Commentary: "We've been dead wrong about too many things"

Nonprofit fundraising and marketing strategist Tom Belford on his blog The Agitator, 4/1/13

[Fellow blogger Roger Craver] and I spent the weekend in deep contemplation, reflecting over the state of humanity, the important things in life, and The Agitator too. And we had an epiphany. We realized that we've been dead wrong about too many things. We've led our readers astray. For example:

Retention. We've harped and carped about the critical importance of a strong focus on retaining donors. But who are we kidding? If those ingrates - oblivious to the heroic work and sacrifice of your nonprofit - insist on leaving, hell, show 'em the door! Who needs that kind of rejection, over and over? They probably joined just so they could quit. Life is too short. Best to cut 'em loose and start all over again ... make new friends.

Social media. We've cautioned against fundraisers following along like sheep to the next new thing, before really learning and optimizing the already-proven stuff. But after seeing the new Pope's Facebook page, we're recanting. Sad but true, there's more to life than raising money, no matter what your boss says. It's about time fundraisers woke up to that reality and started making some Friends.

And the list goes on ... donor centricity, testing, donor screening, integrated marketing. It's all hogwash. It's painful to admit we've been wrong all along. But I look up at the treasured Consultant's First Principle pinned to my bulletin board: "Often wrong; never in doubt!"  Re-inspired, I vow to forge on. I think it's important to make some humble effort, starting tomorrow, to redress all the bad advice The Agitator, especially Roger, has given. So be sure to read my Tuesday post, "Spamming with Extra Premiums for Millennials."


Commentary: Changes ahead as some nonprofits respond to April 1

Jan Masaoka, American Nonprofits' magazine Blue Avocado, 4/1/13

At Blue Avocado, it's April 1 and we're thinking about changing our name: help us decide! One possibility is the Blue Avocado Foundation, which would allow us to receive the sucking-up of hundreds of nonprofits every day. We would declare ourselves in strategic planning mode for three years, during which we could debate "outcome" vs. "impact," and "marginalized" vs. "disadvantaged." Alternatively, we're considering Church of the Blue Avocado, which would mean we can skip Form 990, report nothing to anyone about anything, and still keep our tax-exempt status. And design some gorgeous choir robes, too. Whaddya think, readers? There's other great news in April for nonprofits:

New Law To Require Nonprofit CEOs to Carry Handguns

Penny Eardley, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Health Foundation

Both houses of Congress passed the Charity Required Arms Protection (CRAP) Act, legislation which preserves nonprofit organizations' 501(c)3 tax-exempt status only as long as the CEO and all board members of the charity agree to carry handguns at all times. "Arming our charitable executives will go a long way to ensuring safety in our nation's workplace," said the bill's sponsor, Citizens for CRAP, a bipartisan special interest group.

Nonprofits Begin "Too Small to Fail" Movement

Dan Lozier, Pastor of Mayflower, Sioux City, Iowa

Nonprofit advocates picketed the White House on Monday with 3x5 cards. "Yes, there are big nonprofits as well as small ones," declared nonprofit leader Shelby Long. "We are too little to fail, especially the children's charities," added the ghost of Danny Thomas.


Twitter announces new 2-tiered system, will start charging for some tweets

Drew Olanoff, Tech Crunch, 4/1/13

Vowels aren't really necessary in today's digital age, are they? Twitter doesn't think so, as it announced a new "two-tiered" service including its free model called "Twttr." You can only tweet without vowels though. Want the vowels back? Pony up $5 a month. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Luckily, Twitter really cares about its users and will offer up the "sometimes Y" free of charge...forever. Also free are vowels in link URLs. Whew. If you've seen the text messages from anyone under 25 years old, you know that vowels often get left out already. This is pretty forward-thinking of Twitter, as it attempts to monetize its older set of users who can still speak and write using a real language. Here's what Twitter had to say about the disruptive approach to scl ntwrkng: " We're doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we'll encourage a more efficient and "dense" form of communication. We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream." The company had some other revenue-producing ideas up its sleeve and will introduce extra characters, past 140, for a price "based on a bidding system reflecting the popularity of the character you would like to add." Go here to see how the new system works.

New UK production of Lloyd Webber's hit musical Cats to feature actual cats, 4/1/13

It's all about cats on stage at the Broadway Theatre in Catford, where a new revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's feline musical is in the pipeline featuring a cast of melodic moggies. The catalyst for this extravaganza came from the creative team's pussuit of a theatrical experience more genuine to poet TS Elliot's original intentions. Producer Simon Ease told "Following the recent craze of putting pets on stage, we've simply taken it one step further. Frankly, the West End should stop pussyfooting around and leave it to the real pros -- this is going to be the ultimate meowsical experience." Auditions are already underway, with budding Mr Mistoffelees' and Macavitys hoping to scratch their mark on theatre history. "We're on the lookout for cats with pitch-purrfect tuna-ing," added Ease.

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