501 Mission Place Launches

I opened my email this morning to see this update in a Human Business Works note from Chris Brogan:

501 Mission Place Launches

Hi Marc —

I am so excited to report that 501 Mission Place, our HBW community to help nonprofits and charities grow, is launched! If you run a nonprofit or charity project or know someone who does, this community and learning experience was built for them. Our goal is to help people grow their capabilities in this tough economic time, when giving is drying up exactly at the same moment that people need it.

501 Mission Place started as a conversation between Rob Hatch and me. Over the summer, we went on vacation together, brought Jon Swanson and Marc Pitman along, and by the end of it, we had a lot of ideas how we could help charities do more with less. We then needed a leader to facilitate the experience. Estrella Rosenberg who runs many nonprofits including Big Love Little Hearts for congenital heart defects, was the obvious person for the role. And we added also John Haydon, a smart guy with a lot of feet-on-the-ground experience of his own.

The result is 501 Mission Place, an educational community dedicated to equipping nonprofits and charities for success.

Because this benefits the nonprofit sector, we’ve done everything we can to keep costs down. The monthly subscription rate is just a low $27 USD, about the price of a hardcover book. Annually, that’s a little bit less than the ticket cost of a conference (and you don’t have to pay airfare or hotel fees).

Our hope is that you’ll pass this on to any nonprofit or charity people you know, as they might not already be subscribed to the HBW mailing list, and if you would, we’d be grateful. We think that 501 Mission Place will be very useful to people.

As always, thank you for all that you do. I’ll have more personal development and business growth thoughts shortly.


I am so excited! I’ve been working with the team on this for months. Together, we’re going to help nonprofit people do amazing things!

I’ll blog more about this later (probably at FundraisingCoach.com. I’m about to get on a coaching call with a very cool client. But I’m so excited I wanted to let the world know!

There’s got to be a better way to fundraise for public radio

It’s time for yet another membership drive for our local public radio station.

Even as a fundraising professional that knows the need to raise money, these drives irritate the crap out of me. As far back as 2005, I posted a rant on entitlement in public radio fundraising.

I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. MPBN charges my credit card every month. I don’t need to be sold on the importance of membership. I’d prefer to listen to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered in peace. But during these membership drives I can’t, so I choose to flip the dial.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, most listeners don’t give. They probably do need to be sold on the importance of being a member. But if I’m flipping the dial during these drives, how much more will they?

In direct mail fundraising and major gift fundraising, we can be selective. We can communicate with the individuals or groups that we want to. That doesn’t happen in radio or TV. Everyone gets the same broadcast, whether they give or not.

At least with TV you can DVR it and skip over the drives. I wish there were a Tivo-like option for radio!

There has to be a better way for public radio stations to fundraise incessantly badgering their core supporters. So what would you suggest stations do rather than this awful interruption marketing?

Storytelling, Journalism, and a Brave New World

Guy Kawasaki justed tweeted about a “must read speech on the new journalism career.”

Guess what? It’s not just about journalism.

Here are some of the thoughts that struck me:

“I don’t think the communications revolution that we are going through is about some reinvention of storytelling or journalistic creed.

The way we tell stories has evolved over the years, but beginning, middle and end still works. Ethical and accurate information will still rule.

I think the revolution is happening because of access. Access to powerful tools and access to global distribution in an increasingly connected planet.”

“As old business models fail, I expect to see an influx of independent, purpose-driven collaborations. Small teams with passionate experts operating for the public good. The new world of open access makes this possible.”

“Marc Andreessen sent an email in the Fall of 1993 to only 12 people. Mosaic, the first web browser, spread virally and changed how we communicate with each other.

Connectivity is the new killer app.”

“It’s true that less people care about Congo than Britney’s belly button. For me, it’s not about reaching the largest possible audience; pandering to the lowest common denominator. It’s about reaching the right audience with a relevant message.

Today, there is a robust infrastructure in place to reach these specific audiences and to create real change.”

I firmly believe this is one of the most exciting times to be alive. We live far more connected than ever before, so our stories can have a far bigger positive impact than ever before.

Especially if they’re told well.

How will you be telling your story in 2009?

[Warning- the following is a shameless plug: If you work in a nonprofit, check out my fundraising seminar on nonprofit storytelling. It covers the basics of crafting effective stories, how to categorize stories to make collecting them easier, and how to help your board members and volunteers tell the stories you are. Good stuff! The shameless plug is over.]

Christmas Karaoke with the Waterville Rotary

Today I got to sing with some Rollickin’ Rotarians outside of Walmart as we rang bells for the Salvation Army. (When my wife saw the photos, she called us the “Rotary Dingalings”! 🙂 )

What a blast! People were very generous!

But one person wasn’t enjoying our singing:

And while Wally did help people get into their cars…we weren’t sure what else he was helping himself too…(Just kidding!)

If you missed the fun, and the opportunity to contribute, would you consider dropping some “change” into an online kettle for Waterville?

Getting behind Inland

Gotta love it when your mayor says things like this in support of your nonprofit.

Here’s a taste of the comments quoted in the newspaper:

“It means we put all our eggs into Inland,” he said. “As the mayor, I will fight like hell to make Inland a strong community hospital for Waterville.”

And he is.

It’s hard to be really excited. The other hospital is the leading employer in our community. This is just like another mill closing–not a pleasant thing in this former mill town.

But it is nice to have advocates as enthusiastic and generous as he is!

Ask Without Fear! LIVE a success

Last Saturday, I presented my own full day fundraising seminar for the first time ever.

I’ve given seminars and trainings for years, but I’ve always been invited in to someone else’s event. Someone else did the PR. Someone else took care of the logistics. Someone else did the registration. It’s a different ballgame when you do all that and create the content.

But I loved it!

Fortunately, the participants loved it too. 🙂 I got this email the very next day:

I enjoyed your seminar so much, as did Danielle. We walked away very excited, and have already increase the number of people that will be at our next meeting, as well as more businesses coming on board to add to our fund raising. We have incredible things going on, and now adding what we have learned from your seminar has just motivated us even more.

Thank you so much for the gift you have given to us.

One of the most surprising was their repeated thanks for my offering this training in my community, to groups that could be seen as “competitors.”

I hadn’t even thought of it that way. And I hope I never do!

I just know that I love training and helping people get comfortable with fundraising!

Ask Without Fear! sales strong

Ask Without Fear! A simple guide to connecting donors with what matters to them mostI once heard that the average book sells only about 500 copies. With the ease and variety of publishing options, and the ever-increasing number of bany books being published every year, this number seemed credible.

And as an author with a new book coming out, it was quite sobering. So I set a goal to sell 500 copies in my first year.

Today I get to say, “Thank you!”

My publisher just told me that Ask Without Fear! has sold 590 copies in it’s first four months!

With no major PR budget or ad push, I know this has been selling by word of mouth. Thanks for helping get the word out!

From the comments of readers, I know that the material in this book is:

  • helping “normal” people get excited about fundraising and, even better,
  • giving them the tools do it.

I know many of you have purchased a copy. And many more have recommended it to your friends. So once again, thank you!

[If you haven’t had the chance, would you encourage Starbucks to use “Ask Without Fear!” in a celebration of National Philanthropy Day? Just send an email to bookbreak@wma.com or read my FundraisingCoach.com blog post. ]