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Show Me The Money: The ROI on Legacy Giving

March 27, 2017

If you’re old enough to remember the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire (which was nominated for five Academy Awards), you’ll no doubt remember the ‘show me the money’ scene. If you don’t know the movie, it’s worth watching. And, if you don’t know the scene, it’s on YouTube! You’d think that fundraisers are pretty clear on […]

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Doubling Down: How To Make Donors Happy AND Double Revenues

January 30, 2017

Believe it or not, there was a time (not THAT long ago) when direct response fundraising for annual giving programs was a very one-dimensional exercise. Your charity had a list of direct mail donors. You mailed appeals to them four or five times a year. They sent you lots of money. You met your goal. […]

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Donald Trump and the First Imperative

November 2, 2016

Many, if not most, of us who are watching the American presidential campaign are bewildered. We’re totally perplexed and confused at how an ignorant, racist, misogynist egomaniac like Donald Trump can possibly be competitive as a serious candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. As I write this, Trump (44%) is trailing […]

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Legacy Lessons For The Under-50 Set

October 12, 2016

I’ve been immersed in the world of charitable bequests since my fellow Good Workers and I conducted our first donor poll on the subject way back in 2003. In the years since, I’ve learned dozens of valuable lessons about where legacy gifts come from, who makes them, why they get made and how to persuade […]

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Activating The Primary Colours of the Heart

September 22, 2016

Let’s now move from last time’s explanation of what primary emotions are, and why they’re so important – to a brief show and tell of how to actually use them to drive fundraising results. After all, you’re here right now to learn a new tool to help you bring in more money! ONCE UPON A […]

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The Best Messengers For A Powerful Story

September 13, 2016

Many (if not most) of us who write fundraising communications materials obsess about WHAT we’re going to say. We want our content to be compelling, informative, persuasive and gripping – so we agonize over what we’re going to say and how best to say it. But in my opinion, most of us miss a very […]

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The 4 Primary Colours Of The Heart

September 7, 2016

I’m sure you remember grade four art class like I do. As kids, we were taught that the thousands of colours, shades and hues we see all come from just three primary colours: red, blue and yellow. But, did you know that emotions work the same way? The thousands of emotions that you and I […]

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4 Ways To Be More Relevant To Your Donors

August 23, 2016

Back when I first got involved in direct response fundraising in 1989, there were two common practices that we often used in direct mail. The first was the renewal letter. This was a simple, short letter that basically said “Hey donor. It’s a new year. Time for you to give again. Write out your cheque […]

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Writing As A Persuasive Art

July 27, 2016

Sometimes, like getting to know strangers on airplanes, I let slip that I’ve written a couple of books. This often leads to the question “What kind of writer are you?” to which I always reply that I’m a persuasive writer. I had a neighbour once who was a technical writer. She wrote instruction manuals and […]

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How To Pop The Legacy Question The Right Way

July 7, 2016

I’ve talked to hundreds of fundraisers about legacy giving over the years. As a rule, we know that there’s lots of money to be made in bequests, but we feel uncomfortable talking about death – and it feels downright icky to imagine asking a supporter to put you in her will. I’d like to make […]