Good People, Good Work

Ah, a warm business-like welcome

A gift from a first-time donor to most charities sets in motion a process that should be more or less automatic, and ideally, well-thought out. Our KMA whitemail experiment produced very uneven welcomes.

(In the table below I have compiled the responses.)

But rather than complain about lackluster responses, I am focusing on four that stood out.

The top of the heap for me was the major Canadian university. You can read about that here.

Missing in action

Instead of marveling at how much mail we generated with our whitemail experiment, I am struck by how modest the volume is. I’m particularly curious about the four organizations (of 12 original donations) who made only one or two contacts.

Starting up is hard to do

From the small medical research charity I received two responses a month after I mailed the cheque (not bad, given the time of year and the geography.) One envelope contained a receipt; the other a holiday greeting card. Nothing since.

Honestly, I thought there'd be more

On November 18, 2013 I mailed cheques for $100 to eight charities, and made $100 online donations to four more – all to charities to which I’d ​never before given, and which have never been clients. I wanted to see what would happen next.

Donations for Nepal are acts of pure faith

Donors need signals of trustworthiness to help them give

The world has mobilized to help stricken Nepalese in the wake of a massive earthquake on S aturday April 25. As ear ​ly as Sunday workers began arriving amid scenes of horrible loss and devastation, and a pervasive climate of fear.


Eight Whats of Donor Communications

Whether a capital campaign, a pre-campaign study, a major donor strategy, or an annual fund appeal, successful fundraising is always the execution of a good communications strategy. One of my challenges in donor communications is the compulsion to try to say everything, and in an artful way. So instead of writing a book, I distilled 30 years of thinking about donor communications into this table.

- Larry Matthews


Favourites of 2014

Before last year completely fades from memory,

some appeals and promotions I thought stood out

- Larry Matthews


Great leveraging of volunteers: CITIZEN SCIENTISTS

Dollar-A Day: Rethinking the critique

My son Aaron first brought the Dollar-a-Day donation approach to my attention.

That led to a blog post last week.

It turns out he then thought my analysis missed something important.

Give to 365 charities a year- only $1 a day!

Is this philanthropy? Or charity? Or ...?

Dollar-A Day ( ) made its debut earlier this fall in the United States and today (October 16) has 807 subscribers. That number grew by three people overnight last night. When I first looked at the site on October 5, it had about 450 members.

Canada’s original “call-to-action” figure

Steve Thomas is Chairman and Executive Creative Director of the company he founded in 1980, Stephen Thomas Ltd. A fundraiser for over 40 years, he is often described as the ‘Guru’ of Canadian direct response fundraising. His firm was Canada’s first direct response fundraising agency working exclusively in the not-for-profit sector.

Working for donors – raising impact, reducing risk, making a difference

An interview with Terry Smith, founder, President and CEO of in Toronto, ON.

For nearly nine years Terry Smith has provided a unique service to Canadian donors through her company Terry advises donors on how to, as she describes it “reduce their risk and increase the impact of their philanthropic giving.” Her clients typically are wealthy individuals, families and foundations – people who want assistance in making strategic philanthropic decisions and /or help in administering grants and ensuring accountability from recipients.