Archive by Author

Is “donor-centricity” really worth more debate?

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Or is this fundraising’s equivalent of “Which works better? Round tires or square?” Chapter 1 > Let’s be clear. Ian MacQuillin, chief brain at fundraising think-tank Rogare, is not challenging the efficacy of donor-centricity. That efficacy is reported by leading creative agencies around the world. Anecdotally. But in heaps. As a dead-serious academic, Ian’s JUST […]

Historians argue

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Which did more damage to society? The Black Plague? Or charity watchdogs? Nonprofit boards now FEAR spending money … even when the point is to MAKE much more money, as organizations most definitely can. How do you pile up $350,000 in donations every month using Facebook alone? By spending $50,000 on sponsored posts and ads, […]

To every new fundraiser…

“The struggle for justice is a marathon, not a sprint. And the biggest contribution that any one of us can make is maintaining a lifetime of involvement until we win those struggles.”— Kumi Naidoo, former Greenpeace International ED; via Reinier Spruit, 101Fundraising blog 1. Successful fundraising is hard work. Even unsuccessful fundraising is hard work. […]

A gifted fundraising consultant seeks to move into full-time copywriting: What do I recommend?

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Dear Tom… “Can I succeed as a copywriter?” she asked. My opinion and some book recommendations follow… I’ve admired Tina Cincotti’s talents for a long time. That’s her in the photo, grassing with her best pal, Penny. Recently Tina emailed me, excited and doubtful, her hopes spinning like a pinwheel: “Can I do it, do […]

Letters with Friends: Someone asks. I opine.

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Hiring a digital-comms specialist? What makes a great one (I’m looking at you, Jennifer Pyron, Arkansas Children’s Foundation)? & why IS “visual” writing SO important to strong reader/donor engagement? Big news… Sally wrote. We are doubling our communications department by hiring a Director of Multimedia Communications. I am looking for someone who can recognize a […]

HOAX!!!! “Raising awareness” unmasked

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Despite prayers for an easy solution from board members worldwide, this perennial favorite doesn’t raise money, studies find “We need to raise awareness!” demands the board chair. “If only we had more visibility in our community,” laments the ED, “our fundraising problems would be over.” Chasing “increased visibility” is a well-meant remedy. Boards and bosses […]

To PS? Or not to PS?

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Crazy, what people get tied up in knots over…. To quote Professor Siegfried Vögele, author of the influential Handbook of Direct Mail, “Over 90 percent of readers read the ‘PS’ before the letter. It is the first paragraph, not the last.”[1] This discovery means your PS can be one of the hardest-working elements in your […]

What DO donors want from you?

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[photo l-r: SOFII’s Joe Burnett; Damian O’Broin, founder Ask Direct; Canadian John Lepp, co-founder Agents of Good; Mark Phillips, founder Bluefrog London; in Damian’s favorite Dublin pizzeria, scheming during Summer School 2016] Bluefrog London has studied this very question for years. Mark Phillips’ report follows, below. >> Just in time for Giving Tuesday and the […]

Sad photos: They work, but….

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[Left: Oxfam built one of the world’s largest relief agencies with “in your face” newspaper ads like this. Today, those ads would be branded “poverty porn.” Image courtesy Mark Phillips’ Pinterest collection of Old Charity Ads]   Reducing a life to a single sorry snapshot: Are fundraisers feeding a negative stereotype of “those people”? It’s […]

F-Bombs Fall on Dublin

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I’ve never attended a more loving, passionate or pissed-off professional gathering. It’s been a year of curated new fundraising conferences. This one felt awesomely revolutionary. —— Who, what, when, where, why To mark the 10th anniversary of Ask Direct, Damian O’Broin’s fundraising agency in Dublin, Ireland, decided to host a conference. Bombs away I don’t […]