Whiteboard Wednesday logo

Hey there,

Has anyone told you today how awesome you are? Because you’re awesome! And not just because you’re reading this issue of Whiteboard Wednesday. 

But, honestly, reading all the way to the end will make you even more awesome.

This issue is even more packed full of valuable insights than usual. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, lock the door, tell your staff not to do anything stupid, and enjoy!


3 Things My Grandma Taught Me About Fundraising

by Dave Kirby

Who doesn’t love their grandma? 

Most grandmas don’t live with you 24 hours a day, so your time together is full of love and undivided attention.

As a child, I was fortunate enough to have both of my grandmothers living, Kathryn and Gladys (those are classic grandma names!) Grandma Kathryn always had time to play chinese checkers with me when everyone else was busy. Grandma Gladys would read books to me about animals and history (she was a nerd.)

Neither of my grandmothers is alive today, but I’ve been thinking about lessons I can take from them to help us become better fundraisers. Yes, fundraising lessons from my grandma.

Lesson 1 - Everyone needs to feel accepted, valued, and affirmed.

The first brain imaging study of charitable giving revealed some interesting facts. It turns out that making charitable decisions triggers the brain region that activates “when humans look at their own babies and romantic partners.” Further, “This region plays a key role … in social attachment and the release of the neuromodulators oxytocin and vasopressin.” Oxytocin is part of the family-bonding system. (It’s the family-bonding hormone.) Philanthropy engages this family-bonding system. 

So giving comes from social emotion. And social emotion comes from the “love and family” system in the brain. 

Did my grandma talk to me like a client or a prospect? No, she spoke words of familial love and interest. So if giving triggers those emotions, maybe talking in those terms with our potential donors gets them started down that path. 

Lesson 2 - Keep it simple

My grandma didn’t talk in language that was over my head as a 7-year-old. She didn’t talk about complicated socioeconomic issues or global politics. She talked about things I was interested in and did it in a way that related to me on my level.

It’s easy to assume that your donors want all the facts and figures so they can make an informed giving decision. But they really want to know you’re making a difference and to feel that they’re a partner with you. 

Oversimplify. Like Mark Twain said, “if I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter.” Make your communications simple, emotional, and scannable.

Lesson 3 - Give more than you take

My grandma always had a cherry pie ready for me when I visited. She did what would make me happy without asking for anything in return. She just did it because she truly cared.

Is your donor relationship a one-way street? Do you give more than you ask, or is it the other way around? 

Change the focus to the donor. Invest in them with things that make them happy and help them grow spiritually & emotionally. Then, when it comes time to ask for something, you’ve earned the right.

Remember, you are not in the fundraising business. You’re in the people-raising business. ALL fundraising is emotional. Collect their hearts, and their money will follow.

Links will direct to sites not affiliated with Vidare Creative

How does your donate page stack up? NextAfter and RaiseDonors studied 204 non-profit giving forms. Here are the results.

We know you’re probably doing too much work with too few people. But don’t overlook the power of boredom to boost creativity in your staff.

You’re probably targeting “families” with your ministry. But do you know what “family” looks like in 2022? This report from Pew Research has some interesting findings. TL;DR…living with parents and cohabitation are WAY up.

I don’t often do this, but I’m going to quote myself (ok, I quote myself all the time because I’m pretty profound!) In my article above, I made this statement:

Remember, you are not in the fundraising business. You’re in the people-raising business. ALL fundraising is emotional. Collect their hearts, and their money will follow.

Are you doing that? Are you investing in your donors? Are you showing them how grateful you are for them on a regular basis? I’ll quote myself again:

The most important fundraising action you can take is keeping the donors you already have.

The Fundraising 365 toolkit can help you do that. It’s a 12-month plan to help you communicate with your donors and invest in them. It has email copy, resources, a welcome series template, plus spot copy and audio.

And when you buy, it includes 4 check-ins with our Vidare team in the next year to help with the execution of the plan.

To quote me once again: BUY IT!

Also, here’s a video with an overview of the toolkit, in case you’re not finding yourself willing to just do it because I said so.

Think About It

by Paul Goldsmith

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax." Abraham Lincoln

You make, on average, 35,000 decisions each day; 227 are just about food, and a mere 122 are semi-thoughtful or informed choices.” With all those decisions, no wonder you are mentally exhausted at the end of each day.

The most valuable resource at your station is the human resources and your team’s collective brain power. How much “thinking time” does your team commit to each day?

Do you reserve time each day to think about your own thinking? What assumptions are you working from? What might you be wrong about? Nothing is more frustrating than passionately pursuing the wrong goal. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

Are you focused on focus?

When it comes to fundraising, we get laser-focused. Email is ignored, social media alerts silenced, and each break is meticulously planned and executed for a desired result. What would it look like if every break was treated that way year-round? How much more focused and emotionally engaging would the content on-air be? 

What about off-air? What would it look like for you to spend 20-30 minutes at the start of each day, uninterrupted, thinking through your own assumptions about the desired result of your work? How can you best identify and leverage the opportunities, minimize the risks, and maximize the results each day/week/month?

Yes, Christian radio is a ministry. It’s also a business. Being a follower of Jesus makes us disciples, not experts in management or business. We all benefit from spending more time thinking about and fine-tuning the signal (good ideas) and less getting distracted by all the noise (bad ideas).

What’s your plan?

When we get asked by a new station to achieve a particular “pie-in-the-sky” goal, our response is always, how did you arrive at that goal? How many listeners do you have? How engaged are you with the audience? What tangible ministry have you provided in the past year? The Vidare team is good, but we’re not miracle workers. We can only harvest what has been planted throughout the year. That’s why we are passionate about Fundraising 365 year-round because hitting a fundraising goal is a lagging indicator of the ministry you’ve provided in the months leading up to the fundraiser.

“When it comes to goals, far too much emphasis is placed on visualizing Oz and not enough on designing and constructing the yellow-brick road. Goals are not plans. Goals are ideas, and few things are dumber than executing on an idea with no plan or planning,” writes Keith J. Cunningham in The Road Less Stupid: Avoiding the dumb mistakes that sabotage growth, proifts, and business success. If you are looking for better questions to ask yourself and your team, check out this book.

If we can help you think through your station’s fundraising objectives or anything else, reach out and schedule a call!


Remember the toilet paper shortage a couple of years ago? How about the baby formula shortage?

Get ready for the great paper shortage.

This article from NonProfit PRO is a warning to us all that it’s happening and could directly impact your ability to send out direct mail between now and the year-end.

Read the article. But in case you’re too busy, here are my key takeaways:

1. Plan early. It might take longer than usual for your printer to get bulk supplies.

2. Be flexible with design, envelopes, and other collateral. Availability might have to drive your creative.

3. Look at your list. Evaluate whether you need to send to everyone or if you can scale back on mail to older or inactive contacts.

This shortage could affect some areas of the country more than others, so YMMV. Talk to your printer and/or mail vendors now.

Thanks for reading Whiteboard Wednesday. See, I told you…


Hit the reply button if you want to offer suggestions, thoughts, or even a 👍🏻


Where to find us:

Changed your mind? You can unsubscribe at any time.


*|LIST:COMPANY|* © All rights reserved *|CURRENT_YEAR|*