January 27, 2013
Intuition, Faith and Fundraising Science

The field of psychology is rich with research about persuasion.


While social psychology may be a fading college requirement memory for many, it’s arguably the most important science for fundraising professionals. Convincing people to give – that’s what fundraising is all about.


MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, studies the science and bakes it into every one of her monthly giving programs. Yes, she’s got intuition and faith, but she also understands that success is often formulaic. And with science on your side, the probability for success gets a whole lot better.

January 21, 2013
Grin and Share It

In Marketing Metaphoria, their comprehensively researched and insightful book, Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman describe seven “Deep” marketing metaphors. Across cultures and circumstances, the seven are present, individually or in multiples, in virtually every relationship between an organization and its customers or supporters.


The Seven:









Fundraising campaigns, not unlike consumer products, are most successful when they are intentionally branded, promoted and executed. Doing so, through the lens of the most appropriate deep metaphor, is a proven approach to building a successful and enduring monthly giving program.


The chosen deep metaphor is analogous to “true North” on a compass.  Monthly giving program design, and ongoing monthly giver recruitment and stewardship, should align with and cascade down from that “true North” point.


MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, is all about charting a successful path. She integrates a carefully selected deep metaphor in each one of her programs.


One of her latest programs, this one for Austin, TX nonprofit, Manos de Cristo, orients to the deep metaphor, Connection.


Check it out at Really, you’ll be tempted to grin and share it.

December 21, 2012
Ask and It Shall Be Given You

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

(Luke 11:9-10, King James Version)

Celebrated in the Bible and universally preached by parents and leaders, diligence in asking and seeking is among the most treasured qualities.

Some monthly giving efforts never gain significant traction because they are passively marketed instead of aggressively sold. It’s not enough to merely send out invitations, make casual mention of monthly giving and say your prayers.

While prayer is powerful, it’s far more impactful when coupled with diligent, thoughtful action.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, takes monthly giving to a whole new level by integrating and systemizing the “asking” process uniquely for each customer nonprofit.

Prayers answered. Ask and it shall be given you.

December 18, 2012
Meet Dwolla

Imagine your donors using their smart phones or computers to make gifts directly from their account to your organization’s account for free if less than $10 and for a flat $.25 cents per payment if greater than $10. And what if the cost to get set-up with an individual account, a merchant account or a nonprofit account was $0?

It’s not just your imagination, it’s real.  And, it has game changing implications for nonprofit fundraising efforts.

It’s ok to call it revolutionary because it is.

Meet Dwolla,, a mobile and online digital cash network unlike anything before.

December 18, 2012
On the Move

According to eMarketer, purchases made on mobile devices in the U.S. are expected to total $11.6 billion in 2012, which is nearly double those made in 2011. They are projected to reach $31 Billion in 2015.

One 2012 survey by IDC Financial Insights showed 34% of those surveyed making mobile purchases. That % was just 19% in 2011.

More and more frequently, E-commerce, electronic commerce means M-commerce, mobile commerce.

By extension, in the nonprofit world, E-giving is often more aptly called M-giving.This creates a whole host of fundraising challenges and opportunities including more screen sizes for which to optimize and an explosion of ways to engage an organization’s supporters.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, was born in the world of E, and just at the front end of the shift to M.

It’s where things are headed. And, MEG’s right at home…on the move.

December 14, 2012
M is for Metaphor

Metaphors are unmatched when it comes to distilling and communicating a message or vision.

Jose Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher said, “The Metaphor is perhaps one of man’s most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him.”

They inspire. They motivate. They bring people together.

The best story tellers use them. The best fundraisers use them.

Whether it is through the use of a tire swing as a logo element to invoke images of the “care free dreams of a child” or the tagline choice, “Success stories begin when we all pitch in”, to illustrate the joint investment of monthly givers and an organization’s working poor clients, MEG programs are consistently and uniquely metaphor rich.

Given her name and her business, MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, is unabashedly enthusiastic about M words and especially this one.

M is for Metaphor.

November 27, 2012
Quadrant II Kid

In his 1989 best seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey famously uses a two row times two column Time Management Matrix to illustrate how importance and urgency can be used to prioritize activities.


Quadrant I, the upper left box, is for items that are both urgent and important. Examples include projects with near term deadlines, immediate problems, etc. They are sometimes referred to as "firefighting" activities.


Quadrant II, the upper right box, is all about those things that are important, but not urgent. These are, in Covey’s words “high leverage”, “capacity building” activities. They prevent future problems. They create new opportunities. These are long-term game changers.


Quadrant III, the lower left box, is for items that are urgent, but not important. Interruptions, some meetings and some calls fall in this category. Acknowledging the effectiveness-destroying impact of these activities, some people simply describe Quadrant III as the “The Tyranny of the Urgent”.


Quadrant IV, the lower right box, is for not urgent and not important activities. Busy work, time wasters and many pleasant, but non-impactful items belong in this box.


So what’s the connection with fundraising effectiveness?


It’s MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving. She may be youthful relative to traditional fundraising approaches, but she wasn’t born yesterday.


