Published on April 13, 2016 by

When NOT to copy the competition

When NOT to copy the competition

Last week, I got an email from a client sending me a direct mail sample from another charity. She suggested we do something similar. I opened up the sample… and did a facepalm. It was not the most terrible piece of fundraising communications I’ve ever seen… but it broke all the rules of effective direct response. And not in a good way. The problem is the client thought it was good simply because their much bigger competitor did it. ...

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Published on April 6, 2016 by

A thank you letter for EVERY donation? Really?

A thank you letter for EVERY donation? Really?

A client asked me last week whether you need to send your donors a thank you letter after EVERY donation they send in. Because the donor admin department doesn’t want to send gift acknowledgements and thank you letters after each gift. “It’s much more efficient to just send one annual statement at the end of the financial year. We save money and it’s much less hassle.” So let’s think about this. ...

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Published on March 24, 2016 by

Are you making this mistake with your fundraising strategy?

Are you making this mistake with your fundraising strategy?

When we start working with a new client, we often work on direct mail because that is a pressing need for the non-profit or charity. When we begin talking to clients about fundraising strategy… this is NOT primarily about direct mail. Although direct mail is a tactic used in the execution of a fundraising strategy, it’s not the strategy itself. It’s not about taking a calendar of direct mail appeals and newsletters and calling that a strategy. Developing a fundraising strategy is first about looking at your organisation’s strategic plan. Yes, the overall strategic plan. Not the fundraising strategic plan. ...

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Published on March 16, 2016 by

June’s Jargon Watch

June’s Jargon Watch

As a copywriter, I hate jargon!

Yet jargon crops up in fundraising appeals, direct mail, donor newsletters, websites… and just about anything else written for donors!

So I’ve decided to start a regular spot on my blog called June’s Jargon Watch. The aim will be to highlight these atrocities of the English language. And also suggest how they could be rewritten so the donor – and the average person – can actually understand them. ...

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Published on March 9, 2016 by

Why fundraising appeal metrics suck

Why fundraising appeal metrics suck

 

During a masterclass with Roger Craver of The Agitator fame, one of the things he talked about was the reliance on lag indicators.

Lag indicators are things like appeal metrics – income raised, response rate, average gift.

Or the traditional RFM (recency, frequency and monetary value) model often used during data selection for an appeal.

But these measures only give you a snapshot of what donors have done in the past. They don’t give you a view of how they will behave in future.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t track these things. But relying on them alone to make ...

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Published on March 1, 2016 by

How the poverty mentality is killing your fundraising

How the poverty mentality is killing your fundraising

 

I believe the poverty mentality of non-profits is one of the biggest killers of fundraising success.

It makes it impossible to succeed in fundraising because the overarching goal of the organisation becomes:

How can we spend as little as possible?

Instead of:

What do we have to do to achieve our mission?

Below are three major warning signs of the poverty mentality.

If your non-profit exhibits this kind of behaviour, I strongly suggest some mindsets need to change.

You urgently need a shift from a poverty mentality to a stewardship mentality.

You may be familiar with the parable of ...

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Published on February 23, 2016 by

How your simplest offer pulls record donations

How your simplest offer pulls record donations

 

If your appeal results aren’t so hot, one of the first things to look at is your offer.

Charity J, one of my clients, had the best Christmas appeal for over 5 years – up on the previous year by 25%.

And I put it down to one thing (and the client agrees).

A simple offer.

What was most surprising about it was that I didn’t have to suggest it. I didn’t have to get the fundraising staff to wrangle with programs and field staff over whether the offer was “representative” of their work.

And what was this offer?

...

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