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The Love You Save May Be Your Donors


When a donor stops giving, it’s like a lover walking out the door.

They didn’t just wake up one day and decide to leave. Their reasons have been piling up, little by little, over time, until they just couldn’t stay any longer.

What are the reasons that donors say goodbye? Jay Love lists five:

1. Thought the charity did not need them 5%
2. No information on how monies were used 8%
3. No memory of supporting 9%
4. Never thanked for donating     13%
5. Poor service or communication     18%

Poor communication kills marriages. If your donors are saying, “You never listen to me and we hardly talk except what you want money,” they are going to file for divorce.

Get some help with your communications now. This marriage can be saved.

The Top 10 Things to Know When You’re Starting Social Media

New Driver

Are you or your organization just beginning to use social media?  It’s a little like being a new driver. “Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your eyes on the rearview mirror. Watch out for pedestrians. Watch out for signs.”

There are so many things to learn and to keep track of. How do you tell which are important for you?

Fear not! I’d like to share with you the top ten things you need to know when you’re putting your social media in gear and hitting the road.

1. What to do before you start social media.

2. Why you should listen first, post later.

3. Who sees what you post.

4. How to make sure your social media actually speaks for you.

5. Where you start.

6. Which social media you should use.

7. How many social media you should use.

8. How to find the time to post.

9. What to automate and what to keep personal.

10. What else you’ll want to learn as time goes by.

As I write this, it’s a week before Labor Day in the U.S. Give yourself a goal. Go over one of these top  ten every week. By Veterans’ Day, you won’t be studying for your social media learners’ permit any more. You’ll be ready to hit the road.


Why I Write


Sybil Stershic is one of the smartest people I know on the subject of how to treat your employees right, so they will treat your customers or clients right, so your reputation will glow. She’s also a terrific writer.

So, when Sybil wrote about “Why I Write,” and invited me to do the same, I was flattered.

I started writing when I was seven years old. I cut up pieces of paper, folded them in half, got my mom to thread a needle for me, and in crayon, I wrote a mystery involving my favorite cartoon characters.

I still think there’s a mystery in me waiting to get out. But these days, I write mainly to make sense of things, for myself and others.

On my Communicate! blog, and in guest blogs I’ve been honored to write, I explore how to build relationships through words. Nonprofit organizations and small businesses need friends. Writing to entertain, inspire, amuse, inform, provoke, outrage, build trust and spur action is still the best way to win loyal friends, even in an increasingly visual age. (Look how Sybil and I have become friends online!)

“Communicate” means “become one together.” At my best, I write to make sure you and your organization understand things as well as I do…and then some. That’s why I consult to nonprofit organizations as well: through my relationship with them, I help them create human ties with their supporters.

When I write for Welcome to My World, I am musing about the injustice and oppression of the world we live in and thinking how to change at least the nation for the better. That’s something I’ve been doing since graduate school, when I used to joke I was getting a Ph.D. in changing the world. I wrote a dissertation back then that turned into a book, and it’s still in print.

I’m also being struck by thoughts from the Jewish tradition. Some of those relate directly to changing the world. Some of them are about the kind of life we could live if only we didn’t have so many things to change.

And of course, there are the sly little tweets I compose for Twitter. Here’s one, in the form of a haiku:

Writing, old is new.

Twitter teaches brevity

to those who will learn.


Thanks for reading! Next up is Diana Schwenk, who blogs at The Other Bottom Line. Diana is an accomplished fundraiser, and The Other Bottom Line empowers non-profit organizations to ignite the passion and solicit the support of their community.  I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do.

Make the New Hire a Part of Your Story

New hire

You posted the position. You read a pile of resumes. You interviewed a gaggle of candidates. You picked somebody who seems perfect. Now it’s her first day on the job. How do you bring her onboard?

Don’t write a memo. Tell a story.

In 2009, the nonprofit agency where I worked had a problem…

Read the rest of this blog at



Never Scramble for an Idea on Deadline Again

Mark Your Calendar

Nothing feels more awful than getting up in the morning and realizing you have no idea what to write.  Fortunately, there is a solution. Create a publication calendar and you’ll never have that feeling again.

You can create a publication calendar in five easy steps.

Step one: open up your favorite calendar tool. Outlook, Google Calendar, a specially designed piece of software or a paper calendar with pictures of puppies every month: it doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you.

Step two: think of seasonal topics.  Back-to-school, Fall, Winter, New Year, Spring, Summer. National holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. If appropriate, religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah, or Ramadan. Heating season, if you provide heating assistance.  Camping season, if you do summer camps.  Mark each topic on your calendar at the right time to be talking about it.

Step three: find the hook that will make each topic a real story, one that’s interesting to your audience. Back-to-school is not a story in itself. “What you need to know about your child’s first day at our preschool” is a story! Mark that on your calendar.

Step four: now think of events your organization is holding. Fundraising events, friend-raising events, community forums, advocacy days at the statehouse.  Put those on your calendar too, and find the hook for each one.

Step five: think of campaigns your organization is launching at specific times of the year. Are you registering people to vote? Signing them up for low-cost bank accounts? Creating sports teams? Put those activities on the calendar, too, along with the hook that will make your audience want to read about each one.

Now, your calendar is full of ideas and specific ways to present them.  That means:

  • You can work on them in advance. Get photos, line up interviews, look up statistics…whatever you need for the post can be done ahead of time instead of at the last minute.
  • You can coordinate your messaging. Your blog, your social media postings, your newsletter, and even your face-to-face meetings with supporter can all reinforce the same message, so people are more likely to grasp it and retain it.
  • You can improvise.  It’s easier to improvise when you already have a plan in place. If a hurricane strikes, or one of your issues trends in the news, or if you receive a visit from Michelle Obama or the Pope, of course you can put that into your calendar. You’ll be in the perfect position to decide whether to delay a previously scheduled topic or just post more often.

What do you put on your publication calendar? Is there something that you post about that makes you stand out from most other organizations?

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Advice and Resources to Help Nonprofit Organizations and Professionals Succeed


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Now on The Internet!


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"The shortest distance between two human points is the crooked line of aimless love." -- Terry Read

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Every READER is a different person!


Win friends and get the support your mission deserves


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