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Teeny Tiny Type, And Why It Hurts Your Fundraising

February 6, 2017

I was on a flight home to Ottawa last week. I’d had a long day of meetings, so decided to delve into the travel magazines that I’d brought along. Have I mentioned how much I love to travel? My secret indulgence is subscriptions to all of the best travel magazines. I sat back, ordered a […]

2017 in fireworks.
Ditch Your Fundraising Crutches in 2017

January 9, 2017

Writing is vital to fundraising. Direct mail, thank you letters, emails, social posting, brochures, event invites – you name it, it needs copy. But many of us fall into writing ruts. How many times have you followed a template or re-used wording, not because it’s effective, but because it’s quick, comfortable, and gets that task […]

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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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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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Are You Stuck In A Special Events Black Hole?

July 12, 2016

Events are an important part of any diversified fundraising program. They present an opportunity for people to come out and publicly support a cause they are passionate about, offer a great opportunity to thank and steward donors and prospective donors. When executed well, events can also play a significant role in raising the profile and […]

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Direct Mail in 2016: A Check In

June 8, 2016

Back in January, I wrote about the state of direct mail in 2015, and what charities should watch for and expect in direct mail in 2016. Six months into the year, it’s time for a check-in. The Analysis In 2015, we were faced with a lot of external factors that didn’t have a huge impact […]

find your perfect signatory
How To Pick Your Perfect Signatory

May 2, 2016

I’m amazed at the number of organizations I talk to who have only ever sent out appeals signed by their Executive Director or CEO. And, when I question why that’s being done, they’re not really sure. It’s just always the way it’s been done, so they continue to do it. Usually, they haven’t really thought through […]