Which approach raises the most funds: (1) a well-argued appeal that explains the problem and offers statistical proof; or (2) an emotional appeal that tells a sad story? In short, which is better: stories or statistics?
Feel free to reprint, with attribution, articles from this website and Ahern's Love Thy Reader e-newsletter. Many already do. Please let your readers know that they can SUBSCRIBE to my e-newsletter for FREE. Thank you!
Jeff Brooks dropped me a line... "Is it true you have a clause in your contract that clients can't change copy? I had dinner with Kivi and she told me that. I find it a bit hard to believe, but it sure would be a blow for fundraising sanity!" Guilty as charged. Read it now!
How-To E-News Issue 9.13
The sales formula, not the opera
This oldie but goody makes writing a direct mail letter faster and far easier. When you're having a "stupid day" (I have lots), the AIDA sales formula can rescue you. Read it now!
How-To E-News Issue 9.12
You're selling forest.
You're not selling trees.
Charities worry: "How do we explain our overhead?" The real question is, "Why bother trying?" Donors give to the mission. If you're getting great results, feel free to spend their gifts as you see fit. (Though Charity Navigator might disagree.) Read it now!
How-To E-News Issue 9.11
A gentle nudge in the right direction
Dr. Sargeant finds that the mere mention of what another donor gave leads to copycats & increased giving.... Read it now!
New in the training lineup...
Elevator Speech Therapy
When boards don't know what to say
We can fix that. Ask about my work with boards at the New York Community Trust and the Maryland Humanities Council, and with deans at the University of Calgary.
I've upset some people
Speak truth to power? You know those people spit, right?
"Second-guessing" rouses raves
This is one of those: "Based on a true story...." I had a new direct mail client. They wanted the best work possible. Then the "internal team" took a look. And struck their predictable Alpha Male roles. I told the full, ugly story in my e-news, generalizing where appropriate. This particular issue of my e-news is my annual contribution to the mental health of fundraisers. It exposes a common nonprofit problem -- the second-guessing of professionals by non-professionals who are their superiors. It costs NGOs billions of dollars a year, I suspect. For those "internal team" members who were outraged .... lord, I hope so. I know I was.
"I could gush about you for a while..."
Reader praise for Seeing Through a Donor's Eyes
How-to book gets an honest workout
"I could gush about you for a while but instead I’ll cut to the chase. I just finished a Case for Support for my nonprofit. There’s never been a written Case for Support here. There’s no budget for consultants or copywriters. There’s no one else to do development, PR, marketing, etc. except me. This was on my To Do list for 3 years. Now it’s not. At first, I was totally overwhelmed. Then I followed your process from “Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes.” Step-by-step. And I am SO PROUD of what I did. It’s not as tight or conversational as I’d like but I’m effing PROUD to show it to my boss! There’s no way I could have done it without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you." -- Brenda H., August 2011
As the UK sees it....
19th "Most Influential"?
I'd just like to thank....
The July 2011 issue of civilsociety.co.uk released its annual list of "50 Most Influential" and there I am, on the same page as fellow Yank, Jeff Brooks. Honored. Thrilled. Humbled. Undeserving. Come on, people, really? I know whom to thank, too: Mark Phillips.