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How beautiful are my materials…!

I’ve seen a couple of boards lately that are paralyzed by the materials paradox – they can’t get started going out and asking for money because their materials aren’t ready, and they’re running out of money and volunteer enthusiasm because they’re not going out and asking for money.

It happens – you get to a stage in fundraising planning where you’re bursting to get the rubber hitting the road.

And then someone says: “We’ve got to have the right materials to leave with our prospects – we don’t have the right message, we don’t have the right information, we don’t have the right framing.

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Posted on in Fundraising

As a board member, I try hard to remember my talking points.

I fail.

No matter how much I “study” them, I just can’t recite them like the Joyce Kilmer chestnut of my youth.

Fact and figures, longitudinal impact, breadth of counties served – it goes in and out of my head. I stare at the carefully produced one-pager given to me by staff, it looks good, I get it – but I can’t espouse it without my cheat sheet in hand.

There’s just too much else – work assignments, family concerns, even the weekly shopping list – circling around, taking up real estate in my head.

I’m not alone. 


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Posted on in Fundraising

There’s a world of difference between purchasing a service (no matter how satisfied the customer), and making a charitable contribution to help the world experience that activity.

A recent NY Times article on the Y’s new advertising campaign – “Beyond ‘Gym and Swim’” – discusses the public’s misconception about the role of the Y as a health club vs. its mission of community service.

In the case of the Y, this perception results in thousands of dollars in lost fundraising revenue – hence the Y’s new public service campaign, TV ads, digital news spots, etc.

But what are the lessons for the rest of us? 


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Posted on in Fundraising

An article in the Wealth Matters column of the NY Times this past weekend quoted Cause Effective Executive Director Judy Levine on the difficulties inherent in collaborative fundraising events.

[An] event needs to leave donors focused on your cause so they really want to know more,” advised Ms. Levine. But that’s difficult enough when an event springs from one nonprofit alone; it’s almost impossible when there are two – or more – causes competing for donors’ attention. 


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Posted on in Fundraising

That’s how many donors the Humans of New York Indiegogo campaign for Mott Hall Bridges Academy had by the time it closed its doors.

Raising $1.4 million on an original goal of $100,000, there’s an even more important metric it achieved – the number of individuals who were inspired to put their money, in denominations as low as $5, into making a difference for the kids of Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

Why this school and not another? Why kids and not endangered snow leopards? Or medical research?

Sure, it’s the power of viral media – but there’s more.

It’s the inspiration of a good story – and the belief that one’s own donation can change the course of someone else’s life. 


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