Face Hard Times Without Fear
January 1, 2009

If you’ve checked your 401(k) balance lately, you might have tasted that metallic tang in the back of your mouth that signals raw, animal fear. It’s not a nice feeling. It’s a feeling that can make you want to do something wild, like grab what’s left of your money and hide it in your mattress.

Don’t. Trust me — it’s totally uncomfortable. And the Mattress Plan is going to play even worse havoc with your retirement than the economy has.

Politics Won’t Affect Your DM Bottom Line
September 9, 2008

In a recent post on her Sue’s Muse blog, consultant Sue Wodward tells us, “In a recent research report completed by Merkle, a national database marketing agency … the 2008 election cycle should not have a big impact on organizations achieving their year-end fundraising goals.” The post continues: “The study cites that political campaign donors are typically younger, whereas a third of nonprofit contributors are 76 years of age or older. 75% of people who contribute to political campaigns are male vs. 42% who donate to nonprofits. Additionally, 50% of those who contribute to presidential campaigns have an income above $100,000 vs. nonprofit donors,

The Futility of Educating Donors
September 1, 2008

This fall, I’m starting 10th grade. It’s my third time. Sadly, only the first time through was recorded on my own transcript — I’m doing a lot better at high school than I did when I was in high school. These recent runs at 10th grade are as a shadow to my kids. You see, I’m kind of into education. It’s important. And it’s cool. It’s even fun, at times. But there’s one kind of education I’m wary of: educating donors. A lot of nonprofits put tons of energy into educating their donors. They make it a priority right next to raising funds. For

FS Gold Awards: Complete List of Winners
September 1, 2008

PACKAGE OF THE YEAR Gold: Habitat for Humanity International Special Development Appeal (Craver, Mathews, Smith & Co.) Silver: Rhode Island Community Food Bank Annual Review Brochure (DaVinci Direct) Bronze (Tie): Tuskegee Airmen — Charles McGee Campaign (Fundraising Strategies) CARE November/December World Report (Merkle) ACQUISITION (50,000 OR MORE MAILED) Gold: Utah Food Bank 2007 Thanksgiving Donor Acquisition (L.W. Robbins) Silver: Wildlife Conservation Spring 2007 Acquisition (Schultz & Williams) Bronze: Mail Call Hurts (Gum Version) (Fundraising Strategies) ACQUISITION (FEWER THAN 50,000 MAILED) Gold: Tuskegee Airmen — Charles McGee (Fundraising Strategies) Silver: Bidawee “Welcome” (SCA DIrect) Bronze: Adaptive Clothing Gift Tag Package (Fundraising Strategies) RENEWAL (50,000

Politics and Nonprofit Direct-Mail Performance
July 15, 2008

The folks at Merkle recently gave FundRaising Success and its readers a sneak peek at their new whitepaper, “Examining the Impact of Political Fundraising on Non-profit Direct Mail Performance.” In a press release announcing the results, Merkle Chief Strategy Officer Greg Fox says, “For most nonprofits, the direct-mail fundraising climate is far more challenging than in previous years, and it is becoming more difficult and expensive to acquire and retain active donors. “The slumping economy and the increased emphasis on presidential fundraising are often cited as primary reasons for weaker performance in 2008,” he continues. “In an effort to separate fact from fiction

Scary New Worlds
July 1, 2008

A few years ago, I jumped into the virtual world known as Second Life. I created an avatar that was much thinner, much prettier and decidedly more exotic than I am (she looked a lot more like Angelina Jolie than she did me), and I gave her a cool name. The fact that I don’t remember what it was should tell you where this is heading. When I finished the creation stage — voila! — there was Margelina (we’ll call her, in retrospect), tall and beautiful, and standing completely naked in this weird, other-wordly place that was rather dark and just a little menacing.

Coming Clean
June 1, 2008

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself (and, unfortunately, on everyone around me — but that’s another story). I hope you’ll agree (with the first part, anyway) when I fess up to the misgivings I’ve been having about some of our editorial content. I’m mainly talking about our weekly e-letter, the FS Advisor, and our newest e-letter, Giving 2.0. We’ve been rather short-staffed for what seems like forever, and I’ve been losing sleep (yes, literally — how sad is that?) over the fact that a lot of our e-letter content has been picked up

Take a Look Around
May 1, 2008

This month, as we turn our focus to the international face of fundraising, I’m turning over my column and a large part of the editorial planning for the issue to the charismatic, highly regarded Tony Elischer, who very kindly agreed to act as Guest Editor.

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

Advisor 04/08/08_Quote
April 8, 2008

“So I say to those tens of thousands of new nonprofits: Welcome to the profession. I hope you’re worth it!” — April 2, “Too Many Nonprofits? Let 85,000 Flowers Bloom!” by Merkle’s Jeff Brooks on the Donor Power Blog, where Brooks is discussing a recent post on the Charity Governance blog that points out that the IRS received 85,771 applications for 501(c)(3) status in fiscal year 2007.