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The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-tested Strategies for Raising More Money Paperback – 4 Sep 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 143 pages
  • Publisher: Emerson & Church (4 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889102024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889102023
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 788,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've long been looking for a book that lays out the principles of fundraising DM. Now I've found it. It's useful to DM fundraisers at any point in their careers, but I especially recommend it to someone who is starting out and wants to know how to fundraise properly.

The book includes a guide to:

What works in direct response marketing
Your role as a fundraiser
Who donors are and how their brains work

It also includes:

Useful tips on improving response
Insights into successful writing and design

It is:

Admirably clear and easy to read. Jeff practices what he preaches.

This book should make you feel proud to be a fundraiser. And lucky. And equipped to fundraise well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For experienced fundraisers this book is a great reminder of why we write the way we do and for the novice it's an absolute bible.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, master DM fundraiser Jeff Brooks spills his guts 4 Sept. 2012
By Tom Ahern - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This will not be a typical review. First, full disclosure, I know Jeff Brooks by reputation. He was a creative principal at Seattle's legendary Domain Group. The Domain Group was one of those shooting stars in the fundraising industry: they did pioneering work, they blazed new trails for 15 years or so, and now they're gone; bought out ... but not forgotten. These days, Jeff works for TrueSense, a national-level direct mail firm. Insiders rank him among America's very best fundraising copywriters. He also writes, as a public service, the incomparable Future Fundraising Now blog, a professional "tips" bastion of common sense and best practices. Second, full disclosure, although I've only met Jeff once face to face, a decade ago, we do exchange emails, mostly about the mysteries of direct mail. He's the master. I'm the cravenly humble student. Jeff sent me the manuscript for his book a few months ago, to see what I thought. I read it once. I read it twice. And now I flip through it repeatedly every chance I get. Why? Because I write fundraising direct mail for a living. And the only reason I have long-standing clients is because I make them money. And the only reason I can predictably make them money is because I've learned from incomparable masters like Jeff. He is at the very front of a very short line of experts. This book fully reveals what runs through Jeff's mind as he writes a successful direct mail appeal. It's fascinating and unpredictable. There is nothing else like it in the how-to book market (and I buy them all, out of desperation). Jeff's new book is a gift to the nonprofit world. Buy it. Learn from the very best.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give a copy to anyone who reviews or edits your fundraising copy 28 Nov. 2012
By Elizabeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Intially, I was skeptical about this book. All of the reviews seemed to be from people who knew the author or are professional copywriters, and they were a little too persuasive and polished. "This is the best fundraising book ever," etc.

I'm 20something fundraiser getting a crash course in the science of fundraising. I've never met the author nor do I plan do. I'm in online fundraising, but these concepts translate easily.

This book is a great summary of the concepts I've discovered over the last 6-8 months about effective fundraising. It's the sort of book that gives you a foundation. It would would be great to come back to before you write copy or use it to get everyone in your organization on the same page about the purpose of your fundraising communications.

I finished my copy last night and passed it off to my colleague this morning. I want my supervisor and management team to read it. Soon.

The book reads like great fundraising copy, which means it's a fast read. It's entertaining and uses stories. I sat down last night to read a chapter, and was 34 pages into the book before I looked up.

This book's strength is how quickly it engages the reader and distills the key points of great fundraising writing. It would be an excellent book to give to anyone who writes, reviews or edits your fundraising communications.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like an ATM for Fundraising 24 Sept. 2012
By Roger M. Craver, Editor, The Agitator - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you don't do anything else today, take a moment and order this gem.

In fact, order several copies - especially extras for your CEO, program folks and key board members. I guarantee it'll soon have a dog-eared, underlined and well-worn place on your bookshelf providing tested ammunition to counter all the copy-related nonsense you encounter.

Not only is Jeff's Guide jam-packed with practical advice on copywriting (long vs. short messages...grammar for fundraisers...the importance of being urgent...not to mention the importance of being plain, corny and obvious) it's written by a leading advocate of donor-focused fundraising.

It's no wonder that some of the best in the business are raving about Jeff's new book. Copy genius Tom Ahern calls Jeff's book "an instant classic that will be read and re-read obsessively by the fundraisers of this world."

Katya Andresen [ the brilliant Chief Strategy Office over at NetworkforGood and author of "Robin Hood Marketing" describes Jeff's Guide as "A fundraiser's breakfast of champions--bread-and-butter fundraising wisdom based on years of experience."

And fundraising veteran Stephen Hitchcock,former CEO of Mal Warwick & Associates and author of "Open Immediately: Straight Talk on Direct Mail Fundraising" says, "This brief book is packed with practical advice and research to back it up. It's a delight to read as well." Stephen also suggests "Give this book to everyone in your organization--and to your best board members."

