in 2018 (and Forever) How did one man grow his email list from 38 […]

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What’s the One Secret to Winning Foundation Grants?

June 14, 2018

It does not happen all at once. There is no instant pudding.” W. Edwards Deming When a colleague sent me a link to a web page with the following claims and asked me if it was legitimate, I had to smile. Hundreds of Billions Up For Grabs — Every Year! … there are the more […]

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Lessons From Motivate Monday | Nonprofits on the web *must* be GDRP compliant…here’s how!

June 13, 2018

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new and complicated development. It’s a European Union regulation, and yet it affects American businesses. I touched on it a few weeks ago in an Inbox installment  and was grateful to Global Giving, an interwebs-based nonprofit donation platform, for improving my understanding of it. But I’ve heard from […]

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What’s In My Inbox | How are you making your donors feel…and how often?

June 12, 2018

Mike Dooley is a force to be reckoned with. He wears many hats, including those of New York Times Bestselling author, speaker, teacher, and entrepreneur. His teachings revolve around the core idea that “thoughts become things.”  In 1989, he founded his company, TUT (The Universe Talks), with his brother, Andy, and their mother, Sheelagh. Through […]

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Back to Basics: How Nonprofits Can Combat Donor Decline in 2018 (and Forever)

June 11, 2018

You’ve heard the rumors, but are they true? Are fewer Americans giving to charity?  Where Are My Donors?, a new Chronicle of Philanthropy article sheds some light on how rates have dropped. Author and Chronicle Senior Editor Nicole Wallace explains: Even as “Giving USA” has reported record charitable fundraising three years in a row, the share of Americans who […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 8, 2018

June 8, 2018

In Where Are My Donors?, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the “Share of Americans who donate to charity is falling.” And sure, while you can often make statistics say exactly what you want them to say, the latest numbers are showing giving declining amongst every age group, every income level, and every education level. What if, the instant […]

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Four Simple Tips to Build Relationships with Grant Funders

June 7, 2018

It came!  That grant proposal that you slaved over for three weeks has resulted in a check for $25,000! You’re particularly psyched because this was your third proposal to the XYZ Foundation (the first two were declined) and it feels like this grant has been years in the making.  Your hard work has paid off at […]

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Everything You Need to Know to Raise Thousands of Dollars With a Facebook Fundraiser

June 6, 2018

Has a board member ever started a fundraiser on Facebook and you didn’t know how to manage it? How exactly do you run (and maximize!) a Facebook fundraiser? Just last month, Sean Kosofsky responded to my reach out and graced us with his presence over one Motivate Monday power half hour, where we were treated […]

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Are you making the mistake of thanking your donors (only) by channel?

June 6, 2018

It’s easy to think your automated thank you email will suffice when a donor makes an online gift. It’s easy to be a lazy fundraiser and think “I’d rather they saved the postage and paper than send me a thank you letter!” But you are not your donor.   Donor retention rates are in the […]

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Power of Storytelling | You let donors know they’re more than just numbers…don’t you?

June 4, 2018

PNC Bank released an ad a couple of years back, and it caught my attention just last week. It’s in video form and one second shy of half a minute long. It probably seems odd that I’m mentioning it. For one thing, this blog mainly speaks to nonprofits and those who work in them. PNC, […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018

Looking for inspiration for your organization’s storytelling? Check out this great resource I just discovered in this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. So how can you ensure that your next fundraising appeal letter gets results? Download Your Foolproof Fundraising Appeal Letter Template in this week’s What’s in my Mailbox. And, to ramp up results with your next campaign, […]

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Why Video Is Such A Powerful Non-Profit Tool

May 31, 2018

For nonprofits, video is becoming one of the most powerful ways to empower people to take action. So much so, that 57 percent of people who watch a video go on to make a donation, according to Google. As the leading content format on social media for spurring engagement, video is an accessible and mobile-friendly […]

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Three Simple Ways to Improve Your Foundation Grant Proposal

May 31, 2018

Stop! Before you click “submit” or mail that grant proposal out the door, is there any way you can improve your chances of getting funded?   Yes. If you follow these three tips, you’ll improve your proposal exponentially: 1. Eliminate jargon. I worked with a foundation vice president who quite literally took a red pen […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Your Foolproof Fundraising Appeal Letter Template

May 30, 2018

“My board is thinking of going all digital to save money…” Sigh. I hear it every day from fundraisers who should know better. They seem to forget that not only is direct mail fundraising still one of the best ways to raise money — and acquire new donors — it’s also your best resource for […]

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