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The worst thing that ever happened to development was that baseball movie– “If you build it, they will come.”

From my observation, every Executive Director in Christendom has taken this as gospel and now believes that the simple power of their marvelousness will lead donors inexorably to their door. No other effort needed. Further, there’s a prevailing attitude that if “they” don’t come either they can’t be convinced, or aren’t worth the trouble. Never a thought given to either the product or the communication. Read the rest of this entry »

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Most of the buzz on line is about using social media–Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, You Tube, and your blog–to support your marketing. But it can be an important part of your fundraising strategy as well. Read the rest of this entry »

You have no idea who is in your audience.

Small agencies in particular often make the mistake of focusing in on a couple of big donors, or of looking for angels, or of trying to get that big grant that will solve their problems. But just as important to your effort are all those $10 and $25 and $50 and $100 donors. Read the rest of this entry »

Did you enjoy “tweeting” your last proposal? Here’s another one, based on a branding strategy that focuses on the compelling difference that separates your product from the herd. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re the idiot, no worries. Carry on. Read the rest of this entry »

As anyone who followed @MayorRahm and @BronxZoosCobra knows, you can practically write novels on Twitter. Poetry and haiku- it’s a no brainer. The 140-character format just lends itself to these types of expression.

But does it have a use in the formal, even hide-bound world of traditional philanthropy? Funding agencies want brevity, true, but they also want you to follow strict application guidelines and formats. Stray from the instructions and you’re in the trash heap without ever getting read. Read the rest of this entry »

Spell check has it right– it’s an awful word. Only the tiniest percentage of what a “fundraiser” does is to raise funds. Those of us in the industry are doing ourselves a huge disservice by using this term.

We all know that a fundraiser, well, raises funds. But this leads to the number one phone call or email that I get: “we want you to raise some money for us” and #2 “we want you to write us a grant (sic) for Project X”.  My response to #1 is–what do I have to work with, and to #2– you can’t afford that. Read the rest of this entry »

Or more specifically, how NOT to say thank you. I recently came across a thank you from a board president that cost her a third of her organization’s participants. Read the rest of this entry »

I take the concept of altruism with a giant grain of road salt. People want quid pro quo. For most donors, the altruistic reward is actually fairly far down the list. The trick is understanding what value they are assigning their volunteer effort. Read the rest of this entry »

The most important thing you can do for your volunteers is to communicate with them; the more pertinent information you share, the better your experience will be. Better information means less drama because people get uncomfortable when they don’t know what’s going on. Read the rest of this entry »