Direct Mail Fail – Alumni Acquisition Package

The minute I saw this envelope I knew the package was doomed.  The OE (outer envelope) had a huge flaw. Unfortunately, the OE wasn’t the only thing wrong with this piece. There were three significant problems with this appeal. 1. Dirty data. This mailing is addressed to my wife. Sort of. You see, my wife’s […]

13 Ways To Engage Major Donors

Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that big gifts from major donors are on the decline.  Their analysis of recent studies confirms giving patterns of wealthy donors today mirror those of the Great Depression.  It’s likely this means you may have to delay or scale back expectations for major campaigns. But more than anything, it means […]

63 Fatal Fundraising Mistakes to Avoid

With competition for donors and charitable dollars at an all-time high, and the economy still keeping many donors on the sidelines, it’s more important than ever to focus on getting things right. These 63 fatal fundraising mistakes can have significant negative impacts on your fundraising results (both short and long-term). If you’re like me, you’ll […]

Instinct vs. Insight

As a fundraiser you’ll have a lot of people offer you suggestions on how best to do your job.  Well intentioned board members, executive directors, program staffers, volunteers and supporters will, at one time or another, probably all give you suggestions (requested or not). Most of these suggestions are based on instinct.  Unless the person […]

Qualifying major gift prospects is a lot like fishing…

I’m not a big fisherman, but I know enough to get by. Here’s why I think fishing and qualifying major donor suspects is similar… When you’re out in the boat with your line in the water you could go for hours without getting even a bite.  But when you finally do get that bite, everything […]

Communicating differently via mail with middle and major donors (Tip #14)

Middle and major donors require a different treatment in the mail than your regular donor base.  These donors tend to prefer longer letters.  Closed-face envelopes, higher quality paper, First Class postage (both on the outer envelope and the reply envelope), and true handwriting are all techniques you should use when soliciting middle and major donors […]