Good People, Good Work

“I’m just calling to say thank you.”

The call-display screen listed a major Canadian educational institution (not in Ontario.) I recognized it as one of the involuntary participants in our white mail experiment and picked up to hear a young female. “Krista” was calling to thank me for my donation.

The Privilege of the Pre-Campaign Study

At KMA we’re just beginning a new pre-campaign planning study. We will advise our client about their likelihood of success in a capital campaign. We produce a campaign plan. We make recommendations about structure and budget. And we give direction about how they should address whatever findings emerge from the study, so the project can be a success.

Wow! It just shouts “excitement,” doesn’t it? Or, maybe not. I concede that it may lack glamour, and the name -- “Pre-Campaign Planning Study” – won’t get anyone’s adrenaline flowing.

30 e-mails in 45 days from 1 charity: seems like a lot to me

I’ve started analyzing the responses received from the 12 unsolicited donations I made to various charities with which I’ve had no prior dealings. The beginning of this experiment is described in blog post of Nov. 27 (here).

The fundraisers’ New Year’s sing-along

(To the tune of Auld Lang Syne*)

Should auld supporters be forgot,

And prospects never mined?

Their aid, from old and new, we seek,

With appealings so sublime.

With appealings so sublime my friend,

Through mail, online or phone,

We prize all gifts, both large and small,

And love donors as our own.

Our events have all been run so well

Is this an ethical issue? Or am I fretting over nothing?

I am very grateful that the Canadian government matched my donations to Philippines relief.

Except that the government did not match my donations, at least not in the plain sense of the word. Nor, more importantly, in the way implied by some promotions by Canadian relief agencies.  And that worries me because I wonder if donors are being misled.

Emily the fundraiser breaks through

Let me tell you about Emily* the fundraiser.

A young woman knocked on my door one recent evening, part of a team going door-to-door canvassing for the Alzheimer’s Society. It was cold, it was dark, and a strong wind whipped down the street.

I opened the door and the young woman unveiled a thousand-watt smile.


I’ve written a lot of direct response mailings. Particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, I generated appeals and collateral for medical agencies, political parties, advocacy groups, social service, religious and international aid groups.

Part 2- The desires of your donors

We have learned a great deal by interviewing donors over the past 19 years, and out of their far-ranging comments we have summarized what they're looking for in organizations they are enthusiastic about supporting.

Part 1 was posted November 8, 2013 and is found here:

8. Leadership“Show us how that you are helping set the pace in your field.”

The desires of your donors

(Part 1 of 2)

My colleagues and I have interviewed hundreds of people, exploring the likelihood that current supporters of our clients might endorse and support some proposed initiative. The interviews are confidential — we don’t report what individuals say—but their comments strongly influence the advice we give.

In the process we have learned that donors from coast to coast want the same things. As one client said to us, what we list here is now the price of admission to being considered for significant support.

Thank God for the Volunteer

Officially, volunteer appreciation week is in April. But my appreciation for volunteers mushrooms on the first Saturday in November.

That’s when we open our church for the beginning of another season of Out of the Cold. Each Saturday night for 22 weeks, we’ll offer dinner to 125 or so people. About 60 will stay the night (our limit) and get a hot breakfast in the morning before returning to the streets and landing at the next location for Sunday night. We add in some clothes, some informal counselling, and lots of conversation.