December 19, 2016

It’s amazing! The more time and dedication I put into my job, the luckier I get. 

In sports parlance, it goes like this: “Luck is the residue of hard work and design.” (Branch Rickey)

That’s right, luck, it turns out, has very little to do with simply being “lucky.” It has everything to do with planning and executing a plan that sets you on a path to take advantage of opportunities that arise as a result of all you did to get to that moment in time to seize good fortune.

And just like luck, creating a successful direct mail fundraising letter from scratch is really something special—when it happens.

Here’s an opportunity for you to capitalize on the accumulated insights of hundreds of re...

October 26, 2016

Especially when it comes to your donors, at least, one size does not fit all. For example, if you’re mailing an impersonal $300 ask to someone you know is capab

October 4, 2016

It’s October, three more months to go before the end of the year. That may seem a long way away, but you know as well as I do that this time of year flies by. Now is the time to start planning your organization’s Year-End strategy.  As you know, nearly 30% of ALL charitable giving occurs during the last month of the year, and most of that within the last few days of December.

Many non-profits ask us, “When is the best time to send our Year-End fundraising appeals?” There really is no cut-and-dried timetable, but the answer du jour is “earlier and earlier.”

Just the other day a co-worker here at Rescigno’s brought in a holiday fundraising appeal complete with Santa and snowflakes on the oute...

September 29, 2016

This disappointing annual appeal came across my desk the other day. It’s disappointing because this educational institution is taking the easy and unproductive way out. They asked me to use the same list as they mailed to last year. I tried to initiate a conversation with suggestions for improving the message and doing some tactical things within the body of the letter. “Nah, our donors don’t respond to that sort of thing,” was the response I got. Here, (with my comments underlined, italicized and  in parentheses is the letter—if nothing else, it’s a great example of how to ensure poor results):

Dear Envelope Name,

The 2016-2017 Cardinal Ron Rescigno Alumni Class Challenge is officially und...

February 11, 2016

Is not enough better than too much when it comes to a good thing in fundraising?


There is a fine line that separates the two in annual giving. Not enough attempts to reach out to prospects by phone and you may miss them on the one night that they’re actually at home during the week. Add to that the fact that too many missed calls on their caller ID may irritate them to the point of asking to be removed from your list.


Likewise, not enough words in your appeal letters and your case for support may end up being unclear. Too many words may frustrate the reader who doesn’t have the time or patience to read all of the appeal.


Fundraising isn’t a “more” business. We need to stop thinking of it...

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