10 Blogs I Always Read

May 10, 2010

If you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of time to spare.  Every day my workload grows.  Finding the time to get to my own projects is presenting more and more of a challenge.  And every day a new blog pops up in the Internet stratosphere – new opinions, new cutsie names and logos and people trying hard to brand themselves in a heartbeat.

Yet, ever the stalwart, I remain committed to the simple mission of teaching the small, one-person nonprofit development shop how to do everything “better, faster, smarter” in ways that are understandable and fun.

Along with pursuing Alltop’s Nonprofit and Fundraising on a regular basis, these are the blogs I’ve bookmarked – and why.

1.  Seth Godin’s Blog – Initially I resisted reading Seth’s blog.  I’m like that.  If “everyone else” is doing it, doggone it, my stubborn Taurean soul resists.  Then I succumbed — and quickly learned why Seth Godin’s blog is one many nonprofit pros retweet on a regular basis.  Savvy, succinct and brimming with well-placed observations, no one does it better.

2.  Copyblogger:  Read through the last nonprofit appeal letters to arrive in your mailbox.  The charity sector typically has the driest, most didactic prose on the planet … if you’re not tossing the letter in the trash after the first paragraph, your eyes are glazing over and you’re thinking about dinner tonight.  Rarely does our profession address the underrated skill of copy-writing – yet what is the one skill that will send your donations soaring?  Check out 10 Secrets to More Magnetic Copy.  Not just for bloggers.

3.  Dan Kennedy’s Blog:  Ever the curmudgeon and proud of it (don’t even get me started on this guy’s politics), nonetheless no one can touch Dan when it comes to direct marketing.  And why should your nonprofit care about direct marketing?  Uh, is it not one and the same as donor-centered fundraising?  Take this from a recent post entitled Four Simple Small Business Marketing Ideas:  “It costs less to motivate a known customer to purchase again than to acquire a new customer.”  Substitute the word “customer” with “donor.”  I rest my case.

4.  Wild Apricot:  Simply put:  “The” blog for volunteers, webmasters and administrators of associations and nonprofits.  Filled with pithy, “I didn’t know that!” usable tips like the recent Keep Your Nonprofit Safe from Spam Complaints.

5.  John Haydon:  John is everywhere.  I think there must be three of him.  Haydon is my “go to” resource for learning everything social media, developing a strategy and  systematizing the process.  Best of all?  He makes what seems complex to a tech novice like myself both fun and easily do-able.

6.  Dan Pallotta’s Blog:  When will nonprofits wake up and recognize the fact that they need to be every bit as committed to funding their mission as they are to the mission itself?  The author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, and a proponent of spending money to make money, Dan’s blog is consistently thought-provoking.  While I don’t always agree with his methods (Advertising for nonprofits?  C’mon!  I’m concerned with the 83% of the community organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $1 million a year.  Spend money?  Oh yeah. On advertising???  You gotta be kidding me.), Dan’s blog is a must-read.

7.  The Agitator:  The team of Roger Craver and Tom Belford does what they do do best – agitate.  Always a good source of the latest research in direct response.  When Roger notes that he “switched from being a major gifts and capital campaign fundraiser in favor of the path of direct response,” I knew I was in the right place.  One of the many posts I’ve referred back to often?  Lisa Sargent’s guest post on the sorry state of nonprofit email marketing.

8.  Beth Kanter:  Beth is always at the forefront with the latest in solid data, tools and insights to help nonprofits navigate the social media landscape.

9.  Getting Attention – Nancy Schwartz:  Ditto what I said about Beth.  Nancy picks up on some timely topics like her recent series on the disastrous KFC/Susan G. Komen unholy alliance – and offers solid marketing and communication tools for all nonprofits, small, medium and large.

10.  Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog:  Katya’s the CEO of Network for Good … and blessed with a killer pair of legs.  Her blog offers a straightforward mix of the latest in research, tips you can put to use today and articles like It’s Not What Your Donors Give You – It’s What You Give Them.

