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Not Your Father’s Fundraising Podcast

Not Your Father’s Fundraising Podcast

By Ryan Thomas
A podcast about, you guessed it: nonprofit fundraising. This isn’t the first podcast about it, but definitely not like any others you’ve listened to. This is a podcast for fundraisers by fundraisers.

No boring charts or the same stale “best practices” you’ve heard for years. No ideas that only work in theory, here. No concepts from people who aren’t in the same trenches as you are every single day.

Every week, you’ll get practical strategies and tips to craft messages that engage donors and raise more money. And you can use start using them as soon as the episode is over!
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Episode 1: Why You Might Be Thanking Your Donors Too Much

Not Your Father’s Fundraising Podcast

Episode 29: How to Have Successful Year End Fundraising
The holiday season is important for nonprofit fundraising, but no week can even compare to the last week of the year. Year End campaigns can bring in 15-25% (or more!) of an organization's overall revenue. But how do you make sure your Year End campaign is as effective as it can be? Ryan and Steve walk through easy things you can do to maximize the impact you can have in the last few days of the year. What do you say? Where do you say it? When do you say it?
October 25, 2021
Episode 28: More Ways to Know if Your Fundraising is Working
Unintentionally, Ryan and Steve turned this into a two-part episode. Last week, they talked through a micro view of how to evaluate your fundraising (ROI, income generated overall, performance of each impact).  But this week is a macro look--if your fundraising is (or isn't) working, what does that look like for your organization's "vital signs"? And more importantly, what do you do if you don't like what you see? Also: Warm cookies Repeat, repeat...repeat Golfer who disappeared...never to be heard from again (not really, but he did disappear from the PGA Tour)
October 18, 2021
Episode 27: How to Determine if Your Fundraising is Working or Not
You put in all that hard work to create your fundraising impacts and get them to the right donors at the right time. But, then, how do you know if it's working? Ryan and Steve talk about what metrics to follow, which don't matter, and which can deceive you into thinking you're doing better than you really are.
October 11, 2021
Episode 26: How to Retain Donors
The only thing as important as getting new donors is KEEPING the donors you've acquired.  Ryan and Steve walk through how to calculate donor retention, what a good retention percentage looks like, and how to raise yours if it's not where it should be. 
October 04, 2021
Episode 25: Reasons Why Your Email Didn't Raise Money
We know that email is a viable form of fundraising. But, not all emails do well and bring in a lot of donations--and it can be hard to determine exactly what (if anything) went wrong.  Also on this episode: Newsletters that bury the interesting parts An early Giving Tuesday tip Follow @AlexLlull on Twitter if you're looking to build a Twitter audience
September 27, 2021
Episode 24: Mailbag No. 2
Your emails to really will get answered, and this episode is proof! In this mailbag episode, Ryan and Steve answer: How to start a Millennial strategy How do you plan a big event right now? The best way to fundraise on Giving Tuesday
September 20, 2021
Episode 23: How to use data to increase fundraising
Data. The database. Donor records. They're not as flashy as copywriting or art design, but they can have just as big an impact on your fundraising results as anything else.  In this special episode, Kris Hoots (President and Founder of Oneicity) joins Ryan and Steve to talk about: Why you should love data. Ways you could be using it incorrectly. How using the right data can instantly improve your fundraising ROI. 
September 13, 2021
Episode 22: Your Donors Are Wrong
Donors are the lifeblood of your organization, and their support is what allows you to accomplish your mission.  ...but they're also wrong. A lot.  Ryan and Steve talk about the most common ways donors are wrong and how to engage with them and (nicely) set them straight.  Also: Ryan talks about an email he never received Why recommendations about longer social posts miss the point A book to help you find courage.  Find us at 
September 06, 2021
Episode 21: 8 Reasons Your Direct Mail Appeal Failed
You sent out direct mail fundraising, and no matter how often or seldom you check the results...they're not good. What went wrong? Ryan and Steve go over the 8 reasons why that appeal failed, and how to fix it.  Also: Using the same envelope and teaser year over year Deadly in-person fundraising events Refine vs. redesign telling...lies? Visit for video episodes, and see why they have faces for podcasting.
August 30, 2021
Episode 20: (Still) Don't Thank Your Donors - How to Validate Them Instead
Last Episode, Ryan and Steve talked about why you shouldn't be thanking your donors (and what you should do instead). This week they go over the ways you can validate your donors. Also: Steve gripes about how unhappy he was with Episode 19 Ryan opens an invitation for an event but isn't sure what it's for. Steve uses alliteration. Ryan saves the goldfish.
August 23, 2021
Episode 19: Don't Thank Your Donors
When you receive a gift from a donor, do you thank them?  This week, Ryan and Steve talk about why that may not be the best thing to do.  Also: How the Post Office's digital offerings affect your direct mail Don't have a match? Create one. Check your results, but at planned intervals (not EVERY day) Flamin' Hot Cheetos
August 16, 2021
Episode 18: How to Get More Undesignated Gifts
Just like Ryan and his don't love all your gifts equally. Undesignated gifts, that can be used for any part of your organization or mission, have the biggest impact...but how do you get more of them? Also: Ryan unboxes a piece of mail live on air Your fundraising should be emotional, but your fundraising strategy shouldn't be The impact of a two word email Hard butter in Canada (nope, not a typo)
August 09, 2021
Episode 17: Mailbag!
The first mailbag episode--Ryan and Steve answer your questions sent in to How early is too early to talk about Thanksgiving? Should you use fundraising gimmicks? How do you get started nonprofit fundraising? How do you show donors your leader's personality without it being an ego trip? What makes a good fundraising story? How do you use scaffolding AND tell a story in fundraising?
August 02, 2021
