“A rising tide lifts all boats.”
-John F. Kennedy
Historically, this phrase was used referring to the economy. Today, I can’t help but apply it to our fundraising world, in that a good outcome—and good information—benefits us all. (This logic is a large part of why we’ve provided our research and webinars free of charge for over 10 years.)
There are countless other industry blogs out there sharing useful information that’s advantageous to all. They’re timely and relatable, with insight from experienced fundraising professionals; their point of view gleaned from decades of nonprofit service.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we are spreading the love and sharing some of our favorite industry blogs, and a few podcasts too. I hope you’ll enjoy them just as much as I do!
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE NONPROFIT BLOGS*
CLAIRIFICATION—Claire Axelrad is, hands down, one of my favorite bloggers to read. (And now that she’s joining forces with Bloomerang, look out!) Like a treasure box, this blog is a rich resource with relatable concepts. Her topics and views give you a lot to think about. A 30-plus-year fundraising veteran, Claire’s walked the walk, fundraising for San Francisco Food Bank and Jewish Family and Children’s Services, among others.
Why we love it: The last line of her bio is, “The money will come, but it won’t be about the money. It will be about the love.” The love shows.
MICHAEL ROSEN SAYS—I’ve known Michael for well over 15 years and have always enjoyed talking to him about both fundraising opportunities and challenges. Similar to his book, his blog doesn’t disappoint! A wealth of topics and knowledge, with topics that were surely inspired by everyday interactions and “aha” moments. This blog doesn’t ride the tide of “trendy” fundraising.
Why we love it: Everything Michael writes about is true to the roots of his book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing. He shares his own personal stories as well as other donors’ stories, and articulates where charities can ‘do better’. Extra: Engaging comment section.
PASSIONATE GIVING BLOG—The team at Veritus Group continues to provide great perspective and thought-provoking content around the obstacles that fundraisers face day-to-day. Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels are renowned industry experts and consistently deliver food for thought.
Why we love it: They’re brutally honest and tell you what you need to hear—not what you want to hear.
FUTURE FUNDRAISING NOW—I remember meeting Jeff Brooks for the first time at a Bridge Conference in Washington D.C. years ago. Jeff has always brought his unique take, fueled by years of experience, to his blogs. Titles like “Your organization is NOT as unique as you think it is!” give you an accurate sense of his refreshing candor.
Why we love it: Straight to the point and keeps it simple. Jeff is the king of hard-hitting lists.
BLOOMERANG—Since I first joined the planned giving industry over 18 years ago, I’ve been a fan of Jay Love. At that time Jay was Co-Founder and CEO of eTapestry and was already advocating fundraising industry standards in a creative and engaging way. While Jay has moved on to be Bloomerang’s Co-Founder and CRO (Chief Relationship Officer), his passion and wisdom are more evident than ever in this blog.
Why we love it: Bloomerang answers all of the questions you’ve been asking, and some that you haven’t even thought of yet.
NONPROFIT AF—I first heard about Vu Le when his blog was entitled Nonprofit Blog with Balls. That being said, he’s got an in-your-face approach to an assortment of topics. These topics are 18 and counting, including ED Life (for executive directors who sometimes feel alone), grant writing, office culture and unicorns—you’ll get it when read it.
Why we love it: Makes you laugh, and think, when you need it most.
IGNITED FUNDRAISING—Lori Jacobwith’s long-running blog has been on my list for quite some time. She always provides sensible tips and valuable input on a variety of topics that impact all fundraisers.
Why we love it: She doesn’t just give words of advice. She offers up quotes, videos, tools, and next steps to inspire your fundraising.
THE AGITATOR | DONOR VOICE—No doubt you’ve long heard that fundraising is part art and part science. In fact, one of the first fundraising books I read almost 20 years ago was Doug White’s The Art of Planned Giving. Fast forward 10 years, and The Agitator was one of the first fundraising blogs I followed. What I’ve specifically enjoyed as the blog has evolved is their focus on and support of research and the science behind fundraising trends.
Why we love it: Because #science.
GET FULLY FUNDED—Down to earth and direct, covering everything from budgeting for small nonprofits to building an online donation page. It’s all here.
Why we love it: Includes additional resources and a quick takeaway bottom line.
JOHN HAYDON—While, to be fair, I only recently started officially following John’s blog, I’ve been following his blog posts for some time via his Twitter feed. John does a great job of bringing practical examples and ideas to fundraisers that constantly want to market better in the ever-changing digital age.
Why we love it: Crazy simple tips you can use today. “5 Features of Effective Email Newsletters” and “5 Ways to Use Donor Data to Segment your Email List” are just a couple examples of quick reads with immediate value. And his Facebook Live Hump Day Coffee Breaks, because who doesn’t love coffee and breaks?
BONUS BLOG: SETH GODIN—It’s true, Seth’s Blog is not a fundraising blog. However, fundraising success is dependent on marketing, and Seth is one of the best! Fundraisers are skilled in a lot of things: raising money, building relationships and being evangelists for their organizations—but marketing is typically something that they don’t have near enough time to learn about. Seth’s blog is as good a place as any to start.
Why I love it: Fundraising is marketing. You’re marketing yourself, your organization and its mission. It’s a wise idea to, at least occasionally, take a step back from the fundraising world and see what the for-profits are up to.
(FOR UNIVERSITY FUNDRAISERS: Check out this blog just for you, Capture Higher Ed’s blog.)
WHEN YOU WANT TO LISTEN INSTEAD: A FEW FAVORITE PODCASTS*
JOE TUMOLO—Joe carries several planned giving-specific podcasts (topics include “Simple Plan for Planned Giving” and “The End of Planned Giving?”) with engaging industry guests. Each is about a 5- to 20-minute listen.
Why we love it: A wide range of topics presented by seasoned planned giving pros.
THE FUNDRAISING AUTHORITY—A plethora of podcasts to pick and choose, like “Getting Your Organization Ready to Raise More Money,” “Thinking Big About Non-Profit Fundraising” and “How to Thank Your Donors the Right Way.” Each is about a half hour in length—perfect for a one-way or to-and-from-work commute.
Why we love it: Enthusiastic delivery gets your own great thoughts pumped up.
NONPROFIT LEADERSHIP PODCAST—An in-depth library of nearly 100 episodes, each about 30 minutes, and a guest roster that will keep you coming back for more.
Why we love it: Keeps you current. “What the Harvard Business Review has to say about leadership” and “Fundraising with Social Media” are prime examples of this podcast staying on top of the trends.
*not all and in no particular order
MORE TO LOVE
Like I mentioned, these are only a few of the industry blogs and podcasts we favor (there are quite a few more that we follow). How about you? What blogs—or podcasts—do you read for a pick-me-up or for a new eye on an old topic? We know there’s even more to love.