Archive by Author

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 […]