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People who work in the legal or medical professions see portrayals of their work on TV and in the movies all the time. But I haven't seen a drama or comedy series about nonprofit fundraising (yet!) so whenever a show touches on the topic, my ears prick up. Here are a few I've posted for your amusement:

Like I Don't Know How to Work a Fat Crowd of Suckers
The Mentalist, "The Price Above Rubies," Season 6

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I really love Seth Godin's book, Purple Cow, where he says "You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice." But what I'm about to say may seem to be the opposite of this sentiment: the best writing is plain.

I don't mean boring and I don't mean dumbed down. I'm referring to the Plain Language style of writing. 

"Plain language is clear, succinct writing designed to ensure the reader understands as quickly and completely as possible. Plain language strives to be easy to read, understand, and use. It avoids verbose, convoluted language and jargon. In many countries, laws mandate that public agencies use plain language to increase access to programs and services." [source]

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b2ap3_thumbnail_kojak.jpgA Fundraising Idea for February

I guess this title might date me as a child of the 70s. For those of you for whom this is ancient history, "Who loves ya, baby?" was the catchphrase of the lollipop-licking TV detective Kojak.

I once used this line as inspiration for a fundraising campaign to promote tribute gifts to an organization I was working with. The campaign was centered around Valentine's Day and the messaging was that a tribute gift was a great way to recognize a birthday, a milestone life event, or just to say "I love you."

It was a smashing success but what really took me by surprise was the organization staff's enthusiasm. Soliciting gifts from nonprofit staff, as you probably know, can be fraught with land mines. But I think what really made it popular was that we sent out a daily internal email with the latest tribute gifts including who from, to whom, and why. (Donors could opt out of this, of course.)

People started to get creative. Within a few days we were getting donations from staff in honor of Jenny in accounting for her most excellent adding skills and for Mark the program director in recognition of his being a snappy dresser. Some friendly rivalries and competitions cropped up between departments. It was a lot of fun!

When we did this, social media was in its infancy. There was no Twitter and Facebook was just for college students. But now, with those tools, it would be so much easier to publicly share the updates which is a key part of the success of this campaign. Seeing what other people do definitely inspires more action.

So steal this idea, adapt it, and make it yours!

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