Thursday, September 03, 2009

New Website

I willing settling the Pinoy Fundraising blog into its new home at My new home on the internet will allow me to blog on more things that I am passionate about. So please join me in this new phase of my adventure in the wild world of the internet.

God bless!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do you seminar?

This post will be all about doing seminars and workshops as a means to augment your fundraising income or increasing your ministry's exposure.

A lot of non-profit organizations can already be considered as experts in their field. Some can be called authorities in disaster relief, community transformation, livelihood training, adoption, health care, a host of other things.

So ask yourself, what is your organization's asset that you can make a seminar out of? CBN Asia's humanitarian arm, Operation Blessing Philippines has been invited to disaster management conferences. CBN Asia's missionary training arm, Asian Center for Missions, has been doing conferences on how to take care of missionaries. It provides these organizations with awareness and networking opportunities.

You need to evaluate yourself to find out what your organization's strengths are and you feel that it is unique or not so many are are teaching or sharing it, then you may have something that may be worth selling to other organizations.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where's My Umbrella?

I'm talking about premiums. They call it giveaways here in the Philippines. They are also called "freemiums" by other fundraisers.

I may say that we should be very careful when we use premiums in our fundraising. They can be very good at getting people to give but you may also sometime question the motivation for giving. I've read quite a few fundraiser say that premiums have a high initial response rate as against a no premium appeal. But this technique is also low on loyalty and long-term value.

What does this mean?

Well, simply put, people give to your organization not just for the good feeling but also they are interested in the product that you are using as a token of your appreciation. A lot of people flock to this but when you do not have something to offer in return for their giving, then the response rates goes lower.

Here in the Philippines, I have not seen a lot of local organizations offer premiums except for the magazine subscription companies. There are a couple of churches I know that have used merchandise to motivate people to join a campaign where everyone benefits, but for general fundraising. Not so much. Or maybe, I'm not in many non-profit orgs' mailing list. Who knows?

So keep this in mind when you do your next fundraising campaign. Premiums or not? Your choice. God bless!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Is your non-profit Green?

You hand out your non-profit's flashy annual report to your major partner and then the guy lashes at you for using so much excessiveness in your annual report. And you thought you were giving the partner a favor by making the report look oh so good! Hehehe.

Ther are partners who understand the value of showing your best foot forward in terms of communication. And then, there are those who smack you in the face for not being a good steward of your non-profit's money. So how do we balance it?

In reality, a non-profit should not be using all sorts of flashiness in any communication that partners will misconstrue as a misuse of money. There should always be restraint even if another partner is paying for all the flashy stuff.

So think wisely, and also use your non-profit's money wisely.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Twittering in Times of Disasters

Its a very wet season here in the Philippines and the wet season means typhoons. Tropical storm "Jolina" just passed and our humanitarian arm Operation Blessing was already mobilizing in the wake of the storm.

As par of our fundraising efforts for the storm season, I ventured into I created an account for our organization, obphil, and started inviting people to follow. I used Facebook for this initially. My observation is that I may be doing something wrong as the followers were not coming in.

I was envisioning using Twitter to reach out to partners, both current and potential, and this experiment may be proving that our partners are not the crazy about this phenomenon called Twitter.

Which leads me to a very important point. Experimentation. We need find out if new technology or techniques can be useful for our own organization and for our own fundraising efforts. Twitter may be the fad today but it may not be for everyone.

God bless!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clean up Your Database

When we say clean up, it means our database should be squeeky clean. Your database could be the lifeblood of your fundraising efforts. An unmaintained database can cost a non-profit money if not taken cared of. So when you clean it up, whayt do you clean?

1. Make sure all spellings are correct.

2. Make sure there are no duplicates. If you have only a few hundred names that will not take a lot of time but if it is already in the thousands then its going to be a headache.

3. Make sure the history is accurate. The history of transactions. The activity history. Who edited what and how. All these are important.

4. Make frequent backups of your database. And make backups of backups. Redundancy wont hurt.

God bless!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's next after the handshake?

Oftentimes, the Pinoyfundraiser meets potential partners, a meeting is adjourned, they shake hands and go on their separate ways. What do you after? Do you wait for the check to arrive in your mailbox?

The Filipino culture is sometimes a deterrent to follow-up, the point of this post. Follow-up is critical to getting a deal through. Without follow-up your potential partner will forget you in a few days. They have their own challenges and difficulties and as much as they want to help your non-profit, you will just fall by the wayside if you do not follow-up.

Here are some suggestions how to do it:

1. Call them the next day! Make sure to let them know how you appreciate their time.

2. When you end a meeting it is important that you agree on an action point. It can be as small as asking their permission to call them up in a few days to, you guessed it, follow-up

3. Mail a thank you note. In your own handwriting. Provide additional info that you think may help make decision faster

4. Do this again after a week. Its like courtship. Don't lose heart, this is a persistence game.

5. Remember them on important dates.

Obsiously, there are a lot of things that I have not mentioned that you can probably think off, that's good! Make sure you do that five things above first.

God bless!

Friday, July 24, 2009


The task having somebody else do the dirty job for you so you can do more. Is that an acceptable definition?

But it is just as it says. For a small non-profit, the Pinoy Fundraiser may well-off to be outsourcing menial tasks that distract you from doing fundraising.

For example, lettershopping. If you are not as control freaks as others, you can definitely outsource your lettershopping. It means having another company fold, insert and glue you mailer. IT can probably go as much as having them mail it straight to the post office. This is one very good reason to outsource. There are pros and cons though.

My personal experience with outsourcing lettershopping is that the suppliers I met cannot always do what I want. Either it is too expensive or they do not have the facility.

You can also outsource your accounting, your payroll, your events management and organization, photography, facilities, etc.

Outsourcing does not always you have to pay though. You may want to outsource to home-based volunteers. So you may want to keep this in mind when you pay your bills the next time. Can I outsource this expense that I should not be doing.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is Fundraising Getting Hard?

Yes it is...

But as in all endevours, fundraising can be getting harder specially if you are not enjoying what you do, or if you are in a rut. So what do you do when you feel "fundraising is getting hard"?

I tend to say to do what creative people do ... do something different. Let go of fundraising for a little while (this is where an able assistant is important). Smell the flowers, watch the birds. Remember when you would just stare at the clouds and you're mind would show different shapes? Do anything that is totally off from what you are used to do!

For me, I returned to the age-old tradition of writing on paper with a pencil. I now bring a journal that I hope I can write on to when I need it. Writing, for some, is meditative. You can bring into fruition things that are only happening in your mind. For one thing writing on paper may also sharpen you correspondence skills. But I write letters all the time, what makes writing on paper with a pencil be anything different.

True, true. But what I am saying here is, write something off-beat that you are not used to writing. A murder mystery perhaps. I've been wanting to write a chapter a day of a great mystery novel. Just thinking about it makes my creative juices flowing. And fundraising is much about creativity, if you know what I mean.

