Archives for category: Fund appeals

Look at this statement off Senator Sanders’ Facebook page:

“…his campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump or anybody else. This campaign has got to be about you, your kids, your parents, and your grandparents. Whether the media likes it or not, that is what we are going to stay focused on.”

What do you see there?

It’s a classic donor-centric message. It’s not about me, it’s about you.

Bernie’s campaign is full of stories, and absent self-aggrandizement. When he’s not focusing on “you,” he’s telling you about impact, including his record and specific ways his work has helped specific people in specific ways.

The same statement quoted above also says that it’s hard. But donor-centric messages are the way to raise enthusiasm.

Feel the Bern, fundraisers. Whatever you think about his politics, he’s got the donor message down pat.


Want to set a development director’s teeth on edge? Insist that your $100 donation be used for “direct expenses” only.

Totally aside from the fact that not even Microsoft has software set up to specifically track any given hundred dollars that comes in, most donors have no idea what they mean by “direct expenses” or “program expenses” only. Mostly what they want is for not a single dime to go to fundraising.

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I once spent two years cultivating a gift. And the donor I was cultivating actually never did give me a large gift– I got a few nice dinners,  some inkind stuff, a couple of auction premiums.

And then one day he called me up and told me he had just spent about 6 months working on one of his clients, and that they were donating all of the building materials and a volunteer corps for our huge project. I had been telling him about the build-out project, but hadn’t asked him to participate in it. Read the rest of this entry »

Social media have created new definitions for development–“reach,” “influence,” “impact,” “engagement” all have nuances created by social media.

But when you go back into the old language of development what you find is not much has changed. Social media are not a new paradigm, they’re just a new tool.

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When I was a little girl, despite the fact that we aren’t Christians, I LOVED Advent calendars.

Mind you, I had no clue what Advent was beyond the vague understanding that something wonderful happened at the end of it, having to do with babies (I was a little unclear on the concept that it was this specific baby). And I loved getting a surprise-a-day.

Today I see that in fact, I did understand Advent on the most important level–that every day brings gifts; anticipation building toward an apotheosis; that all you have to do is open the door.

It’s a wonderful metaphor for nonprofits. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m sitting here, like the rest of America, listening to my local NPR station (free plug) running their quarter-annual pledge drive. In just the past 10 minutes, I have heard no fewer than 10 different pitches: Read the rest of this entry »