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?

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ]

Gen Xers aren’t going to church

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an interesting article about the giving habits of Xers.

GenXers tend to give less money to religious causes than Boomers. Not a big suprise given that we’re not yet at our “maximum earning” age. But what’s chilling to fundraisers is that:

The difference in giving among the generations appears to be related to attendance at religious services, which has declined nationwide, said Bill Enright, one of the Center on Philanthropy researchers.

A generation ago, more than 40 percent of Americans attended weekly religious services, but that figure has shrunk to about 25 percent, he said.

I know for a fact that those of us under 45 are very open to spirituality and to Jesus. More so than many of our older relations. But evidently we’re not that big on gathering.

That’s scary. I love being part of such an independent cohort. But it makes isolation that much easier. And when we isolate, even Jesus followers, we’re sitting targets for the enemy.

Anyone who’s watches the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom knows that.

Oops, did I just date myself? ๐Ÿ™‚

MEME: Excerpt from a book on my desk

Kivi Miller tagged me on a meme passed on by Jeff Brooks.

I don’t usually play these. In fact, GMail knows to automatically delete forwarded emails.

But something about this intrigues me so here it goes.

Here is what I am supposed to do:

  1. Pick up the nearest book.
  2. Open to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences.
  5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest book is Katya Andresen’s Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes.

Here are the appropriate three sentences:

And it cost us nothing.

Q: What’s a favorite example of your work in forging unusual partnerships?

A: The Union of Operating Engineers wanted to improve minority recruitument for jobs in the field and to raise the profile of the union and its members in our community.

Delightfully out of context, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰ She goes on to tell of a partnership with them and Head Start.

Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causesis one of the best books I’ve read in a while. And I read a lot of books! Katya knows marketing and this book can help all fundraisers do what they do even better.

Like Kivi I think I’ll tag a couple Twitterati.

I’ll also tag:

Playing around

Back when I did an interview with Sandra Sims, she came up with a list of resources I’d mentioned in our conversation.

Pretty amazing. I didn’t realize I’d mentioned all those books. (You can see the list at the bottom of this page.)

Last week, listening to Fred Gleeck, I got the idea of creating a listing of resources I use and constantly refer to. The result of that experiment is MarcSentMe.com.

Check it out. I’d love to know what you think.

Most of the links are affiliate links, do you think it would be nice to offer a “non affiliate” link option? Or am I just being too cautious?