Monthly Archives: August 2013

Can vulnerability be a source of strength?

TED_BreneBrownAs individuals, we have let society pressure ourselves into achieving perfection. Anything less doesn’t make us worthy. The same holds true for how we manage our professional lives and the organizations we lead.

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying human connection. In Brown’s TED Talk entitled “The Power of Vulnerability,” she asks: How can we embrace our imperfections so that we can engage with others from a place of authenticity and worthiness?

How this plays out in the workplace depends on how supportive the culture is toward cultivating compassion. Ultimately, by accepting that we don’t always know and we don’t always have, we start gaining the courage to take risks and make truly meaningful connections.

Engage Your Donors from a Place of Authenticity and Worthiness.

Does Your Fundraising Letter Tell a Compelling Story?
August 22nd: 5:30-8:00pm
at Open Books: 213 W. Institute Place, Chicago

The Power of Food to Engage, Move and Nurture Your Audience
September 24th: 6:00-8:00pm
at First Slice Cafe: 4664 N. Manor, Chicago

Sending a Letter Tests Your Call-to-Action

fundraisingsuccess_logoBefore you fold that letter or seal the envelope, you may want to take another look at both after reading some advice from a couple of folks in the field.

Willis Turner was an experienced writer and creative director in traditional advertising for more than twenty years before switching full time to fundraising about fifteen years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of communications for appeals, renewals and acquisitions in every medium.

In his recent post on Fundraising Success, Turner cites a study done at Carnegie-Melon that looked at people’s responses between four appeal letters. This study was also written about many years ago in the book, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.”  The results challenged the conventional wisdom about what ultimately moves people to act.


envelopeKnowing you have a compelling letter for your potential donor to read is one thing. Guaranteeing they will read it is another. Alison Keys of the blog A Fundraiser’s Friend asks, “What is the most important element in your direct mail package?”

What will stop people in their tracks as they sort through their mail breezing through bills, notices and flyers? Is your envelope enticing enough to stand out and pique someone’s curiosity? We tend to not give our envelope enough attention, but it is what get’s our letter opened, or not.


appeal-letter-smallJOIN OUR AUGUST WORKSHOP

Does Your Fundraising Letter Tell a Compelling Story?
August 22nd: 5:30-8:00pm
Open Books
213 W. Institute Place, Chicago IL 60610
REGISTER and bring a friend or two


How Food Can Tell Your Compelling Story
September 24th: 6:00-8:00pm
First Slice
4664 N. Manor, Chicago IL 60625

Storytelling Jam Session
October 3rd: 6:00-8:00pm
Lillstreet Loft
4437 N. Ravenswood, Chicago IL 60640

Have a fantastic August!