Time to change


No, this isn’t a missive about being time to change how you do things (although, if you feel you need to, please, consider this a nudge!) This is a note about a change in my world which I think we both can benefit from.

As of March 17, this “column” (this blog) moved over to the new NonProfit Pro magazine (formerly “Fundraising Success” magazine). I highly encourage you to subscribe. To find it, head to this link: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper

NonProfit Pro is a magazine for those of you who are professional nonprofit leaders. Its content will include fundraising and more… and my blog, “Digging Deeper” will do the same. Yes, you’ll find some of the fundraising thoughts I’ve provided for the last several years to you, and you’ll see some new material based on what I teach and observe in the nonprofit world.

I look forward to “seeing” you at my new address: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper

Best wishes,



Sign up for the RSS feed here: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/links/npprotodaysignup/index.html?src=hdlk14

and find the other NonProfit Pro sites here:


Worth Considering: Divide and Conquer

Worth Considering

When was the last time you “split test” an appeal? You know, changed something (a “variable”), just to see if one seemingly insignificant iteration gets more gifts than what you usually do (the “control.”)? It could be a change in a envelope color, the text of one paragraph, an envelope style or anything else.

Split testing is a powerful, highly underutilized tool in direct response fundraising. You could be missing out in hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars each mailing because your donors think window envelopes aren’t “personal.” Split testing to see if a plain white envelope is better might get you 25 more donors. At your average gift is $41, that’s an extra $1,000 for your mission. Not shabby for an extra 30 minutes of work, huh?

So divide, and conquer your mailings with split testing… and multiply your results.

Monthly Tip: The Eyes Have It

Hugg's Monthly Tip

The eyes have it.

Have a picture of someone in your solicitation? Look at their eyes. Where they look makes a difference.

We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right? Having a picture of your mission recipient is a powerful emotional “hook” in any direct mail piece. To make that photo yet more effective, the eyes need to be looking one of two ways… at the person reading the letter (makes sense, right?), or (get this!) at the solicitation line of the letter.

As social beings, we react to where we are directed by others like ourselves. If you see someone looking at something, you’re drawn to look there, too. So if the eyes of the mother you’re helping or the first violin of the orchestra you’re funding is looking at the “won’t you give $25 today” line, you will too.

So let the eyes have it… and let ’em help you raise you more money, too!

That picture could be worth more than a thousand words… it could be worth thousands of dollars, too!

Monthly Tip: Look now, before it’s too late!

Hugg's Monthly Tip

Look now, before it’s too late!

Before things get too far in the month to make a difference, you need to look, and now!

For what? The names of people and companies in your database who haven’t made their gift yet.

Humans are creatures of habit. For many, December brings the habit of charitable gift giving. Your task today is to scan your lists for anyone who has not made their annual gift but usually does by year’s end. Your task is to help them keep up that habit of giving to your organization.

The problem is that it’s too late to send them a letter. You have to call.

Calling may not be comfortable, but someone has to do it (a volunteer?). Get your list in hand with the donor’s name, phone number and amount of last year’s gift. Then start calling.

Don’t think you’re bothering them. You’re actually doing them a favor, and approach your conversation that way. “Hello, you haven’t made your gift this year and we wanted to give you a friendly reminder because it may be important to you to take care of it before year’s end…”

Will you get a few grumpy responses? Sure. That’s okay. If there’s any problems they have with your organization, wouldn’t you want to address that personally?  Chances are you’ll have a fine conversation with someone who just forgot, has an interesting question about your mission, or had a life event that got them off track.

Remember, for every one gift you drop you need two new ones to get ahead. One simple call means that the next new gift is a net gain, not just keeping you even.

Have fun!

Worth Considering: Ahhh… the comfort of fundraising

Worth ConsideringIn my observation, organizations raise more money using methods that are most comfortable to their top leaders and volunteers.

Think of it this way…

  • People who like to write are drawn to proposals and direct mail.
  • People who like parties do special events.
  • People who like to connect with others like major and planned giving.

Then why are you trying to do every kind of fundraising… especially the kind of fundraising you really don’t like to do? Chances are, if you don’t like to do it, you won’t do it well.

This doesn’t mean you should stop your annual event if it gets you the visibility you need and names to add to your mailing list. However, it does mean that you shouldn’t try to do five events if they suck up all your time and make a tiny dent in your budget. If events exhaust you and writing energizes you, you’ll probably raise more money with proposals and direct mail copy.

Remember: There is no “one” way to raise money. However, there is one way that you can love raising money… and that’s as unique as you.