Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison is the former chair of Russ Reid and Omnicom’s Nonprofit Group of Agencies. He served as chair of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.

The New 80/20 Rule: How Much of Today's Budget Are You Investing in the Future?

Those of us in the direct-response fundraising profession are living in the age of walking a tightrope. That’s especially true when we wrestle with budgeting issues. Let me suggest we begin with two key insights: (1) Who nonprofit fundraisers should target to maximize revenue, and (2) how and where to best communicate with the target audience to accomplish this...

Think You Can't Afford PR? You Can't Afford Not to Do PR

It wasn’t that long ago that public relations was something most nonprofit organizations thought they couldn’t afford. They tried to get by with PR volunteers instead of a paid public relations professional staff. Some nonprofits confused public relations with advertising, and tried to get it pro bono from local ad agencies...

6 Nonprofit Leadership Learnings

Just because we are experts at fundraising doesn't mean we are great managers or leaders. Yet most of us who excel in our profession end up with management responsibilities—often with less training than we received when tackling our first direct mail appeals, websites or DRTV campaigns.

Big Data and Analytics for Nonprofits

Data has long been at the heart of direct marketing. In the nonprofit world, data allowed us to rent lists of people who had shown a propensity toward giving to causes similar to ours. On the cultivation side, data permitted us to choose which donors to mail based upon previous history and tailor messages to their interests. This smart use of data let us provide donors what they wanted rather than cluttering up their mailboxes with irrelevant offers. And it allowed nonprofits to raise more dollars at a lower cost to more efficiently and effectively feed hungry children, cure life-threatening cancer and support our wounded veterans.

Ice Bucket Challenge Was a Hot Idea

Did you take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Even if you didn’t, I’ll bet you at least talked about it. Sure, the crazy-viral, social-media-based fundraiser has its critics. But come on! It was creative. It was fun. It was engaging. It was nothing short of a phenomenon! Wow!

Helping Donors to Better Understand You

It’s time for us to help donors more accurately evaluate nonprofits as they choose organizations to support. Enter the DMA Nonprofit Federation's Nonprofit Dashboard.

Tear Down the Silos!

There are different types of silos that can harm your nonprofit organization. Do any of the following sound familiar?

Talking to Your Board About Direct Response

Direct-response fundraising is often counterintuitive, so in this rare case, otherwise successful board members can easily make costly missteps when trusting their non-direct-response marketing instincts.

Is Your Branding Helping or Hurting You?

Every time your brand guidelines insist you focus on hope instead of need, on complexity instead of simplicity, you risk undermining your fundraising and the future of your organization.

How to Succeed in Fundraising

Whether you work at a nonprofit organization or at an agency partner, would you like to know the secret to being more successful in your job and your career? Here are 15 steps on how to succeed in fundraising.

Giving Goes Both Ways

Giving is indeed transformational. But I contend that the transformation goes both ways. Clearly it benefits the recipient of a nonprofit’s programs in countless ways as illustrated above. But it also benefits the donor.

Doing What's Right

We operate thanks to the public trust. Countless hurting people depend on nonprofits. Countless donors entrust their resources and their dreams to nonprofits. We must never be afraid to do what’s right. As Dr. King pointed out, society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

A Blast From the Past: Innovation + Integration = Impact (June 2010)

We believe that successful nonprofits need a truly diversified fundraising program. Two reasons: (1) Just as we all need a diversified investment strategy for our retirement, nonprofits shouldn't put all their eggs into one fundraising basket, and (2) a strong, diversified fundraising program is one in which various channels will actually strengthen each other. The results are larger than the sum of the parts.