News & Insights

Keep It Simple

July 10, 2014


Writing can be a daunting task for fundraisers. Yet, we have to write every day; whether it's an email, event invitation, or an appeal letter. We struggle to balance authenticity and clarity while compelling our donors to act.

We often muddle our message by trying to squeeze in too many details or by touting our organization's achievements.

Keeping it simple isn’t so simple, but that is exactly what we should be doing. Here are six steps for writing simple copy from Aaron Orendorff at Copyblogger.

If you can break it down like this, you’re good to go!

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


Too Much Mail?

June 19, 2014

Many organizations struggle with the number of mailings to send to donors. The experts often recommend sending more mail than fundraisers feel comfortable with; after all, we don’t like receiving that much mail -- why would our donors?

When a donor complains about getting too much mail, fundraisers usually apologize and then remedy the problem so they will get less mail in the future. This post gives an alternative response and a fantastic opportunity to impart your passion and urgency for your cause: “We send the amount of mail we do because our cause is urgent. If we sent less, more needs would go unmet.”

That’s not to say you shouldn’t reduce mailings if a donor asks. Indeed, you should. But, use this as an opportunity to let your donor know exactly why you send as much mail as you do. It might just be the spark that donor needed to become further engaged!

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


First Impressions

April 17, 2014

Summer is the season for many types of events--runs, walks, golf tournaments, and more. Many new and potential donors will cross your threshold over the next few months. Take advantage of these opportunities by making their first impression unforgettable.

Put yourself in your guest's shoes. Invitations should be compelling and include all the necessary information about the event. Use social media to create enthusiasm leading up to the event. On the day of, ensure there are plenty of well-trained volunteers to help things run smoothly.

Acknowledgements and wrap-up communication should be just as well-planned and personal. Harness the momentum from the event to get people to commit to next year's event. Or make a donation!

Last, but not least, your mission should be front and center throughout the event. Take every opportunity for story-telling. Your goal is to make people feel part of your organization, so they will want to come back again and again.


Fundraising is Fun

May 15, 2014

Event fundraisers are lucky in that we get to see the fun part of fundraising with every event! We see first-hand the joy that donors bask in when they are supporting their favorite organizations.

However, not everyone is as fortunate. Many fundraisers in small organizations wear multiple hats, and fundraising can be the least flattering. But all it takes to make raising money the best part of your job is to realize this truth: donors want to give!

When someone donates, they feel like they are making a difference and they feel connected. In short, they feel happy! That alone should take the “ick” out of fundraising.

Focus on the donor and know you’re making the world a happier place--in many ways!

Best regards from the Fladeboe team



Saying Thanks

March 13, 2014

During this busy event season, don’t forget the basics. Saying “thank-you” to every donor is key to successful cultivation. The best thank-you is a personal, sincere and timely letter.

Different subsets of donors will certainly require different acknowledgement procedures. Make sure those procedures are in place so that a thank-you can go out within 48 hours of receiving a gift. Here’s a nice overview of things to consider for your acknowledgement process.

Make thanking donors a priority. Done well, it will undoubtedly improve donor retention and overall fundraising.

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


Auction Tip

Raise Those Paddles

Many of our clients ask us whether using bidder paddles (“on a stick”) or bidder cards (no “stick”) is really necessary for the live auction. Bidders can just raise their hands, right?

It’s true raising hands can work. However, we’ve found having a bidder paddle or card really makes a difference in an auction. Practically, a bidder card is much easier for an auctioneer to see than a hand. Once an item is sold, it is very easy to record who won the item. All the auctioneer has to do is call out the bidder number and winning amount. The same applies to a fund-a-need – it’s easy to identify guests pledging at each level by calling out their bidder numbers.