Interested in listening instead of reading? 

I’ve been a guest on a number of podcasts lately, and here are the top three if you’d like to take a listen…

Build Good with Mike Duerkson

This conversation was mostly about fundraising offers – what they are, how they make your fundraising more inclusive (and raise more!), and how to build one for your organization. 

Here’s a 3-minute clip that got a lot of attention.

Confessions with Jess and Cindy

Just released last week – such a fun conversation!  This was mostly about the business-side of The Better Fundraising Company.  Listen to this one if you’ve ever thought about being a consultant to nonprofits or starting a business in the nonprofit world. 

Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

This episode is about “what to do when your fundraising results are flat” and we get tactical!  We cover:

  • The beliefs that prevent us from fundraising effectively
  • Why donor fatigue is a myth 
  • How to communicate to donors in the best way possible 
  • Why getting complaints is actually a GOOD thing – and how to reframe them

Happy listening!


fundraising is beautiful

Today’s post is a bit of an outlier.  It’s kind of personal, kind of bad news, but kind of good news.

The news is that after 112 episodes, Jeff Brooks and I have officially ceased our podcast, Fundraising Is Beautiful. 

I’m sad just typing that sentence.  The podcast is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  (More on that below.)

The good news is that the episodes are currently available to you to listen to.  Right here, right now, for your listening pleasure. *

I’m confident that listening to any of them will make you a more effective fundraiser. 

But we’ve got a lot of episodes!  You might wonder where to start.  So here are three episodes that a lot of people found entertaining and/or helpful:

Final Thoughts on FIB

If you’d like to read more about why we decided to call it a day, read Jeff’s great post about it.

And here’s my favorite tweet about its demise . . .

  • There’s @jeffbrooks and @stevenscreen being innovative.  The only people in the world *not* starting a podcast.

If you’re still reading, let me share a couple things I learned while doing the podcast:

  • I’m a better writer, public speaker, and teacher for having done the podcast.  Those things are learned behaviors, and you’ll get better with practice.
  • Having to explain and teach what you know will make you better at what you do.  I’m a better Fundraiser for having done it.
  • Jeff rubs his fingers together while talking and it makes a scritchy noise.
  • There’s a whole set of topics that are of great interest to consultants… but aren’t of interest to Fundraisers trying to help their organization raise more money next month.  And the universe of consultants is quite small compared to the universe of people trying to help their organization get better.
  • Helpful podcasts with titles that sound like clickbait will get more listens.  People are interested in specific topics and actionable tips on how to get better.
  • The sound quality of some of the very first episodes is… dodgy.  As in we were apparently recording with lousy mics.  Near squirrels.  In some kind of tube.  I’m more than a little embarrassed about that but came to realize that it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we started.  We fought the resistance.  And beat it 112 times.

To anyone starting a podcast or a blog, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Not because it will raise your profile or anything like that.  But because of what you’ll learn, what you’ll realize you know, and because it will make you better.

Thank You, Jeff

Grateful and humble thanks to Jeff for making Fundraising Is Beautiful with me for 10 years.  I’m honored to have done it with you and learned from you.  Thanks for all the laughs, the rants, and your friendship.

Fundraising IS beautiful.

* Lots of great episodes are available right now, but our team is still adding some of the older ones – so keep checking back!

The Power of Donor Love: Interview with Jen Love & John Lepp

Fundraising is Beautiful Podcast

You’ll be equipped and inspired by this interview with Jen Love and John Lepp of Agents of Good in Toronto. They are powerful spokespersons for the idea and practical expression of loving donors. You’ll learn how Courier font is a practical tool for donor love, why innovation in fundraising so often doesn’t work, why ugly powers great fundraising, and how fundraisers can take care of themselves in our sometimes emotionally draining work.

11 amazing fundraising truths discovered by new writers

Fundraising is Beautiful Podcast

We asked two new fundraising (and very successful) writers who have been doing some very great work what they know about fundraising that’s making them succeed.

Here’s what they told us:

  1. Write as one person connecting with one person.
  2. Avoid the word “we” — unless it very clearly means you the reader and I the writer.
  3. Start your first draft with this phrase: I’m writing to you today because…
  4. Use the word you a lot.
  5. Articulate the fundraising offer early and often.
  6. Tell a story of need, not success.
  7. Ask clearly for money. (Don’t hint around!)
  8. Write at a 6th grade reading level.
  9. Include a P.S. and restate whatever is the most important thing in your message.
  10. Have a deadline, and mention it often.
  11. Keep the organization out of the way — make it about what the donor can do.

If you’re new to the work, or feel intimidated by it, this list can push you way up your learning curve, and fast!

Engagement fundraising — how you raise the big bucks from the happiest donors

Fundraising is Beautiful Podcast

This is a powerful and super-informative interview with Greg Warner, founder of MarketSmart who also hosts a great podcast called Engagement Fundraising.

The secret to accelerating your fundraising program is this: find the right level of engagement and giving for every donor, especially:

  • Those who will leave your organization a bequest.
  • Those with the capacity to become mid-level or major donors.

How do you discover this? Some combination of science and magic?

Or just ask them?

You’ll love Greg’s energy and passion as he describes all the love we’re missing by not asking — engaging with — donors.

How to conduct interviews that get you the fundraising stories that stir your donors’ hearts

Fundraising is Beautiful Podcast

We all know how important it is to tell great stories in fundraising. Those stories almost never drop out of the sky! We have to go and get them.

In this quick discussion, you’ll get some great interviewing tips, including:

  • Know what you want to get what you want.
  • Dealing with language barriers and working with translators.
  • “Lead the witness.”
  • The “Columbo” technique.

And more. Don’t miss this opportunity to collect the best stories.

Ultimate Fundraising Lesson

The most important thing you can learn about fundraising — the one thing that can make the difference between mediocrity and big-time success — it’s this: It’s not about you. It’s about your donor! It’s so easy to talk about how great our organization is … and to forget that donors don’t give because you’re awesome. They give because they are awesome. That’s why successful fundraising is about donors, not about us.

3 things that are probably wrong with your nonprofit website

Fundraising is Beautiful Podcast

We’ve looked at a lot of nonprofit websites. More than is good for our mental health, frankly.

And we’ve found three things to be wrong with nearly all of them:

  1. Your website doesn’t present some kind of need that the donor can meet.
  2. The idea of giving is not clear and strong.
  3. You’ve created it to make your leadership and board happy.

We’ll show you how to fix these common issues and transform your website into the fundraising vehicle you want.