Otis Fulton, Ph.D

Otis Fulton, Ph.D

Otis spent most of his career in the education industry, working at the psychometric research and development firm MetaMetrics Inc., Pearson Education and others. Since 2013, he has focused on the nonprofit sector, applying psychology to fundraising and donor behavior at TurnkeyHe is the co-author of the 2017 book, ”Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising” and is a frequent speaker at national nonprofit conferences. With Katrina VanHuss, he co-authors a blog at NonProfit PRO, “Peeling the Onion,” on the intersection of psychology and philanthropy.

Otis is a much-sought-after copywriter for nonprofit fundraising messages. He has written campaigns for UNICEF, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen, the USO and dozens of other organizations. He has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, where he also played on UVA’s first ACC champion basketball team.

Income Inequality Is Impacting Your Nonprofit

There’s a potential silent killer of nonprofit revenue out there, going largely unnoticed. It’s income inequality, and we’d be wise to start paying attention.

'Peopling' Avoidance Creates Back-to-Work Issues

Turnkey runs many peer experience sharing groups for C-Suite social good executives. In those private rooms, leadership talks about struggles with workforce issues regarding where and how people work. Here’s what we’ve heard.

The Great Resignation Hits the C-Suite 

The Great Resignation has hit the C-suite — maybe yours. This phenomenon had been slowly percolating for years. Millennials, Gen X and Gen Z put “happy” at the top of their priority lists even before the pandemic. And, let’s be frank, we made fun of them.

Lifetime Value Starts With the Second Gift

The motivation that gets someone to take the first step to support an organization (donating or volunteering) is quite different from their motivation to continue to be engaged. We do not need any further proof of this than the lousy retention rates that nonprofit organizations suffer year after year.

Quit Calling It a 'Walk'

Our Groundhog Day conversation starts this way: “What activity should we pivot to right now?” We are going to make several arguments, most of which you will probably hate.

Why Disaffiliations Really Happen at Nonprofits

Chapter or affiliate, disaffiliations happen for several reasons that are spoken aloud. Typically, some significant change is a catalyst for the conversation. Often the change is toward unification, streamlining in some way, or a significant program change.

Community Building Is the Climate Change of Social Good

Community building is the climate change of social good. Building a community delivers future value as rewarding as the survival of humankind. Building and nurturing a community ensures your mission’s success.

How (and Why) To Make Organizational Alignment Happen

Lack of alignment can happen at any level because subordinate employees do not have the tools to see if their work aligns with the strategic plan. They may know their nonprofit needs to raise $14 million, but not the organizational goal of retaining more event participants and transitioning them to sustaining donors.

Save Yourself! Don’t Use ‘Donor’ as a Segment

We regularly speak with clients about how they talk to supporters to activate or “prime” their identities as people who support their organizations. We’re often asked if reminding donors that they are a “donor” or a “volunteer” is a good idea...

Holding Events or Building Communities — Where Is the Money?

We thought events were the point and that the event’s success would drive our success. Doing our business that way means we have to acquire 75% of participants each year. That path means we don’t retain many donors. In effect, we are letting our prospective constituents use the community clubhouse for a party, but we’re not making sure they move into the community...

6 Takeaways from GivePanel's Facebook Fundraising Benchmarks Report

We’re going to review the Facebook Fundraising Benchmarks Report 2020 by GivePanel. Let’s clarify what “Facebook fundraising” refers to. It’s probably exactly what you think it is: when someone on Facebook starts a fundraiser to support your nonprofit. But there’s some fine print here...

Easily Distracted? How to Become Indistractable

For the past few years, I have been wondering two things. First, is the use of my devices giving me bad posture? Second, are my devices hurting my ability to focus? The answer, of course, is yes to both. What to do about it? Being distracted is a behavior. It turns out, behavior is the result of a formula...

Taking Your Facebook Relationship to the Next Level

If the most you’ve done at this point is to ask supporters to start Facebook fundraisers, you’ve just scratched the surface. Your Facebook social fundraising strategy can start with this simple kind of ask, but then you need to plan the next steps. Here are six things you can do to take fundraising on Facebook to the next level...