October 26, 2012
Duct Tape Meet Velcro

It’s good, smart, practical and immensely sticky stuff. That’s how Micheal Gerber describes Duct Tape in his foreword to Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch’s small business marketing gem.

Velcro, conceived in 1941 by Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral, is renowned for its ease of use, immense strength and low maintenance. But, it is perhaps best known for its enduring effectiveness, even after many repetitions of fastening and unfastening.

What do you get when you put them together?

The characteristics of a successful fundraising program - one that is built to grow, built to last.

Meet Monthly Engaged Giving, MEG. She’s easy to use, sticky, strong and effective for the long term. Practical and innovative, MEG's for fundraising pragmatists and innovators alike.

October 15, 2012
The Unconscious 90%

What drives most decision making?

According to researchers, 90% of decisions are made on the subconscious level.

Motives, which often exist unconsciously to a person, are an individual’s desire to do or be something.

Effective nonprofit fundraising takes into account potential donor motives, negative and positive. In Guerilla Marketing for Nonprofits co-authors Levinson, Adkins and Forbes list primary motives:

Negative Motives

*To remove a problem

*To avoid a problem



Positive Motives

*To gratify senses

*Intellectual stimulation

*Social approval

*To be truly spiritual

So...what motivates monthly givers?

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, knows. Better yet, she loves to convert donor motivation into action, monthly giver sign ups.

September 17, 2012
How to Win Monthly Givers and Influence People

Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best-selling self-help books of all time.

Fundraising, is all about persuasion. In his 1981 book Influence: The Power of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini, a psychologist, explains the role of influence and describes six primary influence techniques.

They are:

Reciprocation – giving a gift creates a feeling of obligation with the recipient to return the favor with an affirmative response.

Commitment and consistency – making a public statement or signing a pledge causes people to feel obliged to remain consistent with it.

Social Proof – people tend to believe what they are told when the people making claims about a topic are similar to the audience or recognizable to them.

Liking – bottom line, people respond best to people they like or find likable.

Authority – experts command influence, when an expert makes a statement, people tend to give it credibility even if that person is an expert in another field.

Scarcity – something becomes more desirable when supplies are limited or if its’ cost is high.

Proven successful again and again, these techniques are baked into every MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving program.

MEG's an expert. She knows how to win monthly givers and influence people.

September 20, 2012
MEG Messages for Millenials

At 86 million strong, Generation Y, born in the years 1980 – 1996, is a massive target audience for fundraisers. Also called the Millenials or “Echo Boomers” they are an even larger group than the Baby Boomer generation.

While "Echo Boomers" are still young in their financial giving capacity, now is the time to initiate relationships with them.

Monthly Engaged Giving (MEG), characterized by easy, automatic, bite-size donations and ongoing two-way communication, is one of the most realistic and compelling ways to engage Generation Y.

In their book, Guerilla Marketing For Nonprofits, co-authors Jay Levinson, Frank Adkins and Chris Forbes provide a helpful list of marketing messages for Millenials:

• “Give back, make a difference!”

• “Come together, work with others!”

• “Go to the edge!”

• “We can do this!” (positive outlook)

• Spotlight others in their cohort who are achievers

• Reality-show style stories

• Transcending cultures

• Explore, discover something new

• Tales of extreme risk or radical methods

• People having fun together

• Show variety of options

• Tell stories using social media

Looking to market monthly giving to Millenials?

MEG's on message.

September 12, 2012
Built to Last

Nearly 20 years ago in 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras released Built to Last, their legendary book about visionary organizations.

Perhaps forgotten, but brilliantly insightful, is the circular, black and white Yin-Yang icon with a simple message that the authors include at the top of Chapters 5-10. Inside the icon are the words, “Preserve the Core” and “Stimulate Progress”. Collins and Porras argue, “If you are involved in building and managing an organization, the single most important point to take away from this book is the critical importance of creating tangible mechanisms aligned to preserve the core and stimulate progress.”

A nonprofit’s core is what makes them individually unique. Preserving the core means protecting the combination of why, who, how and what that allows an organization to serve its’ constituents. Progress refers to how nonprofits can evolve to do it better and to adapt their focus, resources and services to address new needs.

In this example the Yin-Yang metaphor suggests balancing the seemingly contrary requirements of nurturing what an organization is today with a simultaneous drive to grow to become something different.

Nonprofits depend on fundraising to generate the revenue that sustains them and helps them grow.

There are many different ways to raise money to preserve the core and stimulate progress. Among the many, few promise sustainable revenue.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving is one of the few. She’s built to last.

September 24, 2012
Messaging and the X Factor

Also called the Baby Busters, Generation X numbers 66 million and has a median age of 38.

While not as large of a group as the Gen Y’s that follow them, Gen X’s are on the front edge of their prime giving years. They are an immediate and urgent fundraising target.

