Some of the best advice I’ve received from colleagues has been during off-the-cuff conversations—time we didn’t expect, but moments that made us reflect.
That’s how I think of blogs, podcasts and other tools at our disposal.
After all, no one knows everything. Or can predict everything. Or sees everything from every perspective. Hearing from others can inspire, motivate and remind us to keep pushing toward our goals.
Here are some of our go-to blogs and podcasts that churn the gears, give a boost or help gain clarity. Hope they work the same magic for you.
No doubt, Claire Axelrad’s blog is one of my favorites. Topics include donor retention, content marketing, social engagement and culture and values. All good stuff. Plus, she’s got the know-how to back it up as a member of the California State Bar and an alumna of the Conrad Teitell Intensive Planned Giving Program and Lily Family School of Philanthropy Executive Leadership Institute, among other achievements.
You’ll Love Her Too: She gets you thinking, not just about the brass tacks of what we do but also how to do it, better. Case in point, her recent blog: Leading Your Nonprofit with Hope, not Optimism.
“Hope is Active; Optimism is Passive.
Optimism and hope are often used interchangeably; they’re not.”—Claire Axelrad
Lori Jacobwith’s blog, Fire Starters, makes my regular-reads list. Touted as “boldness, clarity & wisdom for fundraising professionals,” her blog is honest and direct. It also incorporates pieces of her personal life, so you feel like Lori’s a wise fundraising friend.
You’ll Love Her Too: The graphics reel you in, and her relatable, unique perspectives on a variety of fundraising subjects keep you on the page. Videos, tools and next steps provide concrete, usable advice.
Check out: What 60 Years of Living Taught Me About Fundraising. A snippet:
I’ve known Michael for nearly 20 years. Two decades into this business, I still look forward to talking with him about what’s evolving in fundraising, its challenges and its opportunities. I know he gets it and his blog doesn’t disappoint.
You’ll Love Him Too: He’s authentic with a clear, unique voice in planned giving, staying true to the roots of his book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing.
4. Nonprofit AF
Vu Le provides a rush of fresh air to the fundraising conversation. Look for him to press on current events and the state of society as well as delve head on into topics like capacity building, donor relations and staff dynamics.
You’ll Love Him Too: Engaging comments section; funny guy. Honest too, as he says in his bio that the quality of posts is “directly and inversely related to how late he stays up watching The Mandalorian or Star Trek Discovery.”
Jeff Brooks posts almost every day with clever insight into donor demographics, creativity and online fundraising, among other topics. He’s candid, direct and writes everything from the lens of what donors want, need and ask for from us and our nonprofits.
You’ll Love Him Too: He’s to the point while making great points. He also calls bull on esoteric marketing in Stupid nonprofit ads.
When I want a wide-lens view, I read NonProfit Pro’s blog. With new posts every few days, content is fresh and timely. You’ll get a little of everything here on topics like leadership management, career advancement (“Learn to Be Your Own Administrative Assistant”) and technology (“How You Can Lead When Technology Is Overwhelming”).
You’ll Love Them Too: Different authors and perspectives; topics categorized for quick reference.
Led by Dr. Rob Harter, Nonprofit Leadership is a podcast that’s authoritative yet relatable. After all, Rob knows both sides of the coin, as an Executive Director for Christian Center of Park City and a podcast host. A library organizes topics nicely for quick access to any title or subject of interest.
You’ll Love Him Too: Keeps you current; interviews with the likes of John Lehr, President and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation, feel especially relevant.
You’ll get a two-for-one podcast/videocast here on subjects that matter right now—“Practical ways to generate more gifts from DAFs,” for example. Nice to see a face with the name.
You’ll Love Him Too: Host Joe Tumolo addresses a wide range of fundraising topics with seasoned planned giving pros. Bonus: Catchy intro music.
Our Creative Director, Zach Christensen, heads over to Marketing Futurist to hear conversations with tech and marketing innovators like Jacob Warwick, who has a background in marketing and startups in Silicon Valley. Topics include artificial intelligence, conversational marketing, lead generation and webinars.
You’ll Love Them Too: While digital-marketing minded, this podcast offers nuggets that are certainly transferrable to our planned giving marketing space. It’ll open you up to thinking about new tactics that could transform your online donor outreach.
He’s a former football player and a salsa dancer; Lewis Howes is all about tackling the stuff that scares him, so he can learn how to persevere and overcome. His tools and takeaways urge you to think better in both work and life.
You’ll Love Him Too: He feels like one of us. Plus, his 5-Minute Fridays offer five minutes of an energy boost during a time-crunch day; they’re also great for refocus breaks.
Highpoint: Lewis and Seth Godin talk about passion and purpose, creativity and moving ahead. In the pursuit of these things, Godin says, we’ve become too conditioned to define success only by the positive outcome of the things we undertake. So, he says in this podcast, we’ve learned (and must unlearn) that we “can’t be passionate unless there’s a prize.” His fly-fishing lesson illustrates this point vividly.
CEO and Founder of Thompson & Associates, Eddie Thompson’s podcast aims to “bring incredible insight and inspiring stories by interviewing leaders from different perspectives of the fundraising community: education, healthcare, consultants, academics and more!” It was my pleasure to join him in January to discuss important lessons learned during my 20-year career, the impact culture and values have on the success of a company and embracing mistakes. Listen to our candid conversation here.
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 go to for a pick-me-up or a new eye on an old topic?