In a world where too many pay lip service to becoming `donor-centric' while failing to put it into practice, Jeff gives us the "why" and "how" of creating copy that puts the donor first and foremost. Here's his advice:

"Here's what's most important to remember. Post it on
your wall. Tattoo it on your forearm: Donors don't give
because your organization is great. They give because they
themselves are great."

Among the nuggets you won't want to miss is Jeff's revelation of the "Three Things You Should Know About Donors" and the "Three Fundraising Myths." If you aspire to a black belt in fundraising, order this book today.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pragmatic, surprising, supportive-- no more reason for poor fundraising response! 20 Feb. 2014
By Brian Bateman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This brief paperback is packed with gems. Wisdom. Inspiration. Creativity. More importantly it is direct and honest. $22 for this little paperback, you gotta be kidding! I assure you. This quick read is worth your money, your organizations budget and your precious time.
Every volunteer, committee or board member is certain they know how to raise money. Worse yet, your executive director, president, Dean, board chair knows best. Early on in the book, Mr. Brooks equips you to work with self-appointed well meaning philanthropy geniuses. He says, “Fundraising is a profession. It has a body of knowledge and a set of principles. It’s not a jerry-rigged monstrosity created by amateurs and volunteers. It’s not a dumbed-down version of commercial marketing.”
From here he launches into reminders of what you do and why. What raises money and what does not? The topic is direct mail. But reminders abound of the importance of the case, the donor, the solicitation and stories. You find yourself eager to start the next appeal letter. Or just to sit down and read the book again to bathe in the supportive and familiar and ponder at the permission Brooks gives to lighten up and be real. To grin from ear to ear as he debunks all the shared myths. Has he been in the hallways of your workplace! Wow, you are not alone and defenseless.
You will not be surprised that donors are your heroes. But do you know to ask 6 or 7 times, make the letter long and ignore grammar? That the PS always gets read? This book is not espousing fundraising art or philosophy. It is a pragmatic unabashed guide about what you need to do to raise money. Veteran Brooks clearly outlines pragmatic tested tactics that have brought in gifts over time. You may not like them or believe them, but you must use them because they work.
You will find yourself smiling and seeing the faces of your cohorts. Brooks has worked with these same team members who constantly offer you their unfounded comments, criticism and input. While the fundamental truths resound with you. You also get affirmation even scientific proof of what you know from listening to donors and testing letters yourself. Give this little expose to those who rewrite and edit your appeal, or take it home to their English major or literature scholar. Agree that you don’t have to agree, but that you want to raise money.
The tenets are simple, but using all the wisdom is not easy. This book will put you to work. All the while you are taking the mantel, practicing the profession and doing what the donor wants. This can’t help but impact your success and inform all your communication. Read it. Do it. Share it. Celebrate the results.
The next time you leave another meeting with more advice about how to do your job from people who “don’t get it”, just hold this book and smile. Pick a page or two to read. Better yet, turn to the last chapter, Proud to be a Fundraiser. Know you are not alone. You know your profession and you have listened well to a seasoned, successful mentor’s best advice for success. This book put best practices at your fingertips
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The central idea 21 Sept. 2012
By Andrew S. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863, keynote orator Edward Everett spoke for over two hours. Abraham Lincoln then spoke for barely two minutes. Later, Everett wrote to the president, "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Out of interest or necessity, I've read a lot of books about nonprofit fundraising. Books for writers and designers, books for nonprofit staffers and board members, books for volunteers or one-person shops -- but like Everett at Gettysburg, none of those books, some quite long, have come quite "as near to the central idea" of direct-marketing fundraising (some haven't come anywhere *close* to as near) as Jeff Brooks has in the brief but powerful "The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications."

Now, here is where I disclose that I know Jeff Brooks. In fact, we've worked together for some sixteen of the last 20 years, usually with him as creative director on projects where I was the writer. But this is a completely uncompensated endorsement. And what my vantage point lets me tell you is that the "real-world, field-tested strategies for raising more money" Jeff discloses here are the real thing, empirically verified by thousands of mail packages, e-mail appeals, radio specials, and other fundraising tools he has employed and mastered over the years.

Most of those other books go into more detail, with appendices of sample letters, chapters on creating a marketing schedule or long-term donor maintenance. But none of them capture the *spirit* of effective fundraising, or convey that spirit quite as entertainingly, as Jeff does. So much of what makes good fundraising effective is counterintuitive. The good fundraiser has to set aside her preferences about what looks best, or sounds best, or is the "right" way to describe a problem or a program or a solution. Instead, she must be willing to inhabit the mind of the donor, and be able speak to that donor in a special, even unique, way. Many of those other authors resent that fact. Jeff celebrates it. There are lots of great lessons in these pages (as I said, I've been doing this for years but my copy of this book is still filled with underlining and notes -- just like a good appeal letter!). But the most important lesson may be that whether we're in-house or work for a partner agency, we as fundraisers have the privilege of helping donors build the world they want to live in. Embrace that lesson, and put it to work in the ways Jeff describes, and your communications will be irresistible too.
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