Denny's Daily Zinger: Democrats! Yuck!
April 4, 2014

Jordan Kaplan wants money. His copy drivers—emotional hot buttons causing me to act—are anger, fear and guilt: Anger and Fear: … the Koch brothers spending tens of millions of dollars to trash President Obama and his allies … Guilt: …  I'm spending an unhealthy amount of time looking at spreadsheets to figure out if we're going to be able to give Democratic candidates the resources they need to continue building their campaigns. Now, Denny, my eyes are pretty bleary …

15 Odd Things That Make Direct Mail Fundraising Appeals Successful
April 1, 2014

The doctor I interviewed for a recent appeal was great. We got into this geeky discussion of recent neuroscience and how it can shape behavior. He uses it with patients, to keep them on their meds. I use it with prospects, to gently guide them to give. Still, he’s no direct mail expert. And he’ll be getting a letter to review, a letter I wrote, to be sent out over his signature. Is there room for misunderstanding? Oh, yeah. The person signing your appeal might wonder… “why does good direct mail sound so weird?”

When Personalization Goes Too Far
March 25, 2014

Gosh, for years I have been trumpeting the value of personalization and how important it is to securing the relationship. Knowing who your constituents are and what they have been doing with your brand is so critical to cementing loyalty. But sometimes it can go too far based on how you choose to use that information. In fact, sometimes it can be downright creepy. Yes, it is true. I have had to look my advice straight in the eyes and have been repelled with horror because someone used my information inappropriately. This really happened to me

Come Engage With FundRaising Success!
March 20, 2014

FundRaising Success held its first Engage Conference in Philadelphia last May, and it was a great success. So much so that we're bringing it back, and once again, it'll be held in Philly in the shadow of the Liberty Bell at WHYY in Old City on April 10.

Could Help Be on the Way?
March 1, 2014

How many times in my life have I offered to work for good causes that were in trouble? Pro bono. Free. I remember the development guy from Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences contacted me for pro bono help. I took him to lunch and regaled him with stories of the Who's Mailing What! archive of direct mail—over 200,000 mailings going back 25 years. I assembled a sampling of powerful control mailings from museums around the country and delivered them to him. My explanation: these worked. Let's pick out several we like and "steal smart."

Facebook Trumps Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube as King of Nonprofit Social Media Platforms
February 27, 2014

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform by nonprofit charitable organizations and trade associations, according to a recent survey. Eighty-two percent of responding associations said they are leveraging Facebook; while Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube were being used by 54 percent, 49 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Virtual, Inc., a technology-focused association management company, recently commissioned the online survey to examine characteristics and practices of nonprofit organizations. Responses were received from 266 nonprofit organizations of varying sizes, charitable groups and trade associations. Results differed according to group size and IRS designation.

Denny's Daily Zinger: Two Kinds of Charities: Good & Bad
February 14, 2014

Here's a sleazeball scenario. "Contemplate this only somewhat fictitious example: A "charity" is created to educate the public about the common cold. It hires a professional fundraiser to conduct a direct mail campaign to raise money. (Telemarketing can be easily substituted for direct mail here.) The direct mail copy provides a statistic on how many people annually catch a cold and includes the following tips on how to avoid it: Wear a hat, eat soup and avoid people who sneeze."

Wounded Warrior Project Purple Heart Control
January 30, 2014

Control mailings are controls for a reason — they work. And it's easy to see why the Wounded Warrior Project's Purple Heart direct mailer has reached control status. Joe Boland, managing editor of FundRaising Success, breaks down this control package from Wounded Warrior Project, highlighting all the elements that continue to make this mailer a…

5 Trends in Direct Mail Fundraising for 2014
January 17, 2014

I often get asked about what’s trending in direct mail these days, and so I thought I would give you some ideas of what we have been seeing during the past year. I have received many phone calls from clients asking about acquisition. It seems people have realized that while they were watching their budgets by cutting their mailing lists and eliminating direct mail, they were losing donors. There's more competition now than ever in fundraising, and if you are not communicating with your donors, then you can be sure some other organization is going to capture them.

PETA Offers a New Way to Help Animals
January 16, 2014

With American credit and debit card usage steadily rising during the past several years, according to a recent Federal Reserve report, nonprofits such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are increasingly putting their names/logos on credit cards.