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Four ways to turn a donor maybe into a YES!

Fishing. Maybe you hate it, maybe you love it. (Maybe it's not even on your sonar.)

Regardless, in fundraising, a fishing metaphor can be helpful.

For example, "The one that got away..."

man holding big fish that gets away

Your donors are not fish, I know. (Blech!) You don't "catch them" against their...

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What to put in your donor newsletter

Do you ever hear a song lyric wrong ...

... and then it stays stuck in your head that way?

Take, for example, Prince's song "Little Red Corvette."

photo of Prince in the 1980s

Brett's (11-year-old) ears in 1982 somehow misheard the "little red Corvette" chorus as "steal away, come on, hey."

In...

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How to make your fundraising "last words" ECHO-echo-echo

Brett here:

I used to write "Daily Thoughts" – aka, me trying to be quotable from 2014 to 2021.

I wrote one every day... 2,519 in total. The process taught me a lot about writing.

1 big takeaway?

"Last words echo."

Here's how...

Ask yourself if the last word in a sentence, in a section, in...

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X-ray of a donor newsletter -- "Know your bones"

Isn't it weird that we all have bones?

Even as a kid, you know they're in you, under your skin.

But they're out of sight. So, you forget.

Right?

Donor newsletters are the same way. If you don't "X-ray" them to see their bones, making sure everything is in its right place... you might be in for...

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You can't get donors to FEEL it if you don't feel it first

"Don't put that in there!" 

This is how Julie replied to my beloved first idea for a subject line for this newsletter.

She deemed my idea "gross" and "not good."

She was right, of course. (As she usually is! ❤️)

Still, I can't resist telling you my bad idea anyway...

Skip over the ...

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Your next appeal: from interview to fundraising story

Our son Baye was once a beneficiary – at age 7, when he lived in an orphanage run by an American nonprofit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He has many stories to tell.

But turning beneficiary stories into moving fundraising stories of need for an appeal letter is more challenging than...

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Make your fundraising offer the cliffhanger (Star Wars fundraising)

I love a good cliffhanger – don't you?

Question: are you using cliffhangers in your fundraising?

More on the why soon. But first...

(spoilers ahead... for those of you still avoiding Star Wars)

Consider the power of a good cliffhanger.

–Star Wars: The Empire Strikes...

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Thank you for the "mental real estate"

You can find a lot of cool stuff tucked away in the nooks and crannies of a person's brain.

For example...

Before Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple Macintosh, computers did not offer multiple fonts. You got 1 font and 1 font only. (Don't like it? Too bad!)

Jobs came up...

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You Can't Feel "Empty Urgency"

 In a way, subject lines are a microcosm of fundraising.

Writing them can be maddening, mysterious, marvelous...

They are tantalizingly short. They can be infuriatingly tricky. But, if you're up for a challenge, they're good fun.

That's why I like to study subject lines, to turn them...

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Do Your Fundraising Stories Give Away the Ending?

In your donor appeals, your endings are so important! 

A misplaced story ending means your appeal might not end well.

Here's an except from page one of a pretty typical appeal letter story.

It’s a terribly sad story of a boy named Ian who has nightmares of a parent killing him....

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The 1 Forrest Gump Fundraising Secret You Need

       As a donor, I sometimes daydream about the charities I support and wonder what it would be like to be there to see my gifts at work ...

       … to see a child as she wakes up from a sight-saving surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital …

...

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3 Tips for Personalizing Your Fundraising Appeals

Your name is important to you. It's true, isn't it?

Even if you are in a room with many people chatting, you likely have "selective hearing" for your name.

When someone says your name, your brain has an amazing ability. It can focus on that one bit of information while simultaneously ignoring...

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