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APRIL 2015
Upcoming Workshops


Click here to download a list of workshops offered by Tom Ahern.
Recent Newsletters
15.6: How to write a healthy direct mail appeal...
Things you think about
15.5: Why a 95-year-old woman suddenly sent... a $500 check
Sell HOPE. See where it gets you.
15.4: Your new donors await on Facebook.
Early adopter makes fortune online. Plus major gift prospecting 2.0.
15.3: See, boss, this stuff works
Suzie E. was kind enough to write. Maybe you've shared her initial frustration ... and her bird-loving triumph!
15.2: Low grade levels speed up comprehension.
It's just good customer service. Talking down.
Reprinting Material
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!
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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
Social Information
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 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.
"I'm just glad if I can help the club..."
Jeff Brooks spills book beans
AHERN judged "not total loser"
Don't get me wrong -- there are some truly excellent books about fundraising that have helped me in a big way, and you should read them. Anything by Tom Ahern or Mal Warwick is well worth your time, and will make you a better fundraiser. There are others too. But Orbiting the Giant Hairball transformed the way I approach life as creative professional who wants to make a difference. more
The Hampton Roads Community Foundation...
Sally gets awards!
"Best of all, our bequests are on the upswing...."
Got a delicious note from Sally Kirby Hartman, Vice President of Communications at Virginia's Hampton Roads Community Foundation: "I want to thank you for your help in the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s bequest initiative. ¶ Last night we won the Best in Show award from the PRSA Hampton Roads chapter. We also won a first-place award in the tactics category for our 2010 Yearbook and a first-place award in the community relations campaign category for the bequest initiative. ¶ It is rare that a nonprofit wins a campaign and Best in Show awards. Usually ad agencies take those honors for big clients. So, thanks for helping make our Bequest Initiative a winner. Judges were PRSA members in Tucson. ¶ As a side note, last month our newsletter won a silver award from the Council on Foundations excellence in communications contest. We were competing against community foundations our size across the country. ¶ But best of all, our bequests are on the upswing, which enables us to do more great work in our region. I appreciate you!"
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Copyright © 2005-2015 & ∞, by Tom Ahern and Ahern Donor Communications, Ink. All rights reserved. Cool portrait photo: Jonathan Feist
10 Johnson Road, Foster, RI 02825, Phone: 401-397-8104, Email: Twitter handle: thattomahern.