Donor-centricity. Are you faking it?

December 26, 2017

How are you bringing your donors into your mission? This, I believe, is at the heart of the future of fundraising. This is what will take our organizations far beyond fundraising and into the joyful creation of the brighter world we are all working towards. It goes beyond your donor communications, although we’ve touched on […]

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Monthly Giving For the Small Shop | Interview With Harvey McKinnon

December 25, 2017

What’s the best thing your nonprofit isn’t doing that it should be doing to slow donor attrition and build sustainable funding? If you said growing your Facebook likes, or redesigning your website you’d be wrong.  One of the surefire ways to build lifetime donors – and build legacy funding –  is with the creation of […]

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Fundraising Friday | December 22, 2017

December 22, 2017

  Batten Down the Hatches! Year-End Fundraising is Upon Us…has a couple of last minute tips you might be able to still use, including a killer free downloadable template (the very one I use in my work) to rock your email ask series. Could the risk of controversy be worth it? If you’re soft-pedaling your donor […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Marjorie returns in Part Two of an integrated campaign!

December 20, 2017

If you haven’t checked out the Inbox installment featuring Part One of Seniors First integrated campaign, do that first. As promised, here’s Part Two, featuring their year-end appeal letter. They’ve shined the spotlight on Marjorie once again, seamlessly connecting email to direct mail. Great storytelling is at the core of this package’s success. It gives a […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Part One of a nicely integrated campaign, starring Marjorie!

December 19, 2017

I receive a ton of mail, both email and snail mail, from charities large and small. And that’s because I’ve opened myself (and my mailbox and inbox) to it. I’m not just on the constant lookout for examples to point to and showcase here, I’m also doing my best to learn more about what makes great […]

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Power of Storytelling | When is the risk of controversy worth it? Hint: think of the “e-word.”

December 18, 2017

The Bhopal disaster, also known as The Bhopal gas leak, is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster of all time. On December 2nd, 1984, 27 tons of a deadly gas leaked from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. A crippling devastation still haunts the city today. Not only did 25,000 people lose their lives […]

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Batten Down the Hatches! Year-End Fundraising is Upon Us…

December 15, 2017

Can you believe that 2018 is almost here? With only 18 days to go until the end of December, nonprofits are scrambling in a pursuit to maximize their year-end fundraising results. I’ve dropped the surprising year-end stats before… Some organizations manage to raise nearly 70% of their donations during those critical last six weeks of […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Premiums in online fundraising? St. Jude’s makes it work!

December 12, 2017

THIS SHIRT SAVES LIVES. SO CAN YOU. It’s a bold opener for an online fundraising campaign. This one from, from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, specifically targets millennial donors, encouraging them to “Join the movement” through a three-step call to action: make a pledge to donate $20 a month, wear their shirt, and connect through […]

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Power of Storytelling | charity : water’s story will have you reaching for the tissues…

December 11, 2017

There’s a good chance you’ve already heard of the nonprofit known as charity : water, founded over ten years ago by a former nightclub promoter named Scott Harrison. I’ve highlighted them numerous times for their email and online communications, which are consistently on point, and that I want to feature them again should be no […]

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Fundraising Friday | December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017

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 […]

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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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