Why not take a vacation? Stroll around the park? Play with your dog (who btw is getting neglected after months of hectic fundraising.) Meet-up with a long-time friend. These activities will sometime surprise when the solution to what makes your fundraising hard is just a conversation away.

Anyway, get away from fundraising for at least a week and make sure that in that one week, you are doing something totally diffent. Then you will discover a totally different perspective.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Direct Mail Piece Components

Are you familiar with the elements of a direct mail piece? Here is a list to help you out.

1. The outer envelope: This is a critical piece of the direct mail package. The way it looks will determine if your recipient will open your envelop or not. Remember you only have 8 seconds to engage your recipient. You can put a teaser at the front, an offer at the back, information, a private message. Make sure that what you put there counts!

2. The letter: Here is where you can convince people to give. This is where good storytelling is important. It does not matter if the letter is short or long, two or three pages, it does not matter. I've had letter written in four pages and it did not bore me a bit. You can put highlights, margin notes, underlines. There so many options but you need to use the tool which is appropriate.

3. The reply device: You need clealy tell people how to give. The reply device should spell out pertinent terms and condition and how it will benefit the non-profit. IT should show there where to send money. If you offer a premium, they need to know how and when they will get it. Make the reply device sound exclusive. You also have the option to put deadlines. Someone also send that we should design the reply device first before we write the letter so that it will be clear to us what the goal of the direct mail piece is.

I hope that this has been of help. God bless!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make your partners feel like a winner

Nobody wants to be in losing team right?

It is very important that we as Pinoy Fundraisers make our partners know and experience that we are the right non-profit for them. Of course, every organization has its ups and downs, and we should not neglect people from knowing of our challenges, but we need to let our partners know that can have full confidence in us.

Our communications plan should always be able to address the non-profit's triumphs more than the failures (who wants to hear them anyway). Partners will be more trusting with their hard-earned money to an organization they know that will make sure that a project succeeds. I believe its called attitude.

An organization's attitudes is distilled from the prevailing culture in the office. If there is a culture of so much chaos, anarchy and misdirection, then it won't be hard for people to put their money with other "worthy" organizations. If their is a never-say-die culture then people will put their money behind you. they know that you will do whatever it takes for your efforts to succeed.

Now that's a winner!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What does your newsletter look like? Part 2

Here are a few more insight on making newsletters:

1. Be creative in naming your newsletter. Something unique to your non-profit would surely boost appeal.

2. Use a generous amount of white space. For a definition on what a white space is, check out:

3. Size your body text to something like a 10pt. Times New Roman that can be found in almost all computers. Also, use a serif font, e.a. Times New Roman, so that it will be easier to read. Let me remind you, my dear reader, that readability is of utmost importance in a newsletter.

4. If you caption your photos, make captions as if it is a story in itself. This one I learned from my mentor, Gordon Robertson.

5. Use subheads. There are readers that scan your page. Making subheads helps them understand your article.

6. Use multiple columns for your story. A lot of people use only one column for the whole story. Its very hard to read a story in just one column. The readers' eye will get lost going through a loooong, column. They'll just give up reading altogether.

7. Infographics helps. They are also nice eye candy. But use them sparingly.

See you tomorrow! I may have a part 3.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What does your newsletter look like? Part 1

Are you even making one?

I believe all non-profits should have a newsletter. Even if it is contained inside a letter, if it is providing information about the organization, then it is still a "news"letter. So, do you have one?

Here are some suggestions at how your newsletter should look like:

1. If you are a small non-profit, with a small operational budget and a small staff, restrain yourself from going full color. Not only is it expensive, it also does not represent well with partners. Most of them will think that you should instead channel your expenses to whatever project you are doing.

2. A well laid-out newsletter looks good even if it is in black and white. A person's creativity is more evident in how that person cope up with constraints.

3. One color does not necesarily mean it should be black. You can use your corporate color as long as it it pleasing to the eye. Tell your printer that your publication will not use black ink. you will have to specify this color clearly with your supplier.

4. If your printer has a two-color press then, consider making your newsletter a two-color publication. There are a lot of choices for this color scheme if you a very knowledgeable designer. the cost difference is not substantial.

5. I've read this a long time ago and i will say it again. Use only a maximum of three fonts. Two is ideal. There are instances when multiple fonts will work but that is not the majority. Avoid making your newsletter look like a ransom note.

6. Photos and some colors like yellow do not reproduce well on photocopiers so beware.

7. Don't cram as much text as possible. My first rule when making newsletters is to make readability a priority. A clear and concise story will win hands-down in readership.

I'll post part 2 tomorrow. God bless!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Visiting Your Partners

One of the greatest things that the Pinoy Fundraiser can do with her time is to visit partners. There is nothing like getting the real score, for the partner in this case, to hear personally the accomplishments of their non-profit.

The PF should visit at least one major partner every week and meet four or five others for the balance of the week. Visiting is cherished in the Filipino home. We are well-known for hospitality and how take care of our visitors, the PF will be treated same, a perk of the job. But that is not the issue here. The critical point is that partners should be visited.

And when you do visit, make sure that you can handle all the queries the partner may have. It may be about the status of the organization, to how much that partner has already given to the organization, or complaints about partner or donor care. You may also learn a thing or two about the state of your fundraising from your partners' point of view.

You also need to provide solutions to your donors' problem with your organization. Some may think that you are not doing enough. A few may praise you for even the smallest thing. All of these should be important to you, the PF! This is the time to have all your senses working. You need to see if they read the materials you send their way. You need to read between the lines of what your partner may be saying about you.

You also need to build rapport and trust withyour partner. You are representing your non-profit and your partner should be able to see the best of the organization through you. You are a mirror of how your organization works.

More on this next time. God bless you!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Capitalizing on Holidays

Its a day before the 4th of July weekend in the US. What is your non-profit doing about it? Oh, this is supposed to be Pinoy Fundraising. I apologize. Let me repeat. Its a few days before the Philippine-American Friendship Day (is it still being celebrated??). What is your non-profit doing about it?

Sad to say, maybe a lot of haven't even thought about it. Maybe it does not relate to your organization. But if you thought hard, would you have thought of something. Probably some lame, old excuse to do fundraising. But wait, isn't that what you are supposed to do?

Mother's and Father's Day went by. What did you about it? Did you thank, congratulate, call, write or even SMS the mothers and fathers in your database? (I don't have database, some of you groaned). Oh well...

Events are hyped in this highly commercial world we live in. The Pinoy Fundraiser can use these holidays to grab a share of the fundraising pie. You can write a direct mail package themed from whatever holiday is coming. You can organize special events revolving around a holiday. You give out freemiums (stickers, note cards, pens, etc.) based on a holiday. You can make a holiday a lot more special to people. What you do can make it meaningful to a lot of people.

