“You are the Winner”: Fundraising lessons learned

blogpic_1-18-16A old friend of mine who works at a Catholic charity shared a letter he received from a donor several weeks ago. It read, in part:

“Last year I sent out letters to about 12 charities that I gave $50.00 or more to, and requested they acknowledge my letter regarding not sending any mail during the year with cards, crosses, statues, holy pictures and other little gifts I could not use.

“All  of you replied you would do that for me. I only wanted one receipt for the donation I gave once a year, [and] nothing more, as I was getting tons of stuff that I could not keep and also cost you guys money anyway.

“Well ‘YOU ARE THE WINNER’, they kept sending me things all year. Since you did not, [you] get a donation of $600.00.”

Lessons learned? Respect your donors’ wishes, listen to what they are saying, and act accordingly to satisfy them.


The Creative Equation

homecard5_secondaryEngineers use a term called the angle of repose to describe the steepest slope at which an object remains at rest before gravity takes over and the object begins to fall downhill. Wallace Stegner used this notion in his wonderful novel of the same name to describe the movements of an American family.

Malcolm Gladwell uses the notion of a tipping point in his wonderful book of the same name, to define transformative social phenomena, and describes it as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point…”

Relative to nonprofit direct response marketing, it strikes me that it is the creative strategist’s job to use all the powerful tools in the fundraising toolbox to tease out a donor’s angle of repose or tipping point. Specifically, to understand the moment she decides to take action.  That action could be financial contribution, activism, Continue reading