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The Agitator

Fundraising and advocacy strategies. Trends, tips ... with an edge

Last Build Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2018 05:00:41 +0000


The Taxman Cometh, Part 3: A Way Forward

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 05:00:41 +0000

We’ve discussed the nonprofit tax debate over the past two days; now it’s time to talk implications.  There are a few roads that lead from here, all with their pluses and minuses. Ignore the new rules.  Do what you’ve been doing.  Maybe people will still think their gift helps them on their taxes, even if […]

The Taxman Cometh, Part 2: Maybe the 2017 Tax Bill Won’t Kill Us All

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 05:00:48 +0000

Since I ended my piece yesterday the doom and gloom note of the existential threat to all philanthropy, this is an odd, or at least paradoxical,  piece to write.  But there’s some counterbalancing evidence that we may not be peering into the abyss created by the new tax cut law. Hope #1 is that donors […]

The Taxman Cometh, Part 1: The Downside of the 2017 Tax Bill for Nonprofits

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 05:00:03 +0000

We’ve had a few reader requests to talk about the nonprofit implications of the new tax bill. The trick in meeting this request is that 1) smart people on this issue disagree and 2) I’m not one of the people in #1.  So I’ll try to lay out the gloom and doom case today, the […]

What Ask String Works Best?

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 05:00:27 +0000

The life of a direct response fundraiser is filled with so many questions – far more questions than answers. Take the question, “How much should we ask for?” Usually the question is answered with the conventional application of a formula based on previous giving.  For example, 1.0X, 1.5X, 2.0X highest previous gift –or some variation […]

Are Your Segmentation Skills a Joke?

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 05:00:14 +0000

IF you depend solely on RFM for your segmentation you’re leaving tons of money on the table. IF you buy into the idea of “personas” created by navel-gazing or demographics (age, gender, income, education) you’ve not only wasted time and money, but you’re leaving even more $, £, € on the table. If you buy […]

Level Three Feedback: Using Feedback to Model

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 05:00:19 +0000

You had an acquisition package that beat your control like the control owed it money.  Turns out that putting in a coin and a notepad and address labels and a back-end premium in that package really increased response rate!  You have a new control! Fast forward a year.  Your donor file isn’t growing the way […]

Level Two Feedback: Using Feedback to Fix Your Systems

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 05:00:17 +0000

The YMCA thought they knew what their members wanted.  Then they asked their members.  The results, from The Power of Habit: “[T]he accepted wisdom among YMCA executives was the people wanted fancy exercise equipment and sparkling, modern facilities.  The YMCA had spent millions of dollars building weight rooms and yoga studios.  When the surveys were […]

Level One Donor Feedback: Fixing Things for Individuals

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 05:00:20 +0000

The first level of feedback is asking people for their thoughts and fixing problems for them. No, simply having your phone number on your website, mail, and publications and waiting for people to call is not level one feedback.  It may have been at one point, but no longer. In late 2016, I tracked every […]

Donor-Centric or Faux Donor-Centric? Check the Plumbing.

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 05:00:46 +0000

When it comes to donor-centricity/obsession/love/devotion/passion I fear many fundraisers talk a good game while ignoring the fundamental and routine practices that should exist in any organization that truly cares about its donors. Tom’s and my mentor John Gardner,  in his book Excellence defined the issue perfectly: “An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an […]

Are You Donor-Obsessed or Merely Donor-Centric?

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:00:47 +0000

Customer experience guru Gerry McGovern warns that even if a company is indeed “customer-centric” that may not be enough these days. “To truly be successful, you need to nurture a customer obsession culture within your organization.”, he warns. The Agitator  says, “Amen.” So, let’s kick ‘donor-centricity’ up a notch and focus on what makes for […]