5 Blog Posts That Every Fundraising Team Needs to Read

The number of really good fundraising blogs out there can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the Bloomerang list of the top 100. Seriously, a top 100 list, just for fundraising blogs!!

A lot of these bloggers have great, highly insightful content that nine out of ten times hits the mark. But sometimes I don’t find their work to be particularly useful. That’s not because it isn’t well thought out or executed poorly, but rather because the topic it addresses isn’t relevant to me at that moment.

When I run into content like this I put it in my Read Later spreadsheet. I’m not facing the particular problem their blog post is addressing, but I know it’s a damn good article and it will be useful someday in the future. Great, I’ll past that link in Read Later and move along.

Now, the problems we’re facing today are probably vastly different from the problems you’re facing. Which is part of the reason why I want to open up and share with you some of the content that has been hiding in my Read Later spreadsheet. It’s my hope that some of this content will help you with something you are going through right now.

1) Denomination Rules: How much should we ask for?

By David Allen

When was the last time you asked, “how much should we ask for?” Odds are high that if you’re in fundraising you’ve either posed this question to your colleagues or to yourself. With good reason, nailing the right ask amount can be the difference between receiving a donation and not getting one at all. And, when considering major gifts, it can be a difference of thousands of dollars.

In this blog post David Allen of Development for Conservation discusses a few general rules of thumb when it comes to ask amounts. David provides great insights in all of his blog posts.

I’ll ask anybody for $1,000. Many people spend that on designer coffee and internet service every year. Got a smart phone? – you’re capable of entertaining a $1,000 price tag.

Therefore, by extension, I’ll ask anyone for a five-year pledge totaling $5,000 – assuming it’s a major gift for a program or project they have fallen in love with.

Read Denomination Rules: How much should we ask for?

2) Blogs vs. E-Newsletters: What’s Best for Nonprofit Communication?

By Claire Axelrad

Does your organization have an e-newsletter? If you answered that question yes, then you might want to read through this blog post.

Claire’s honest and insightful approach to the tricky subject of nonprofit communication is only one part of the reason why I love this blog post. The other? How thorough she is. Clairification is full of great content, but this article in particular is a good one.

The problem with most e-newsletters is that, while they may have a story or two, they’re generally replete with other self-promotional stuff – announcements, history, facts, stuff to purchase, appeals for money, and so forth. There may be so much stuff your readers have little interest in, that they fail to even notice the stories. And that’s if they open your e-newsletter at all.

E-newsletters are expendable from most folks’ perspective. Information overload is today’s modus operandi, and when people are busy they get into delete mode.

Which brings me to the other benefit of blogs…

Read Blogs vs. E-Newsletters: What’s Best for Nonprofit Communication?

3) 3 Year-End Annual Fundraising Tips You Haven’t Thought About

By Gail Perry

Okay, okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking, “it isn’t the end of the year, it’s March, what is he doing adding this blog post to the list?” You’re right, it’s nowhere near the end of year, but that doesn’t take anything away from Gail Perry’s interesting approach to year-end fundraising.

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s never too early to create a plan. And although Gail’s blog post focuses on 3 tactics you can implement during your year-end push, they’ll actually be helpful for taking a step back and determining overall strategy.

I can’t believe what I see – too many smart organizations are sending out only one appeal letter. They think that is their entire year-end annual campaign!

Let me be clear: One appeal letter does not a campaign make!

You need a sequence of appeals and most of all, you need to send follow-ups.

Here’s the advice from direct mail guru Mal Warwick, who has written over 22 books on nonprofit direct mail fundraising…

Read 3 Year-End Annual Fundraising Tips You Haven’t Thought About

4) Fundraising Frustrations: Some donor experiences to learn from

By Mena Gainpaulsingh

It can be refreshing to experience a change of perspective. In this blog post, Mena Gainpaulsingh of Purposeful Fundraising provides exactly that.

By channeling the experiences of a few of her friends who donate to charity we get an interesting reminder of the experiences donors have when giving to nonprofits. These lessons are a great reminder of what we can get better at in how we handle and cultivate relationships with our donors.

Ultimately, donor stewardship is about communication. Interact with your donors, regularly, and make it easy for them to get in touch. Respond to their needs and help them to fully understand how they are making a difference in the world as a result of their support of your cause. As a result, you can build strong, long-lasting partnerships where together you can change the world.
Read Fundraising Frustrations: Some donor experiences to learn from

5) 25 Copywriting Tips for Fundraisers

By Kyle Crawford

Writing is an art form. Well-executed copy can compel action, persuade thought and shape the way you approach a situation. Poorly written copy can do just the opposite, it can make you queasy, confused and concerned.

Kyle Crawford wrote an excellent (and very long) article on re:charity that touches on 25 tips for more successful fundraising copy. Although some of the tips are obvious (number 13 for example is to edit your copy) others are more out of the box. Regardless, the blog post is a worthy one to have on standby for your next copywriting assignment.

For all of the advancements in evaluation and social impact and data analysis, the truth is that the giving experience is still an emotional one. The numbers can bolster your case for giving, and they can play an important role in establishing trust, but a successful campaign must target donors’ emotions. You need to stir up the right emotions and then guide your donors to a state of enthusiasm and readiness for backing your work.

Read 25 Copywriting Tips for Fundraisers

A Question for You

Whether it’s today or sometime in the future, I hope that these articles will help you solve a problem or two that you might face. And, with that in mind, I have a question for you:

Can you share the best fundraising-related blog post you’ve recently come across? Although, just like you, I’m short for time and wearing many hats here at Fundraising Report Card®, I’d love to add your suggestion to my Read Later spreadsheet. Leave a comment below, and let me know. Thanks in advance!

Author: Zach Shefska

I oversee the Fundraising Report Card, a division of MarketSmart. The Report Card is a free tool that empowers fundraisers to make data-driven fundraising decisions. It’s pretty neat.

1 thought on “5 Blog Posts That Every Fundraising Team Needs to Read”

  1. Thanks for including my article here Zach. I’m honored. And I would like to add that, indeed, the Fundraising Report Card is pretty neat. It’s such a wonderful service; those who haven’t checked it out, should!

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