Top 5 blog posts of the month
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
Here are the 5 most-read Future Fundraising Now blog posts in the month of August: I hate and admire this scammy direct mail envelope Pinky-out fundraising: When "rules" confuse you What happened to Stupid Nonprofit Ads? One big secret that unleashes relevant fundraising Every fundraiser needs a flair for drama Looking for some really good (and specific) advice for your fundraising? Book a FREE consultation with Sean Triner of Moceanic. Sean knows his stuff, and can help you find your way forward ..read more
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I hate and admire this scammy direct mail envelope
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
Not fundraising, but classic direct response mail. There’s a lot going on here, most of it meaning little or nothing. It looks “important,” and it stands out with all its empty bluster. I bet it does well, despite the ridiculous, scammy thing it’s selling: an employment regulations poster, the kind required to be posted at workplaces, for $120. The poster that’s available for free from the government. Every direct mail envelope has just one job: to get opened. Not to be clever. Not to be beautiful. Not to make it completely clear what’s inside. Just to get opened. And weirdness like this ofte ..read more
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Every fundraiser needs a flair for drama
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
Serena had cancer, but now she’s well. That’s a story, or at least the outline of a story. But is it a story you’d eagerly drop whatever you’re doing to read? Not really, right? Unless you know Serena personally, it doesn’t promise much. That headline/outline reveals a happy ending, so there’s no tension. No “what happens next?” The dark early part of the story is only hinted at. The happy resolution brings no real sense of relief or victory, because there’s no pain or danger to overcome. Could this story grab your attention? I can almost guarantee it could. If the storyteller had a flair for ..read more
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One big secret that unleashes relevant fundraising
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
Why do donors give? It's not because your organization is superb (though that helps). They give because they have a calling. And your organization is a tool for them to pursue that calling. So says a great article in Nonprofit Pro: Every Human Being Has a Calling. Check it out: ... every human being on the face of the earth has a calling. Call it a voice or an inner drive or motivation; or call it a special purpose.... There is something that draws every human being to do something for others. Recognizing this fact is really the foundation of successful fundraising. It can lift you, the fundra ..read more
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Pinky-out fundraising: When "rules" confuse you
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
You see it frequently: someone drinking daintily from a teacup, their little finger pointing straight out. Why would anyone do that? Not because it's comfortable or easy. And it certainly looks odd. But it's common, because many people believe it's the "polite" way to hold your teacup. According to those care about such things, pinky-out is an impolite way to hold your teacup. Why is an awkward, odd-looking, and against-the-rules way of holding teacups so common? I have a theory: People have heard there's some kind of rule governing what you do with your little finger; they expect etiquette t ..read more
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What happened to Stupid Nonprofit Ads?
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
Whatever happened to Stupid Nonprofit Ads? It’s a long-running series on this blog with 49 posts, going all the way back to the beginning, in October 2009 But it’s been awhile since the last time. December 2019 to be exact. That’s pre-pandemic! So is Stupid Nonprofit Ads over? Maybe. I don’t see Stupid Nonprofit Ads as often as I used to. I focus on a very specific form of stupid: High-concept, high production-value creative that is born from arrogance, nurtured by ignorance, and made possible by the insecure egos of nonprofit executives. (Also, it nearly always uses ineffective media, mainly ..read more
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Are you ready for another election year?
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
Sigh. Next year is another presidential election year in the US. All that noise, bluster, and distraction. It’s tiring. But is it bad for fundraising? Analytical Ones isn’t worried. See the post Election Year Giving. Let’s just go straight to the chart: This shows September through December giving for a large and varied group of organizations for ten years, starting in 2013. There are two presidential election years in there (2016 and 2020 -- both contentious and noisy). Can you see those election years among the cluster of lines? If those elections had lowered response, the yellow CY16 and t ..read more
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Do you dislike your fundraising?
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
6M ago
It’s okay if you do. Maybe even good. From Seth Godin’s blog, the secret to success in fundraising (and many other endeavors: “I don’t like it.” Knowing this secret and using it can instantly rocket you from an okay fundraiser to as highly successful one. The secret is to not care whether you like the fundraising or not. Your like or dislike tells you nothing useful. As Seth put it: “It doesn’t resonate with me” is not the same as “No one will like this.” Once you internalize this truth, you are free to pursue success without chains around your ankles. You will raise lot more money. Which I th ..read more
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5 magic words that will boost fundraising results
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
7M ago
You’re a good writer. Want to be even better? Use magic words. Like those from this excellent post at the Bloomerang Blog, at What Are Some Foolproof Phrases And Words For Successful Fundraising Appeals? You. This is how you make the story you tell about the donor and her opportunity to do something great. Fundraising that skimps this word often is about how amazing the organization is. Nice, but it’s not why donors donate! Because. An amazing “trigger word” that helps move people toward action. Find ways to use it. Thanks. People love to be recognized. Thank them when you ask them. And not j ..read more
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Winning donor newsletter formats [Newsletter Tuesday]
Future Fundraising Now
by Jeff Brooks
7M ago
Newsletter Tuesdays: A series about doing more with your donor newsletter. I’ve done a lot of donor newsletters, and I’ve tested a lot of approaches. Here’s what I know... Newsletter format musts Mail your newsletter in envelope. Don’t make it a self-mailer. That may cost less, but a self mailer gets lower response. This is important, and supported by a lot of testing. Include a reply device. Omitting a reply device will cut response in half. Return envelope. A few extra cents, but don’t skip it! Color? It used to be that full color newsletters provoked donors to complain about “wasted mone ..read more
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