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June 2008

Make them laugh, or motivate them to give

Sometimes you see an ad that makes you laugh. Later on, you remember the joke -- but not what the ad was for.

Was that ad successful?

Of course not. Unless you live in the funny-farm world of ad agencies, where "getting attention" is the goal, never mind what that attention is for, or whether it leads to any specific action.

Denny Hatch's Business Common Sense takes a sharp look at this in Do Clownish Ads Work?. It seems a popular Boston seafood restaurant advertises itself with pictures of "fresh" fish that say slightly insulting things. Ha. Ha. It's a joke. It's not about the restaurant, it's not about the customer. Just a joke. It gets "attention." Hatch calls it:

... non-sequitur advertising. Copywriters are hoping to force the reader/viewer to connect puzzling dots, which means the product or service is lost in a blizzard of cleverness.

Cleverness is a lot of fun. But it doesn't motivate people. In fact, most people don't get the joke. Why should they? They've got their own lives to live -- no time or inclination to study your puzzle of an ad.

And, as Hatch reminds us, "If you want response to an advertisement, make an offer. No offer, no response."

Keep your thoughts on your donors. And your cause. And how the two come together. Forget the jokes. Forget showing off how smart you are. Those things always kill your marketing.

And you might end up showcased as a Stupid Nonprofit Ad.

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In Fundraising, Your English Teacher Gets an 'F'

Here's my column in this month's FundRaising Success magazine, In Fundraising, Your English Teacher Gets an 'F'.

Teaser: Should you forget everything your English teachers taught you? Not at all. If your teachers were any good, they taught you to write with vigor and precision. But if your job is fundraising, your goal isn't just to please a teacher. It's to get regular people to join you in changing the world. That's a tall order -- much trickier than pulling down an A in your English class.

Podcast: For Success in Fundraising: Do Only One Thing at a Time


Sometimes we're tempted to mail the kitchen sink to our donors -- communications that will inform, educate, inspire, motivate ... and, by the way encourage them to send a gift. In this podcast we talk about the importance of one thing at a time when you want to influence donors. Plus, we tell you the one type of mail your donors want to receive.

To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and subscription options.

Or subscribe with iTunes:

Subject lines that get opened

When you create direct mail, the carrier envelope is your key to success. Get it opened, and you're a long way toward getting a gift.

Same with email. But now, your "carrier envelope" has shrunk to a few words. No pictures, no color, no fonts or formatting -- just words. And not too many words, because your recipient can't see more than a few. And your attempt is sitting in an inbox with dozens of others that look exactly the same.

Now that's a direct-marketing challenge.

EmailTrainer.com has some thoughts: How to Write Awe-Inspiring Email Subject Lines. Here's the gist, but do go read the whole thing:

  1. Short phrases. How short? Two words.
  2. Immediate benefits.
  3. Value words. (personally relevant to the recipient)
  4. Emotional appeal.
  5. Specific value propositions.

This is the hour for copywriters!

Thanks to BeRelevant for the tip.

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Sequins, candelabra, and winks for fundraisers

"When the reviews are bad I tell my staff that they can join me as I cry all the way to the bank." - Liberace

The secret to success: Know who your audience is.

That's tougher than it sounds for many nonprofits. Take, for example, the physicians who lead and guide many health charities: Their peers are other doctors. The people they hang out with, the people they respect, whose opinions they value most, are other doctors.

But their donors (most of them, anyway) are not doctors. So if they want to be understood by the lay audience, they need to communicate differently from the way they'd talk to fellow doctors. And that's hard, because if they write like regular people, they'll basically look like schmucks -- to other doctors.

Same can be said of the development professionals at relief agencies, the aesthetes at arts organizations, and experts at virtually all nonprofits.

That's where Liberace comes in.

As far as the critics were concerned, Liberace was a tacky, syrupy, embarrassing no-talent whose performances lacked artistic merit. And by their own standards, those critics were absolutely right.

But Liberace understood something important: The critics weren't his primary audience. Critics weren't buying the tickets and the records. Critics weren't swooning over his performances ...

But many, many people were buying and swooning. And those were the folks who sent Liberace to the bank. Crying or laughing, he had plenty to deposit when he got there. Because he was supplying something lots of people wanted. Even though critics hated it.

If Liberace had adjusted his performances until the critics were happy, he would have driven away his real audience.

Can nonprofits be like Liberace -- and focus on their real audiences?

The answer is yes. I've seen it happen.

