Removing Friction from Nonprofit Donation Pages: Part 1
Friction is anything that causes psychological resistance to a given element in the donation process. The more friction you have on your donation pages, the less likely it will be that your donor will choose to give. Therefore, our work is simple. Remove the friction in the giving process. But that isn’t...
Walking through the Crisis with your Donors
RaiseDonors isn’t just a technology platform for nonprofits. It’s a philosophy. It’s a way of thinking of your donors as partners in a common cause, where you care more for the donor than the gift. The RaiseDonors philosophy shuns short-term thinking and even shorter-term results. The RaiseDonor’s way...
Pass it on
“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde
The annoyance of a good example
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” – Mark Twain
Good for something
“Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.” – Henry David Thoreau
The temporary vs permanent
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mahatma Gandhi
It's you I like
“It’s you I like, It’s not the things you wear, It’s not the way you do your hair But it’s you I like The way you are right now, The way down deep inside you Not the things that hide you, Not your toys They’re just beside you. But it’s you I like Every part of you. Your skin, your eyes, your feelings...
Fundraising During a Crisis
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a growing threat to nonprofits that rely on public events to drive fundraising. But your nonprofit doesn’t have to be a victim! Here are some thoughts on how to fight coronavirus with giving.  The reality of the dangers posed by the Coronavirus are unavoidable. ...
Fighting the inertia of everything in your life
I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the idea of Responsive Fundraising. In a nutshell, responsive fundraising puts the donor at the center of fundraising and grows giving through personalized donor journeys that respond to the needs of each individual. It’s part tactics and part philosophy. ...
Live Free, a poem
Sometimes I’m goodSometimes I’m badI’m not only husbandI’m not only dad Sometimes I’m wrongSometimes I’m rightSometimes I’m peaceSometimes I fight Sometimes I’m falseSometimes I’m trueYou let me be meI let you be you We share in this giftOf our various facesWe are who we areIn all various places We give...
4 Ways to Increase the Desire to Give in the Mind of a Donor
Success in online fundraising depends on your ability to increase the desire to give in the mind of your donor. But how do you do that?  Our research has revealed four reliable ways. While it’s simple to connect the dots between an increase in desire to an increase in how much is raised—it’s...
The priority of things that matter
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Seize the day
“Either run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
Can a small tweak to your donate button increase gifts by 190%?
One of the most powerful ways to increase online donor conversions is also one of the most obvious: put a donate button on your homepage! Here’s how. When someone lands on your homepage, what do you think is the most common question they have on their mind? Well, the answer is it depends on how they...
A metaphor for life
“Adorable video shoes five-year-old Phoenix take on his belt test at Bobby Dixon’s American Martial Arts Academy on May 6 in Orlando. The video clip picks up after all the other students were able to break their boards. Phoenix struggles to get his board to break, growing increasingly frustrated....
How Many Donation Pages Do You Need?
A donation page can’t be everything to everyone. That’s why you need multiple donation pages. But how many donation pages do you need? One of the biggest mistakes nonprofits make today in their online fundraising is putting up only one donation page. After all the work of getting a donation page up and...
What you get vs what you become
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar 
The full cost of a low price
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – Ben Franklin
Tips for GivingTuesday
Started in 2012, the GivingTuesday movement hasn’t slowed down at all. In fact, the total amount of money raised in 2018 was $400 million! If you aren’t completely aware of what GivingTuesday’s all about, it’s an internationally organized giving event set on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday...
Just keep saying thank you
“In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
The Difference Between Giving and Buying
Are you designing your donation pages just like you would a landing page for a product? It’s time to rethink what makes donation pages work. Many of us in the nonprofit world come from a for-profit background. Typically, this is a huge advantage. It’s a good thing that you don’t lose all the wisdom and...
What money can't buy
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others’?” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
The value of together
“The most meaningful experiences in our lives are rarely done by ourselves—or—for ourselves.” – Me in a moment of lucidity. 
Everything starts with priorities
“All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.” – Tom Northup We’ve all been to websites that create a meaningful connection. Websites that leave you thinking, “I wish...
How a Benchmark Study Can Help You Raise Donors
Does seeing what others are doing help you improve your fundraising? We think so. Here’s why we think you should too. There are a lot of voices out there with great ideas on what you should be doing to raise money for your organization.  But how do you know which ideas are working and which ones...
