Tag: Tom Ahern

There are indeed great nonprofit bosses (worked for some). There are indeed great nonprofit boards (I’m assured).

There are indeed great nonprofit bosses (worked for some). There are indeed great nonprofit boards (I’m assured). And then there are the dumb, revenue-suppressing approval processes that the fundraising industry deals with daily… Simon Scriver #FundraisingEverywhere asked me to speak. Simon wanted me to reminisce. I’m old. He’s not yet old. He thought I could speak with authority on something like, “If I could… Read more »

How to thank too much

Line in the sand: R U boring me? Patti D. shared this pungent email from a committed donor:  I wanted to tell you that it is not necessary, or even desirable, to keep sending me thank you letters every month for my little monthly donations. I don’t need to get them, and I think its a waste of time and money on your part… Read more »

EXCERPTED BELOW: The 14th chapter-in-progress, yanked squealing in protest (“please rewrite!”) from the 2nd edition of my how-to-write-effective-cases book

Color me clueless. As one does at such crossroads, I began to read. Stanley Weinstein, in his 2004 book, Capital Campaigns from the Ground Up, described the item thusly:

“A case for support, also called a case statement, is a body of language that describes the rationale for supporting a nonprofit organization. It is written from the donor’s perspective, primarily the desire to support worthwhile projects and organizations that help enhance the lives of others.”

Life Review Did you know? People over 70 are still developing!

According to David Solie, a psychologist specializing in geriatric medicine, elderly people are on “a journey” unrecognized by most others, including their children and professional caregivers. Unrecognized is the part that breaks my heart. “Many of us look at members of our parents’ generation and see a diminished version of the vibrant people we once knew,” he writes in his book, How to Say It to Seniors.[1] “Surely they aren’t developing anymore, because we can see them declining right before our eyes.”

Breaking the Ignorance Ceiling

Why this book screamed to be made In the US, as of 2017, there were something like 1.3 million government-sanctioned charitable organizations. It’s a growing sector: at current rates, about 47,000 new US charities are born each year.[1] Is that a lot or a little, for a nation of some 330 million? I say it’s a lot. After all, the same population gets by with… Read more »

“In a billion-dollar campaign case,” she wondered, “where do you stick the ‘letter from the Dean’?”

Ummmmmmm…. Good question, Echo. ¶ In our little world [The Case Writers], where we pretty much get to write and design whatever we think is best, working with a group of clients who want exactly that, every “normal” element is questionable. You start each day with this question, “What if everything I think I know is wrong?” ¶ In other words, if something normally… Read more »

Return On Investment – A new age of business-mindedness dawns for nonprofit enterprises

Suddenly it seems like everyone’s talking about it. Or maybe “finally” is better than suddenly. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has gotten weighty on the subject. On June 7, it featured a scathing article by Amanda Pearce, CFRE, under the headline, “Nonprofit is a Tax Status, NOT a Business Model.” Even US charity watchdogs have admitted they got it wrong. In case no one at… Read more »

My Top Eleven and Three-Quarters Bits of Advice for Winning at Donor Communications – Part II

7. Donors aren’t forever. Mostly. Again: Why do you need a donor acquisition program as well as a donor relationship program? Because donors come and go, like pee holes in the snow. A couple of years ago, I polled experts around the world with the question, “How long does the average donor stick with a charity?” There was a gawdly lot of hemming and… Read more »

My Top Eleven and Three-Quarters Bits of Advice for Winning at Donor Communications – Part I

1. Why Eleven and Three-Quarters? Be a little less predictable. “10 Top Tips” is predictable. “11 Top Tips” is a little less predictable, but still pretty obvious. I ripped this idea off, as most of you immediately recognized, from Harry Potter’s Track Nine and Three-Quarters at King’s Cross Station. Steal well. And often. But don’t steal from failures. Which means you’ll have to learn… Read more »

My Top Eleven and Three-Quarters Bits of Advice for Winning at Donor Communications… part one in a two-part series

1. Why Eleven and Three-Quarters? Be a little less predictable. “10 Top Tips” is predictable. “11 Top Tips” is a little less predictable, but still pretty obvious. I ripped this idea off, as most of you immediately recognized, from Harry Potter’s Track Nine and Three-Quarters at King’s Cross Station. Steal well. And often. But don’t steal from failures. Which means you’ll have to learn… Read more »

Why profitable fundraising communications are the work of specialists, not generalists … and why a standard-issue, untrained university marcomms department will almost certainly fail to deliver strong results when given a fundraising assignment which depends on an effective call to action

This just in: A fundraising copywriter at a prestigious university now faces a change in her chain of command. The university’s new brooms don’t see why fundraising should have its own dedicated writer. In an org. chart maneuver that absolutely makes sense on paper, they want her to go back into the pool, to work inside the marketing communications group (a.k.a., marcomms). She asked… Read more »

A Poem for fundraisers: Don, whose self-absorbed ways found him lost at sea

A poem I dearly liked, hand-picked from a new book of memorable doggerel (that’s a good thing; every industry needs such) written by the outrageous and brilliant and classically trained Sheena Greer, Colludo. Called Cautionary Tales for Fundraisers. It’s the perfect gift for bosses, board members and fundraisers who need a laugh. And it looks pretty, so it’s disarming…. Tom Ahern