Now that you read this, do you have something in mind of Christmas?

See you next time!

Thursday, July 02, 2009


In a tech-savvy world, it seems that there is no place for errors in what you do. Not when you do direct mail fundraising!

My favorite techniques that I haven't personally done for my direct mail packages but I've seen un other people's work are the following:

1. Hand-written margin notes on the letter.
2. Red-colored underlines using markers
3. Scribbled arrows to point you to something
4. Hand-written PSs
5. "Copy only" stamped watermarked on the letter
6. Un-even text line heights reminiscent of typewriters
7. Intentional typo errors meant to catch the reader's attention

In a way, all of the above is trying to humanize the letter in a world of email, blogs, tweets and SMS. As I've mentioned in one of my first posts, letter writing is being pushed into obscurity. A lot of direct mail fundraisers are trying (in vain?) to maintain such air. Why do that some of you might say? We do that to personalize the letter. To not let the reader realize that this letter is printed via mail-merge or some other automated method.

See you next time!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Volunteer!

Volunteerism is one of the pillars of the nonprofit world. Period.

The PinoyFundraiser should not only seek monetary gifts, the PF should be soliciting manpower also. Manpower that could give a substantial savings to the non-profit. And savings means more funds to allocate to projects. Plus, you give people a sense of purpose. You give them a very good alternative from their day-to-day living.

People volunteering for even just a couple of days in a week--or even a year--is so much to be thankful for. Volunteers are also advocates. When you convince them that your non-profit is worth his time and effort, soon enough, that person will be mentioning you to his family, then to friends. They'll mention you on blogs, websites, in social networks, etc.

So not only did you gain an additional hand, you also get goodwill. That volunteer may even be giving your non-profit money (you may not even know about it). There's a lot to do in your office. In your mission site. They can type your reports. Hey, they can even do your fundraising!

They may also be the future of your organization. I read somewhere that volunteers are more passionate than your paid staff because they joined your organization without expecting anything. They mean only to do one thing, to make a difference through your non-profit.

See you next time!

Friday, June 26, 2009

You need to be on top of your game!

This means you should always be on the lookout for what is new, what is effective, what your "competition is doing." You do this not for the sake of imitating what they are doing and if they are doing it right. You need to be aware so that you can strategize accordingly.

The PinoyFundraiser should be always learning, observing, and taking down notes. You should always on the internet. Look at your "competitors'" website. Buy their products. Experience their service. Does it change your perception? Then they are doing something right.

You should be alert for things that can improve your creativity, your knowledge on development and fundraising. You also need to learn something new that is totally unrelated to your field. A lot of breakthroughs happen because you found that you can apply fundraising something you learned in agriculture for example. Who knows right?

There so many free resources on the internet, your neighborhood, your library or park. Learn to observe. Learn to take it in and stock it in your brain so that you can pull it out when you need it. It also exercises your brain so that you don't get Alzheimers. 8-)

The PF cannot rest easy and rest on his triumphs. You can be obsolete in quickly! See you on Monday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Writing a Fundraising Letter

As I write this, I am in the finishing stage of writing a new fundraising letter for our humanitarian arm. As all writers experience, it is very hard to write a letter, let alone a two-pager.

Starting the letter is the first hurdle. When I write, I need to have all the information at hand. If I ever need additional information that can only be given to me by somebody else, I usually ask another person to get it for me. Sometimes I do it myself. One of the tenets of writing these things are that you have to have your facts accurate. One cannot assume anything.

That is why it usually takes me the better part of the whole day to finish the letter. I take a lot of breaks, not only to clear my mind, but because it helps. When I take a break, I usually take a walk, sometimes not even a few meters away from my workstation and then I have to hurry back because something came to my mind.

You need to seize these opportunities when it comes. If you let if get away, who knows, it may have been something that could have gotten your response up. Who knows, right?

Writing is also something of an art. It is also part science. Part psychology. You need to know your audience well. You need to have a balance tone when you write. You need to convey excitement, fear, sadness, hapiness and ultimately, joy.

You should also have a clear goal when writing. Is it to inform? To provide updates? To ask for money? You need to provide specific action points to the reader. You cannot allow your reader to feel that they were not able to do anything.

You can't make them feel useless or that you have done all the work and they should send money so you can be compensated. No! Whatever your project is, its a collaborative project. You need to make them feel involved. Make them feel that they made a contribution

God bless you and see you again tomorrow!

P.S. I just read that if ever you make typo errors, they sometimes increase response rates. Its not a guarantee but it shows that the letter was done by a person and not by a professional computer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Are you a Boy (or Girl) Scout?

As they say, the Boy Scout is "Always Ready!"

The Pinoy Fundraiser should be the best opportunistic person in the organization. Why do I say that? The PF should always be ready to grab an opportunity when it comes.

Is your resource development (this is another term for the person that handles the fundraising) person always updated with what is happening in the non-profit? Does she have a brochure of the organization on the ready when a potential supporter asks? Does that person even have a business card? Does she look professional and credible?

These and a lot more others are the issues facing the PF. Can she even take a potential supporter to a coffee shop so they can talk more comfortably and be able to present the cause? Or do they stand in the local "Jollijeep" munching on turon (fried banana roll) and sipping sago't gulaman (i'm vexed! i don't kow the english for this)?

As they say, "first impressions last,". So are YOU prepared? You can't tell people that you don't have a brochure because you have channeled all your support to helping make this world a better place--one person at a time. It does not work like that. Oftentimes, you need to sow seeds in fundraising. And when you sow seeds, you need, get ready for this, seeds! If you don't sow, you don't harvest. If you can't sow becuase you were'nt prepared then maybe you are in the wrong job.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


A lot of PFs use events such as benefit concerts, advance movie screenings, raffles (do i hear bingo?) to raise funds. They are fine to some extent but I'd like to pose some issues that I hope will help you weigh things when thinking of doing another event.

1. Would the profit be worthwhile? I ask this because, in an event, a lot of things will be spent. Its not just money but your time, skills and most especially your sanity. If you will not be earning at least 300% over your expenses (this includes your time and salary) or making serious networking, then seriously consider against it. Physical exhaustion is one thing, but mental? It may not be worth it.

2. Would you be doing an excellent job? It does not have to be perfect, because nothing will come out perfect. There will always be something that will come up that everything may not come to your expectation. If the event will show your non-profit's weaknesses in terms of organizing an event then don't do it. Your credibility and reputation is much more important.

3. Can you afford it? Some events require that you shell out an initial investment. Do you have what it takes? Some will give an eager "Yes!" but fail at the home stretch. Your integrity goes down the drain if this happens.

There are lot more questions that one can think but the above items are very critical to your decision making. So, be wise!

God bless you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Exchange deals--a transaction where one product is exchange, traded or bartered. Usually, there is no cash involved, mainly products or services.