What We Learned by Giving to 203 Nonprofits
When you give this much online, you learn a lot about what makes a donation page work, and what doesn’t. Here’s what we found by giving to 203 organizations. First of all, it’s not a typo – we did in fact give a gift to 203 organizations!  From February 27 through March 4, 2019, we gave $20 to 203...
Optimizing Online Fundraising with the Golden Rule
Fundraising can be a complicated industry. But at its heart is a simple rule—the Golden Rule. See how this timeless maxim can help you optimize your online fundraising. You’ve heard it before. The Golden Rule is one of those universal principles that just always rings true. Treat Others How You Want...
What do nonprofits really have to offer?
Fundraising can sometimes feel like you’re just taking money from people. But you’re really adding so much to people’s lives. You’re offering happiness. If you’re like so many other nonprofit professionals, you joined the team to do something great with your life. You love what you do, and you...
The No. 1 Mistake Nonprofits Make in Fundraising
Not hitting your fundraising goals? Make sure you’re not making this way too common mistake nonprofits do when fundraising. You work hard. Your team works hard.  You’ve got a mission… Lives are on the line. Foundational principles are on the line. Maybe even the future of our world is at stake....
How to buy happiness
Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness—when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.
When to Listen to “the Experts”
There are a lot of “experts” out there trying to help nonprofits raise more money. Who should you listen to and when? With over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States alone, there is a burgeoning support sector of for-profit services. Just top of mind, I can rattle off about 20: Full-service Fundraising...
A different path, not the wrong path
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
It's cliché because it's true
I post all kinds of quotes, collected wisdom, and—certainly—quite a few clichés. But my primary desire in all of this is to have a place to document the big and little lessons I want to pass on to my sons.   Every now and then I like to make a list of some essentials.  Here’s what I jotted down...
Closing the Distance Between You and Your Donors
At the heart of fundraising is a relationship. Not with a dollar, but with a donor. And so the wider the distance between you and your donor, the more difficult and impersonal it will be to ask for help. In the world online fundraising, closing that distance actually means that we need to go beyond digital....
The currency of kindness
 “Money is but one venue for generosity. Kindness is an even more valuable currency.” —Alan Cohen
Is Your Giving Page Optimized?
“Build it and they will give” is not a good way to think about online fundraising. Just because you set up your giving page with some text, an image, and a giving form does not mean that donors who come to your site will be motivated to give. Not all giving pages are created equal. Not every giving page...
Secrets to Improving Giving Page Performance
Giving pages are essential to any online fundraising strategy. Here’s how to take your giving page performance up a notch⁠—or three!   As online giving becomes more and more indispensable among donors, nonprofit organizations have to start paying closer attention to their giving pages. They...
Crisis Fundraising Done Right
No one likes to do it, but the time will come when you have to do crisis fundraising. Here’s how to raise emergency funds while keeping your donor relationships strong. Crisis fundraising is a tough fact of our existence. Bad things happen to good people. And bad things happen to good organizations....
Pete Carroll’s three rules for successful teams.
“(1) Always Protect the Team (2) No Whining, No Complaining, No Excuses (3) Be Early” – Pete Carroll
Pre-filled Forms: The Ultimate Gift for Your Donor
Discover how you can make your giving pages even better for conversions by setting up pre-filled forms on your donation pages with RaiseDonors! Before we get to the tech, let’s start with the philosophy. Raising donors is different than raising money. Of course, by raising donors you will also raise...
Ranked: the fruits
As the definitive, self-proclaimed Fruit Expert™ of my home, here is my current rankings of fruits.  Mango Avocado (nerd alert, it’s a fruit. 🤓) Nectarine Watermelon Strawberries  Honey-crisp Apple Grapes Orange / Tangerines (tie) Banana Lemons / Limes Tomato (oh yeah… also a fruit SILLY😎) Peach Plumb...
7 Strange Things People Believe About Online Fundraising [and why they don’t work]
Online fundraising is a powerful way to raise donors for your organization. But if you have the wrong expectations, it just won’t work. I co-founded RaiseDonors because I’ve seen firsthand how online fundraising has transformed the way we give to the causes we care about. This isn’t a fad – it’s here...
A good outline for any talk or article
Tell a story  Pose a problem   Offer a solution  Show examples Call to action
Generosity, you're our only hope
“Our only hope lies in the power of our love, generosity, tolerance and understanding and our commitment to making the world a better place for all…” —Muhammad Ali
Monthly Donor Receipts: Do they help or hurt?
