Charities that get straight A's in 7 things reap the rich rewards of contented donors.
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Simone and I spoke at two conferences in New Zealand, in late April and early May. The Red Cross Red Crescent Asia Pacific Fundraiser's Network invited us to their first "Hui" (gathering), in Auckland. The lovely Fundraising Institute of New Zealand hosted us for three days of training and listening in Nelson. Read the blog.
From my shameless, unfiltered blog...
We all have them. They mean different things.
In the early 20th century, BLOG WRITES, the average lifespan was between 30-45 years. In medieval Britain, it was between 20-30 years of age. And now the CDC says an American-born male such as me will on average live for 79 years.
I assume I'm about in the middle. My father was. Maybe he was a bit above average; he had a freakish constitution that rejected disease. That's half me. My mother was susceptible to a bunch of things I'd have to be real friends wid chew to reveal. So I'm physiologically and genetically in the middle.
I "accused" Simone of spending too much time planning for "post-Tom." We're mortal. Ain't it grand? Immortals don't make art, at least not the same kind.
On the ever-fascinating topic of how to write fundraising direct mail
I'm not trying to persuade someone to make a gift when I write direct mail. I'm trying to entertain them -- by making them feel good, by stirring their emotions, by telling them tales, and by showing them vivid mental pictures. In exchange, they make a gift. The higher the entertainment value of the direct mail package, the more dollars raised. More on my blog.
People write such nice things...
Boston and Austin
TX dubs it the "Ahern style"
Katie Kozin writes, "Thank you very much for presenting last Thursday at Women in Development of Greater Boston’s Brown Bag lunch! Your presentation was extremely well-received, and we have heard great feedback from many of the attendees. And, as I think we mentioned to you, it was the most well-attended presentation we’ve had all year long! The framework you provided for our members to use while looking at their own donor communications materials was easy to understand and so valuable. I look forward to utilizing your ideas in my own work. In fact, when I got home from my desk I was relieved to see that the direct mail piece I just sent to print had 3 'yous' in 5 lines."
Sharon Reynolds writes from Austin, TX, "The [Children's Medical Center] Foundation [of Central Texas] had a staff meeting this morning where I shared your critique of Miracles. We are becoming huge fans of yours!! They all appreciated your advice and we hope to someday come back to you for another critique. Someone asked a great question -- have you worked directly with any children's hospitals that are using the Ahern style in their donor communications?" Oh, yes.
For the 2nd year running...
CASE calls Ahern "Faculty Star"
For 2010 presentation at CASE/NAIS national conference in NYC
Norma J. Walker, VP for Professional Development, CASE, wrote on March 26:
"It is...a special pleasure to congratulate you for being designated as a 'Faculty Star' by virtue of the feedback from conference participants. It is a clear indication of your expertise and teaching abilities, and we are pleased to share this accomplishment with your peers by acknowledging you in an upcoming issue of CASE CURRENTS Magazine.
"The 'Faculty Star' designation is based on combined scores of 4.5 or better (on a 5.0 scale), and it places you in the top echelon of all CASE faculty in three categories: knowledge of subject matter, presentation skills, and ability to respond to questions."
...in this. When you do this...
When you do this, you're printing money in the basement. You simply cannot flatter a donor too much. In fact, "flattering donors too much" is right at the top of our job description, because flattery stimulates more revenue. It's not a cynical ploy: trust me, they're not gulled by your artful dodges. They know flattery for what it is. But they don't reject it. They like the feeling. You like the feeling. We all like the feeling. Flattery reminds us, in case we'd forgotten, that we're worth something. That we're important. That feels really good.
Sometimes you just want a fresh mind...
Tom asks Merlin for the answer
Help, please, my 7-year-old pal...
Dear Merlin (I emailed), I am developing a metaphor. I need information about how GOOD is the glue that barnacles use to attach themselves to things? Is it the best glue in the world ... or just mediocre? If you have such information, I will be most grateful.
Merlin dictated back, through Marci, his mom: Barnacle glue is good enough to hold planes that go 4 inches out of the atmosphere but not good enough to ground a rocketship going to one of the new planets...