Webinar Follow-up: Gary Green on Choosing and Using Fundraising Software
May 27, 2008

Earlier this month, FundRaising Success partnered with technology-solutions provider Advanced Solutions International for a webinar titled “Choosing and Using Fundraising Software: Tips and Tricks to Demystify the Process”. Presenters included Gary Green, vice president for technology at the National Kidney Foundation; David Drinnon, pastor and director of information technology and Web sites at the Second Baptist Church in Houston; and Dan Germain, senior executive, strategic business development, at Advanced Solutions International. During the webinar, attendees submitted questions for our experts to answer. We got to many of them, but here are Gary’s answers to some of the ones that weren’t addressed. Q: How many

Tips to Improve Online Fundraising
May 20, 2008

Web site architecture and design can significantly improve your online fundraising success. In the session, “How You Can Dramatically Increase Your Fundraising Success by Improving Your Website’s Information Architecture and Design” at the Kintera 2008 User Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, attendees were given tips to effectively evaluate and utilize Web site architecture and design to boost online fundraising. Here’s a quick summary: 1. Help people find and do what they want quickly. Effective information architecture and design is reflected by intuitive, easy-to-use navigation. A Web site with high usability navigation helps visitors, regardless of the type of information they are

Digging Into E-newsletters
May 13, 2008

This article is excerpted from an M+R Strategic Services whitepaper of the same title. Read the paper in its entirety, along with its accompanying charts and stats here. “Urgent vote TOMORROW!” “Your account balance is overdue.” “Hurry, final sale ends tonight!” With so many other, potentially more urgent messages competing for your e-mail list members’ attention, what can nonprofits do to maximize the likelihood that their e-newsletters will be opened, read and clicked on? We recently conducted a review of five national nonprofits’ e-newsletters to help isolate some reliable ways to grab your readers’ attention and draw them in to your e-newsletter. Our survey

International Voices on Fundraising: How to be 15 Minutes Ahead
May 6, 2008

What follows is a short selection of ideas you can use to enable your nonprofit organisation to be just far enough ahead of all the others to ensure you have all the success you need. Please note: This list is very far from definitive. Use it to stimulate thoughts and ideas and add your own ways to be “15 minutes ahead.” Look not for big ideas and major breakthroughs. Instead seek out the easy wins and incremental advances that can be found in abundance whatever your field or fields of endeavour. All of what follows will not be relevant for each organisation. Adapt these

The Green Production Process: Environment-friendly practices that make social and economic sense
April 29, 2008

Felt-covered amphibians and marketing managers agree: It’s not easy being green. But that doesn’t stop Kermit or your friendly neighborhood production company from trying. “Green” is more than today’s favorite buzzword. Marketing managers should put an ear to the ground for the environmentally sound practices of the companies with which they do business. In doing so, they can save money, exhibit stewardship, reduce their carbon footprints and even improve ROI. Find where the green savings grow For many years, paper has been easy to recycle, so all direct-marketing production companies make it part of their plant processes. But direct-marketing managers need to go beyond

Going ‘New School’: Harvard Medical School Leaves its Stuffy Reputation in the Dust
April 22, 2008

Harvard University, including its medical school, carries an established and distinguished reputation. The classic, old-school images of the professor wearing a sweater vest and smoking a pipe or the young, poised student who speaks with perfect diction come to mind. Unfortunately, that same stuffy, serious reputation came through in the Harvard Medical School’s direct-mail campaigns. For years, the heralded medical school sent a very plain package to prospects for its Harvard Health Letter newsletter. It was precisely what one would expect from Harvard: a straightforward outer envelope that used its name to do the selling. Nothing flashy — actually, it was the antithesis of

Without Passion, Organizations Perish
April 22, 2008

You come to work lifeless. Everyone around you has that look in their eyes: a glaze that signals boredom, purposelessness, fatalism. “What am I doing here?” you ask. Good question. What are you doing? If you’re a leader or manager and you see this zombie-like state among your organization’s employees, there is something you can and should do about it. What are the key indicators that an organization has lost its passion, and how do you counteract it? Key signs that your organization lacks passion: * The leader is really not excited about what the organization does. In fact, many employees aren’t either. They

Spot Your Sneezers
April 15, 2008

In a true epidemic, studies show that there are always a few people who infect others at a much higher rate — the sneezers. For any number of reasons — hygiene, genetics, behaviour, etc. — these people manage to spread the disease all too effectively. They’re highly contagious! In a typical fundraising campaign, we see the same phenomenon. If you’re a fundraiser, chances are you’ve observed this yourself. Those people who know how to work their network, ooze charisma and raise way more money than the average? Those are your sneezers. Bottom line: If you’re smart, you’ll treat them differently. No, I’m not

Ask the Experts: Vendor/Client Relationships, Part II
April 8, 2008

A direct-mail provider in the Chicagoland area recently posed a question about an experience he had with a client organization. We had several fundraising pros tackle the question and ran a number of responses last week. This week, a few more. My company partners with many nonprofit organizations. Several of them annually ask us for donations back. We make it known that our policy is to review what we have done for organizations in December, and if a company wants us to make a donation they may [ask us], in writing, at that time. About six weeks ago, one of these nonprofits contacted us