Jeff Brooks’ Top Five Must-Read Blogs for Fundraisers
Blogs are a great way to initiate and encourage open dialogue about important topics affecting fundraisers or important issues affecting an organization. Jeff Brooks, creative director at Seattle-based full-service advertising agency Merkle/Domain, says the company’s own blog, Donor Power Blog, which he produces and maintains, came about out of its desire to promote the idea of donor-focused fundraising.
“The blog seemed like an ideal way to have it out there and be talking to the people who care,” he says.
Brooks says some of the things he’s learned to create a more engaging blog since starting his in the summer of 2005 are 1) to create less journalistic, more ad-like headlines and 2) to keep posts on the shorter side, under 300 words if possible.
“You need to sell what you’re saying just like we do in direct marketing,” Brooks says. “Cause it’s essentially a direct marketing kind of medium. People are very often reading you in RSS feeds and may only be seeing your headlines or your headline plus the first 25 words, so you can’t assume that you have a captive audience.”
On that note, for fundraisers and consultants interested in launching a blog, Brooks stresses that it’s important to be a “real person,” with a “genuine, human voice” on a blog.
“The ones that sound like a mouthpiece for a company lack credibility, even when they have valuable content. When you have a sense of it pitching a sale all the time, I don’t think that helps at all,” he says. “It’s going to be more powerful if it’s just one fundraising professional with strong opinions talking.”
Brooks says he likes blogs that are edgy and not afraid of controversy and stating things strongly. He subscribes to nearly 150 blogs, most of which deal with general marketing issues. His top five recommendations for blogs that all fundraisers should be subscribed to are:
1. Creating Passionate Users (http://headrush.typepad.com). Brooks calls this a “user power” blog that talks about connecting with people in a way that makes them passionate about their lives and the technology they use.
2. Don’t Tell the Donor (http://donttellthedonor.blogspot.com). Brooks says he likes the voice of this blog, whose author is an anonymous nonprofit professional. The blog’s tag line reads, “News and opinions from the world of nonprofit fundraising … ripped from the headlines and passed as gossip through development offices … these are the stories you might not want to tell the donor.”
3. Getting Attention (www.gettingattention.org). Authored by nonprofit marketing consultant Nancy E. Schwartz, this blog offers ideas and advice to nonprofit communicators to help them better their organization’s marketing.
4. Katya’s Non-profit Marketing Blog (www.nonprofitmarketingblog.com). This is a blog by Katya Andresen, vice president of marketing at Network for Good and author of the book “Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes.”
5. Church Marketing Sucks (www.churchmarketingsucks.com). Part of the Center for Church Communications, this blog is, as described in its tag line, “the blog to frustrate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ.” Brooks says he likes this blog for its edge in critiquing church marketing efforts. “It’s got a real point of view,” he adds.
Jeff Brooks can be reached via www.donorpowerblog.com
For more of his insights on nonprofit blogging, see “Blog Heaven” in the January issue of FundRaising Success magazine.