No tricks, only treats!
BLOG - Agents of Good
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3M ago
Happy Halloween y'all! I’m reflecting on a busy few weeks. Back from IFC in Holland and NonProfitStorytelling in San Antonio, Texas and I wanted to share a few “treats” with you that I picked up on my journeys. At IFC, I did a session with the fantastic Dana Segal called “Nudge ‘em. Prime ‘em. Anchor ‘em. Behavioural Science in action.” It was a session that focused on how you can overlay behaviour science and direct response for more effective (ie: RAISE MORE MONEY) fund-raising. Have you heard of the “Goldilocks Effect”? You know the story of Goldilocks yah? This bowl is too hot, this one is ..read more
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And now... 3 things that you've learned over the years...
BLOG - Agents of Good
by Your Name
4M ago
In a previous email to our subscribers, I asked them to share 3 things they've learned in all the years they've been working in direct response and individual giving! And I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you in the hopes you find them useful as well. In no particular order, here are the things you’ve learned and shared with me about direct response and individual giving! From Lan: Long letters usually work better than short letters Make sure there are a lot of ‘you’ and ’your’ in the copy. If there are too many ‘we’ or ‘I’, you’re doing it wrong. Donors don’t care about the ..read more
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25 things I've learned in 25 years
BLOG - Agents of Good
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6M ago
Direct response is a conversation. If you’re not letting donors talk to you, you’re doing it wrong. Direct mail is not dead. It is potentially immortal. “You” is glue. It keeps your reader engaged. Donors like to be delighted, give with a smile on their face and love in their heart. Great stories take time to tell. Direct response is 4 things: List > Offer > Timing > Creative. There are relatively few definitives in our work. Your subjective opinion does not matter. There is no process you can follow that will lead you to “love”. To be an artist, you need to obsess ..read more
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Using nostalgia in direct response
BLOG - Agents of Good
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8M ago
The creative brief: Craft and send a direct mail pack to donors about our new capital campaign and inspire them to give to help us get closer to our goal. Easy peasy, right? Except… sometimes (ie: almost all of the time), your capital campaign case for support isn’t targeted or designed for your average annual donors. The question becomes, how can you make it relevant and compelling for those donors too? The Regina Humane Society was months away from breaking ground on their new shelter for the animals of Regina. Very exciting. We wanted to craft a pack that got donors attention as quickly as ..read more
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"Dale's" mail (pt 4): everything else...
BLOG - Agents of Good
by Your Name
9M ago
Today we stroll through the “extra” pieces we found floating in and around Dale’s 60 mail packs. We will look at the included inserts. 35 (of 60) had nothing else in the pack aside from the letter, reply and Business Reply Envelope. Years of testing tells us that adding a thoughtful lift or insert often will increase your response. Like I tend to say: more can often be more… BUT… not always. 22 (of 60) packs had 1 insert. 8 (of 60) packs had 2 inserts. 3 (of 60) packs had 3 inserts 1 (of 60) packs had 4 inserts. So what types of inserts were included? There were: 6 were labels of some type. 4 ..read more
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"Dale's" mail
BLOG - Agents of Good
by Your Name
9M ago
If you’ve seen me (John) speak, you know that I refer to your donor “Dale” quite a lot. Who is Dale? Well… she’s your donor of course. If you are Dale in Canada, you can get between 30-40 appeals in a pretty busy week. In the USA, that can shoot up to 40-50 appeals a day depending on the time of year. “Dale” is also my beloved mother in law. She kindly keeps all of the mail that she gets and passes it along to me on a regular basis. And when I get to look at is always fascinating. For all the conference bravado and agency chest thumping, this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where yo ..read more
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Santa Claus and the caribou
BLOG - Agents of Good
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9M ago
If it seems weird to be mentioning Santa Claus in the spring time, well please do not stress… it is weird. In the context of direct response and the importance of appropriate messaging at the right time - I am completely missing the mark - HOWEVER… Please bear with me. I want to share a little story that I pulled out of “Creative Deviations”. Creative Deviations is a new book coming out this May that shares many fundraising lessons, tons of examples about direct response, some pretty good stories and lots of direct marketing fundamentals. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on the rele ..read more
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12 reflections and shares from ’21 - part 2
BLOG - Agents of Good
by Your Name
9M ago
The other week I posted three reflections from this past year. And today I want to focus on three more and a few things we learned along the way. Here are entries 4, 5 and 6: 4. Camp Ooch We’ve shared various case studies about Camp Ooch over the last two years in a number of presentations. For a few reasons. Camp Ooch is a camp, that up until 2019, sent kids who had, or have, cancer to camp, for the summer time. Then (waves hands around) all of this happened. Covid. Ugh. Basically overnight, this organization lost the ability to meet the core of its mission. Sending kids to camp. But using cr ..read more
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A Covid success story and its six key takeaways!
BLOG - Agents of Good
by Your Name
9M ago
2020 was a wild fundraising year. #AmIRight? Anecdotally I can say that those organizations and their fundraisers who put in their best effort to tell great stories, clearly asked for something in a thoughtful way, did extremely well last year.  I wanted to take a moment to share our top 6 takeaways from a year end appeal we worked on with our friends at St. Thomas Elgin Hospital Foundation. Spoiler - it did 515% better than the year previous. That’s not a typo. Special Agent Rachel Zant and I worked with Amanda Balaban, the STEGH Annual Giving Specialist on this appeal.  Here a ..read more
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Effective year end emails
BLOG - Agents of Good
by Your Name
9M ago
There is this strange misconception that email is cheap. It might be “FREE”. It might be “CHEAP”. But it can cost you a lot if you don’t use it properly. For a lot of our smaller shop colleagues and friends, it might be the only real way to get their fundraising asks out into the hands of donors this year. No problem! Let’s make sure we are making it as effective as possible. I just finished reviewing an “e-blast” (BARF) from a colleague that they wanted to send out to all of their donors. And I thought I would share a few of my suggestions that I gave to them with the hopes it might help you ..read more
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