With its’ pragmatism and entrepreneurial feel, the monthly giving approach, resonates deeply with Gen X’s, who are known for their self-reliance and efficiency. Monthly Engaged Giving, MEG, just makes sense to them.

In their book, Guerilla Marketing For Nonprofits, co-authors Jay Levinson, Frank Adkins and Chris Forbes highlight a list of messages that appeal to Gen X:

• People who are effective

• New and alternative approaches

• “You are respected!”

• “You can be in the driver’s seat!”

• Show the benefits of cooperation

• Balanced work and recreation

• Show them how money is being used effectively

X is the target. M is for MEG.

MEG is the fundraising X factor.

August 28, 2012
Ground Level Givers

Your org grows as they grow.

Humble consistency is their signature characteristic.

Bit by bit, they increase their giving. Over time they become increasingly engaged with your mission. They often become volunteers as well.

Together, they provide a broad, strong revenue foundation from which your organization can grow.

They’re monthly givers. They’re Ground Level Givers.

Get a sense of how one nonprofit has made attracting and engaging them an everyday focus.


August 30, 2012
Digital Fertilizer

Rebecca, our 5 year old, stands mesmerized for long periods in front of the family’s digital photo frame.

She smiles and laughs and gives commentary to the dog, the frame or anyone that will listen. Rebecca loves to see pictures of all kinds. She’s not alone. Her siblings and her parents too, delight in the continually looping slide show.

Virtually everyone seems to find emotion and connection with pictures and videos.

They engage. They inspire. They captivate us.

Pictures and video are digital fertilizer for fundraisers. Increasingly easy to capture and share, photos and video are perfect for engaging and growing current and prospective givers.

The best monthly giving programs involve ongoing giver communication. That makes them uniquely fertile ground for the use of pictures and video.

Digital fertilizer makes for real live engagement without the mess or the smell.

Make, share, spread and grow. Repeat.

August 29, 2012
Blue versus Red

In their thought-provoking book, Blue Ocean Strategy, authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgone explore several strategic marketing paths:

a) Red Oceans = spaces that are crowded with undifferentiated competing organizations battling for share of a finite pie.

b) Blue Oceans = uncontested and unique spaces that allow for special, enduring relationships with customers and rapid revenue growth.

For nonprofit fundraising professionals, the challenge is to differentiate one’s organization and mission from the other charitable giving options of individual donors.

Two things are especially critical to make that differentiation happen and to translate it to fundraising success:

  1. Story - Telling and selling your nonprofit’s story in an unexpected and compelling way.
  2. Process - Making it easy for supporters to start giving, continue giving and stay engaged.

Branded monthly giving programs provide a unique story-telling platform and donor-easy processes.

Bottom line, it’s much more fun to swim in a Blue Ocean.

August 31, 2012
Bigs and Littles

Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of America’s best known nonprofits has popularized the terms “Bigs” and “Littles” to describe the two parties in the life-changing mentoring relationships they systematically initiate and nurture.

In the fundraising world, “Bigs” are the wealthy donors and prospects that are capable of giving significant time and money now. They are ripe. In contrast, smaller donors or “Littles” are typically more modestly resourced today. They are somewhat green.

But, what inevitably happens?

Littles grow up to become Bigs. They are deeply influenced by the relationships of their formative years. Where they invest their time and money later is shaped by what they experience today.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving programs are all about nurturing relationships for the long-term.

It’s the age old story, Littles today, Bigs tomorrow.

July 23, 2012
The Starbucks Fundraising Model

Ask ten different people about what’s made Starbucks so successful, and you may get ten different answers.

Neal Martin in his fascinating book, Habit – The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore, suggests that convenience and the presence of lots of caffeine in their coffee, are arguably the primary everyday drivers of Starbucks’ success. Martin writes, “Providing nearly ubiquitous access to one of our favorite addictions is a great business plan.”

So what can nonprofit fundraisers learn from Starbucks?

Two things:

1) The more engaging the cause and its communication, the more likely donors are to get hooked.

2) If the giving process is ultra convenient, or, better yet, automatic, donor retention will soar.

But, it’s not the two, it’s the two together. That’s why Monthly Engaged Giving is such a successful fundraising approach. It’s engaging ("addictive" in a good way) and automatic (convenient).

It's the Starbucks fundraising model.

July 23, 2012
The Most Important Nonprofit Metric

What’s the one nonprofit measurement that rises above all others?


To engage is to secure, hold and grow the interest and involvement of your constituents, your donors and those who benefit from your services.

In their acclaimed 2011 book, The Future of Nonprofits - Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age, fundraising and marketing experts David Neff and Randal Moss, argue that “no matter how financially well-positioned your organization is, if it lacks engagement then it lacks a connection with its core audience as well as a purpose for being.”

As Neff and Moss suggest, “Engagement is intangible, elusive, and difficult to measure, but you know it when you see it.”


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