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Member, American Society of Association Executives
Resources – Newsletter Archive

August, 2006

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." Today's newsletter (which you can read in 3-5 minutes . . . tops) includes golden nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from the 2006 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in July ( And I also share comments on faith-based ethics from the donor's perspective. By the way, I recommend you seriously consider attending the "Bridge Conference" next year. I'll keep you posted as I hear news about it.

With regard to my newsletter in general - on the second Tuesday of each month I share tips, news items, and resources all tailored for the non-profit world and folks directly responsible for raising funds. My goal is to make your job a little easier and to help you increase your donor contributions.

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What's your biggest challenge? What would you like to see in my newsletter? How can I help you?

Send me a short note with one or two of your biggest challenges. I'll share suggestions on making them less of a challenge in a future issue. Just send an email to and I'll take it from there.

Golden Nuggets of Wisdom - Snippets from the "Bridge" Conference
[339 words]

Lists [Sue Tomasso, speaker.]

  • Choose a list with characteristics to closely match your own donor profile
  • Test new creative with a proven list; don't test brand new creative with a brand new list
  • Add decoys to every campaign - mail and email
  • According to Sue, the "New Yorker" subscriber list is great for fundraising. This leads to thinking in categories as you select a list: association lists, paid subscriber lists, seminar attendee lists, product buyer lists, etc. What are your donors doing and reading? What are their interests?
  • Choose your list wisely and don't take shortcuts here. Great creative sent to the wrong list is counterproductive and you're the loser.

Data [Jean Gianfagna, speaker.]

  • Good data not only drives list selection and personalization of mailing pieces . . . data drives the relevance of the mailing and the relationship with the prospect. How you infuse the data into the piece increases the relevance to the prospect and strengthens your relationship. The prospect is more likely to react with, "Hey, this really is meant for me!" Or, "They took some time with this. It's not a pure form letter."
  • Data-driven creative is important. Prospects are too busy; they're drowning in information; and they're more savvy and jaded. So a creative mailing with accurate personalization throughout the piece will more likely capture their attention and get them to take action.
  • Segment prospects and donors into smaller more precisely targeted groups of like individuals for tailored mailings. Similar to the first bullet on Data, this increases the relevance of the piece to the prospect and again strengthens your relationship with them . . . even if you're just starting to build the relationship.
  • Creative with bad or inaccurate data is a relationship killer. Keep your database accurate and check the lists carefully.

In next month's issue I'll share more nuggets from the conference. This will include an insightful survey on donor loyalty. And ideas on what can be done to improve donor retention and reverse the downward trend you may be experiencing.

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Hot Tip of the Month - Faith-based Ethics From the Donor's Perspective
[216 words]

"Does working for a faith-based organization change how you work with donors?" This was a question asked to a four-person panel at the Bridge Conference. The session was: "Faith-based Fundraisers: A Special Calling?"

Panelist answers took two paths of interpretation. The first path is where everyone agreed: It really shouldn't make a difference what organization you work for and how you work with donors. Listen to your donors and build relationships.

The second interpretation of the answer had one panelist voicing a different opinion than the other three. And I agree with the lone panelist: There is a good chance donors who give to a faith-based organization will hold that organization to a higher standard of integrity than an organization without faith ties.

The faith-based organization is seen as the hand of God. A donor is thinking . . . "I'm trusting them to do God's will with my money . . . they better not foul it up or abuse my trust!"

I believe donors may have less tolerance for a "misstep" in a faith-based organization. So if something goes wrong . . . move quickly, clean house and be up front and open in communications with your donors. Send special mailings to keep them informed. You'll be bruised but you can recover and be stronger than ever. History has proven this.

Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Thanks for joining me and until next time do your best to keep cool in the summer heat . . .

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? I'd love to work with you on it.


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I look forward to helping you prosper.

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