If you must put her in a box, she’s upper right...MEG’s a Quadrant II Kid all the way.

November 30, 2012
The 250% Difference

In our day-to-day conversations we sometimes hear someone say that something is “100% better”. But, how often does a person exclaim “It’s 250% better!”?


Pretty rare...isn't it?


In Hidden Gold, his unique and insightful fundraising book. Canadian charitable giving guru, Harvey McKinnon, highlights an astounding statistic.


Automatic monthly donors’ average lifetime value is 2-3 times higher than that of a single-gift donor.


That’s the power of monthly giving. That’s the 250% difference.

November 21, 2012
The Happy Meal

Put an entrée, side item, drink and toy in a colorful box.

Give it a simple lovable name and what do you have?

The Happy Meal.

Conceived by Bob Bernstein of Bernstein-Rein Advertising, the Happy Meal helped McDonalds minimize the problem of kids picking at their parents food, simultaneously entertaining kids and buying parents precious moments of peace.

Fabulously successful since its 1979 introduction in the United States, it’s a delightful product story with marketing lessons for businesses and nonprofits alike.


*Substance - A full meal at a reasonable price, a box and toy with entertainment value and shelf life and the intangibles of convenience and family peace. That’s a recipe for repeat customers.

*Engagement – Kid friendly stories, colorful illustrations and pictures, and factoids on the box coupled with a toy to take home. What kid wouldn’t be asking Mom and Dad to eat at McDonald’s?

*Packaging – The box is the vehicle for the substance and the engagement. It brings it all together for ease, convenience and fun!


Nonprofits and Development Professionals: Craving a colorfully packaged, substantive, and engaging fundraising program (meal) for your small and medium size givers?

Introducing…Monthly Engaged Giving, The MEG Meal.

A cleverly integrated and substantive package of services and giver engagement, it makes life easier and more peaceful for nonprofit fundraisers and donors alike. And the best part is the MEG Meal keeps givers coming back month after month.

November 19, 2012

Now celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday in November according to 1941 federal law, Thanksgiving Day has been an annual tradition in the United States since Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 presidential proclamation.

Many of us associate it with a celebration at Plymouth in what is now Massachusetts. That 1621 thanksgiving feast was inspired by a bountiful harvest.

We have much for which to be thankful.

Nonprofits are especially grateful for the generous “harvest” they receive from their donors each year. Traditionally, a disproportionate share of contributions is made in the holiday season. With that, fundraisers are especially active communicating with prospective givers each year in November and December, lots of asking and lots of thanking.

Some traditions take a long time to change as evidenced by the 78 years that passed between Lincoln’s proclamation and the 1941 Thanksgiving Day federal law. With that, MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, is starting a movement to make Thanksgiving a year round celebration for nonprofits and their donors.

Who’s to say that people should primarily make donations one time per year, around the holidays?

And, aren’t nonprofits grateful for their supporters all year? If so, why not communicate consistently, year round?

One nonprofit at a time, MEG’s making it happen. It’s Thanksgiving, every month.

October 31, 2012
Mighty Memes

A meme (pronounced “meem”), per the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

Guerilla marketing guru, Jay Conrad Levinson defines it as a self-explanatory symbol, using words, action and sounds individually or in combination to communicate an entire idea.

Levinson suggests there are three things marketers should know about memes:

1. It’s the lowest common denominator of an idea, a basic unit of communication.
2. It has the ability to alter human behavior
3. It is energized with emotion

Well known examples of memes include:

• Gatorade poured on the winning coach
• “Don’t Mess with Texas!” – tremendously successful Texas litter reduction campaign
• Got milk?
• This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions? (with image of egg and then egg being cracked and fried in a pan)
• I want my MTV!
• Image of Woodsy Owl character saying “Give a hoot – don’t pollute!”

Memes can be game changers for businesses and nonprofits alike. That said, memes are especially impactful for inherently cost sensitive nonprofits because they are viral in nature and do not require much, if any, financial investment to create and spread. Most importantly, memes, as Levinson suggests, tap emotion, alter behavior and inspire action. And, that is music to the ears of nonprofit fundraisers.

Monthly Engaged Giving, MEG, programs are all about improving giving patterns, inspiring new givers and engaging donors in consistent, compelling ways. MEG may not be a meme yet, but she’s working on it.

Got MEG?

October 28, 2012
Little Strokes Fell Great Oaks

It’s one of Ben Franklin’s famous sayings.

Recently repeated in the Fundraising Authority Newsletter, it’s a timeless truth and important reminder for nonprofits.

It’s tempting to perpetually swing for the fences with big donor appeals and large grant award applications. Reality is that unbalanced fundraising over time yields feast or famine results. The resulting inconsistent cash flows mean erratic service delivery for nonprofits’ clients, the people who most need stability and consistent care.

Small things over time add up. Yes, the predictable revenue from monthly engaged giving, MEG, is a key benefit. But, the more subtle little things including systematic donor stewardship and education, and organizational peace of mind, are equally impactful. Together, the benefits add up to much bigger organizational success.

Little strokes fell great oaks. They’re yesterday’s sage words from Franklin that inspire MEG today.


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