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...
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!
* * *
On September 15,...
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:
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...
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."
Ask yourself if the last word in a sentence, in a section, in...
"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 ...
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...
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...
You can find a lot of cool stuff tucked away in the nooks and crannies of a person's brain.
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!)
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...
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....