SIGN IN

The Carrier’s Curse: Questioning, Testing, and Why Everything Plain Is Exciting Again

Raise your hand if you’ve been here: you’re mailing a package with a heartwarming case for support, copy that hits all your marks in two pages or less, all in a gorgeous, full bleed, four-color carrier. The package is great, the message is strong, and your lists are ready to go. You’re so proud of this piece, you even stick the carrier up on your office wall like your kid’s A+ science test on the fridge. In short, you think it is going to be your best campaign ever—until you get results. Cue removal of package from wall, into recycling bin (or, if this is really not your week, the fireplace). If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. At this year’s DM201 in Philly (and if I didn’t see you there this year, you’d ...Read more


Middle donors and the White House

April 5

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Are your middle donors suffering from middle child syndrome? Do they feel excluded, ignored, overshadowed by the over-indulged major donors and the high volume, attention-stealing low dollar donors?  Organizations are starting to shine the spotlight on middle donors, and rightly so.  The reality is middle donors account for less than 2% of all donors in our programs and yet generate upwards of 30% or more of annual revenue—all without receiving much attention or fanfare.  Middle donor programs are taking hold in nonprofit organizations. In the past three years, organizations with dedicated middle donor programs have seen the number of middle donors increase along with their revenue.  As we take holistic view ...Read more


Reaching donors when you don’t have an “Aunt Bertha”

February 4

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

I had the pleasure of attending the DMAW Annual Meeting and hearing from keynote speaker Nancy Harhut about how to hack the brains of donors, members, and other humans. It was fascinating! Nancy shared a story about where her interest in fundraising began – at age eight when, incentivized by a banana-seat bike prize, she was tasked with selling Christmas cards to raise money for her school. Her loving Aunt Bertha helped her favorite niece out by pestering her factory co-workers to buy cards. Aunt Bertha was Nancy’s secret weapon – and you better believe she won that bike! So, how do you reach your fundraising goals when you don’t have an “Aunt Bertha?” The answer: behavioral science. Yes, Bertha standing right in ...Read more


A mail donor and a digital donor walked into a bar…

November 28

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

If your first reaction to the title above is, “I don’t get it, is that a joke?”, then you likely were not among fortunate, dedicated marketers, who braved the region’s first snow dusting of the season to attend this month’s DMAW Lunch and Learn, “Digital First: Why Translating DM Content Just Won’t Cut It!” While the title above is not the set-up of a joke, it does set-up a concept that everyone who attended left understanding. That is, while these two audiences may share much in common, each is unique, and thus, each needs to be served differently. Our marketing bartenders for this fantastic educational event were: Kaitlin Juleus, Senior Communications Strategist at Blue State Digitial, Sarah Dunlap, Senior ...Read more


Key Takeaways – National Association of Charitable Gift Planners 2018 Conference

November 8

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Last month, I attended the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners Conference in Las Vegas. This is the premier national gift planning conference, with three days packed with presentations on all aspects of planned giving. I’ve been happy to see an increasing number of panels and discussions focused on marketing – the main driver for a successful program. Here are some takeaways: Worry when long-loyal older donors go silent In his presentation “Baby Boomers – A Very Special Generation or Just Typical Old People,” Russell James rightly called out the lazy thinking that marketers fall into by assuming that donors of the Boomer generation act differently than generations before them. In reality, all the ...Read more


Online Fundraising Best Practices for Nonprofits

October 26

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Best Practices and Bold Innovations: Recapping the Best of Bridge Lunch and Learn If you missed out on the 2018 Bridge Conference like me, I hope you made a point to attend DMAW’s Best of Bridge Lunch and Learn on October 18th! At this Lunch and Learn, one of the most popular sessions from this year’s conference was recapped by Kerri Kerr, Chief Operating Officer at Avalon Consulting Group, Myles King, Director of Annual and Digital Fundraising at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Laura Connors, Vice President of Membership at the National Parks Conservation Association.  Entitled Perennial Favorites: Annual Fundraising Campaigns, FTW!, Kerri, Myles and Laura held a discussion on best practices and ...Read more


Gain & Sustain: Tips for Long-term Growth and Success in Nonprofit Monthly Giving Programs

October 17

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

DMAW Sustainer Day, September 2018, was an opportunity to listen to experts from some of the most respected and relevant nonprofits in the U.S., including ALSAC/St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Humane Society of the United States, and The Nature Conservancy, answer questions and share success stories about monthly giving programs. The day was fast-paced, fun and enlightening.  We had a series of great sessions before lunch that covered a variety of areas, with great speakers willing to share their own on-the-ground experiences. We covered everything from acquisition, retention, and with a very entertaining keynote speech by Steve Froehlich from St. Jude’s, we left with some thoughts on bigger trends in our work as ...Read more


Building a Zipper to the Moon

July 20

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find group brainstorming sessions a bit intimidating. I mean, the creative team is there. And they always have the best ideas, right? And yet, here I was, attending a session on brainstorming, led by two top-tier creatives, Prudence Bovee and Steve Fleshman. The tables were set for working, with oversized post-it-notes and sharpies for capturing ideas, brainteasers for warmup, and fidgety toys. I chose the Silly Putty and formed it into a witch nose. Pru and Steve started off with a short presentation that set some ground rules and guided us through the process. So far, so good. I was already learning a lot. Key takeaways included: Keep the group size manageable but invite supplier ...Read more


Applying Digital Tactics to Membership Organizations and Components

June 22

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

With a lengthy to-do list and planning for our large annual governance conference, the thought of missing a full day of work is quite daunting. But the time spent at the DMAW Digital Day Forum was so worthwhile! To my pleasure, I was able to immediately start applying some of the digital tips and tricks from this tech-focused, professional development session. A bit of background: I work at the American Nurses Association (ANA), the one professional association that represents the United States’ 4 million registered nurses. I was extremely inquisitive about digital tactics that I could apply to ANA’s 50 state offices with which I work closely in my membership marketing role. To that end, I walked away from this year’s ...Read more


We entered muggles. We left magicians.

June 19

SHARE:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

I think it was Dumbledore who once said, “Magic is best taught in the morning.” In truth, I’m not sure he said this. But morning was the perfect time for DMAW to host “Mid-level Magic”—taught by marketing masters Lisa Maska, CFRE and Jillian Leslie of Lautman Maska Neill & Company. Lisa and Jillian opened this great Wake-Up & Learn event with the question that had brought us all to SEIU at 8am that morning: “Why is mid-level important?” The answer: While giving continues to remain flat at 2% of income for the majority of donors nationwide, higher income donors ($100k-$200k) today donate 2.6% of income annually, which means a greater ROI opportunity if you devote the resources and time to properly ...Read more