Will sending donation receipts every month cause donors to leave? Today, we look into the real issues behind monthly donor receipts. Our entire lives we’re taught to say thank you as part of having good manners. And when it comes to saying thank you to donors  — it’s no different. In fact, the...
Be careful of each other
The Mower The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found A hedgehog jammed up against the blades, Killed. It had been in the long grass. I had seen it before, and even fed it, once. Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world Unmendably. Burial was no help: Next morning I got up and it did not. The first day...
The two educations
“There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” – John Adams
7 Ways to Show Donor Love
Your nonprofit might exist to serve your beneficiaries. But you’ve got to serve your donors’ interests first. Raise donors before you raise money. Broadly speaking, you can divide nonprofit work into three large categories: Administration, Programs, and Development. Of course, some nonprofit sectors...
The holy grail of fundraising
It costs more to get a new donor than to keep an existing donor. The holy grail of fundraising is not acquisition—it’s retention. 
3 Online Fundraising Improvements You can Make in 2019
The new year is here and online giving continues to rise. This new year is the perfect time to step up your online fundraising skills. I don’t know if this is true for you, but there are so many times when I look at the stats in reports like the 2018 Trends in Global Giving Report and forget that these...
The meaning of fences
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know what it was put up.” —Robert Frost
A Christmas toast to family
There’s an old pearl of wisdom that says the reason we have family is so that we learn to spend time with people with whom we would otherwise never spend time with. And while that’s sometimes true, I think it’s also true to say that because of family our lives are deeper, richer, more meaningful—or at...
The language of kindness
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
[Checklist] How to Know Your Donation Pages are Ready for Year-End Fundraising
Even with an amazing year-end fundraising strategy, if your year-end giving page isn’t optimized for conversions, you’re going to miss out! So let’s talk about giving page optimization. Online giving is gaining traction, especially during the year-end fundraising season. Philanthropy News Digest reported...
The religion of kindness
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” —Dalai Lama
Five Steps to Immediately Transform Your Online Fundraising
Even if your online fundraising efforts are going great, there is always room for improvement! It’s time to smooth out the friction and make it easier for people to donate to your cause. Here are five steps that can bring incredible transformation to your donation experience. Step 1: Identify your...
How do I build trust with potential online donors?
If you’re reading a blog about online fundraising, there’s a good chance you’ve partaken in some form of corporate team building. One of the most common tropes of such events is the “trust fall”. This is when we turn our backs to our teammates, close our eyes, and fall backwards into their arms. We are...
How can I increase my online fundraising revenue?
Fortunately, our friends at NextAfter have invested their professional lives into unloading the answer. Allow me to introduce you to the Flux Capacitor of Online Revenue Maximization (FCORM). The recipe for online revenue has only three essential ingredients: Web site traffic Donation conversion rate...
Action > Intention
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” —Oscar Wilde
Why not just use a PayPal button for my online fundraising?
“To everything (turn, turn, turn) There is a season (turn, turn, turn) And a time to every purpose, under heaven” – The Byrds For some organizations, a PayPal button is all that is required. If your organization is in start-up mode, you probably don’t yet have an enormous volume of donors,...
How do I decrease friction in my online giving process?
I hate answering the phone. In fact, there are three levels of disquiet I experience when my phone rings. DefCon Level 1Someone on my contact list is calling. Perhaps it’s a friend. Maybe it’s a colleague. Either way, as an act of generosity, I let it ring all the way through rather than force it straight...
How do I know if I’m doing well with my online fundraising?
Like so many things in life, progress is relative. And you can’t measure progress without first knowing where you’ve been. If I were to show you a spreadsheet detailing how much an organization raised over the past year and asked, “How is this organization doing?” — you’d have some questions. And rightly...
It's a feature, not a bug
“Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s part of it.” – Ariana Huffington
The man in the arena
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes...
Be a person of action
“Well done is better than well said.” – Ben Franklin
Mortality makes meaning
“Everything we love is about to die, and that is why everything must be summed up, with all the high emotion of farewell, in something so beautiful we shall never forget it.” – Pablo Picasso
Empathy enables understanding
“You are not your donor. You don’t think like them, you don’t assess value like them, and you don’t make decisions like them. If you (the fundraiser) are not constantly trying to understand and empathize with your donor, then all the other rules do not apply.” – Tim Kachuriak
The importance of trying
“It is far from easy to be a good man. In fact, as one gets older, it becomes more and more difficult to know what a good man is. Yet it also becomes increasingly important to at least try.” – Rudolph Wegener(Man in the High Castle: “A Way Out”, Season 1, Episode 10.)
