whatsinmyinbox


Take a second and put yourself in your donors’ shoes. Your donors want to feel inspired. They want to feel that they’re making a genuine difference through their gift.

So imagine how I felt when I opened this email today…

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This is from an organization to whom I used to make monthly gifts awhile ago. But I quit shortly after never receiving a single thank you after nearly a year of donations. This is one of the most tired, most lackluster, most organization-centered e-appeals I’ve ever received. It’s all about them because they’ve made it so. It comes off as just another item on the task list without any genuine thought put into it. ‘Help us meet our target.’ Is there supposed to be some urgency here, ’cause if so, it has eluded me. I certainly don’t care about your vague “Spring Fundraiser,” or your target!

And yet I know that the work that they do is critical to a thriving democracy, because that’s what drew me to them in the first place. But there’s not a single hint of inspiration or anything else that truly compels me. If anything, this email reinforced my initial sentiment that severing my monthly gift cord was a bright idea.

I think I’ve offered you enough insight into how this email made me feel. How do you feel when you read it?

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Never underestimate the power of a schoolteacher!

May 2, 2016

One aspect of my job that I absolutely love is the opportunity to speak with a variety of nonprofits on a regular basis. Located all across the country (and beyond), these organizations are dedicated to doing great work and creating the kind of change that matters. They do different things and have their own unique […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

In this week’s Power of Storytelling, we see the story of Lucas Bennett Ruddy, a child who was diagnosed with a rare and painful illness called Wiscott-Aldrich Syndrome as an infant, and his journey toward a healthy life. Every day’s a holiday. How are you celebrating? Never miss an opportunity to connect with your wonderful […]

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Where are you going, where have you been: advice to my younger self

April 28, 2016

If you’re like me, you didn’t start out intending to be a fundraiser. Some people start out in the Peace Corps. Some were sentenced to community service. Some began in volunteering. I think it’s fair to say that most of us fell into fundraising by chance. I did. These days, I  think of my “falling […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | How to Take Your Donors’ Breath Away

April 27, 2016

Guest post by Simple Development Systems’ member, Rachel Ramjattan, CFRE Have you ever had one of those moments when someone special is hurting and you’re too far away for a hug? A few weeks ago my friend and colleague, Sandy Rees, lost her beloved horse, Harley. I felt her heart shatter so I did the […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Every day’s a holiday…

April 26, 2016

Every day’s a holiday… And in keeping with that idea, when it comes to your donor communications, there’s always something to celebrate. Don’t believe me? Check out the General Philanthropy calendar that you can download and pin to your bulletin board. Each month is chock-full of golden opportunities for you to carpe diem and let […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Building connections through storytelling: video and crowdfunding

April 25, 2016

A special shout out to Lesley Pinder for finding this touching video that I never would have come across on my own. Thank you, Lesley! When it comes to storytelling, we already know how videos can do great things when done right. But what about using a video as a tool to create a connection? […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 21, 2016

April 22, 2016

Global Autism Project with a a month of powerful stories in this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. Do charitable campaigns on social media platforms actually “click” with the public? A new study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University suggests that such campaigns can draw the attention of users, but not always their commitment to donate […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | The Global Autism Project: Melissa’s story matters, and so does yours!

April 18, 2016

The Global Autism Project, a Basics & More alum, has been in the habit of collecting stories from their clients for over 13 years. April is Autism Awareness Month, and GAP is embracing this as the invaluable opportunity that it is. They’ve formed a relationship between their email and their call to action, which is […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 15, 2016

April 15, 2016

When you hear the word “childhood”, what comes to mind? If you were to ask children this same question, what do you think they’d say? What about a child born to parents in the military? You may already know this, but these children don’t always have it easy when it comes to their formative years. […]

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Eyes Wide Shut: Is Fundraising Nirvana Even Possible?

April 14, 2016

It happened in an instant, in the middle of a lackluster workshop that I’ve long forgotten. The truth is, I can’t recall a single take away from the day’s training, but something was still illuminated for me. About three-quarters of the way into the day, we gathered in groups to share our challenges. That’s when […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Don’t you forget about me: the thank you email

April 12, 2016

“While you see a chance, take it.” -Steve Winwood Your organization’s thank you email immediately following an online gift provides a wonderful opportunity. The opportunity to show that you view your donor as more than an ATM machine. The opportunity to let your donor know that their gift hasn’t fallen into an internet black hole. […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Military Child of the Month: Aubri’s Story

April 11, 2016

When you hear the word “childhood”, what comes to mind? If you were to ask children this same question, what do you think they’d say? What about a child born to parents in the military? You may already know this, but these children don’t always have it easy when it comes to their formative years. […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 8, 2016

April 8, 2016

When it comes to raising major gifts, are you talking to the wrong donors? How to Qualify Donors: An Introduction (read the series). New from The Veritus Group. This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling features a video from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Dare you not to cry. What’s uppermost in YOUR donors’ minds? This week’s […]

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What’s in my Mailbox | Are you following your online gifts with a snail mail thank you?

April 6, 2016

Ah, the lowly thank you letter. It’s often an afterthought or never even sent out at all, especially following a smaller and/or online donation. Or it reads as a perfunctory obligation, bereft of any emotion or authenticity. The recipient knows it’s not genuine. Quite frankly, whenever I encounter these, I usually think I’d have preferred […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Donor Surveying

April 5, 2016

I was the first to write about surveying on a regular basis, and for good reason. Or reasons. As in many. How do I love surveying? Let me count the ways… This tactic is a truly useful platform that provides a channel of communication between you and your supporters. By encouraging feedback, surveying allows you […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Storytelling for a brighter tomorrow

April 4, 2016

Whenever it comes to an ailment like cancer or even genetic disorders, no matter how rare, the disease usually reaches beyond the afflicted person and extends out to those who love them, inevitably affecting a circle of people. Due to our relationships and our condition of being human, this is practically a given. I’ve heard […]

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Fundraising Friday | April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

How are you incorporating your planned giving stories into your marketing mix? I liked this recent example from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. How do you make your donors feel like heroes? A masterful example from HRC in this week’s What’ in my Inbox. 8 Storytelling Tips For Your Nonprofit. New from NonprofitPRO. Looking for […]

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What’s in my Inbox | Touching your donors, one victory at a time

March 29, 2016

Ever since I became a supporter, Human Rights Watch has made an effort to maintain constant contact with me through their email communications. Despite the frequency, there’s never been any shortage of great content, and their messages consistently leave me happy, inspired, and wanting to give again. Their communications speak directly to me and their […]

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Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Incorporating planned giving stories into your nonprofit marketing mix

March 28, 2016

In the past, we’ve discussed why your organization should be sharing your donor stories in your communications pieces, and one of my favorite ways of collecting stories, Share-Your-Story-Pages. I’ve been a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on and off for years. When I was a new mother, living in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section, I […]

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