The online publishing game has exploded over the past two years with more voices and more ideas being launched daily. It’s an exciting time to gain insight from others.
Every year we reconsider this list, which organically creates a mix of perennial favorites and impactful newcomers. But, we know we’ve missed some! We’d love to know what you’re reading and listening to. Please add your suggestions to the comments section so we can continue to celebrate the ideas that make us more successful fundraisers.
How to Read this Post
With each listing, you’ll find a “Sample it!” callout linked to a hand-selected post or podcast episode. Hopefully, it gives you a nice palate-primer before you take on the full course. (We get it, your time is valuable.)
Look for our two icons to tell you if the recommendation is a blog, podcast or both.
These picks are in no particular order and we know some gems got left behind. Again, please share your favorites in the “Leave a Reply” section at the bottom.
Our Favorite Blogs and Podcasts
If the high-energy comic book imagery doesn’t catch your eye, surely topics like building long-lasting donor relationships, book recommendations, tactical time-management tips and writing from the heart will.
Sample it!: They collected their most-read posts of 2021.
Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy
We’ve been lucky to host the Institute’s founders—Adrian Sargeant, PhD, and Jen Shang, PhD—in our webinar lineup (quick links: Adrian spoke on building donor loyalty and Jen discussed loving your donors through language). Their blog dives deeper into the psychology of giving and how your communications can help donors improve their well-being.
Sample it!: Why donor centricity matters (and how it interacts with community-centric solutions).
Conversations with Industry Icons
CEO and Founder of Thompson & Associates, Eddie Thompson aims to inspire through interviews. He’s invited a range of experts—from healthcare leaders to fundraising consultants to academics (hi, Dr. James!) to attorneys well-versed in estate planning.
Sample it!: Call this a biased pick, but Eddie interviewed me last year for Episode 16.
Future Fundraising Now
Jeff Brooks has always brought his unique take, fueled by years of experience, to his blog. His refreshing candor and straight-to-the-point style is so digestible that you can often read the whole post in your inbox when you subscribe. Jeff posts almost daily with clever insight into donor demographics, creativity and online fundraising.
Sample it!: Jeff issues a challenge, is your marketing getting enough complaints?
When I want a wide-lens view, I read NonProfit Pro’s blog. With near-daily frequency, the content is fresh and timely. You’ll get a little of everything with topics like leadership management, career advancement and technology.
Sample it!: A case for the power of stewardship, including three personal stories.
Bonus sample it!: Hear how data enrichment can cultivate lifetime donors. (25 min)
Penelope Burk leads this blog with evidence-based research and a donor-centric approach. Tip: Subscribe to her blog for her most recent posts because her homepage displays posts by number of views. In fact, a 2008 classic on restricted versus unrestricted gifts is still in the top 20 (written in the form of a donor-fundraiser phone conversation).
Sample it!: A look at 2020’s impact on donor acquisition.
I’m in!: https://www.burksblog.com/
Ever spied Blossom, the orangutan mascot of Bloomerang, in a link you followed or an email someone forwarded? She’s a good indicator that helpful information will follow. Their blog covers strategy, metrics and fun (one post finds fundraising lessons in “Die Hard”). Bloomerang’s motto: Make fundraising easier.
Sample it!: Ready for career growth? This post helps you become a more effective nonprofit leader.
I’m in!: https://bloomerang.co/blog/
Find essays, podcasts, videos and more in this community-based (of course!) gathering of ideas and voices. They strive to evolve fundraising and philanthropy through “more conversations and healthy arguments,” and build the voice of communities of color.
Sample it!: An essay on how an early attempt at community-centric fundraising went wrong.
Bonus sample it!: Learn how one nonprofit made “love” their measure of success.
The Agitator | Donor Voice
No doubt you’ve heard that fundraising is part art and part science. What I’ve specifically enjoyed is this blog’s focus on and support of research and the science behind fundraising. Their behavioral science approach is embodied with this statement, “the only threats to our craft that truly worry me are complacency and conventional wisdom.”
Sample it!: Grab some popcorn and read a rousing, real-time debate over the merits of segmentation.
Author Claire Axelrad has the know-how to back up her blog’s promises. Claire was a front-line fundraiser for 30 years and is a member of the California State Bar and an alumna of the Lily Family School of Philanthropy Executive Leadership Institute. She focuses on your power as a fundraiser to make profound change.
Lori Jacobwith’s long-running blog has been on my list for quite some time. She always provides sensible tips and valuable input (self-care is a key topic, a timely anecdote to today’s stressors). Videos, tools and next steps provide concrete, usable advice. It also incorporates pieces of her personal life, so you feel like Lori’s your very own wise fundraising friend.
Sample it!: How to put self-care on your to-do list.
I’m in!: https://ignitedfundraising.com/blog/
Nonprofit Leadership Podcast
Here you’ll find an in-depth library of 100+ episodes, each about 30 minutes, and a guest roster that will keep you coming back. Hyper-current material (cryptocurrency and staff recruitment were recent ‘casts) is addressed by host Dr. Rob Harter, who also serves as the Executive Director for Christian Center of Park City.
Sample it!: Guest Kelly Dolan, the CEO and President of Ronald McDonald House Charities, talks about how your nonprofit can preserve what works while innovating. (32 min)
Fundraising success is dependent on marketing, and Seth Godin 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. It’s a wise idea to take a step back and see what the for-profits are up to. Bonus: Subscribe to his blog and you can read the full post in your inbox without a click.
I’m in!: https://seths.blog/
Who’d We Miss?
These are only a few of the industry blogs and podcasts we look to for advice. How about you? What blogs or podcasts do you read for a pick-me-up or to provide a new eye on an old topic? We know there’s even more to love.