- 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)
The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-tested Strategies for Raising More Money Paperback – 4 Sep 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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
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.