The founder of a nonprofit organization I used to work with struggled with this issue. His pals would rib him about the fundraising letters that went out over his signature. The urgent, simplistic tone was really didn't sound like him; he's a cerebral, intelligent, spiritual guy. He said it bothered him at first, until he realized what mattered most to him:

I'd stand on my head and sing if that's what it took to save more lives.

He understood: His smart, sophisticated friends who gave him a hard time weren't his audience. They were just "critics," and their opinions were just opinions. His audience was the people who were motivated to write checks by his "embarrassing" performance. Those were the people making it possible to save lives.

And that's even better than laughing all the way to the bank.

Be like Liberace in at least one way: Know who your real audience is.

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Be cool, or raise funds: which would you rather do?

Here's a way to write more effective fundraising copy, from Copyblogger: Unleash Your Inner Dork to Become a Better Copywriter. That's right, be a dork:

Enthusiastic copy isn't cool.... In fact, it's usually kind of dorky. Any creative person who's worth a damn has a dorky side. Good creative work can't survive cynicism. Being a dork just means you can get insanely excited about something that not everyone can see is cool.

It's true: Powerful fundraising copy has a distinctly dorky, geeky, nerdy tone. It's obsessive, it's too enthusiastic, it's unaware how out of style it is.

Not at all like the pose of ironic detachment that so many people these days cultivate.

Unfortunately, too many fundraisers would rather be cool than raise money. They're genuinely troubled by over-the-top, goofy, and just uncool tone of effective fundraising. Tone it down, they say. This stuff is embarrassing!

If you find yourself thinking this way, check your priorities. Just how important is the persona you think you're projecting? Is it really more precious than revenue raised for the Cause?

Something most people discover as they mature: Trying to be cool is a completely bogus goal. It's basically impossible to succeed, because the standards are subjective, changing, and deceptive. Even if you do somehow get a little bit cool, it gets you nowhere at all. (This is the source of the much of the conflict between adolescents and their parents.)

So give up the quest for cool. Just be a dork. And raise more money.

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Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants: Solstice edition


We begin summer with the longest day of the year. If you live in the north, it's a big deal, maybe because you're going to have to give back all those extra hours of daylight winter.

This week's carnival is especially grateful to Fundraising Breakthroughs for noting this special yearly event in Is There Such a Thing as Downtime?

And here's the rest of the carnival:

Podcast: Ditch Your Dignity - Part 2: What Not to Show


Is there anything you shouldn't show or describe in effective fundraising? Short answer: Yes. We look at this complex issue with some guidance that can help you make good decisions in this difficult and controversial area.

To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and subscription options.

Or subscribe with iTunes:

How nonprofits can go viral in one easy lesson

Here's how not to "go viral": Try to go viral.

That's pretty much what contrarian ad-guy Joseph Jaffe says in his Adweek column, Conversation Killers: Why most viral marketing amounts to lazy, clueless chatter.

Don't try to go viral; do something that's worth spreading. (Then make it easy to spread.) As Jaffe says:

... all content has the ability to be wildly viral, that is, embraced, internalized, evangelized and disseminated. Rather than plan with the end in mind, might I suggest instead that we focus on the idea itself and the means to achieve that end. In other words, getting back to basics to generate compelling, relevant and engaging content and then liberating it to be embedded, hacked, mashed and showcased accordingly.

People love to share cool stuff. It's that simple. Don't set out to create something "viral." Just do something cool. It's that easy. And that difficult.

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They're coming to take you away, ha-haaa!

Take this as a warning. Ad agencies are starting to notice nonprofits. I know, because I've been spying on them. Here's evidence, intercepted from one of their covert industry blogs, the Small Agency Diary, an Ad Age blog: 'Do-Gooders' Are Brands Too.

It seems, this blog muses, that nonprofits desperately need the ministrations of the brilliant ad agency world, but they so often just don't get it:

Nonprofits don't have the guts (or willingness) to break from the pack. The work is formulaic. And as organizations go, many struggle with the fact that marketing is seen as a dirty world in the nonprofit sector, a necessary evil that no one admits spending too much money or time on. To nonprofits, agencies don't "get" the intricate nature of their brands. Their ideas are too risky for conservative audiences. "Our work and creative strategy is formulaic, and it's always worked for us before," they seem to say.

But -- joy of joys, they note -- many nonprofits are starting to spend big money on marketing. And that's catching the attention of ad agencies, who can make some money and win some awards with nonprofit clients.

