February 2011 Archives

February 23, 2011

Holding a Book Sale? Watch Out for Mildewed Books!

A friend of mine recently attended an antiquarian book fair in San Francisco, where scores of booklovers and vendors met to discuss things like the value of a first edition Wizard of Oz, or where to get a 15th century illuminated manuscript. In other words, these are people who have a passion for books unbeknownst to average mortals.
 
books.jpgWhich is why I found one of the Q&As especially interesting. Someone asked what impact mildew has on the value of a book. The response? "Throw the book out." Mildewed books are apparently not only unappealing, but an actual health hazard, particularly to people with respiratory sensitivities.

And the mildew can spread to other books, as described in this writeup on Biblio.com. As you read it, take careful note of the suggestions for how to store books so that they don't develop mildew problems. And if you're holding a fundraising book sale, consider this your official permission to simply toss any books with a bad smell into the recycle bin.
February 17, 2011

Know What You Want to Say Before You Write

pen and paper.jpgThat title is actually one of my cardinal rules for writing, whether we're talking about a nonprofit grant proposal, a book, or a letter to Mom. When I'm having trouble putting words on the page, a little looking inward often reveals that the real problem isn't in the writing process, it's in the thought process. In other words, I don't really know what I'm trying to say.

So it was nice to see an articulate reminder of and expansion on that topic, by Rebecca Leet, as guest blogger for Nancy Schwartz's Getting Attention blog, with her article, "Can't write the message? Maybe it's not your fault."

Rebecca addresses the added complexity of trying to get all the key players in an organization united around its core message -- no small challenge, with fundamental issues at stake!
February 10, 2011

The Groupon Super Bowl Oops

Little did I know that the REALLY Big News from the Big Game would not be the lack of Pepsi ads (as I discussed in my last blog), but the misguided Groupon ads. By now, you've probably seen them twelve times over, but if not, here's where to view their oddly combined, wannabe satirical melding of real causes and flippant consumerist appeals to "Save the Money."

It's a sad tale, because humor invariably involves risk. When someone tries to be funnyChicken Feathered.jpg and fails, it makes the rest of the world --particularly the nonprofit fundraising world, which is already prone to an excess of seriousness -- chicken out (with all due respect to the chicken) and stick to the tearjerker appeals, which can be real yawners.

When done right, humor is a great way to make donors smile -- and then give. But how to do it right? Here's a helpful article, "When Humor Can Be Very Effective in Fundraising Marketing Campaigns," by MP Mueller, for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


February 4, 2011

Pepsi Chooses Nonprofits Over Super Bowl Advertisers!?

Even I, who never comes within 25 yards of a television that's showing a football game,Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for superbowl2.jpg knows what a big deal the Super Bowl ads are. Heck, I think I've even visited websites that compile the best ads after the game, just for the fun of watching what America's most creative marketers can do with a big budget (or whatever budget is left over after actually paying for the air time).

So, it's clearly Big News when Pepsi announces that it's pulling its ads from this year's Big Game -- and bigger news still, for anyone interested in charitable fundraising, when the reason turns out to be a shift in focus to its program of giving grants to nonprofits that muster up the most online support via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. It's called the PepsiRefresh Project.

Get the details in The New York Times article, "Pepsi Bets on Local Grants, Not the Super Bowl," by Jennifer Preston. And if you're with a small group that's thinking, "We'll never win one of those grants," read right to the end of the article, where it describes how a high school marching band got a $25,000 grant from Pepsi for its uniforms. Yay team! (By the way, who's playing this year?)