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"Homemade" fundraising as charming as these Halloween costumes

Did you ever have a homemade Halloween costume?

If you did, I bet you remember it well.

Homemade is not something you can easily forget.

In Cooper family lore, top homemade costume honors go to the cardboard box robots of 2006.

Here's what they looked like, along with the first part of a "mom...

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How white space can help you frame your fundraising appeal copy

With your appeals, you no doubt work hard to paint word pictures that bring to life your stories, the need, the urgency, and the potential impact.

So, when your "work of art" is finished, don't forget the frame — white space!

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On September 15,...

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You should be an "ask dropper" — part 2

Reminder: In our parlance, "ask dropping" means skillfully dropping asks in an appeal. (Hesitation is not your friend.)

Note: Part 1 of this appeal includes mentions of child abuse and suicide. Please take care while reading.

Below is Part 2, the analysis of the rest of the appeal:


...
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You should be an "ask dropper" (#fundraisingappealtip)

Dropping things is bad, right?

Depends on what you're dropping.

Bad things to drop include: crystal vases, names, the ball.

Good things to drop include: records, things while they're hot, ASKS . . .


You should be an "ask dropper" (#fundraisingappealtip)

What, you might ask, is an "ask...

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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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