The type of story that raises the most money [VIDEO]

Telling a story on how to raise money.

There’s a type of story that works incredibly well to raise money…

…an incomplete story with a current need.

Here’s a video I recorded last year with Chris Davenport from the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference that explains what I mean.

There are two reasons this video is helpful:

  1. We talk about why telling “incomplete” stories is so successful when Asking your donors for gifts
  2. I share how to tell an incomplete story, with a specific example. Chris posted the video just yesterday morning, and he’s already getting feedback on how helpful the example is.

Watch the video! It’s 11 minutes long, but it goes fast. And the ideas I share will jumpstart your fundraising this fall!

One final thing to mention: I’ll be speaking at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference this fall in San Diego (November 2-4). And you can save $400 if you take advantage of the Early Bird special until tomorrow, September 15th.

How to Focus Your Ask on One Thing AND Raise Undesignated Funds

one thing

During these crazy last few months, nonprofits we serve have had a lot of success raising money using strong fundraising offers.  By that I mean highlighting a specific part of what the nonprofit does and then asking the donor to send in a gift today to fund that part. 

Not asking the donor to “partner with us” or to “support our mission” or to “provide hope.”  But asking the donor just to fund the part that the appeal focuses on.

There’s a good question that must be answered when using this approach:

“How can you raise undesignated funds in your appeal if it focuses only on one program – even just one part of one program?”

This free video answers that question.


The video makes it easy for you by showing you the things you need to say in your appeals, and the places you need to say them, to raise undesignated funds.

I also share how to think about this approach – which is new for most people.

It’s just 5 minutes long and is completely free.  But watch it so that you too can enjoy the benefits of raising more money that come from talking about specific programs or parts of your organization – while raising undesignated funding!

Free Review Fridays


Don’t miss this if you’re doing any fundraising over the next 4 weeks.

This Friday at 10:00 am Pacific Time I’ll be reviewing COVID-19/Coronavirus fundraising.

You can submit your material for review by going here to sign up (it’s free).

I’ll be using the reviews to teach you what to do – and what not to do – to raise money effectively during this crisis.

I’ll give you lessons from previous crises so that your organization doesn’t make the mistakes that others have already made and learned from.

Because it’s a great time to raise money. But most organizations don’t move quickly enough, or they send out messages that are mostly irrelevant to their donors.

You should tune in this Friday because it’s not too late to take advantage of the massive surge in giving that’s going on even as you read this email.

Donor generosity is blowing us away these past few days. They WANT to help!

So sign up for free and I’ll see you on Friday at 10:00 AM Pacific time!

EASY year-end emails that raise a ton of money

Year-end emails video still

Last year I came up with a way to make it easier than ever to raise more money with your year-end emails.

It’s a super-easy template you can follow. Your emails will take less time to create AND you’ll raise more money!

easy year end emails video still

And I know it’s July at the moment – but we focus a ton on year-end fundraising around here.

(By the way, all that focus is paying off; last year every one of our clients raised more money at year-end than the year before. That’s a great deal higher than the national average.)

We’ve noticed that the most successful fundraising organizations start creating their year-end fundraising earlier than they need to. They know things will get busy in November and December, and they know their year-end fundraising pieces are the most important pieces they send all year.

So they start early – and you can too. And watch this 7-minute video (and bookmark it!) to save yourself a bunch of time this year-end!

How to Focus on One Specific Program Yet Still Raise Undesignated Funds

I teach often about the power of using specific offers – highlighting specific programs or even parts of programs – in your appeals and e-appeals.

Then a good question always comes up:

“But how do I raise undesignated funds in my appeal letter if my appeal focuses only on one program?”

This video answers that question.

In the video I show you the things you need to say in your appeals, and the places you need to say them, to have your appeal raise undesignated funds.

I also share how to think about this approach – which is new for most people.

It’s just 5 minutes long. But watch it so that you too can enjoy the benefits of raising more money, benefits that come from talking about specific programs or parts of your organization – while raising undesignated funding!

7 Crucial Storytelling Tips to Help You Raise More Money

I make a lot of fundraising videos.

It’s a joy when a video helps a lot of people raise more money – and that’s exactly what this video has done.

I made it with Jeff Brooks and Chris Davenport.  It’s called 7 Crucial Storytelling Tips to Improve Your Fundraising

You’ll learn Jeff’s best tip for how to start your stories, my advice on the best stories to tell in appeals, and why repetition is so important to successful fundraising.

It’s a long one – 20 minutes – but if you watch just the first couple of minutes you’ll leave with a tip that will help you raise more money the very next time you send a communication to your donors. I hope you’ll watch it and raise more money!

The #1 Story that Raises the Most Money [VIDEO]

I think it’s the most helpful video I’ve ever made.

If you’d like to know how to:

  • Tell stories in your appeals, e-appeals and events so that more donors will respond
  • Tell stories so that your donors become more bonded to your organization
  • Tell stories so that you raise more money
  • Say what’s needed when sharing this thinking with the people in your organization who don’t like powerful fundraising

It’s all in there.  Watch the video!

New Podcast Up: Learn ‘Donor Love’ from the Experts

New Podcast Up: Learn ‘Donor Love’ from the Experts

If you’ve never listed to “Fundraising Is Beautiful,” the podcast I host with Jeff Brooks, now is a great time to start!

We just released a fantastic interview with Jen Love and John Lepp from Agents of Good in Toronto. Not only are they fun people, but you’ll absolutely be a better fundraiser after listening to their perspectives on donor love, how fundraisers can take care of themselves, and why innovation so often doesn’t work.

I’ve been doing this podcast since 2007 and can say – without a doubt – that this is one of my favorite episodes.

And it’s the first in a series of interviews we’re doing with smart fundraisers you can learn from – both how they succeed in fundraising and the important lessons they’ve learned along the way.

If you’d like to listen or subscribe to this free resource, here’s where to go:

iTunes  —  Google Music  —  SoundCloud  —  Stitcher

My personal recommendation for a podcast app for your phone: Overcast. The feature I love: you can play podcasts a little faster than normal speed. I don’t know what software magic they use to make the words still easy to understand, but it works great and saves so much time.

I hope you’ll take a listen to the podcast!

The Gift of an Extra Week – and Extra Money [VIDEO]

The Gift of an Extra Week – and Extra Money [VIDEO]

It’s a cloudy and cold August Thursday up here in Seattle. That’s not something we’d normally celebrate, but it’s a welcome respite from the recent heat and smoke from the forest fires.

Wanted to share something with you today that Chris Davenport (of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference) and I have cooked up.

Two things, actually.

First, a Helpful Video

This video shares a practical plan for how your organization can take advantage of the extra week in this year’s “year-end fundraising season” between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

How do we have an extra week this year? Because Thanksgiving is so early!

You’ve been given a gift of an extra week when donors are extra generous. Make the most of your week!

Year-End Fundraising Summit in Seattle

The second is that Chris and I are hosting a special year-end fundraising summit in Seattle in September. It’s for just 10 organizations, and after our two days together you’ll leave with a customized year-end fundraising plan for your organization that’s based on what’s working best in fundraising today.

We’ll help you write all of your letters, emails, web page updates and social posts.

It’s expensive, but for the right organizations it’s an incredible value. Not only will your most important year-end fundraising work be done in September (!!!!), we’ll show you how each element of your campaign is a repeatable asset that you can use to raise more money (with less work) next year too. And the year after that.

The organizations that have already signed up are excited – and we are, too.

There’s an application on this page; I hope you’ll fill it out if you’re thinking about joining us!