They just have to train us to accept their way of thinking. Which is that you're out of it unless you're edgy, unusual, and clever. Being hard to read is just not a problem. And if your audience doesn't get your joke, well, they're just lame.

So be ready to hear from ad agency types who will work hard to de-program you from your unfashionable need to communicate clearly and actually motivate people to take specific actions like writing checks. They have a much more glamorous future in mind for you. It's going to cost you, but you'll really love those awards shows.

More on this topic: Why advertising is so bad and the ever-popular Stupid nonprofit ads.

Thanks to The Raiser's Razor for the tip.

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Fundraisers need to focus more on appreciation

Imagine this headline in the nonprofit industry press: Director of Appreciation Appointed. That's what Conor's Fundraising Blog envisions:

As soon as we start to take our donations for granted, we are in trouble. As soon as we don't treat each donation as a personal gift to us, we are in trouble. As soon as we start to send out mail merged receipts that don't talk personally about why that person donated, we are in trouble.

Yeah, that would be pretty cool. I have a notion that one of the ways fundraising is changing is that how (and when) we thank donors will become just as important as how and when we ask.

We'll put just as much analysis, energy, and creativity into our receipts as we put into our appeals. Because the ROI on thanking may be even higher than it is on asking, and donor expectations about being thanked will rise.

The only reason I hope we never see a headline about the appointment of "Director of Appreciation is this: Asking and thanking need to be inseparable. If the two functions had different directors, I can already see the turf battles.

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Amazing new study shows that donors donate

I love those human guinea pig psychological studies that claim to inform us about fundraising realities. Their findings tend to be either blindingly obvious or laughably wrong.

Here's one, reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Prospecting blog: Want Bigger Gifts? Ask People to Volunteer Before Asking for Money, with the study itself available here.

The gist:

Asking people to volunteer their time at a charity before asking for their money increases the amount they ultimately give to an organization...

Wow! And how did they come up with that conclusion? They put college students in artificial situations and asked their opinions on how much they'd theoretically give to a phony organization. Oh, and the total study group was less than 200 people -- a number so laughably insignificant that a direct marketer wouldn't pay attention to it.

Don't take this type of study as gospel truth. The best they give us are ideas and directions that we can explore with real testing.

In this case, the studies point out a phenomenon that most good fundraisers understand: Someone who's done something for you is more likely to do something else for you.

That's why someone who's given to an organization is ten or more times likely to give again than someone who's never given. And the more times someone has given, the more likely they are to give again.

It might also tell us that volunteers are very warm prospects to become donors. As are event participants.

But don't take my word for it. Test it for yourself.

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Guidelines for successful email ... for the time being

One of the toughest things about email marketing is dealing with the pace of change. Almost as soon as you know a principle, it changes. New technology upsets the rules. A quirky new release of a Microsoft product undermines what made sense yesterday.

The Campaign Monitor blog helps us deal with change by releasing new guidelines: 2008 Email Design Guidelines. Here are some of the new guidelines:

  • Don't waste your readers' time — An email inbox is a busy place, you won't get much attention.
  • Permission matters — Not only do you need to have permission to email people, but it helps to remind them of how they gave you permission, as specifically as you can.
  • Relevance trumps permission — Just having permission is not enough, the content you are sending must also be relevant.
  • Make unsubscribing easy — There's no point emailing people who are not interested.
  • Image blocking is common — You can't rely on people actually seeing your images.
  • Meet your legal obligations — For example, CAN-SPAM for US senders.
  • Test, test, test — It's the only way to be confident about your design working.

Thanks to BeRelevant! for the tip.

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Podcast: Ditch Your Dignity - Part 1


Many organizations working in the social service sectors hobble their fundraising by focusing excessively on the "dignity" of those they help. We'll show you how that not only hurts fundraising but actually hurts those you seek to "protect." If you can change your focus from protecting their dignity to telling the truth well -- you'll see your fundraising effectiveness zoom into the stratosphere!

To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and subscription options.

Or subscribe with iTunes:

How poor service destroys your reputation

Your programs are effective. Your organization is well-known and untainted by scandal. Your administration and fundraising ratios are admirable. Your brand is strong and your marketing good.

But your name is mud among your donors. And you don't even know it.

How can that be? Sloppy service.

Donors' names are spelled wrong. There are errors in addresses. You have duplicate records for the same households.

Or your records about donor giving is inaccurate.

Maybe donors have asked not to receive telemarketing, but they're still getting calls. Or they've asked to receive less mail, but they're still getting just as much as ever. You seemingly don't intend to comply with their wishes.

