What can Elvis Presley teach us about nonprofit fundraising? You might be surprised. This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling.

When it comes to things like anniversaries and award announcements, how do you make it all about the donor? You’re sure to find lessons in this week’s What’s in my Inbox.

Struggling to include your donor in your year-end appeal? Download my free Donor Love Cheat Sheet in this week’s What’s in my Mailbox and find out why Nicky said, “You shared that cheat sheet with me 8 days ago and I’ve referenced it 4 times since!”

Here’s a grantmaker that wants to pay your indirect costs. Really. New from The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The brilliant Joan Garry has a brilliant board assessment tool.

Irritation is a privilege. Words of wisdom from Seth Godin.

Do you know your donor retention rate? You must. Your organization’s future depends on it. The Curse of Fundraising Innumeracy from The Agitator.

The Fail Safe Plan to Nonprofit Major Gift Success. This work is not rocket science. It’s not even any great mystery. But you must learn to prioritize, be cognizant of your time, and steer clear of the low ROI activities that make up many development offices.

Tired of politics? Me too. Relax. It will be over soon. In the meantime, take a look at the funniest ad of the season, starring the candidate’s wife.


The Fail-Safe Path to Nonprofit Major Gift Fundraising Success

October 27, 2016

A subscriber recently sent in his draft for a year-end fundraising appeal letter, asking for my feedback. Of course, my first question was, “Who is your audience? Who will be receiving this letter?” The gentleman, the founder of a newer nonprofit located in the Philadelphia region, sent back a list of names of some of […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | For a heaping dose of donor love, download your free cheat sheet!

October 26, 2016

When it comes to your donor communications, are you making it all about you? About your amazing work, and the clients you serve, and the needs you meet? Yes, the work that you do is wonderful, and so are you. But “donor-centric communications” isn’t some jargon-loaded buzz phrase — it’s the real deal. And it’s […]

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What’s in my Inbox | The ballad of Mr. Holland’s Opus and donor-focused communications done right

October 25, 2016

In this installment of What’s In My Inbox, I’m shining my spotlight on the incomparable Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping music alive in schools by providing the tools to make it happen. Thanks to their efforts, schools across the nation are now stocked with high-quality instruments. Music teachers and their students […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | What can the King of Rock and Roll teach us about fundraising?

October 24, 2016

Up until a couple of months ago, I’d never been a huge Elvis fan. In fact, I never could wrap my head around the hype that surrounded the “King of Rock & Roll.” It’s not that I had any sort of negative feelings toward Elvis or ever questioned his iconic status…it was that I was […]

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Fundraising Friday | October 21, 2016

October 21, 2016

This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling highlights the most important quality of a fundraiser: listening. Have your tissues handy! What’s in my Inbox? This week it’s one of my pet peeves: begging. Thanks to the wonderful Agents of Good for sharing yet another spectacular donor love direct mail packet. I loved Bee the Change. You […]

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Nonprofits: The Video Equipment you Need to Get Started (on a Budget)

October 20, 2016

“Get started today, with the equipment you have. Capture footage with a smartphone and cut it together on your computer’s free editing software. Use what you do have and don’t let the lack of other resources be an excuse for not making something.” Bill Griepenstroh Video Producer at Lincoln Berean Church — Lincoln, Nebraska We […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | How to be the change: Ontario Nature gets it right, empowers donors to fight the good fight

October 19, 2016

In this installment of What’s In My Mailbox, we’re spotlighting not only Ontario Nature, a conservation group dedicated to protecting Ontario’s wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife, but the outstanding work of Agents of Good, a donor-focused direct response firm. What has this communication packet got going on? A lot. Below, I’ve picked what I think are […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Don’t beg please. It’s not pretty.