Now that we have some sort of definition, how can the Pinoy Fundraiser use it? Let's say you have a project for an orphanage. You will need food, furnitures, fixtures. clothes, and a whole lot of other stuff.

Some of these you will eventually buy yourself but some of them can be had for x-deals. As the term implies, there should be something traded or exchanged. In our orphanage's case, the PF can partner with companies that manufacture or distribute food stuff so that the orphanage will not have to buy them. In return, the orphanage can drum up the "deal" via banners, press releases or newsletter articles. Getting a company to deal with you is a whole lot of a different matter that I will not be discussing today.

When things like these happen, the orphanage will save on the cost, in whole or in part, of purchasing food stuff. This goes the same for furnitures, equipment, computers. Everything can basically be had for x-deals.

Now, there are companies that will just give you a donation instead of going through an x-deal. And those companies or individuals that are truly admirable.

God bless you and see you tomorrow!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Good and Great Testimonials

With the work that each of our non-profits are doing to make this world a better place, we will surely encounter good words coming from our beneficiaries and supporters. It is important that we are able to capture these words that we call "testimonials."

These words are very important for the Pinoy Fundraiser. It means that the non-profit is doing a good job of fulfilling its mission. It is also an affirmation for the people behind the work. If these words come from important people such as the heads of government agencies or from the local government units, they are all the more special because it gives you credibility. And credibility is very improtant in the non-profit world.

Credibility makes it easier for you to ask for money. You can use these words in your fundraising letters, in your press releases, newsletter, websites or blogs. You can use these as conversation pieces. That is why it is so important.

People who support your non-profit will appreciate these testimonies because they will know that their donations are going to a good cause. This will give you a better chance of getting long-term donors.

More to come tomorrow!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

News for the Pinoy Fundraiser

Hello again from Siquijor!

I'm posting an announcement from the Christian Stewardship Association's Zenet Maramara about a seminar that they will be holding at ATS.


Resource Speaker: Ms. Chill Fortunado, Resource Development Manager, Food for the Hungry

Raising money for non profit organization discusses the essentials of resource development, the infrastructures of resource mobilization, relationship building with donors, leadership team, fund raising planning, sources of funds for NGOs. Other topics that will be discussed includes fundraising events, solicitation and GIK (gifts in kind) partnership, facilitating a volunteer program and grants opportunities. The importance of monitoring and evaluating the RD initiatives will also be tackled to determine its effectiveness. It will also be a time to share some of the best practices of resource development staff of other NGOs. We hope that the participants of the workshop will leave with a gladness in their hearts that they are instruments of bridging the gap of the needs and the resource sharing where the giver and receiver are reciprocally benefiting.

WHEN: June 20, 2009, Saturday, 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M.

WHERE: Asian Theological Seminary, 2nd flr. Stewardship Center
54 Scout Mardinan St., Quezon City

Fee: P350.00 (includes snacks and handouts)

Contact for details: Luz Ellen Mendoza: 9297806, 0917-8459709


Zenet Maramara
Chairman, Christian Stewardship Association

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hands on or Hands Off?

Greetings from Siquijor!

As non-profits, we are expected to be leading the charge that will further our cause. That is why, the head is the best spokesperson for the organization. If you are reading this and you lead a non-profit, are you the one I just described?

The head should always be in the best position to communicate the non-profit's work and should be very intimate with it. Whatever question that you encounter that is related to your non-profit, it should always have a definite answer. Generalities should be avoided. The answer should always be to the point. This shows that you are in touch with what you do and makes you very credible and trustworthy of one's support. Anyone other than you is the most credible to communicate what your non-proft does.

The head should not avoid, at any cost, the role of making your cause known. We cannot be too shy about it because that is our role. ANo one can replace you and until such time when someone who is thoroughly conversant with what the non-profit does, then that is your sole role.

God bless from Siquijor!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

You Broke My Heart

Yes, I know! I was not able to post something yesterday. I have a good excuse. I had to bring my wife for an emergency check-up with her doctor, so I know you will forgive me.

Which brings me to my topic for today--what to do when you break your promise to your supporter. The promise I am referring to is one that you make when you ask for funding from your partners. For example, you have a direct mail piece and you promised a premium. Your supplier made a product whose quality is suspect. Would you give them something of inferior quality because you want to be able to meet your promise? Or would you rather wait for the better quality product and apologize?

The question above is very delicate and it is nightmarish. But the example above happens in real life. If you are a small non-profit and you work alone, you'll be having a tough time. This even happens to the well organized. You are not alone. So, what does one have to do?

Well, the best thing to do is apologize, simple right? And you need to do it early. If possible, before your promised date of delivery. Write them or call them and tell them (honestly, okay?) that an unfortunate incident happened that will not allow you to make it on time. Your partners will appreciate it.

But then there are times when you are in a complicated mess that it is so hard to find way how to apologize. Please bear in mind that people understand that we all make mistakes. Some non-profits take making a mistake to the extreme that it seems like you will go to hell the instant you make a mistake. Let's be honest here, have you ever found a non-profit that does not make mistakes?

In the organization I work for, we made a lot of mistakes. Our partners are still with us! Yes, there may be a few who may have been upset, but donors help you because they believe in your cause.

So, when you make a promise make sure that you make all the necessary steps to deliver as promised. When you hit a snag, don't wait until its today to apologize. Tell them earlier.

God bless you!

P.S. Tomorow I will be blogging from Siquijor, an island in the Visayas area of the Philippines.

Friday, June 05, 2009

So, what database do we use?

That's another good question!

Depending on the size of your non-profit, it would probably a safe answer-hehehe. If you are starting from scratch you may do well if you go with off-the-shelf fundraising software such as those from DonorPerfect. You can also consider the Intuit's Quickbooks Premier 2009 edition. With this software you'll also get an accounting software! Why is that? Because you can still adapt your needs to the software that you will purchase. If you already have an existing workflow and its not automated yet, then and off-the-shelf can work.

You can also consider Giftworks made by Mission Research ( You can download a trial version of this software that you can evaluate if it would fit your needs. Giftworks' cost start at $399 or roughly 20,000 pesos.

Admittedly, much of the better fundraising software are not available here in the Philippines. But careful searching on the Internet may yield you good results and great deal. As a last recourse, you can contract with a computer company that can program what you want. That is, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

So, what do we want in a fundraising software? Here's my take:

1. Contact management. If you read yesterday's post, you would want a streamlined contact management module from your software.

2. Transaction Processing. Somebody gives you money, you give a receipt. It should be simple right? Well, I hate to burst your bubble but its a bit messy. With transaction processing, you can keep a record of your partners' giving history. This should also include receipt processing and printing. Optionally, posting to your accounting software would be a great advantage.

3. Reporting. You need information to make decisions. A good fundraising software should give you a decent number of pre-made reports that will help in your decision making. You should be able to monitor and assess trends.

