News & Insights

Annual Reports

February 20, 2014

Donor retention and donor-centricity go hand-in-hand and should always be in the forefront of a fundraiser's mind. Every marketing piece that goes into a mailbox or inbox should consider the donor’s perspective. Tom Ahern, fundraising communication guru, described it well when he said to keep donors giving you only have to connect two dots: the donor and the outcome that this donor can realize through their gift. Your organization is a means to an end for the donor.

One place it's easy to be utterly donor-centric is in your annual report. Take advantage of this opportunity to pour out your gratitude for your donors! Need inspiration? Click here for a beautifully creative and moving "gratitude" report by CODE.

Show your donors lots of love this year. You won't regret it!

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


Real Friends

January 9, 2014
We fundraisers often refer to ourselves as “friend-raisers,” and that’s true to a point. We must build relationships with our donors. But we can’t accomplish this by bombarding them with news about how great our organization is. We need to listen to our donors and tell the stories that speak to their hearts.
People give because they feel some internal connection to the work of an organization. Find out what that connection is and reflect it back to the donor. If you succeed in acting as an extension of donors' values and motivations, they will keep coming back. To that end, spend some time understanding donors' attitudes this year.
Here’s a fantastic post from The Agitator about how to implement this approach and improve donor retention.
Cheers to a happy and healthy 2014!
From the Fladeboe team


Trash Stats

October 17, 2013


When fundraisers start talking statistics, we trigger the logical side of the brain. Donors start thinking about their own budgets, college funds, etc. They cease to feel.

We need our donors to feel if we want them to give.


This post by Marc Pitman highlights why we need to leave numbers out of our appeals. “Throwing in even one calculation or statistic can have devastating results on your fundraising.


There is a place for statistics, but it is not in our fundraising letters. Stick with stories this year end.

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


Appeal Tips

November 14, 2013

As a fundraiser, you probably feel like you read the same “tips” over and over again. They aren’t groundbreaking, but they are elementary and essential. Fundraising is an art and a science; one that has been tested and retested. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Go with what has been shown to be effective. (That's not to say there is no room for testing within these parameters. On the contrary, you should test often.)

So, here you go again, from Claire Axelrad--top 6 ways to raise more money with your annual fundraising appeal. You can’t read these enough. We especially like #5 (make your appeal donor-centric) and #6 (write like you talk--scrap the jargon and the tech writing).

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


Social Proof

September 19, 2013

Visiting the Minnesota State Fair this year demonstrated what followers human beings are. We ventured beyond traditional fare like corn dogs and cheese curds and sought long lines for new foods to try. If others are eating it, it must be good, right?

Ruslan Kogan, CEO and founder of of tech e-commerce startup, also blogs on this interesting phenomenon of human behavior. He discusses the application for websites, but it’s also relevant to many other aspects of fundraising. How can you harness the power of “social proof” in your email appeals and direct mail?

It’s a challenge. But it also shows just how essential social media and events are. Get people attending events, talking about you on Facebook and donating. The more visible, the better!

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.