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Ten Commandments of Copy & Design Part II

December 1

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You Still Can’t Risk NOT Reading This! (Continuing on with a quick wrap up of DMAW’s Ten Commandments Lunch & Learn featuring Tom Gaffny and Steve Fleshman.) Among the Commandments according to Tom and Steve is NEVER break a multi-page letter with the end of a sentence. Entice the reader to turn the page and read on. Much like I hopefully enticed you to read this second blog with the way I ended the first blog by starting but not completing one of the Commandments. Commandment Number 6 – Whack Them Over the Head with an Interrupting Thought – Up Front. “Up front,” is the key term here. This doesn’t mean suddenly in the middle of your letter or email change the subject. That would not be good. It means ...Read more


Ten Commandments of Copy & Design Part I

November 28

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You Can’t Risk NOT Reading This! Did you decide to read on? Good. You’re already on your way to improved fundraising results by just knowing these Ten Commandments. (A quick wrap up of DMAW’s Ten Commandments Lunch & Learn featuring Tom Gaffny and Steve Fleshman.) Commandment Number 1 -- It’s Not All About YOU! Sorry. But it’s not. As Tom explains, “99.999999999% of your audience is not standing by their mailbox anxiously waiting for your fundraising package to arrive.” In addition: the average donor now receives over 50,000 marketing message a month. And that creates your challenge: You have about 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention and get them to open your carrier, even less to click ...Read more


My direct mail fantasy, and other myths

November 10

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  I've found the perfect direct mail donor. Her name is Gladys, and she gives to everything I send her, 100% of the time. But I’m not sharing her with you guys.  She’s mine. When Gladys gets a mailing from me, she does exactly what she’s supposed to do. When she sees my piece of mail in the mailbox, she plucks it right out. I think her heart skips a beat. She walks to a quiet place, where she won’t be disturbed. She gets in a comfortable chair. She turns off her phone. And when she opens the package? It’s magic. She pulls everything out of the envelope, knowing exactly what to read first. And she pours over every word.  If I write something extra clever in the 5th paragraph, she smiles. If I’ve somehow ...Read more


11 Commandments of Fundraising Design

November 2

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    I look in the mirror, and I start to think I LOOK as old as Moses, but that’s where the comparison seems to end. Though I do have close to 30 years in the industry, so I guess I have a few things I can share in the upcoming DMAW Lunch & Learn session on November 16th. Sure, designers are natural smartasses. Well, at least I am. So when Tom Gaffny of Tom Gaffny Consulting came up with the title, 10 Commandments of Compelling Copy, I just had to make mine 11. Are there actually 11 commandments of fundraising design? There are actually a LOT more than 11, but the 11th one I will be sharing is my favorite—and I truly hope you will come to this Lunch and Learn with Steve (that’s me) and Tom, so I can ...Read more


Google Analytics and Ecommerce: Learning the Value of your Website in Dollars and Sense

October 24

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When I sat down to attend the DMAW’s Lunch & Learn, led by the Harrington Agency’s Chief Digital Strategist Adam Ruff, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the seminar (which I was happy to discover was a working session) would cover getting the most out of Google Analytics, but to what degree? I won’t lie, there were moments where some terms were lost in translation, but overall, I took away many insightful tips. My biggest takeaways: Ecommerce is the Holy Grail of Google Analytics. The power of Ecommerce can also be best described in Adam’s terms: along with Google Analytics, Ecommerce is the “peanut butter and jelly of website donor strategies.” It tells you what is and isn’t working and gives you ...Read more


The Donor Who Keeps on Giving—How Often to Appeal to Your Monthly Givers

September 29

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At the recent Bridge Conference, I ran into a colleague who asked me the question that many nonprofits grapple with: How often should you ask your existing sustainers for more money? We know that monthly donors are a good source of revenue, but if you aren’t asking for extra gifts during the year, your ‘single’ revenue could go down. How often to appeal to this group, however, can be somewhat of a loaded question. Every organization is different in where they are with their monthly donor program—some have 2% of their donors giving monthly, while others are fortunate to have 20% or more monthly donors. Unfortunately, other than individual organizations’ results, there are not that many statistics (yet) on monthly ...Read more


Lights, Camera, Action: Turning Views into Donations

September 22

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Views and likes are everything nice, but do they really help drive donations and web traffic? According to See3 Communications CEO Michael Hoffman, those likes and views don’t mean much if they don’t turn into action—and that means you have to be reaching the right people. During the DMAW co-hosted webinar “How to Create an Impactful, Reliable Video Strategy,” Hoffman explained that we need to change how we think of video in the fundraising world and move away from these vanity metrics. The first way to do that is to question if video is the right fit for your organization. Video is a tool, Hoffman said, and like all marketing tools, it needs to fit in with your overall communication strategy and goals. Hoffman took ...Read more


Google Analytics & Ecommerce – The Peanut Butter & Jelly of Website Donor Strategies

September 14

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  Do you have the tools to make your digital donor strategies a success but just need some additional expert advice? On September 28th from 12 Noon – 2 PM at SEIU, Washington, DC, we are going to rock your CRM world – with actionable information gained from data analytics. Chief Digital Strategist at the Harrington Agency, Adam Ruff will show you how to make the most out of Google Analytics and AdWords – to save you time and put a dollar value on every page of your site. As a digital marketing guru helping nonprofits advance their digital fundraising practices, Adam is sharing his lessons from the field at the DMAW September Lunch & Learn, Learning the Value of Your Website in Dollars and Sense – A Working ...Read more


MAXI Madness Strikes Again at National Harbor

August 25

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It was a star-studded afternoon as Direct Marketing’s top fundraising experts and their guests gathered at the elegant Gaylord National Hotel at Washington D.C.’s National Harbor for the 38th Annual Marketing Awards for eXcellence and Innovation – the MAXIs! The MAXIs have become one of the industry’s most coveted prizes over the years because of their strict judging requirements based upon the most important numbers we track as an industry. And more than 200 people were on hand to see the 16 Bronze, 27 Silver and 10 Gold MAXI winners receive their awards and enjoy a show filled with the corniest of corny direct marketing jokes—hosted by the lovely and talented Eva Bowie of Garrett O’Brien and the guy some people have ...Read more


Three Steps to a Better Performing Website

July 27

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  Why do your competitors’ websites continuously outrank and seemingly outperform your own? It’s a question many organizations may find themselves asking. But thanks to the relative open nature of the Internet, we can grab glimpses of their digital strategies—and see what’s working. In this post, we will briefly examine steps your digital team can implement today for results tomorrow. From a competitive perspective, we can monitor keywords, backlinks and page count.   Keywords On the Internet, keywords describe the content on your site and make it possible for your audience to find you via search engines. They are the natural byproduct of authentic storytelling on a website or landing page. You ...Read more