Worry sap
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia
Know when to say "no"
“Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying no to all but the most crucial features.” – Steve Jobs
What good have I done today?
Here’s an image of Ben Franklin’s daily schedule.  I love the question, “What good have I done today?” 
Return on impact
Donors aren’t expecting a return on their investment—but they are expecting a return on impact.
Enough.
Between mass shootings, gang violence, domestic violence, and suicide—America doesn’t have merely a single gun problem, it has several. But while deaths continue to mount, we see little progress in putting sensible reform around policies that administer access to deadly weapons.   It’s shameful...
The captain of my soul
Invictus Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance  My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and...
A Christmas blessing
Love is our greatest treasure. May we celebrate. May we share. May we never tire of doing what is good.  And let us always be thankful for the time we have together.
Simplicity + clarity = great design
“I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.” —Lindon Leader
Think different, do better
“In big and small ways, we believe people can change the world for the better. And those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.” – Steve Jobs
The monster inside of US
Donald Trump is a monster.  He brings shame to this country. This isn’t a new or surprising revelation.  This is who he’s always proudly been.  But it’s breathtaking to see the American president in 2017 be so brazenly careless, irresponsible, and bigoted. Unfortunately, President Donald...
Software as a service, emphasis on the service
The critical “S” to remember in SaaS is the second S. If you provide excellent service and work to build a relationship with your client many issues with the first “S” can be managed. Remember the value prop in SaaS is annuitized income. If your churn is high the investment community will be skeptical...
The labyrinth is thoroughly known
The Hero Path We have not even to risk the adventure alone for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known… we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a God. And where we had thought to slay another...
This is water
“This is Water” An excerpt from an address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College by the late David Foster Wallace. It takes my breath away with every listen.  If you are curious about the type of living that I pursue and aspire to – this is it. 
Different answers to the same questions
It’s not always necessary to part company when our answers to the same questions differ.  But we must always be in pursuit of the wisdom to understand the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and lies.
You don’t notice privilege until you feel oppression
I didn’t write this, but it’s spot on and wanted to share it: “The reason some white people don’t understand or see how they’re privileged is the very reason they ARE privileged. If you live through the day without thinking about your race, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, you are privileged...
Beautiful is being loved—and loving in return
My wife sent me this article today: A Picture My Son Took Changed My Ideas About Body Image   It’s absolutely lovely and powerful.  A powerful line:  “I want (my kids) to think that beautiful is being loved — and loving in return.”
Affirmation without action is meaningless
Read: I Don’t Discuss Racism With White People  Profound, convicting, and poignant.  I owe these truths more than mere acknowledgment, agreement, or even shame.  It took me a long time to even arrive here—but affirmation without action is meaningless. The world cannot become a better place...
Shorten the distance
“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge
We are all different and that is beautiful
Why are we so quick to see the ugly…when we stand before the beautiful?
See the good in other people
“Life becomes easier and more beautiful when we can see the good in other people.” —Roy T. Bennett
Contribute a verse
Oh me! Oh life! Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle...
The purpose of business
One of my favorite business quotes from Peter Drucker, who said: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” – Peter Drucker
Talking vs doing
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
The reward for conformity
“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” – Rita Mae Brown
This is my doctrine
“This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.” – Robert G. Ingersoll
My favorite Christmas songs, for the record.
🎄 In no particular order…  Blue Christmas I’ll Be Home for Christmas Silver Bells White Christmas Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Silent Night   The Christmas song     Merry Christmas Baby Please Come Home for Christmas The Christmas Waltz And yes… All I Want for Christmas...
Truly understand something
“If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.” – Kurt Lewin
The Four Things That Matter Most
In his book, The Four Things That Matter Most, Dr. Ira Byok writes about the four things we need to say to the most important people in our life: “Please forgive me”  “I forgive you”  “Thank you”   “I love you”  Just about the most powerful words we can say to one another. No regrets....
Late > too late
“There is an immeasurable distance between late and too late.” —Og Mandino
Give thanks
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
How to understand
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb
Giving liberates the soul of the giver
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” —Maya Angelou
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