The Ins and Outs of Writing Profiles
October 6, 2009

Compelling profiles —of constituents, volunteers or donors — are powerful tools that a nonprofit can use to motivate donors and other supporters by illuminating its mission, demonstrating success and providing public recognition.

Unfortunately, a lot of these profiles — which appear in newsletters, on Web sites, and in PR/marketing materials and annual reports, among other places — are just boring and fall victim to what Kivi Leroux Miller calls the "tedious bio syndrome." Here, she recommends steps organizations can take to create powerful profiles that go to work for their causes.

Copywriting for the Post-Recession
October 1, 2009

The recession that has dragged us down for the better part of two years can't last forever. So here's an important question: As much as you've been wishing and praying for this crisis to finally go away, what have you been doing to prepare for it?

You Talk, Donors Listen
October 1, 2009

The human mind is like one of those kitchen gadgets featured in late-night infomercials. It beats, twists, separates, slices, dices and otherwise transforms everything that enters it. You gave someone a carrot, but before you know it, she's turned it into a bouquet of julienned strips.

Don’t Write Crappy Content
September 1, 2009

Remember "Green Eggs and Ham," the famous children's book by Dr. Seuss? Sam wants X to try his new breakfast. When X refuses, Sam keeps trying to serve it up in exciting new ways — on a boat, on a plane, in a house, on a train — until finally X tries it and thanks Sam for his persistence.

Elements of a Great Fundraising Offer
September 1, 2009

When you raise funds, you're selling a "warm glow." Fulfillment of a religious or social obligation. A sense of significance. The most tangible thing you have to offer is a tax break, which most donors actually don't care about very much. To get right down to it, you're selling almost nothing.

12 Tips for Bulking Up Your Offer
August 18, 2009

A strong offer can make all the difference in helping your organization raise more money from prospects. In his session at the DMA Nonprofit Federation's 2009 New York Nonprofit Conference last week, Tom Gaffny, principal and founder of Tom Gaffny Consulting, examined fundraising offers to demonstrate what works and what doesn't.

Blending the Art and the Science
August 1, 2009

Direct-response fundraising is the perfect playground. It's a blending of both art (something I highly value but readily admit to having no proclivity for) and science (Data! Testing! Measurability!). Direct response feeds both sides of the brain and provides continual opportunities for thinking outside of the box while allowing us to control the amount of risk.

Three Laws of Fundraising Dynamics
July 1, 2009

We’ve been hard at work here at Easier Said Than Done Laboratories on the holy grail of fundraising — a new Unified Theory of Fundraising. I’m happy to announce some breakthrough discoveries: Three Laws of Fundraising Dynamics that will give you the theoretical platform for great fundraising.

There Must Be 50 Ways …
July 1, 2009

Remember the story of the boy in Holland who noticed a hole in the dike? Fearing a leak could flood the entire town, he shoved his finger into the hole, potentially avoiding a major disaster.

Using Storytelling to Engage and Motivate Constituents
June 2, 2009

Storytelling — "social-networking tool 1.0" — is the single most powerful communications tool organizations possess, says Andy Goodman, co-founder and director of The Goodman Center and author of the book "Storytelling as Best Practice.” In an NTEN webinar in April, Goodman shared tips for how organizations can tap into the power of narrative in their storytelling, noting that the whole point of narrative is to pull readers in, get them engaged and set them up to do exactly what you're asking them to do.