These kinds of things are hard for you to see. But for donors, these things are huge.

They see sloppiness.

They see an ineffective bureaucracy.

They see an arrogant and uncaring organization.

They see money being wasted.

And they think that's the whole truth about you. Is it fair? No. But what other information do your donors have to go on? The way you serve them is how they experience you.

You could spend all your time and money honing your message to perfection. But if your donors are experiencing sloppy service, your messaging might as well amount to giving them the finger. Actions speak louder than words.

Make sure your service is flawless. If it isn't, make fixing it your number-one priority until it is.

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Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

The Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants for this week is up, at SocialButterfly.

Is anyone else getting tired of "compassion fatigue"?

It happens every time there's a disaster: The press comes up with the same old "compassion fatigue" story, where they interview "experts" -- often psychologists, strangely -- about the incredible new spirit of stinginess that's sweeping the land.

Here's one, an AP story, widely published, here on MSNBC: 'Disaster fatigue' blamed for drop in giving. The hand-wringing goes like this:

... disaster fatigue -- the sense that these events are never-ending, uncontrollable and overwhelming. Experts say it is one reason Americans have contributed relatively little so far to victims of the Myanmar cyclone and China's earthquake.

It's true that donor response to disasters is not always proportional to the seriousness of the disaster. It's often unfair and baffling.

But I don't think lower response to any given disaster can be blamed on "fatigue." The problem is this: Donors don't necessarily have the same sense of what a disaster is as we do. Response is lower to disasters that have these characteristics:

Too obscure. Media coverage of disasters is uneven. Some places are just too far away, hard to get to, hard to file stories from. That means less coverage. And sadly, media coverage tends to be driven by body count. A disaster doesn't really get all over the US media until tens of thousands of people have died. When the media aren't telling the story, it's just not going to move that many people to action.

Too complex. When a disaster's cause and/or solution is hard to grasp, fewer people grasp it. You can at least partly overcome this by stripping your description of a disaster down to its bare and simple essentials.

Too intractable. Nobody likes the sense that they're throwing away their money. So when it seems that responding to a disaster isn't going to change anything, many would-be donors turn away. That's why man-made disasters are harder to raise funds for. And in the days after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, when news got out that the regime was turning away help, many organizations saw a steep drop in donations for that disaster.

If you go by numbers, the crisis in Darfur is easily the biggest disaster in the world today. But funds raised for Darfur are far below what it "should" be. Sadly, Darfur is obscure, complex, and intractable.

What can you do about it? Not a lot But you can find and cultivate donors who can see past these things and respond when others don't.

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Can you fix a dysfunctional nonprofit?

A couple weeks back, Seth Godin chatted at The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The transcript is here: Marketing Nonprofit Causes.

One thing he said at the very end especially caught my eye:

I'm ... disappointed that a lot of the questions were "my boss won't let me" type questions. The work you're doing is so important, so vital and so urgent that to let politics get into the way of spreading your message is just a shame. My best guess is that this is partly the boss's fault and partly the culture. In other words, if you go do stuff, small stuff, cheap stuff, storytelling stuff and testing stuff, you not only won't get in trouble, you'll get rewarded. hurry!

A lot of nonprofits struggle with internal politics, turf rivalries, or a seeming lack of unified purpose that does incalculable damage. I've seen these things eviscerate marketing and fundraising efforts. Many times. And I'd be willing to bet marketing and fundraising aren't the only areas that suffer.

If internal dysfunction is hobbling your organization, don't just let it be. If you're aware and awake, you have a responsibility to make things better -- at least to try.

That's easy for me to say and hard for you to do.

But really, if your mission matters -- and you have any connection to that mission -- you can make a bigger difference by fighting dysfunction than you can by doing your job within a dysfunctional context.

Take heart: your leaders don't want your organization to fail. Usually, they're working without the right information, or they're working on opinions masquerading as facts.

Are you giving them the information they need to make good decisions? You'll make more progress if you remember these things:

  • Offer solutions, not just problems.
  • Make sure you have facts, not just beliefs.
  • Patience almost always pays off.

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Podcast without fear

The other day I had a nice conversation with Marc Pitman of Fundraisingcoach.com. Funny thing is, Marc was recording, and our conversation can now be heard at his Ask Without Fear! Radio Show.

Here's some of what we talked about:

  • Is direct mail dying?
  • Why fundraising is good.
  • Something you can do this afternoon that will improve your fundraising.