4. Mail merging. A good fundraising software will help you communicate better with your constituents. It should help you print letters and envelopes and automate the placement of names and addressess. Its should also help you send bulk email.

These four things should be the bare minimum. But then, it can also cost you. So do your homework before you commit.

Thanks and God bless! See you back on Monday!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Da Database Thing

Ok, here is a follow-up from yesterday's post on databases. I asked the question, "how should one structure a database?" so that it can effectively serve its purpose.

To start with, a database is structured as records inside a table. Records are composed of fields. Records and fields can be rows and columns in a spreadsheet such as Excel or Quattro (the one being distributed in Corel WordPerfect's office suite)

Let's assume that we are using a spreadsheet for our purposes. Here is what we should do:

1. Create a new spreadsheet.

2. Draft a title for your list that will be located in the first row of the spreadsheet. This could be something like: "Partner Information" or "Donor Contact List. Use whatever works for you.

3. On the next line, define your fields or columns. I usually breakdown a person's full name into three: first name, middle name, last name. By doing this, you can sort your database among these fields.

4. Next stop would be the address. You can choose to put a residential address, a business address, and a mailing (or shipping) address (something like a post office box). You can use just one or all of them. Using all of them provides you with flexibility

5. Next are the contact numbers. Again, you can choose to maintain a home landline, office landline, personal mobile, business mobile, fax, etc.

6. Now comes the email address. Personal email (gmail, yahoo, msn), Business email.

7. Websites. This could be the personal website and the website where they work for.

8. Make sure you include their spouse's name (if applicable), birth dates and anniversaries. You wouldn't want to miss that do you? 8-)

9. You can put a field containing what part of your organization these people are interested in.

You will do fine with a basic list like this. Obviously, you can add more. The complexity grows when you add giving information and histories in this same spreadsheet. A full time database program will help you solve this, but this would be for another post.

See you tomorrow and God bless!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To Database or Not

Where do you keep the names and contact info of your partners, supporters, suppliers and everything in between?

Are they written on 5 x 7 index cards? Are they in a worksheet? A database software perhaps? Hmmm. Where ever nook and cranny its located, someone in your organization should be maintaining the information and keep it accurate and up-to-date.

By today's standards, a computer is standard fare in every office, these information should be in a worksheet, at least. One would argue that we should still keep index cards in the event of a power outage or something like that. Oh well.

If you don't have a legal copy of Microsoft Access (a database program that comes with versions of MS Office) or MS Excel, you can try using the free office suite called OpenOffice. You can download a copy at Its worksheet software can do almost everything that you would need. Its database software is not as formidable as MS's offering but it can still hold its own. Best of all, its FREE and LEGAL.

You may also consider online databases like the ones offered at Its a free service but you should back-up your databases very often. I just found out that a web service provider, Coghead Software, was bought by a bigger company and its offerings are not anymore available. Too bad, I found it easy to use and I can have a database free.

There is always the case to have a database software customized to your needs. You will need someone who is well-versed in database programming and who USES legal software so that the software that they will turn-over to you will no be made from pirated products. You don't want that don't you? If you need get someone, I can recommend someone to you, email me at

I'll follow this up tomorrow on how to structure your database. Thanks and God bless!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Do you have money today?

When is the best time to ask? For the Pinoy Fundraiser, it's usually something like, NOW! 8-)

Admit it or not, a non-profit always needs money. For a humanitarian organization, for example, one of their primary mandate would probably be disaster relief. And we all know that disaster strikes at the most inopportune time. A non-profit like this always needs to be ready. It cannot ask money when a disaster strikes. They need to be ready everytime. They need to stockpile food stuffs, medicines, clothing, drinking water, etc. They cannot have it tomorrow, they need it today.

This is one reason why asking for support needs to be an on-going effort. You do not want to be caught flat-footed when a disaster strikes. Appealing for support needs to go out when an opportunity happens. This can also be done intentionally, on a schedule.

Some non-profits, ask for money annually. These non-profits embark on a campaign that will allow them to raise funding to support their work for a year. This is called an "annual campaign." For others, it could be quarterly or monthly.

But then, a good non-profit should be able to have a reasonable surplus that would get them through in emergencies. There are extreme cases when you ask your supporters to stop giving money specially when you set a goal for the amount that will be raised. I read of a humanitarian organization that responded to the tsunami in Indonesia, and when they reached their target amount, they asked people to stop giving and instead redirect their donations to other causes that are helping the tsunami victims. That was a risky thing to do for a non-profit but they wanted to be transparent. they wanted to let people know that this is what they will be doing, no more, no less.

More to come tomorrow.

Monday, June 01, 2009

"Ask and it shall be given..."

How well do you ask money from your supporters?

Is it a hard question for you to answer? Do you fidget around and hope that they get the message? Do yo beat around the bush and hope that they catch what you mean? And by the way, what do YOU actually say?

The problem with us as Filipinos is that some times, its hard for us to ask for help. It's very difficult for us to say, "Can you please help me out?" On the other hand, there are those who make a living on asking people for money. It's not hard for them to ask but they can get annoying and irritating so easily.

The Pinoy Fundraiser (PF) needs to overcome this hurdle. The PF needs to know when to ask and when not. Asking for money or support should be second nature for the PF, especially if they work in a small non-profit. The PF should not say something like this, "Hey, please pray for our project. We don't have any money and a lot of supporters but we know that God wants us to do this. You will pray, right?"

Why can't we just simply say, "Hey, we have this project and we don't have enough funds, can you help? You can start by sending us 500 pesos today." Now, was that hard? For some, it is. The Bible tells us this in Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." What does this say to the PF? You need to ask directly! Don't go around in circles.

The bible also says in James 4:2, "You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God."

You need to let others know that there is a need. You need to let people know how they can help. How they can be part of the solution. And people are just waiting to be asked. If you ask for prayer, what you will get is prayer, because that is what you asked. Why don't you ask for prayer AND MONEY?

I hope this enlightens you. PEACE!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's Your Cause?

All non-profits have a cause, but few can articulate it well. This is what I will be posting about today. The Pinoy Fundraiser (PF) should know all the innards of the non-profit organization. You need to know why it exists, how it can make this world a better place, it all starts from there.

When you start a fundraising campaign, big or small, it usually evolves from a cause concept--the reason why you need money in the first place. From cleaning the local river, to making the air more breatheable, to taking care of children with the HIV virus, and you should believe that it is worth other peopele's money. Convincing others about it is another matter though.

So, how does one develop a cause concept. It starts with your vision. For example, if you have an orphanage and you started with housing orphans and you embark on a project to expand your housing facility from 25 to 50 residents, then its a cause concept. How you then communicate this need should now revolve around this concept. Explain the reason for the need to expand, how much it will cost, who will help you build it, how long will it take, etc. And from these questions, you can now outline how you would be presenting it.

