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Upcoming Workshops

Click here to download a list of workshops offered by Tom Ahern.
Recent Newsletters
15.2: Low grade levels speed up comprehension.
It's just good customer service. Talking down.
15.1: It's up to fundraisers to know how donor communications work best.
Your boss isn't the problem, necessarily
14.21: Tom's big prediction for 2015
Baby boomers bulldoze all-time fundraising record
14.20: "Gift of joy" + Dr. Frankl's pursuit of purpose: "Reciprocity" goes both ways
They gave you their hard-earned money. What can you give them back, to fulfill the psychological dictates of "reciprocity"?
14.19: Name the #1 distraction in fundraising? Bosses, bless their hearts
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?
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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Complaint of the week
Book 3, Chapter 9, Verse 47
uspeak2fastikentgrabyrnumba When you phone and leave a call-back # on voice mail, I tell people on my message, Speak slowly. Enunciate clearly. As if you were starring in The King's Speech.
The devil's hiding in the itty-bitty details
On the menu
New entrees for the hungry fundraiser
What's your pleasure? A hospice that raised 17 times more income from an annual holiday appeal, by doing one thing different? An annual report that went into full-blown story mode and brought the donor along on an incredible journey of healing? A newsletter from a children's hospital that stimulates very little donor income, with an analysis of what might be wrong?
Ahern ventures to Vancouver (lovely)
Case presentation added
FUND 1215, the Essentials of Fundraising, adopts my presentation re: the case for support
Siobhan Aspinall writes, "I am a big fan of your blog and am writing to request the use of one of your presentations for my introduction to fundraising class." You betcha. Where? "The British Columbia Institute of Technology's School of Business in Vancouver."
Year's worth of help for as little as $2,160
Tom Ahern: Discount consultant
New idea: You don't need a lot of me to help you seriously increase major gifts and general donor retention
I'm a major-gifts communications specialist. Attract just one more major gift, thanks to my advice; and you'll pay for my services many times over. It's why I have clients like the New York Community Trust (the Big Apple's very own community foundation); global charities like Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children; and hometown faves like Houston Grand Opera. Having an expert on your side improves results. Retain my services for 12 months, and I will knock 10% off my normal billing rate. You can use the hours any way that works for you: an hour a month for a year, 3 hours a month for 4 months, 12 hours in a single month.
Will... with visionaries
...(darn) cannot work with functionaries
Welcome to the world premiere of my Five Realizations approach to writing a case for support, a case for support that will (and here's the difference from the usual, ordinary, typical, commonplace case for support) effectively sell donors on your...
> projects
> programs
> endowments
> initiatives
> buildings
> renovations
> and shockingly bright ideas.
     I developed this Five Realizations approach for a major research university.
     But the same Sacred Way to Donor Nirvana applies equally well to all kinds of charities. Actually, small and young charities sometimes "get" this faster than large institutions; where even a bad day is a good day, relatively speaking, because the volume of gifts can become a narcotic. If you're an old-guard charity making millions by swinging at low-hanging fruit decade after decade, why improve? Yes, certainly, idealistically, you could do more good if you had more money. But institutions tend to hire functionaries; people who are capable of keeping the status quo treadmill going. Is there vision within? Often, at the mid-level; powerless but yearning: visionaries who ultimately grow dissatisfied with an institution's pace/lack of change. I speak with hundreds of dynamic, kinetic, impressive fundraisers a year. My guess? Institutions extinguish far more stars than they nourish.
     The 5 realizations? Patience, my love. Coming soon.
Universities and colleges: Hey, you....
I should be in residence, really
A solid week of on-tap consulting can fix lots of your donor comm problems
In a week I am flying off to another country, where a research university hopes to amp up its fundraising performance. They do well enough. They don't always do great. I have prepared two presentations. One is for the deans. One is for the development staff and the writers. Both say pretty much the same thing: respect your donors, sell the impact, kill jargon dead. This is a city with good barbecue. I'd love to stay a week, instead of overnight. So, if you bring me in? We can meet almost anywhere that has wi-fi: Starbucks, brew pub, McDonalds, you name it. Informal very very good.
Be brief, be brilliant, be gone
Shortest case ever?
$1.5 million goal requires just 256 words of explanation
In lush tribute to the saying, "A picture's worth a thousand words," TMI - The Episcopal School of Texas has published a capital campaign brochure that uses just 256 words (plus some gorgeous photography) to make its case for support. When you throw in Q&As and a site plan, the word count inches up to just past 1,200. Still, it's a model of concision. Download PDF (view in spreads, two-up). Credits: Steve Herlich, chief advancement officer at the school; designer, Greenpoint Design; key photography, pro Ralph Mawyer, with a cover-shot assist from parent, Mary Ellen Herrera.
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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.