Archive by Author

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 […]

Can You Pass the 20 Questions Quiz? MORE IMPORTANT: Can Your Boss?

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It’s free. It’s downloadable as a PDF. It can be used for party games at staff and board meetings! It’s exclusively about donor communications … and today’s best practices. It’s world-sourced and recent. Top experts from Europe, North America and Australasia contributed their latest data and wisdom. And, as you check your answers, you’ll learn […]

Going From Red Ink to Black

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With its new emphases on donor-centricity and “let’s get real” authenticity, the donor newsletter at Arkansas Children’s now produces far better results Donor newsletters at many (most?) hospitals are no better than public relations. The core message: “Look how great our medicine is.” Which is predictable. Boring. Self-aggrandizing. Obvious PR. And pays no due tribute […]

Why, if you could hire her, your charity should crave Lisa Sargent to advise you on donor comms

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L-r, the MQI team goes audience crazy: Sandie Collette (designer), Lisa Sargent (writer/strategist), Denisa Casement (director of development/strategist) LAST ISSUE, a reader asked me to comment on this dispute: Recently I heard a webinar by Lynne Wester where she vehemently defended the idea that a true donor thank you cannot include an ask, even a […]

Here’s the weird thing about capital campaigns and their case statements…

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Your university, hospital or other charity spends all this time and money on a case for support. Months of C-level and board work go into the development of that case—and sometimes years of strategic planning. Committee review of the case hurts worse than lunchtime at a school of piranha. Yet … still … miraculously, eventually […]