Best “No BS” Resources for the Time-Strapped Nonprofit

March 6, 2024

Every day you sit down to begin working on a project. Perhaps it’s your first donor newsletter. Or an invitation to your organization’s latest event. Or maybe you’ve finally decided to work on your email welcome series.

Only to be interrupted by a notification on your phone for a new *free* webinar promising the latest in fundraising innovation (probably something AI-related). As you’re about to get back to work, a board member stops in to tell you about a new grant *opportunity.*

All day long your goals are hijacked.

Another day goes by, and once again, your most important goals are put on hold. 

 What would be possible if you followed through on your best intentions? What could you accomplish if you could stay focused and overcome distractions?

Time to cut the superfluous. Below you’ll find some of my most trusted “No BS” online resources.

On Writing

We know from our work here at Basics & More that when it comes to your nonprofit’s bottom line, nothing quite beats excellent creative, and genuine human communication. Engaging, consistent donor communications provide the engine behind your fundraising program.

These are some of my favorite copywriting and donor communications pros out there.

Ann Handley.

The author of  Everybody Writes (2nd Edition): Your New and Improved Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, not to mention a founder of MarketingProfs, Ann knows engaging writing. And she publishes a bi-weekly newsletter that I never miss (and never fail to learn a thing or two from). Subscribe

John Lepp | Agents of Good

John and his agency are behind some of the most engaging and donor-focused donor communications today. We’ve featured their work too many times to count (here and here and here, for example), and John has generously guest-presented a number of times on MotivateMonday. Do yourself a favor and subscribe

Mary Cahalane

Copywriter Mary Cahalane (rhymes with “salon”) brings smarts and heart to donor communications. Subscribe to her weekly updates here. You’ll be glad you did.

Fundraising Writing

If you write for your nonprofit, you need to know the dynamic duo of Julie and Brett Cooper. Download your free Heartable Fundraising Writing Book and you’ll also get a free subscription to their “never-miss” weekly newsletter.

Very Good Copy.

VeryGoodCopy is a newsletter about copywriting & creativity. As an email subscriber, each week you’ll get a new “micro” essay about 1 principle or technique. I implemented just one of Eddie’s suggestions and saw engagement soar! Subscribe.


The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration. SOFII is where you’ll find the brilliant Huntsinger tutorials, the inspirational Merchants Quay case study, and scads of examples. Visit. Sign up for SOFII’s emails.

Nonprofit Best Practices

Best practices are usually best practices for a reason. They’re tried and true. Here are a few of the pros I follow.

Hillborn Charity News

I’ve been receiving the Hillborn newsletter for more years than I care to remember. It’s a solid resource you can count on again and again. Subscribe here

Claire Axelrad

Claire’s blog, Clairification, has answers to your toughest fundraising questions.


If you’re in search of grants, you want to know Kimberly and Amanda co-hosts of the popular podcast, Fundraising HayDay, a podcast about grants and such.

Diane Leonard

“Grants are not free or easy money, but writing, implementing, and reporting grant applications do not need to be stressful.” When it comes to grants, you simply won’t find a better, more solid resource out there than Diane Leonard.

Joe Waters

When Joe says he publishes a wicked awesome newsletter, he’s not lying. He’ll help you build better win-win corporate partnerships and you’ll be entertained every week too! Do. Not. Miss.

Desiree Adaway

Desiree is a consultant, trainer, coach, and speaker building resilient, equitable, and inclusive organizations. Talk about no BS. Desiree’s the best out there. Subscribe at her home page.


Veritus Group. For all things major gift fundraising, follow Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry at the PassionateGiving blog.

Mark Philips. Mark is the brilliant founder of Bluefrog Fundraising (simply reading their manifesto is a lesson in fundraising).  and publishes his blog at Queer Ideas.  Do yourself a favor and subscribe. My own site, where I regularly publish the best examples in nonprofit storytelling and donor communications (including both email and direct mail). Sign up for The Grow Report here.


LinkedIn can be a terrific resource for fundraising information. It’s also filled to overflowing with more than its fair share of total BS. Do yourself a favor and follow these wise sages.

Mark Phillips

One of the most brilliant minds in individual giving today, Mark always cuts to the heart of the matter. 

Denisa Casement

I became a fan of Denisa’s when I first downloaded this case study over at SOFII. Denisa knows what works and what doesn’t. What’s more, she has an even stronger BS detector than I do — and that’s saying a lot.

Paul Bobnak

Paul Bobnak lives and breathes direct response. ‘Nuff said.

Tracy Malloy-Curtis, JD

For all things legacy giving, do yourself a favor and follow Tracy.

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