October 18, 2016

It will never be pretty. In the process of reaching out, the urge to beg undoubtedly crosses, or has crossed, your mind. Maybe it’s because you’re a fundraiser, and sometimes, you’re swimming against the tide, aching to be heard. But if you’ve got the idea that begging amplifies the sound of your voice and propels […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Thank you for being a friend: life-changing relationships that open doors

October 17, 2016

Petula Dvorak, a D.C.-based reporter for The Washington Post, knows how to tell a story with a headline. Buzzfeed and its counterparts do, too, but Dvorak’s realization of a narrative-focused headline comes across as far less click-baity. The janitor felt invisible to Georgetown students – until one changed his life. I am always in search […]

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What’s in my Inbox | When disaster strikes: A beautifully integrated campaign

October 11, 2016

In this installment of What’s In My Inbox, I’m again casting my spotlight on Mercy Corps, because they’ve reached out with yet another stellar communication, through both an email message and its accompanying video, which is chock full of gratitude. So what’s right about this, and what makes it work as an integrated, powerful campaign? […]

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Fundraising Friday | October 7, 2016

October 7, 2016

Are you keeping a clean email list? Miriam’s Kitchen is back with a terrific reactivation email. This week’s What’s in my Inbox. No one does #donorlove quite like the brilliant Agents of Good. We’re thrilled to present you with a special year-end fundraising appeal from the Agents in this week’s What’s in my Mailbox. You’ll […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Inspire and Delight with Your Year-End Appeal!

October 5, 2016

Last week, the brilliant Jen Love, part of the team at Agents of Good, a Canadian direct response firm, presented Creating a Truly Donor-Centered Appeal Letter That Touches Hearts and Inspires Gifts, to the amazing participants of our Your Best Ever Year-End Campaign. Jen shared seven lessons that you can steal. And, in today’s What’s […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Push it, push it real good: Miriam’s Kitchen does reactivation right

October 4, 2016

Miriam’s Kitchen is a D.C.-based nonprofit with what, at first glance, appears to be a lofty goal at the core of its mission. Through performing their life-changing work, Miriam’s hopes to bring an end to chronic homelessness, and they’ve been at it since their 1983 inception. Their aspirations sound more promising when you see that […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Through the eyes of a donor: Carol, Mercy Corps ambassador, shares her story

September 27, 2016

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve taken the opportunity to spotlight a Mercy Corps communication piece, but that doesn’t stop me from putting this nonprofit front and center yet again. If you’ve kept track of my past installments of Power of Storytelling, What’s In My Inbox, and What’s In My Mailbox, you […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Because Britain’s children depend on it: Barnardo’s chooses inspiration over shock value

September 26, 2016

I believe the children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside -Linda Creed, The Greatest Love of All Barnardo’s, a U.K.-based charity dedicated to caring for young, vulnerable people, has a history of releasing confrontational content through their ad campaigns, consistently generating […]

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Six Ways to Start Gearing Up for Year-End Fundraising

September 23, 2016

Do you have a plan in place to meet your year-end fundraising goals? Just imagine: the average non-profit raises over 40% of its annual revenue during the last quarter of the calendar year. And a full third (33%) of the donations made in December occur on the 31st of the month! Start getting ready for […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Now THIS is stewardship!

September 21, 2016

SeniorsFirst, a Power of Thank You alum, is engaged in keeping senior citizens empowered, healthy, and independent. Through supportive services including meal programs, personal care assistance, companionship, and more, SeniorsFirst positively impacts a human experience that so often leaves people feeling lonely and vulnerable: getting old. Power of Thank You, my often-imitated, never-duplicated first-of-its-kind online […]

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Dianne’s Day: Make the “Overhead” Real

September 20, 2016

Last Friday I went to the Vancouver Fringe Festival – a large festival where hundreds of plays are put on at every imaginable venue in town over a few short weeks. As I waited in the lobby I noticed poster’s everywhere announcing that it was “Dianne’s Day”. “Dianne’s Day! Diane would like to thank the […]

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How can you be there for a friend who has just received devastating news?

September 19, 2016

As a friend, as a loved one, how can you be there for someone when they are suffering real emotional distress? What can you say or do to help? I turned to Missy Longman for answers recently and she didn’t disappoint. Missy has graciously agreed to allow me to share her words of wisdom. What […]

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