Web Exclusive: How to Survive Donor Complaints
May 1, 2007

If you were an evil person (which, of course, you aren’t), and you wanted to do serious harm to a nonprofit organization (which, of course, you don’t), here’s an easy way: Find out about its most successful fundraising effort, and complain about it. To really make it work, recruit a few friends to complain about the same thing. Just a handful will do the trick.


Striking a Communication Balance
April 24, 2007

A few months ago we started running a section in the magazine called BlogSpot, where we feature four to five of the more thought-provoking or poignant posts from some of the fundraising blogs out there. As it turns out, I read so many great blog posts, it’s getting harder and harder to get them all in the magazine. So, we’ve decided to run BlogSpot here in the Advisor as well, featuring one or two recent greats. If you have any suggestions for ones I miss or don’t subscribe to, e-mail me at Without further ado … Last week, Jeff Brooks wrote on

How to Love Fundraising
April 1, 2007

Imagine a baseball team full of players who don’t like baseball. To them, baseball is distasteful. A shady exercise that’s necessary to fill the stadium. The rules annoy them. They play with gritted teeth, resentful every minute. When they sit in the dugout, they complain about the fans who put them through this degrading spectacle. They dream of better fans — ones who will show up without demanding baseball.

Night of the Brand Shamans
March 9, 2007

Something strange often happens when nonprofits turn their attention to branding. Here’s how you can avoid the nightmare branding sometimes unleashes on unwary organizations. You can sense the evil magic, tingling like static electricity. That’s one sign brand shamans are at work in a nonprofit. Other signs include: * Rampant scheduling of focus groups. * Nonstop chanting of the word “standards,” like a spooky mantra. * Appearance of spiral-bound books filled with pictures of ways the logo should not be used. “Branding” has swept through the nonprofit world. This should make communication better. But it hasn’t turned out that way. Branding actually has done more harm than good.

Fundraising Peers Offer Tips for Success
February 27, 2007

What makes top fundraisers and fundraising consultants successful? Two weeks ago we ran the first installment of our Q-and-A with winners of FundRaising Success’ 2007 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards in which some of them answered this and other questions. Here, our second and final presentation of their responses: What are your keys to success? Katya Andresen, vice president of marketing for Network for Good and one of our Fundraising Professionals of the Year: The key to all marketing — and fundraising — is simple: always, always, appeal to the perspective of your audience, not your own. As a mentor of mine [Sharyn Sutton, founder

Tips for Keeping Fundraising Vibrant and Exciting
February 27, 2007

Keeping tasks fresh and exciting can be a struggle no matter what job you do. Here, stars of the fundraising sector and winners of FundRaising Success’ 2007 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards share how they keep fundraising new and exciting. How do you keep fundraising fresh? Michael Knipp, chief copywriter/editor for Creative Direct Response, Rising Star: By always pushing myself to be innovative. There’s no point in getting up for work every day if I’m not proud of what I’m putting my name on. Kim Ruotsala, director of development for Food Bank of the Rockies, Top Women in Fundraising: You can’t rely on what worked in

Q-and-A With Award Winners
February 27, 2007

The winners of FundRaising Success’ 2007 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards are individuals in the sector — on both the nonprofit and consulting side — who enrich the sector in some way and/or embody important trends in fundraising. We asked our award winners to share some things about themselves: where they come from, geographically and professionally; where they want to be in the future; who inspires them; and examples of some challenges and accomplishments they’ve had. Below are Q-and-A’s with five of our winners: Ted Kohnen, assistant director of Planned Parenthood Online and a Rising Star; Tim Burgess, co-founder of Merkle/Domain and a

Donor Power!
February 1, 2007

Two events caught my attention recently because of their implications for all of fundraising. The first was a direct-mail appeal letter that provided solid clues about donor trust. The second was publication of a new book about who gives in America. Strategically aware fundraisers can glean valuable opportunities from both.

And The Winners Are ...
February 1, 2007

Please join us in congratulating the winners of our annual Fundraising Pofessionals of the Year Awards, as well as thanking them for their hard work and dedication. And if you think we missed someone, make a note for next year and be sure to nominate him or her.

Why People Give
January 16, 2007

What will motivate people to give to my fundraising campaign? This is a question you should be prepared to answer in an instant. It’s a question that demands a ready defense, a solid apologetic. And it’s a question you should ask yourself every time you review a fundraising strategy or creative solution. A few weeks ago, I sat down and reviewed some of the direct-mail appeal packages I had received in my home mailbox. It was quite a mixture of fundraising offers — appeals for political and public policy, humanitarian and social services, religious and cultural causes. Some of the appeals completely missed their