Information Overload:  A Strategy to Help You Cope (Cal Newport)

Information Overload: A Strategy to Help You Cope (Cal Newport)

Wow … there’s so much news these days.

It’s been coming at us faster than we can consume it since at least March.  And it’s exhausting!

And then there’s all the blogs, videos, articles, virtual summits, etc. about how to pivot our fundraising strategy for the “new normal.”  Who else already hates that term?

How do you stay sane?  How you get what you need and then turn off the spigot?

One of my favorite productivity gurus, Cal Newport, had a great post with an actionable strategy on this a few months back.  I’ve been saving it to share with you all at the right time.  I think that’s now. 

There seems to be a slight information lull right now (normally due to summer vacations, but I think lots of folks are just taking a much needed mental break).  So let’s take advantage and tweak our information consumption so we’re not overwhelmed when the cycle picks back up late next month.  I have this strategy about half implemented and it’s already helping.  Intrigued?  Give it a read …

On Digital Minimalism and Pandemics (Cal Newport)

Quit Searching for the Fundraising Fountain of Youth

In this post I’d like to address a growing pet peeve of mine…

It seems that every time I go to a fundraising conference these days there is always a session on ‘engaging millenials,’ or ‘generational changes in giving.’ At first, that sounds great. Yes … we should probably adjust or tactics over time and adjust to changing donor preferences.

But then it goes a step further, and there are sessions on ‘how to get a younger donor base,’ or my all time favorite ‘my donors are getting older, what do I do?’

This is where I pause andsay “that’s always going to be the case!” Our donors are always going to be older. At what stage of life do you have the capacity and the ability to really make major gifts to charities? It’s going to be when you’re at the peak of your career or just past. Our major donors are typically going to be in their sixties and seventies. It’s just how it is. Yes, they will change over time with the generations and new preferences. But this whole idea of trying to get a younger donor base … I don’t think it’s really that worthwhile.

So, I don’t spend a lot of time doing that. Yes, we want to incorporate new technologies, be multi-channel, and adapt to the times. But doing that specifically to target a much younger donor base, one that’s really not going to have the capacity to make major gifts for another 40+ years? No.

Do we still do some things like monthly donor programs and social media engagement to try to get them involved? Yes. But really trying to target that group at the full engagement level, I don’t think so. It’s a lot of wasted effort that’s not going to pay off anytime soon.

So, what do we do? We know who our major donors are. We know what generation are they a part of and we know how to speak their language. Let’s focus on that. And then yes, let’s try to talk to everybody else as well. But, our donors will always be older. It’s just how it is. It’s how our economy works and how philanthropy is going to be, at least for the foreseeable future.

So fundraisers, give that some thought. Think about what you are spending too much time worrying about. And maybe instead you need to get out there and meet with some of those older donors who make a big difference to your organization.

Why You Need an Editorial Calendar

What is an editorial calendar? It is a document used to map out every communication for a set time period. Typically used for annual planning, this tool helps you address seasonal events, holidays, and not over (or under!) communicate on each item. Especially when it comes time to do a social media post, but also for your regular mail, keeping an editorial calendar helps you know what’s going on and therefore you don’t have to reinvent it every time.


Well, the new twist with this is “multi-channel” calendars. So, rather than it just being your social media plan for the year (where you map out all your posts), OR your email blasts OR your newsletter – this new version suggests integrating everything on one page. And the beauty of this is that a lot of the content can be re-purposed and reused. Maybe you do a social media post with content which then ends up in your print newsletter. Maybe your event ads leading up to an event can then be used in multiple other areas. So, it really stops you from having to recreate materials because you can get more value, more places.


The key to making all this work is planning. You can see how this can save you so much time down the line! It can really maximize your fundraising, and any kind of communication, at your nonprofit. So, how do you do it? You need a template. We love Excel for this because you can just kind of map out a grid and plug it in. And, of course, we have a free template to get you started! It has the weeks of the year and the typical channels that folks use. You can edit it and make it fit for your organization so that it gives you exactly what you need. That’s the tip for this week, fundraisers. Maximize an editorial calendar for your organization.

Julia Campbell: What Facebook’s Shift to Privacy Means for Nonprofit Marketers

Has Facebook become a challenge for your nonprofit organization?

Have you found your level of engagement to be steadily dropping?

Does it seem like your donors and advocates just don’t see your posts anymore?

You’re not alone … I’m hearing this from lots of clients and workshop attendees.  I’m not a digital expert, but I’m frequently on the conference speaking circuit with some of them … including social media guru Julia Campbell.

So, here are Julia’s thoughts on how nonprofits can adapt to Facebook’s algorithm and privacy changes.  It’s a quick read that will shift your thinking and save you from a lot of mental strife!