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A top truth for fundraising: it's about avoiding loss

One of the most important (and most widely ignored) truths about fundraising is this: Fear of loss is more motivating than hope of gain. Read more about this at Clairification: Fundraising Appeal Psychology: Show People How to Avoid Loss. Show More Summary

Last Day to Register for The Grant Fundraising Blueprint

This is a reminder that today (Friday, December 2nd) is the last day to register for our new class The Grant Fundraising Blueprint: How to Find and Win More Grants for Your Non-Profit.  Registration closes at 7 PM tonight. During this 4 week multimedia class, you’ll learn everything you need to know to supercharge your grant fundraising, […]

My mistakes of 2016

Each year I talk about my mistakes! Here are my mistakes from 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 and 2015. And 23 of my fundraising […]

Laws of Fundraising: Painful realities

This is the time of year when most fundraisers raise most of their funds. That makes the last few weeks of the year frightening. A mess-up now has bigger impact than one that happens any other time. Which is why I must share Brooks' 3rd Law of Fundraising Reality: Shit happens. Show More Summary

How to humanize your nonprofit emails

Maybe you've noticed it in your inbox: A lot of commercial emails don't seem human at all. Same with many of the messages from nonprofits. There may be times when the robotic touch is just what you need. But most of the time, you'll do better if your email gives people the sense that a human was involved. Show More Summary

A Heartwarming and Surprising Thank You!

As long-time readers of this blog know, I went through a cancer adventure nearly six years ago. I don’t think about it too much these days, because my bloodwork says I’m free of both breast cancer and melanoma. Yay! On a recent visit to AFP Northeast Indiana in Ft. Show More Summary

The one thing you can't afford to leave out of your stories

by guest blogger Jennifer Miller, Creative Director at TrueSense Marketing You've just told a compelling story. You've engaged your donors. Drama. Details. Action. Conflict. Solution. It's all there! Now what? If you're not using the...Show More Summary

Educating donors is not fundraising

I've been hearing a well-meaning but fundraising killing myth while talking to many groups and training many boards over the last few months. It boils down to: "We need to do more education. If people really knew what we did, they would...Show More Summary

Unsubscribes aren't worst thing: 4 ways they're good for email fundraising

Don't you hate it how one of the things that can happen when you send emails to your donors is they unsubscribe? It feels like a slap in the face! But there's more to it than the bad feeling you might get. The Emma Blog has some comfort...Show More Summary

Last Day for Early Bird Discount on our Grant Fundraising Blueprint Class

This is a reminder that today (Friday, November 24th) is the last day to receive a special early bird discount when you register for our new class The Grant Fundraising Blueprint: How to Find and Win More Grants for Your Non-Profit.  Early bird registration closes at 7 PM. During this 4 week online class, you’ll learn everything […]

What's wrong (and right with nonprofit Twitter feeds?

Why are so many nonprofit Twitter feeds a lesson in futility? Three reasons, I believe: The Twitter audience isn't quite right for most donors. Twitter isn't a healthy environment for heartfelt, compassionate emotions. (It's much better for zingers, abuse, and panic.) Most nonprofits cluelessly do nothing but talk about themselves and their needs. Show More Summary

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – This Fits ALL Categories!

I’ve been on the road for most of October and November meeting thousands, literally, thousands of dedicated fundraisers like you. While I was traveling I realized I wanted to thank everyone I met and talked with. All of you who shared your stories, received some coaching and also those who asked questions about storytelling. Show More Summary

7 landing page words that might be chasing donors away

It's hard enough getting people to come to your landing page. It's even harder getting them to "convert" -- which in our case usually is making a donation. The WordStream blog has some pointers for words to avoid, at 7 Conversion-Sabotaging Words to Avoid at All Costs: Killer #1: "Submit" (On CTA buttons, this work depresses conversion. Show More Summary

How and why ugly works in fundraising

This is probably the toughest fact about fundraising: ugly works. Corny, out-of-date, plain, unattractive fundraising wins nearly every time against sleek, modern, cool, high design. Why? Honestly, I don't know. But I have some theories: Everywhere you look, you see slick, professional design. Show More Summary

Last Day to Register for Donor Clubs Fundraising Class

This is a reminder that today (Friday, November 18th) is the last day to register for our new class How to Use Donor Clubs to Raise More Money and Build Donor Loyalty for Your Non-Profit.  Registration closes at 7 PM tonight. Donor clubs are a powerful tactic that can be used by any non-profit to help find new […]

How to think differently about the "leaky bucket" model of fundraising

How many times have you seen the metaphor for your donor file: A big metal bucket. Water is pouring in the top, but it's also leaking out many holes near the bottom. In a sense, that captures what's happening. We gain and lose donors. Show More Summary

How to Use a Street Team to Enhance Your Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a term you hear thrown around in both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds these days, but few people have really grasped—and put into practice—exactly what it is. The way I’d define crowdfunding is with these three words: online social fundraising. Show More Summary

How I diagnose fundraising writing

It can be hard to critique someone else's writing in a way that's helpful to them, because we tend to start with our gut feeling about it. Telling someone, Yuck! I don't think this is going to work! really isn't helpful. Nor is saying, This is awesome! I love it! Worse yet, gut feelings are not accurate. Show More Summary

Craft Inspiring Nonprofit Stories to Stand Out During the Busy Fundraising Season

Two days. Nearly 40 storytelling and communication experts. Over 500 people in attendance. More inspiring nonprofit stories shared than I can ever remember! I was honored to participate in the third annual Nonprofit Storytelling Conference last week. Show More Summary

Compliment the donor, not your organization

The New York Times says so! Asking for Money? Compliment the Donor, Not Your Organization In a great article about the motivations for charitable giving (which is part of a special section on Philanthropy) that features fundraising heroes Tom Ahern and Jen Love, among others... Show More Summary

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