Monday, May 28, 2012

Quote of the Week: "I'm Bored With My Fundraising."

I'll admit it, I like "high-brow" Masterpiece Theater costume dramas. One of my favorites is Bleak House that ran on PBS in 2007. Dickens' beautiful and droll Lady Dedlock was definitely bored - bored with the rain, bored with her husband, and bored with her life.

But can we afford to be bored with our fundraising. Not according to fundraising guru Jeff Brooks in a blog post entitled How to break free from boring fundraising. To quote, "Are you getting bored with your fundraising? Are you tempted to "get creative" and change everything?

Jeff continues and references a blog post from Kivi Leroux Miller's Nonprofit Communications Blog entitled Your Boredom is a Bad Way to Measure Success

Brooks states that the fact that you've grown bored with your fundraising has no bearing on whether it's time for a change. Actually, he maintains, "there's a slight correlation: If you're bored with it, you're probably on the right track:
Getting creative is NOT a high value goal in direct mail...The goal of direct mail is to find a "formula" that works and then do it until it stops working. You'll know you've succeeded if your appeals make money and you're bored with them."
He suggests concentrating on these key fundraising elements:
  • Finding new fundraising offers.
  • Discovering ways to encourage cross-channel behavior. 
  • Finding images that work.
I encourage you to review both Jeff and Kivi's blog posts. Unfortunately, some nonprofit executives question, ignore, or even scorn these recommendations. Ignore them at your own risk. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What At Your Charity Is Broken?

Seth Godin is an amazing thinker. Here is how Wikepedia describes him:
"Godin believes that the end of the TV-Industrial complex means that marketers no longer have the power to command the attention of anyone they choose, whenever they choose. Second, in a marketplace in which consumers have more power, he thinks marketers must show more respect; this means no spam, no deceit and a bias for keeping promises. Finally, Godin asserts that the only way to spread the word about an idea is for that idea to earn the buzz by being remarkable."
You can't be remarkable if your actions and processes are broken. 

The attached video was recorded at the Gel 2006 conference in New York City. Gel is short for "Good Experience Live", and is a conference and community exploring good experience in all its forms -- in art, business, technology, society, and life.

At Gel, Seth railed against the world's indifference at fixing things that just don't work. He claims just some of the reasons that things are allowed to be broken include these corrosive elements:
  • Not my job
  • Selfish Jerk
  • The world changed
  • I didn't know
  • I'm not a fish
  • Contradictions
  • Broken on purpose
Watch this video. You'll probably laugh a lot -- and wince a little.

Then ask yourself, "What are we doing that is clearly "broken"? (How easy is it to make a gift online? How fast do we send out thank-you letters? Does one size (fundraising appeal) fit all? Are our communications, newsletters, emails, press releases, etc. all in techno-speak, acronyms, or a language code only we understand? Is everything we do "donor centric"?)

If it's "broke", you must fix it. 

There are 1.5 million non-profits in the US and a new nonprofit organization registers with the IRS every 15 minutes. If you don't have it fixed, someone else will.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quote of the Week: Scarcity and Abundance

I am sharing another great post by Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer at the Acumen Fund. It is about the concepts of scarcity and abundance. He says:
It is so easy to experience what we feel we lack.

There's never enough time or enough money.

We could do it if we just had a little more access, a little more support.

I'll start my new business soon, I'm just not quite ready.

I'll start blogging as soon as I come up with a few more ideas.

I'll take that big leap once it becomes just a little clearer what the other side looks like.


Abundance comes when you start practicing abundance. It's a decision, an attitude, a state of mind, and a practice.

I know I have to work on it each and every day. And it is work. But I keep at it.

What a critically important concept for charities and fundraisers. Think about it. Who wants to fund scarcity? What is "richer" than an abundance of ideas, optimism, affirmation, and certainty? It is a state of mind, an attitude, an outlook. 


Let's all work on it -- and practice it everyday.