Your questions is? We’ve got videos

Notably re-quotable

“Consuming more stuff is fine. But it doesn’t make an inspirational story. Piling up more things is nice. But it doesn’t make a meaningful journey. ¶ “Spending money only on yourself is not noble. Its impact is temporary. It ends when you end. No matter what you eat, wear, drive, or own, if your life is only about your own consumption, it’s ultimately pretty meaningless. No one wants an obituary that reads simply, ‘He made a lot of money. The end.’”

— from a stunning new essay about charitable legacies titled the “The donor and the universal hero story,” by Russell James, lawyer, Ph.D., CFP, professor at Texas Tech University; available on LinkedIn.

You asked … and my fumbling answer came….

Has this ever happened to you?

“They never got to my question!”

We think we have a remedy.

In the past, with other producers, I’d finish a 1.5 hour “master” webinar … and we’d have maybe 10 minutes to spare at the end for questions. If there were a lot of questions in the queue, sometimes we’d go longer … to 20 minutes maybe.

At most.

It was a small window of opportunity for the customer. But that’s the way my early producers did things. People paid for the content; Q&A was sorta extra.

Then in 2022 I got new producers: the Coopers.

They suggested a wrinkle: that we add an unlimited Q&A period at the end of each master-webinar. Julie Cooper would moderate the questions.

Sounded good to me. We tried it.

I offer four master-webinars a year: on (1) cases for support, (2) donor newsletters, (3) direct mail appeals (coming in September) and (4) charitable-bequest marketing [late in 2022].

Each master-webby gathers up everything I know to date about a topic.

Proof is all that matters; opinions (including mine) are forbidden. I’m usually editing each show until the morning of delivery, swapping in fresh samples and new research.

Each is (pleasantly, satisfyingly, rewardingly) exhausting for attendees and me.

Each is a long, rich soak in secrets to fundraising success and core communications principles, gathered from top practitioners around the world.

Each is heavily illustrated with proven examples, digital and print.

And NOW (cheesy drum-roll please) … we’ve added unlimited Q&A on top of all that.

Unlimited Q&A was an experiment for the audience. So what happened next?


We did the master-webby about cases in March 2022. Attendance was good. Our first-time Q&A continued for an hour thereafter.

We did a master-webby about donor newsletters in early June 2022. Attendance was good. Q&A went on for 2.5 hours thereafter. Holy smokes! To CONFIRM, yes:

This Q&A went on for 2.5 hours after the June master-webby concluded.

I.e., we answered questions until attendees ran out of questions. Every question was answered. Something happened.

So you might be wondering….


What were those Q&As like? Want a taste? Right now YOU can watch and listen. At no cost….

For your learning pleasure: A fun selection of the Q&As are now freely available (and blessedly brief) as YouTube videos. See below.


[Julie starts] Kathy asks: How many newsletters should you send out in a year? [click image below to hear relevant YouTube Q&A]



[Julie chews through the Q&A pile] Jewanna asks: You mentioned not going over 8 pages. We [a major hospital system] produce a printed magazine, 6 pages, no envelope. Can these methods work for us?
[click image below to hear relevant YouTube Q&A]



[Julie wonders, too] Anonymous asks: How do you balance the cost of printing and cost of mailing against the ROI (donations)? Is there a percentage goal to set, like donations should, on average, cover the cost of the mailing, plus or minus 20%? [click image below to hear relevant YouTube Q&A]



[Julie digs in]
Brook asks: Should we talk about projects that are not actually supported by donors? That are supported instead by grants or contracts ... with the same kind of donor-centered language we use when sending to constituents? [click image below to hear relevant YouTube Q&A]



[Julie, a donor-comm veteran, erupts in kind laughter] Susan asks: What is the maximum word count relative to the overall newsletter length that the CEO column should be? Tom’s answer begins: “Permit me to be a jerk...”
[click image below to hear relevant YouTube Q&A]


Last words go to my chief spiritual/marketing GURU GODFATHER Seth Godin, June 24, 2022:

“When people feel seen and respected, they’re more likely to focus on what needs to be done....”

# # #

Did you miss any crucial back issues of this how-to e-news?
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Mary says she’s not a philosopher (she is)

HERE. Whenever Mary Cahalane posts on her fundraising blog, the sun comes up twice that day. Get to know her charm and wisdom, if you don’t already. Her latest how-to musing is called “Effing the ineffable.”

How’s your “ASK” IQ

HERE. Couched in angel/devil terms (for your amusement), the Coopers (in this latest extraordinary blog post) share T. Clay Buck’s revelation, the personal understanding that led him to this wonderful place: “We should never hesitate to ask anyone!”

Simon Scriver on “How to speak”

HERE. OK, the real title of this handy how-to is “Simon’s 7 Top Tips For Presenting Digitally.” But even if you don’t do much presenting … or just wonder if you could present someday … you will benefit from Simon’s sage stage advice. ¶ I present all the time … but from Simon’s post learned that I still had far more to learn. His tips 4 and 5 were revelatory. ¶ He’s an award-winning Toastmaster and delightfully demonstrates his best techniques in an enticing YouTube video called “Nuggets of Love. [Hint: how Chicken McNuggets changed lives in Ireland] ¶ With Nikki Bell, Simon co-founded Fundraising Everywhere, which pursues equity by making its busy schedule “of online events accessible for smaller charities and freelancers with low prices, plus pay-as-you-feel and pay-it-forward tickets.”

New REPORT: Charity trends (short term)

HERE. Yeah, it’s kind of a downer. But let’s jump to the end of this useful report. Since things are getting perilous [again; inflation, stock market, Putin the Great], there are 3 fresh recommendations for sustained giving, based on solid research:

(1) Stay on message.

(2) Communicate regularly.

(3) “Give donors a reason to continue their support.”

Don’t be pessimistic. Yes, it seems like the world as we know it is limping into a ditch (economy, inflation, Ukraine, climate change, shootings, the world’s most liberal abortion restrictions overturned). ¶ And then comes the dawn. Good charities (like yours) are HOPE merchants. SELL!

Ahern FREE? How-to webinars: LATEST menu

HERE. I don’t say yes to everything. But during the pandemic I have often said YES to presenting for free. It’s a way of paying back my 1,000 (and counting) mentors. If you’re interested, check out my current menu of shorter-form webinar offerings.

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