Episode 16: Fundraising Photos That Actually Raise Funds
Does copy lead the art direction? Or, does the image dictate the words?  No matter which side of the debate you fall on, you need to use images--and they need to be effective. Are effective images beautiful? Happy? Sad? Stereotypes? Like so many things, it depends.  Come along with us as we dive in to how to choose and use images that will actually support your fundraising instead of detract from it. Also: Call to Action GIFs in email Giving to your own organization What a hostage negotiator can teach us about fundraising
July 26, 2021
Episode 15: Ask Arrays
You know you need to ask donors for a gift. Do you give them amounts to choose from--if so, that's an ask array? Let them choose their own amount? If you give donors choices, how do you order those choices? Ryan and Steve answer these questions and SO MUCH MORE! Also: Ryan and Steve argue over streaming services.  What your fundraising can learn from HBO Max.  Why knowing what you don't know is more important than knowing what you do know. The placebo a placebo?
July 19, 2021
Episode 14: How to Acquire New Donors
No matter how big your organization is, you're on the look out for new donors (or, you should be).  But like everything in life, it's easier said than done.  Ryan and Steve talk about why you need to focus on acquiring new donors, where to find them, and most importantly how to bring them in.  Also: Ryan gets thanked by an organization for something he didn't do.  Steve talks about being antifragile.  The one question you need to answer in every piece of your fundraising.  And, Matt Damon. 
July 12, 2021
Episode 13: After COVID, Now What?
Maybe 2020 was a banner year for your fundraising. Or, maybe it was a year to forget. Either way, how should you approach donors in 2021?
July 05, 2021
Episode 12: How to Integrate Digital and Direct Mail and Increase Results
Inbox, mailbox. Same thing, as far as many of your donors are concerned. So how do you make sure your fundraising message is cohesive across the two mediums? Ryan and Steve explain easy ways to do it--and why it's vital if you want to survive in the future. 
June 28, 2021
Episode 11: Events That Raise Lots of Funds
2020 was the year of the virtual event. 2021 will probably have a mixture of in person and virtual events. But the playbook for a successful event is the same, no matter what kind of event you're throwing. 
June 21, 2021
Episode 10: Leader Lens Part 2/II/Deux
So you've bought into the need for your leader to strategically reveal things about them...but now what? How do you even start? Ryan and Steve go through the steps of how to make your leader jump off the page and be there with your donors when they read your mail or email.  Also: Ryan continues to wish he hadn't pitched this as an episode topic Steve does his best to keep Ryan off balance 
June 14, 2021
Episode 9: Why Donors Need to Know That Your CEO Collects Stamps
Have you ever felt like you've made a huge mistake when agreeing to something? Steve did at around the 8:45 mark in this episode he agreed to do. You've probably heard the fundraising phrase, "People give to people". It's true, but not just about the people (or animals) your organization is trying to help. "People give to people" also applies to the person signing the letter from your organization. Also on this episode: Ryan wonders if he's bitten off more than he can chew. Why you should give to other organizations (and which ones). (Most of the regular segments were skipped this week because we knew it was going to be long) We created a guide to developing Leader Voice for your organization after the recording of the episode. If the strategies we talked about sound interesting but you're not sure how to apply it to your leader and organization, email and we'll send you the guide. 
June 07, 2021
Episode 8: Email, Mail Isn't Just For Mailboxes Anymore
In this episode, Ryan and Steve talk about why email shouldn't be a fundraising afterthought anymore.  Also: In Mail Call, Ryan reviews an email he got that seemed like it was from a friend Easy things to test in your emails If you're only going to do this one thing to be a better fundraiser, it's this
May 31, 2021
Episode 7: Writing Effective Fundraising Copy
A couple episodes ago, Ryan and Steve ticked off designers by explaining that good, beautiful design isn't effective design--now it's the copywriters' turn to send in angry emails (to! Having the best idea, compelling offer, and attention-grabbing lede doesn't mean anything if the writing in your appeal isn't effective for fundraising. That doesn't mean your English professor would give it an "A", but your donors' opinion matters more anyway.  They also discuss: Organizations that over-email The best way to write is with your voice A daily habit to become a better writer
May 24, 2021
Episode 6: Newsletters That Engage Donors and Raise Money
Can you have Newsletters that raise significant amounts of money while still engaging donors and informing them about what's going on at your organization? long as it's easier to read than the example letter Ryan has in Mail Call.  
May 17, 2021
Episode 5: Matches? Matches.
Getting a gift from a donor is amazing, but it's even better when you can have that gift matched.  Ryan and Steve discuss how best to talk about matches to donors, and how you can use matches to increase results in both cultivation and acquisition.   Mail Call:  "This month at [organization name]"  Dollar bills inside envelopes? Something You Should be Doing If You're Not Already:  Evaluating your ask amounts On Your Radar: How to Lie With Statistics
May 10, 2021
Episode 4: How to Reactivate Lapsed Donors
If your organization has been around for more than 12 months, you have lapsed donors. "That's all well and good," you say. "But how do I get them back?" Ryan and Steve discuss reactivating those donors, an email data fail, and more. 
May 03, 2021
Episode 3: How to Tell a Fundraising Story
Ryan and Steve talk about telling fundraising stories, mail that's (literally) hard to see, and why you should plan your fourth quarter fundraising now--even it's April or May. 
April 26, 2021
Episode 2: Acquiring Major Donors
Major Donors. You know you need them, but how do you find them? In Episode 2, Ryan and Steve talk about how to acquire major donors...and cooking recipes.  
April 19, 2021
Episode 1: Why You Might Be Thanking Your Donors Too Much
When a donor gives you a gift, you're probably responding with "Thank You". In person, in writing, or both. that the best thing to do?
March 29, 2021