Then show it others. Find out what they think about it. Ask your peers. Ask them if it works. You'll get a lot of reactions and you will be able to weigh things and improve your appeal. Unless you are a seasoned Pinoy Fundraiser, your first draft will almost always contain issues that needs to be addressed and improved. Don't be too attached that what you wrote. You are not your audience.

More to come on Monday! God bless!


And what are these? 8-)

In this acronym-crazy world we live in, these are very important to the Pinoy Fundraiser (BTW, these are also announcments of upcoming events.)

1. PCNC: Philippine Counceil for NGO Certification ( They are tasked to provide Donee Institution Status. This is important to you as a non-profit for the following reason stated in their website:

A certification of DONEE INSTITUTION STATUS leads to better things....
  • Encourage local donations to NGOs, made more important by the present trend of dwindling resources for social development projects
  • Recognizes NGOs of "good standing" that funding donors may consider in their choice of organization to support
  • Provides opportunities for self-assessment and improvement
  • Provides valuable assistance for organizational strengthening
  • Promotes professionalism, transparency and accountability of the NGO community
On Friday, May 29, 2008, PCNC will be holding its annual assembly. They will also have booths from member organizations that will exhibit their wares. Visit their website for further details.

2. CSA: Christian Stewardship Association ( This is what their website says about itself:

Christian Stewardship Association is a network of Christian fundraisers,business people and local pastors whose mission is to advance theGospel of Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom work through biblicalstewardship education. CSA provides training and resource materials tohelp Christian nonprofit organizations mobilize resources to fund theirministries.

They also have a new class for A Certificate Course on Professional Christian Fundraising. the classes will be held at the Asian Theological Seminary in partnership with World Vision Philippinesand the Christian Stewardship Association. This will start on July 4, 2009 Saturdays 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Course Schedule
July 4 Biblical Stewardship and Fundraising
July 11 Strategic Planning for Resource Development
July 18 Communications and Public Relations
July 25 Partner Development
August 1 Fundraising Methods and Techniques
August 8 Writing Grant Proposals
August 15 Accountability, Integrity and Ethics in Fundraising
August 22 Capacity-Building for Resource and Leadership Development (Utilizing and Mobilizing Assets)

3. LCF or League of Corporate Foundations ( Agai, from their website:

The League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) is a membership association of over 70 operating and grant-making corporate foundations and corporations, seeking to provide business solutions to social problems in the Philippines through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Collectively, LCF represents many decades of private sector involvement strengthened with public sector partnerships and multi-sectoral approaches in various development sectors including arts and culture, education, environment, health, enterprise development and CSR research.

On July 9 and 10, LCF will be holding its 8th CSR Expo dubbed, "Business Unusual: SOS, Skills, Opportunites and Sustainability at the SMX convention Cente. PFs should be there or be square.

Keep coming! God bless!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Did you say thank you?

One of the cardinal rules in donor development is that you have to send a thank you letter to your donor within 72 hours of receiving the gift (that's money in development speak).

Or does it take you 72 days to even think of sending it? With today's pace of technology, one has a huge variety of ways to say thank you. I read once that it is better to send a badly written thank you letter than to not send one at all. Is it true in your organization? I don't know about here in the Philippines, but it is a sad reality in the United States. Let us not be like them.

Here in the Philippines, our donors are more forgiving. A lot of people give to our non-profits because they know that what we do can change the world, albeit, a few people at a time. But that does not mean that we can take it for granted to thank them. They need to know that their hard-earned money was put into good use. They want to know that you received their gift and was not lost through pilferage or in transit.

Assuming that you are a small non-profit, here is what I suggest you can do once you receive a gift:

1. SMS them that their gift arrived. Call them if their gift is over 1,000 pesos.

2. Get the receipt processed ASAP!

3. Print the thank you letter. If your handwriting if is great, then handwrite those gifts over 5,000 pesos.

4. Now, post them. That means mail them at your local post office. Use a live stamp for gifts over 5,000 pesos.

5. After five days, call them and ask if they have already received your letter and receipt.

If you do this, i guarantee that you will have many happy donations to come.

God bless and I look forward to your visit tomorrow!

P.S. BTW, make sure their names are correct on the envelope!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kodak Moments

Does your non-profit have a reasonably knowledgeable photographer on-staff or as a volunteer?

As the saying goes, "Pictures are worth more than a thousand words." Photos are like a-sentimo-a-dozen in these days of the digital camera. Almost everyone has a camera, but, also everyone's knowledge is limited to pushing the shutter button, and sadly, nothing else.

Photo sites abound on the internet that shows anyone with a digital point and shoot camera get excellent results. These sites help you by showing you how to compose better, telling you how to use you camera, etc.

But then, nothing beats having an experienced photographer document your project. Aside from having better equipment, they also know how to capture the right (Kodak) moment. They can show more emotion from your subjects, put them in better lighting and so much more.

Most non-profits take their own photo documentation and try to learn it themselves, sometimes to the detriment of the organization. It is very easy to get volunteer photographers that will give your images more oomph!

So, how do you get better images?

1. Find out your local camera club and go to their meetings. Some meet informally, while others have more "official" setups. 8-) Again you can use Google for this. It is fairly easy. A lot of photographers are always waiting for opportunities to shoot. Present your cause and you'll easily get responses.

2. Buy a second hand wedding magazine. Look at the back and take note of the wedding photographers advertising their services. Write them a letter or visit them and give them a proposal. Wedding photographers are great documentarians becuase that is what they really do, document a couple's wedding. And their great in portraiture!

3. Get the names of your local newspaper's staff photographer. Contact them and ask them if they can cover your event or project. If its newsworthy, they'll come.

4. Get the names of your local newspaper's editor-in-chief. Get them as advocates of your cause and they'll send their paper's staff photographer.

5. Upgrade your point-and-shoot to a second hand entry level DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Camera like Nikon's D40 or Canon's 350D and their respective kit lens. Take time to learn from other people and you would easily increase the quality of your photos.

6. Get another person to do it! If you are leading the organization and still take the photos, this work for a while but get messy in the long run. Better have someone on-staff to learn it. You have better things to do.

Tomorrow again folks! God bless!

Camera Club of the Philippines:
Images Camera Club: --> This is a Cebu City based camera club
Alpha Camera Club:
Marikina Digital Photographer's Club:
Anton Sheker's Photographer's Guide:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Strut Your Stuff

05/25/09 AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've just edited the post below to correct some typos and other errors and to make the message clearer (well, to me at least).


Most non-profits do a great job of rendering social and humanitarian services, but has a difficult, no, a terrible time letting others know about it. Communication is one essential skill a Pinoy Fundraiser should have.

There are so many ways for you to show the world what good you are doing. Some, in modesty cannot bear to "lift their own chair" (ok, that was a lame and very literal translation of "pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko) or being too modest at ones' acievements. But if you really think about it, how else can you get people to give to you if you dont...let...them...know...!

