11 amazing fundraising truths discovered by new writers

We asked two new fundraising (and very successful) writers who have been doing some very great work what they know about fundraising that's making them succeed.

Here's what they told us:

  1. Write as one person connecting with one person.
  2. Avoid the word "we" -- unless it very clearly means you the reader and I the writer.
  3. Start your first draft with this phrase: I'm writing to you today because...
  4. Use the word you a lot.
  5. Articulate the fundraising offer early and often.
  6. Tell a story of need, not success.
  7. Ask clearly for money. (Don't hint around!)
  8. Write at a 6th grade reading level.
  9. Include a P.S. and restate whatever is the most important thing in your message.
  10. Have a deadline, and mention it often.
  11. Keep the organization out of the way -- make it about what the donor can do.

If you're new to the work, or feel intimidated by it, this list can push you way up your learning curve, and fast!

Program #110

Play: 11 amazing fundraising truths discovered by new writers (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Or subscribe via iTunes here:

Time: 24:29

Fundraising is about so much more than money

Steven shares his short poem, "A Benediction for Fundraisers" (based on "Christ Has No Body" by St. Teresa of Avila [1515-1582]).

We hope this very brief podcast inspires you to love the important work we do when we motivate donors to give.

Program #109

Click the link to play: A Benediction for Fundraisers, or right click and "save as" to save the file for later.

Time: 3:24

Engagement fundraising -- how you raise the big bucks from the happiest donors

This is a powerful and super-informative interview with Greg Warner, founder of MarketSmart who also hosts a great podcast called Engagement Fundraising.

The secret to accelerating your fundraising program is this: find the right level of engagement and giving for every donor, especially:

  • Those who will leave your organization a bequest.
  • Those with the capacity to become mid-level or major donors.

How do you discover this? Some combination of science and magic?

Or just ask them?

You'll love Greg's energy and passion as he describes all the love we're missing by not asking -- engaging with -- donors.

Program #108

Play: Engagement fundraising -- how you raise the big bucks from the happiest donors (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Time: 23:10

How to conduct interviews that get you the fundraising stories that stir your donors' hearts

We all know how important it is to tell great stories in fundraising. Those stories almost never drop out of the sky! We have to go and get them.

In this quick discussion, you'll get some great interviewing tips, including:

  • Know what you want to get what you want.
  • Dealing with language barriers and working with translators.
  • "Lead the witness."
  • The "Columbo" technique.

And more. Don't miss this opportunity to collect the best stories.

Program #107

Play: How to conduct interviews (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Time: 8:28

3 things that are probably wrong with your nonprofit website

We've looked at a lot of nonprofit websites. More than is good for our mental health, frankly.

And we've found three things to be wrong with nearly all of them:

  1. Your website doesn't present some kind of need that the donor can meet.
  2. The idea of giving is not clear and strong.
  3. You've created it to make your leadership and board happy.

We'll show you how to fix these common issues and transform your website into the fundraising vehicle you want.

Program #106

Play: 3 things that are probably wrong with your nonprofit website (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Time: 13:06

How to use photos in fundraising

Take note of this:

A picture is worth a thousand words. So choose your pictures carefully!

We take a look at the ways photos can emotional depth and measurable pull-power to your fundraising ... or undermine your message entirely!

A good fundraiser knows when to use "negative" images and when to use the positive ones we prefer. Find out in this episode the rhythm and balance of images that motivate donors to give. And to keep giving.

Program #105

Play: How to use photos in fundraising (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Time: 9:29

Does your fundraising subtext tell donors they matter, or that they don't?

What's the subtext of your donor-communications stream? That is, what's the overarching message they're getting, even though you might not be saying it out loud?

For many organizations, it's:

  • We've got this.
  • We're taking care of the problem.
  • You can partner with us if you like.

But for the really effective fundraisers, the subtext is more like this:

  • There's a problem.
  • We're looking for great people like you to help solve it.
  • Are are helping solve it!

This is the basis of donor love. The big message you communicate with them.

We'll show you how to change your subtext into one that thrills and involves donors -- and keeps them giving.

Program #104

Play: Does your fundraising subtext tell donors they matter, or that they don't? (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Or subscribe via iTunes here:

Time: 21:01

The right way -- and wrong way -- to thank your donors

A lot of nonprofit thank-you messages say something like this: "Thank you for being our partner...."

That's about as thrilling to the donor as telling her she has nice elbows.

Donors don't give in order to be our partner. They give to have a positive impact on the world in some specific way. And that's what you should thank them for.

Not for what they did in their relationship with you. It's another way to put yourself in the donor's world and not your world. Which leads to better results every time!

Program #103

Play: The right way -- and wrong way -- to thank your donors (right click or "save as" to save the file for later).

Or subscribe via iTunes here:

Time: 8:46

MUST-LISTEN Interview with Scott Harrison of charity:water

Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water (and a fan of this podcast) reveals some of the thinking behind this innovative nonprofit that came on the scene 10 years ago and his virtually re-written the fundraising playbook in many ways.

Get the inside scoop on:

  • How charity:water takes its donors on a journey -- every time
  • How they manage and market their promise that 100% of a donor's gift goes to the field
  • The power of "productizing" (which anyone can do!)
  • Charity:water's biggest challenge and how they're tackling it

We learned a lot from Scott. You will too!

Program #102

Click the link to play: Interview with Scott Harrison of charity:water, or right click and "save as" to save the file for later.

Or subscribe via iTunes here:

Time: 39:05

Two super-common errors that can kill your fundraising

There are two opposite impulses that almost all fundraisers fall prey to at some time or another. They are:

  • Educating donors
  • Abstraction

They are guaranteed response-crushers. And the temptation to do both are powerful.

With real-life examples, we'll show you how to avoid both errors and keep your fundraising strong.

Program #101

Click the link to play: Two super-common errors that can kill your fundraising, or right click and "save as" to save the file for later.

Or subscribe via iTunes here:

Time: 16:19


Jeff Brooks is fundraisingologist at Moceanic. Steven Screen is co-founder of The Better Fundraising Company, and a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year award from FundRaising Success magazine, which surprisingly led to him getting fired. Between them, they have nearly 50 years of experience helping excellent nonprofits raise money for their causes. That's a lot of years, but they aren't all that old, really. Yet.




      

      


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