The growing power of word-of-mouth marketing

You've probably heard about a "new" marketing discipline: word of mouth.

It's actually the oldest marketing tactic of all, but some smart marketers are rediscovering its power -- now supercharged by the Web -- and bringing a strong theoretical framework to it.

That's a very good thing, assuming what you have to sell (or raise funds for) is worth mentioning. In fact, it's just exciting. Or, as you'll see in Andy Sernovitz's Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! -- Word of mouth marketing is still awesome.

According to Andy, word of mouth (shortened to WOM by those who talk about it a lot) is awesome because:

  1. It's is the only kind of marketing based on earning love and respect.
  2. WOM only works for great companies that make great stuff and provide great service.
  3. WOM only works for good marketers. Traditional advertising continues as long as you pay for it, even if it sucks. WOM only spreads if it's genuinely fantastic.
  4. WOM is honest and true. Word of mouth holds you to the highest ethical standards. Liars and cheaters always get busted.
  5. The good guys win. Word of mouth rewards those who deserve it.

Really, here's a kind of marketing you can't fake. You can't make something seem better than it is. You can't bludgeon your way to success with raw advertising dollars. A book of "brand standards" is even more meaningless than ever.

If your work is boring, mediocre, and unremarkable, you aren't going to get WOM. No matter how hard you try.

The scary part: WOM is becoming more important than all the other marketing disciplines. Consumers are taking control, and donors will follow. If you want to be ready for the awesome change that's going to be, the place to concentrate is how remarkable your work is.

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How nonprofits can join the marketing revolution

A while back Seth Godin took part in a live chat session at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

It was good. You can read the transcript at Marketing Nonprofit Causes. Here are three Seth-quotes I thought especially worth a second look:

On the biggest mistakes nonprofits make in their marketing:

The biggest mistake nonprofits make is that they're so busy not making mistakes they end up being boring. Boring and selfish and self-absorbed, all while they're working so hard to make the world better.

On nonprofits and marketing:

All you do is marketing. You market to the people you serve.... You market to the people who fund you. And you market to the people you need to hire or get approvals from. In fact, if you were great at marketing, everything in your organization would change. Once nonprofits realize that they are marketers, not bureaucrats or truck drivers or procurement agencies, everything changes.

On marketing causes that "aren't particularly sexy":

Make them sexy! Why on earth would someone support something that they think is boring when something that interests/excites them more is available? They won't. I think making a road sexy isn't so hard. Or a library. The key is to focus on the BENEFIT, not the tool.

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Tiny gifts: good or bad?

Maybe you've encountered donation websites that don't take gifts below a certain amount. The purpose, I suppose, is to keep the small-gift riff-raff out.

The Firstgiving Blog looks a this issue upon encountering a site that turned away donations under $25 (!): Every little bit helps for a good cause, doesn't it?

Why would you refuse to accept donations under $25? ... we all know that there are processing fees, but they're a lot more for checks than for online transactions. And processing fees are usually a percentage of the donation -- like Firstgiving's are -- so why would it matter if somebody wanted to give even just one dollar online?

I can think of one good reason you don't want tiny gifts: The vast majority of donors who give very small gifts keep giving very small gifts. Their value to you will remain small, and if you aren't careful, you can end up spending more cultivating them than they'll give you over time.

Someone who gives $1 (or even $5) -- especially online, where the norm is up around $100 -- is likely not a serious donor.

But there's more to it. Many small gifts are "Widow's Mite" gifts -- far more meaningful than their amount indicates. I know I'm in unmeasurable, spiritual territory here, but it's true. Charitable giving is a lot more than just a monetary transaction.

And that's why you should accept tiny gifts. Nothing's forcing you to spend on a $1 donor the way you would on a $50 donor.

Giving people a chance to give is a great service. One of the best you have to offer, really. It's just not right to turn people away from the benefits of giving just because they can't give very much. That's basically a harsh form of discrimination against the poor. Not all the tiny-gift donors are poor; some are just cheap. But we can't tell the difference, can we?

Here's what I'd do: Include the line, "Suggested minimum" (say $5 or $10), but don't enforce it.

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Podcast: Fundraising as Courtship


Guest Bob Ball (creative director at Merkle) joins us for a lively discussion of the amazing parallels between fundraising and romance. Be yourself, be real, focus on the person you're talking to, and follow your heart (and hers), and you can't go wrong. In either area.

To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and subscription options.

Or subscribe with iTunes:

What do donors want?