Yes, let our fruits tell them how great we are, but then, those fruits take a lot of time to ripen, and when it happens (the fruit, ripening), your donor would have moved on to the next "fruitier" non-profit.

So what do you do? Get a communications plan going!

Write a letter to the 20 or so newspaper editors and the bazillion FM and AM jocks and tell them that you have a good thing going and has just started ("Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan?")

When you get to the middle part of your project, let them know again. Write a one-page announcement for the press. Call them! Text them! Blog it! Tweet it! Tell them to your friends over and over! Repetition is a good thing. They'll tire of hearing from you and they'd give up have no other choice but to give you a look. Remember the parable of the persistent widow? (Google it right now!). She was so persistent (not to mention annoying) that the judge she pestered surrendered and gave her justice. And when your done, let them know about it too!

So get a pencil and paper ready (a computer would do fine too!) and whip out your communications plan. If its the first time your doing it, you might fail--but you may also succeed!
More to come tomorrow, God bless!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Internet to our Advantage

Ok, let's use the internet for the advantage of the Pinoy Fundraiser (PF). One thing that the internet can help us with is give us a wealth of information that can raise the bar of our fundraising.

We need to know what others are doing so that we can evaluate if we can use it for our own. It is not wrong to know how others are being succesful and how others fail. We don't have to reinvent the wheel--but we can make it better. 8-)

Online resources are plenty in cyberspace. The PF should always visit Mal Warwick's website ( This guy has a lot to offer us. Make sure to look for his books (try, I haven't found his books locally) and whatever you think is applicable to you.

Your next stop should the website Fundraising Succes Magazine ( They share a lot of wisdom for all things fundraising. They even now have an online version of their magazine which I have been subscribed to for a few years already. Their columns are great even though they write in the context of the American economy. I'm sure you'll learn something beneficial to your organization.

Do visit the websites of the company's that make fundraising software like Blackbaud (, Compass Technology (, other fundraisers' blog (especially mine, hehehe). They offer white papers on fundraising, trial software, free strategy and a host of other things. Oh, don't forget Google ( and learn how to search with good keywords.

Last, but not the least, is to visit widely known non-profit websites like, the Salvation Army (, Food for the Hungry (, The Christian Broadcasting Network (, hey, I learned a lot from them! Almost all the big non-profits has a website that they use for fundraising and it would be wise if you find out what they are doing. You'll find out how they do it, who does it for them (suppliers, contractors, etc.)

More on Monday! God bless!

P.S. Yes, I know, the post is 13 minutes late, hey give me a break!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who is your idol?

Now that all the hoopla about Kris Allen winning American Idol 8 over Adam Lambert is dying down (or is it increasing?), I'd like to shift today's post to celebrity endorsers.

Some experts have different views about celebrities endorsing non-profits. The American Marketing Association and its Foundation conducted a survey of donors in the Spring of 2005. It found that trust in the organization was far-and-away the most important consideration. At the same time, 58% of the respondents said that celebrity endorsements were "not at all important" in their decisions to give.

An online article supporting the idea of celebrity endorsers can be found in this link:

Here in the Philippines, there is a good chance that having a celebrity endorser can help increase your non-profit's public awareness. Obviously, because our country is so easily bedazzled by them stars. This is probably the reason why WorldVision in the Philippines has racked up quite a few celebrities to help them get the word out, Miriam Quiambao, Karen Davila, Christian Bautista, and most recently, Leah Salonga.

UNICEF has Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano as their National Ambassador. He is now on his tenth year with the children's rights agency.

So, does this work for everyone? Well, probably a "Yes" and "No".

Yes, becuase it will surely help you get people to your events and other activities. No, because their presence may not necessarily mean people will give. You do get top of mind recall from these people, so that when the time comes that they are ready to give, your non-profit will be on the top of the list.

One thing to make sure is that your non-profit should have the utmost dedication to integrity and service to its constituents. Your good work will most likely be remembered rather than the celebrity endorsing you. Another is that there is no assurance that your celebrity will always be in the positive side of the limelight. When they make a mistake, along with them goes your non-profit.

God bless!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where's my email? Part 3

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know this post is late. I got caught up in a lot of work at the office. But I still keptmy promise of posting from Monday to Friday. 8-)

Ok, let's start this post by asking a question which I think has been going through your mind since i started this series: "What paid software do you use for sending your email?

We currently use the services of Constant Contact ( I started with a trial account a few years ago where they let me use the system as long as I had less than a 100 people in the mailing list. Anyway, I was drawn to the fact that they have a reporting system on how many people opened the email, how many people clicked and what link they clicked, etc.

The system also provided me with a better way to manage the contacts we accumulate. They provided me with code so that you can put a form in your webpage and it would automatically update the contacts database in your account. Cool!

Before I used this system, I used what is supposed to be a "cheaper" method. I bought a software called "Mail Bomber". Since I was the geeky type, it seemed not a problem for me--until I was managing various lists with thousands of addresses. Also, you needed to paste HTML code that made up your email to the program. This code is passed on to me by a website programmer when he lays out the email. I paid the guy 250 pesos for each email he coded for me. Oh, did I mention the guy lived in Pampanga? And I was in Makati. Sure, we emailed. But he was not home all the time. He was working on other projects. I was the only one who worked with him in the office and understood how thing worked. It got tiresome, and it was not that "cheap."

So I went back to my trial account at Constant Contact, which already expired, and proposed to my boss that we really needed to switch to this system. After I got it approved, I upgraded the account to the paid service, showed it to one of our staff and asked her to learn it, which did not take that long. And it's now out of my way. I was able to delegate it to someone else!

Just recently, I got the code to put a form on our webpage and it has been doing the job of updating our contact database. For many months, my staff manually entered the email addresses that we collected, which is well over a thousand new addresses. I did not understand the code earlier so I hesitated to use it, I should have done it earlier and saved myself a lot of time.

Now, with Constant Contact, I know how many opened our email (our average is between 16% - 20%). I can find out who opened it and what links they clicked. We have at least 15% of the list clicking a link in the email. I find out how many addresses are "bouncing" and why. So I have it proven to be very useful.

Do I recommend that you use it? Hmmm, that's a tough one. Maybe you need to go to a paid service if:

1. You are emailing to over 500 addresses
2. You need to do something else better rather than mess around with kludgy email software
3. You have a global audience (OFWs, Filipino migrants, etc.)
4. You have to turn over the work to a non-technical person
5. You can afford to pay anwhere from 1,800 to 3,500 a month

If you answered "YES" to all of that, then, please subscribe to a service (if you let me refer you to, our account will get a $30 rebate). If you said "NO" to at least to items, then think about, pray about it.

Until tomorow (hopefully earlier), God bless!

