StraightTalk Blog



Nonprofit and foundation resources, tips, research, and ideas for fundraising, marketing, communications, and strategic planning.

By Rick's StraightTalk / February 16, 2016
I offer a workshop just on fundraising envelopes. Why just envelopes? Because when it comes to opening mail, the people in the room (that’s you and me, too) are absolutely no different from the people we’re asking for donations. We all toss out most of our mail, unopened.

By Rick's StraightTalk / January 25, 2016
I recently completed a stimulating three-year effort with a 100-year-old college. I forget exactly how I got the job, but the Director of Advancement wanted a new approach for fundraising letters to parents and alumni.

By Rick’s StraightTalk / January 25, 2016
When I began conducting deep communications audits about 10 years ago, I was surprised – maybe even shocked – that even sizable nonprofits and foundations didn’t know what they were trying to “sell” via their communications (or sometimes at all, but that’s a topic for strategic planning).

By Rick’s StraightTalk / January 25, 2016
My buddy Larry and I ate at one of those plaza Chinese restaurants two weeks ago. This one, a town away from mine, is squeezed between a hobby shop and a liquor store. The restaurant itself is split into a loud sports bar and a modest set of tables for eat-in diners. Larry ordered chicken chow mein; I ordered fried noodles with vegetables. He hated his dish and said he would never go near the restaurant again. I loved mine and went back for take out last week. Now, if somebody asks me a good place to get Chinese food in the area, I’ll tell them my experience. No doubt, Larry will do the same. My friends will go to the restaurant; his friends will avoid it like the plague. And that’s WOM: word of mouth. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!

By Rick’s StraightTalk / January 22, 2016
I begin a lot of my work sessions asking, “Who cares?”. Not to be mean, just to provoke attendees to think of their “consumers” more often. When the Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut (now serving all eastern Connecticut) was about to celebrate its 25th anniversary, then-President Alice Fitzpatrick asked me how to get the most out of it. “Well,” I said, “who really cares that it’s your – or anyone’s – anniversary?”

By Rick’s StraightTalk / January 22, 2016
I just broke up with an annual report. It was a passionate affair while it lasted. For six weeks, I could think of little else. I couldn't eat; I couldn't sleep.

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