You knew I couldn’t keep it to ten …

11.  Main Street Marketing for Foundations and Nonprofits in Small Communities:  Steve Cebalt isn’t “out there” in social media circles, but I’ve found a special kinship with his Midwestern homespun DIY approach to fundraising.  He aims to teach nonprofit organizations the secrets of “do it yourself” marketing – and does, in a friendly, easy-to-grasp manner.

12.  Kimberly’s comments/from the trenches:  Kimberley really IS in the trenches (she’s the current Director of Development for Ontario Nature) and she has an impressive track record with some high profile organizations (including one of my personal favorites, the LaLeche League) – not to mention the fact that she is the head of fundraising for my all-time favorite – bar none – resource, SOFII.  Love her style and insight … I just wish she were more prolific!

13.  Oneicity Blog:  From the husband and wife team of Kris Hoots & Steve Thomas, specialists in true relationship fundraising, comes this graphically stunning delightful collection of the latest social media tools, mild rants and thought-provoking articles like What Your Donors Want – Authenticity.

14.  Agents of Good:  The blog of a Toronto design team specializing in nonprofit communications, and active Twitter “must follows”, Agents of Good is where you’ll find inspiration such as The Gratitude Report and slap-upside the head advice to stick-in-the-mud ED’s on crafting an annual appeal.  Good stuff.

15.  Hildy Gottlieb:  I’ve been an unabashed fan of Hildy’s since first becoming acquainted with her on Charity Channel many years back.  Her blog is not necessarily about fundraising, but rather a joyous, “all things are possible” stream of consciousness for anyone in the nonprofit, er community benefit sector.  I adore her transparency and soul.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Schwartz May 10, 2010 at 7:39 am

Thanks much, Pamela. Your blog is a must-read for me as well, as are your tweets. Keep up the great work!


Megan Hill May 10, 2010 at 8:43 am

Wow, nice list! I have plenty of reading to do, now 🙂

Roger and Tom May 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm


Thanks for including us on your top 10 list of must-read blogs. We’re in very good company!

Tom and Roger

John Haydon May 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Thanks for the kudos, Pamela! I really appreciate it and will continue to do my best. 🙂

Steve Thomas May 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Wow Pam,
Thanks for the nice compliment! Not only did you say nice things but you put us on a list with so many thinkers we respect.

Coming from you, that’s high praise indeed. We’re honored.

Mazarine May 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Thank you for this list Pamela!

I know we agree on some things, disagree on others (like Pallotta’s take on advertising) but I do so enjoy the discussion!

You’ve given me some new people to read, and you make me want to create my own list!

I’m going to check out Hildy Gottlieb right now!

Thanks again!


Tracy Moavero May 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Great post! I hadn’t seen a few of these before.

And on advertising, I know it’s usually too expensive for smaller nonprofits, but don’t forget transit ads, which can be quite reasonable, and even cable TV spots, which are run only in small areas, which is why you see the neighborhood burrito place advertising in between national spots. But obviously these need to be carefully thought through and targeted. I’ve worked with organizations that ran these spots in conjunction with earned media and/or fundraising blitzes.

Rebecca Leaman May 13, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Pamela, thanks so much for the great compliment for Wild Apricot – and for being one of my favourite Twitter sources of great information for nonprofits.
Much appreciated! 🙂

Lisa Garcia-Ruiz May 17, 2010 at 11:39 am


Thank you for sharing your list of blogs with us, I have not heard of some of these resources and will be sure to add them to my reading list! Thanks for always being a sources of helpful and trusted information 🙂


Conor Byrne July 7, 2010 at 6:46 am

Great list of blogs. Subscribed to most of them, need to make sure Im getting all of them now (Or at least following on twitter, its become my reader now!)

John Lepp August 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

ill join the others here to say what an honour it is to be included in the list – even as an extra! thank you Pam for including us and your words.

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