It's a complicated world. What should donors do? Some notions over at the GiveWell Blog (Emergency assistance for donors), which worries that in times of crisis, donors have no scientific, objective way to decide how to best put their giving to work.

Meanwhile The Agitator (Donors Need Emergency Help) sees it differently:

Part of me doesn't want a donor to even blink an eye before opening their wallet. Or even better, clicking their mouse. I want them to react to a humanitarian crisis quickly and generously ... from the bottom of their heart. Leave the brain out of it.

I know it may not sound like me, but I think they're both right. And wrong.

Because it doesn't matter what any of us want donors to think or do.

They are going do what they do and think the way they think regardless of what we wish. Trying to change them is a delusional, Sisyphean job.

Some donors will carefully research their options, seeking maximum impact for their charitable dollar. Others will make knee-jerk gifts with little or no strategy, just raw compassion.

Bless them all, I say.

The emotion-driven donors are bound to give unwisely now and then, supporting fraudulent or under-performing organizations. But their dollars are the fuel of the world's good works. Without those knee-jerk gifts, virtually all nonprofits would be left high and dry.

The strategic donors don't always get it right; even the most rigorous research can lead you to the wrong conclusion. But their insistence on information and proof is driving nonprofits to be smarter and more open. This group is by far the minority of donors. But they're increasing.

It's our job to pay attention to our particular universe of donors and provide them the motivation they need to do the good deeds they want to do.

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Stupid nonprofit ad: Extreme Abstraction

Another Stupid Nonprofit Ad. This one brings weird to a whole new level.

So in response to the tragedy in Burma, warplanes from around the world converge on Burma and drop flowers? We respond by blanketing the human-devoid landscape with sympathy blossoms? Excuse me, but could you go over that concept again? And what exactly is this intended to motivate people to think, feel, or do?

Then, as if to make sure we don't transition into something comprehensible, the ad gives the URL MTVBurmaAction.com where you are greeted by all-caps copy over a dark and varied background (maybe they don't want you to read it because they know they're not saying anything useful), and continued abstraction about the suffering people of Burma.

Following the footsteps of the many other Stupid Nonprofit Ads, abstraction, confusion, and lack of audience awareness combine to create a goofy puzzle.


Thanks to AdGabber for the tip.

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Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

The Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants for this week is up, at Fundraising Breakthroughs.

When the going gets tough, the tough get online

Everyone's looking for advice on what fundraisers should do in a down economy. Here are some thoughts from Vinay Bhagat of Convio, in FundRaising Success magazine: 10 Tips for Fundraising in Tough Times.

Vinay's ten tips all pretty much boil down to one: Get serious about online fundraising.

I agree, for two reasons:

  1. In a tough fundraising time, going online will bypass the rising costs of paper, printing, and postage.
  2. And you'll reach a new kind of donor who just isn't responsive to direct mail

That said, don't abandon your traditional fundraising channels. That's where most of your donors still are! Add online to your portfolio. Learn how to use the medium effectively, as it will continue to be the preferred giving and communication channel for more donors all the time.

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The fundraiser's real story

People always ask me, How do I tell my nonprofit organization's story? They consider this a difficult or interesting question because their story is "very complicated" or "unexciting" or "never in the news" -- stuff like that.

The answer: Don't. Don't tell your story.

Your story isn't the relevant story.

The important story is the donor's story.

Check out this wise post at Gift Hub: Whose Story do You Tell? Your Nonprofit's, Or Your Donor's? ...

First listen to and master the donor's life story, then position the gift as a meaningful milestone or destination on that donor's journey. Think of the gift in the context of all the donor's dollars, days, and dreams.

Now, Phil is talking about face-to-face big-dollar fundraising. But the principle is true across the board. Donors don't give because of who you are. They give because of who they are. Remind them who they are and show how you fit into their world. That's how fundraising is done.

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What is this blog all about?

If you're serious about raising money from donors, you need to get serious about donors. More than ever before, donors are insisting that you share power with them, not treating them like passive ATMs. This blog is about the ways you can do that -- and the rewards that await you and your donors when you do.

About the Blogger

DonorPower Blog is penned by Merkle's Power Blogging Team, led by Greg Fox, our senior vice president of strategy. Working with Greg is a police line-up of guest "artists", fundraising pros all, who like to pose as blogatorialists when the sun goes down. You can reach this blog, and any of our regular contributors, at
donorpowerblog [at] merkleinc [dot] com. See this blog's policies.

A great partner for the nonprofit that wants to get donor-powered and grow revenue like crazy!
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