Are you creating “bulletproof” stories for your nonprofit?

August 20, 2020

He was trekking on a remote mountainside in Tibet on a Buddhist journey… That’s when, exhausted and feeling “really, really crappy,” Dave Asprey came upon a one-bedroom hut. It was there that a Tibetan woman served him a regional drink… …a cup of hot tea blended with butter. “I felt a mental clarity come on,” […]

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“What grade level do you write to?” A lesson in a Gratitude Report

August 12, 2020

During this week’s MotivateMonday Q&A session featuring John Lepp, Partner at Agents of Good, Ann asked, “What grade level do you write to?” It’s a great question and one we’ve been asked time and time again. As John noted, we typically aim to keep the grade reading level for donor communications between grades 4 and […]

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Lessons from MotivateMonday | Developing your organization’s donor communication’s voice while working remotely

August 5, 2020

How do donor-centered fundraising communications form the core of your fundraising program? And how do you do it all with a small team? This past Monday, we were fortunate to have two members of the Center for Election Science team on board for a MotivateMonday power half hour. We were joined by Caitlyn Alley Peña, […]

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The US Postal Service Slowdown: Is Your Fundraising in Danger?

August 3, 2020

As we enter into the month of August, I’ve been hearing increasing stories of US postal mail slowdown. In my region of the suburbs of Philadelphia, some towns are reporting no mail delivery for up to five days. And when I asked friends on Facebook whether they were seeing signs of a slowdown in mail […]

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Fundraising Friday | July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020

Donor Love, Donor Communications How can you tell your stories on Instagram if they don’t lend themselves to photos? Black Mainline Speaks is one account that is using this very visual medium in a compelling way. This week’s Power of Storytelling.  A Gratitude Report is a key communications piece of the Simple Development Systems puzzle. In this Lessons from MotivateMonday, […]

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Lessons From Motivate Monday | What’s REALLY Working During COVID-19?

July 30, 2020

When it comes to fundraising, what’s really working during COVID-19? This past Monday, Steven Shattuck (repeat MotivateMonday guest and Chief Engagement Officer for Bloomerang) returned, and he helped to answer this very question. Also worth mentioning: Steven is the author of our upcoming August Book Drawing pick, Robots Make Bad Fundraisers: How Fundraisers Can Maintain the Heart […]

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The Power of Storytelling | “The Look” explores being Black in America and you won’t forget it

July 30, 2020

Procter & Gamble released a short film called “The Look,” last year, but I’ve seen the video on multiple social media accounts more recently, and considering some of the crucial conversations that have been taking place within the past few months, it makes sense. Clocking in at just under two minutes, this clip reveals one […]

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Lessons From Motivate Monday | Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits

July 22, 2020

In a small shop, the Executive Director or Development Director is often wearing many hats — grantwriter, event planner, individual giving manager, communications manager, volunteer coordinator, and more. How do you manage to fit something else on your plate? For even the smallest nonprofit, creating an effective PR strategy is important. This past Monday, we […]

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What’s in My Mailbox | What to Look for in a Donor-Friendly Reply Device

July 22, 2020

In Simple Development Systems, your guide to growing your fundraising, monthly giving plays a vital role. We recommend two to five dedicated monthly giving asks in the course of a year, using a mix of direct mail and email. Now, in the midst of a pandemic and global uprisings, monthly giving is more important than […]

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Power of Storytelling | This Instagram account is using storytelling to expose racism in elite schools

July 9, 2020

The Instagram account @blackmainlinespeaks was founded anonymously on June 11th. Since then, it has served as a space on Instagram for Black private school alumni to tell their stories. Each post is an anonymous personal account told from the perspective of a Main Line private school graduate. Shortly after its inception, the page was expanded […]

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Lessons From Motivate Monday | What is a Gratitude Report?

July 9, 2020

While annual reports aren’t required by law, they provide nonprofits with legitimacy like nothing else does. During my days as a program associate for a major grantmaking foundation, we rarely, if ever, funded nonprofits without an annual report. If done well, an annual report shows your supporters and community leaders the impact you’ve had. They can play […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020

COVID-19, Donor Communications #CoronaComms Can hand-addressed envelopes make a difference? Yes, a very big difference. See how in this example from What’s in my Mailbox. It’s hard to think in terms of “both sides” these days. But Preemptive Love gives it their best effort in a call for unity. What’s in My Inbox. My favorite capital campaign resource, Robin Cabral, […]

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What’s In My Inbox | AWAIC backs up solidarity with action and invites supporters in

June 17, 2020

In her emotional commencement speech to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School, Meghan Markle noted, “The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.” In her six-minute address, she remembered a time when she was volunteering during her sophomore year at the all-female school. One of her former teachers, Ms. Pollia, said […]

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Responding to These Times: How Can Your Nonprofit Show Support and Solidarity?

June 11, 2020

2020 has been quite a year, to put it mildly. Amidst the chaos of our COVID-19 reality, a movement has perhaps reached the tipping point of affecting real change. This movement was in response to so many things, including the death of George Floyd and other Black people whose lives were cut short due to […]

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Resources for Education, Inclusion, Accountability, & Support

June 9, 2020

As both nonprofit professionals and human beings, it is our personal responsibility to do what is necessary to fight racism. Right now is a critical time. We must educate ourselves, hold others accountable, do the work (from donating, to signing petitions, to contacting officials, to protesting), and above all, we must listen. This battle is […]

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Making your donors feel valued and appreciated | Interview with Lana Zring, Donor Care Coordinator of Preemptive Love

June 4, 2020

Preemptive Love is “a coalition stretching across Iraq, Syria, the United States, and beyond, working together to unmake violence and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” As both a fundraiser and a donor, I’ve been impressed with their ability to make every donor feel valued and appreciated. Recently Preemptive Love’s Donor […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Center for Reproductive Rights makes their position unequivocally clear

June 3, 2020

Now is the time to clearly state your position. Because silence speaks volumes, and not in the way you want. Right now, “we” makes sense in communicating to your supporters where you stand. You’re here to do good work in the world. But you have a platform, and it’s necessary to use it right now […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Bethany’s COVID-19 appeal surpasses goal…by 296%!

June 1, 2020

Bethany Health Care, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, seeks to provide a high level of care to residents who need it. This individualized care, which addresses physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and social needs, takes place in a comfortable, homey environment. BHC is doing important work. They’ve created a space where […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Caritas of Austin’s COVID-19 Story

May 28, 2020

Caritas of Austin is a nonprofit dedicated to fighting homelessness in the Greater Austin area. Their appeal letter recently landed in my mailbox, and it paints a compelling COVID-19 story. Supporters gain a clear understanding of how COVID has impacted Caritas and how the organization is continuing its work under current conditions. The letter conveys […]

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Power of Storytelling | The Innocence Project With Storytelling At Its Finest

May 27, 2020

Has your board been urging you to look for a celebrity endorsement? Take it from me, the endorsement of the latest Netflix star is not the answer to your fundraising woes. But, in the case of a very special celeb endorsement like this one from Simon Cowell, I’m betting that the Innocence Project wins many […]

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