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Maybe it’s because I read some tech-leaning blogs but in recent years I’ve come across the terms user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design more frequently. These terms are often discussed in relation to usability of websites, apps and other software.

When I saw this blog post by Jakob Nielsen, !0 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, it struck me that so much of fundraising is about managing the “user” experience. Even though his original post is almost 20 years old, it still has relevant applications to much more than just software.

So here is my list of fundraising analogies for each of Nielsen’s 10 heuristics:


1. Visibility of system status

Send donation acknowledgments within 48 hours. It’s mind-boggling that so many organizations still don’t do this at all much less in a timely fashion.


2. Match between system and real world

Are you asking people to make fiscal year-end gifts? Most donors don’t think that way and have no idea what you are talking about or why it’s important. Give folks another compelling reason to donate because this one ain’t.


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Finding Out What Are Your VIPs Are Up To
Not happy with Google Alerts? Take a look at Newsle as another way to find out when your donors and prospects get in the news. This could be a very useful addition to your relationship-building toolbox.

Giving Tuesday 2014
The next Giving Tuesday isn’t until December 2 but it’s not too early to make your plan. The Knight Foundation has a handy Giving Day Playbook that covers planning, outreach, logistics, follow-up and assessment.

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"Quitters never win and winners never quit." - Vince Lombardi

"Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time." - Seth Godin

Every fundraiser gets to a point in their career when things get hard and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to push through the difficulties or if you’ll be better off making an escape. I was once in a situation where I was on the fence about sticking with it or making a change. This little book (86 pages!) helped me decide.

If you are feeling stuck, check it out. The Dip will give you a kick in the pants in the right direction.

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