P.S. I also heard about, so you can compare services. BTW, I finished writing this at 11:41 pm, Manila time, so this means I did not miss my deadline. 8-))

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where's my email? Part 2

AUTHOR'S NOTE: As I was reviewing yesterday's post, I noticed a few "glaring" typos and grammatical errors. I humbly ask for you forgiveness, and I hope you will give it so you'll feel better. Oh, there's another one. 8-)


So, where does one start if the organization decides to use email as a way to raise funds?

1. Do you have email addresses to send your message to? You can start with the email addresses of your friends and family. Then let it grow from there. Growing it will be the subject of another post.

2. Edwin, I have tons of email addresses, can I use them? Sure, why not? but, ask first. In the U.S. there is a law called CAN-SPAM that states that you need to get a recipient's permission that you want to send email to them on a regular basis, they call it opting-in. Also, make sure those addresses are working. It won't hurt to ask permission, they usualy give it. Trust me!

3. Text or HTML? If you are starting from scratch and you know nothing except how to type your message, and hitting the "Send" button, start with a text message first. I'm not referring to an SMS message ok? People will give not because your email is pretty (it helps though) but because they believe in your message and a plain, old non-HTML email will focus your reader to read.

4. Should I use a free email service like Yahoo or Gmail? Yeah, go for it! Just make sure that your return email address is not something like, or If your recipient's email client scans incoming mail for scams and spams, your email will most probably wind up in the SPAM BOX. The ideal is for you to use an email address that contains your non-profit's name like, You'll look (and sound) more credible.

5. How should I write? If you were the one receiving another non-profit's email, what would you want to receive? I personally go for short individual stories. Writing letters (on and offline, meaning on paper and via email) is both a science and an art. You need to feel what you are writing. If you aren't touched by your own message then others would also have a hard time get touched. The logical flow of the letter should be clear. Make it sound like a personal correspondence, not the business letter type. And don't forget a call to action. Let your recipient know that they can do something.

I still have a follow-up on this topic so come back tomorrow!

Let me know what you want me to blog about

Next week, I will be going into a more predictable schedule of topics to post. There would be a specific topic to talk about for each day. I'd like to ask your suggestion on what I should blog about. Something that you think will be worth your while to come here every day. Just post your comments below. All suggestions will be considered. Also, on certain days, there will be two posts if there are breaking news, exciting conferences or other opportunities that will help you, my dear readers, raise the level of your fundraising efforts.

For the Pinoy fundraisers (ok, Americans can join in too, not just Pinoys) out there who has something to share (seminars, discounts, suppliers, etc.), I will be entertaining them as long as it will help the Pinoy (Americans too!) fundraiser, I'm all for it.

God bless you!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where's my Email? Part 1

Email fundraising can be both good and bad. Since nobody writes so much on paper anymore, email could be a good alternative to sharing your message. I am not averse to it, because we use it to! This approach is especially good in times of calamity where you really, really need to get the word out to as many channels as possible.

But email has its challenges. The first challenge is coming up with a list of email addresses to send your messages to.

Second, if you won't be careful, your email could end up in your recipient's SPAM BOX. Yeah, you read it right. Its not the blue can, its the electronic kind.

Third is timing. If you send it at the wrong time, your email will easily be the 66th email that your recipient may miss it. Fourth, a lot of people have multiple email addresses, their "official" company email, their Yahoo address, because everyone has it. Gmail because its cool. Hotmail, Rocketmail, Eudoramail, heck, they may even have an email address from their internet provider, i.e. username@pldtmydscl or

Email has its pros too by the way. Up to a certain point, sending email is free. Once you get to the level that you are sending to 150 addresses, then things start to get messy. What do you do when you've gathered up 500 addresses, how about 5,000? Will you enter the addresses each time? One-by-one? All 5,000 of it? (I'm exagerating, of course.) You can links to multimedia content--photos, videos, audio--that the user experience may be richer. Plus you can lay an email out as if its a webpage.

Also, there are free softwares out there that could help you. Batch sending, filtering, segmenting list, etc. But you won't have the ease of use, clear documentation and tech support that a service provider can give you. That is why for almost a year now, our organization has opted to go with a paid service since managing the lists and making the work easier has become a priority to increase productivity.

More to come tomorrow!
God bless!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Personal Letters are Sorely Missed

In the apartment compound where I live (in Marikina, Philippines), we have this common mailbox. I open this mailbox as often as I can. Can you guess what I see? I think you know the answer, credit card bills, utility bills, demand letter from creditors, and more bills.

There is probably like 12 doors in our compound and we all use this one mailbox. And since I do the direct mail fundraising program at CBN Asia, I seed my name on our mailing list so I will know how long it takes for the letter to arrive on our mailbox. BTW, posts from Makati City to Marikina City usually takes between, get ready for this, two days to five days!

Our ministry's letter is the only letter that does not look like a statement of account in our mailbox. It is so sad. People just aren't writing letters anymore. People are not rushing to their mailbox eagerly awaiting correspondence from their loved ones, because they know that all that they will see is the reminder that their budget will soon disappear. Which put Philippine non-profit organizations, in my personal opinion, in a very advantageous position.

Who do we ask support from? And who acts on your call for help? Probably people in their 30's or 40's who grew up receiving love letters (written on Sanrio stationery with strawberry scent) and correspondence from relatives in the provinces or abroad. Yes, email is a lot more convenient and faster, but a large portion of our population do not have easy access to computers and the internet. Yes, you can put up blogs, but you will not easily know if they are coming and seeing your campaign. Whereas your mail, if creatively done, will pique the interest of your reader and would eventually open it up. They may not open immediately but they can put it (aside from the trash can) in a table or cabinet tops to be opened later. Your email? Its gonna buried in the tons of spam that inundates your email software's inbox in a few short hours.

And their is one advantage of snail mail that email cannot compete with, the interaction and tactile feeling of paper. With paper you feel something, you smell something, there is a sort of mystery behind it. Email? You may have people passing up on your message they are so tired at looking at a computer screen inside their cubicle.

Did I make my point? On Monday, I'll make a case for, you guessed it, email fundraising.

God bless!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Welcome to Pinoy Fundraising

Thank you for visiting! The idea for this blog is to provide my perspective on fundraising in the Philippines gathered from my over 14 years of fundraising for non-profit organizations.

Much of my knowledge in fundraising, specifically direct mail fundraising, I owe to Gordon Robertson, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Broadcasting Network. CBN is the producer of the long-running Christian program, The 700 Club. For five years, Gordon directed the development efforts of CBN Asia, Inc., the Philippine office of CBN, as an expat.

I consider Gordon as my mentor not only because he introduced me to the world of fundraising, but also because, he did not witheld information from me. He provided me resources such as books, magazines and most specially his personal experience.

Gordon is a big believer in direct mail fundraising and I believe that it works in the Philippines. Direct mail helped a lot in sustaining the early years of CBN Asia. Filipinos are givers and they give through direct mail. I'll tell you some my insights in my upcoming posts.

God bless!