About Scott Swedenburg

I am passionate about helping organizations create a WOW experience for their customers, donors, members, volunteers, employees or other shareholders.

Thanksgiving

In a few days it will be Thanksgiving; a celebration dating back to 1621 when a group of people from different backgrounds gave thanks for what God had given them. 200 years later President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated the last Thursday of November. In Lincoln’s words, it was to

Protecting My Brain

Thank you for protecting my brain. I can assure you it needs it. One of the most important things you do as a fundraiser is give people hope. The hope of no more hunger...homelessness…disease…poverty…child abuse…and the list goes on. You give this hope to those you serve and your donors. In a recent study, it

Content Truths – #8 is really good

Jeff Bullas, an online marketing guru, recently posted 10 Truths about Content Marketing that every fundraiser should read. Especially #8. How does the content of your fundraising messages measure up to his truths? Does it move you? Is it multi-media? Are you adding more content, or great content? Are you consistent? And most importantly, is

Facts vs Feelings

In many areas of life, facts take precedence over feelings. Please note however that fundraising is not one of them. Donors want to feel good about helping you. Some want to feel like heroes, some want to feel needed, some want to know their gift did something amazing. Your challenge is to make sure they

Before and After

We love success stories that include before and after pictures. While my photos are not completely accurate, I did have to wear head gear 24/7 in the 8th grade. Yes, let your imagination run. Those were dark days. Thankfully, the head gear and braces eventually came off, and I had a couple dates in high

What’s Important?

What’s important… That’s a great start to a question, but how you end the sentence is what matters most to your success. So, at your organization is it “to me?” or “to my donors?” Penelope Burk’s research says most donors don’t care about seeing their names listed in your newsletters. What they do care about

Second Helping

When dining at someone’s home, how do you get a second helping? It’s really quite simple. Let your host know how incredible the meal was and how much you appreciate the effort. He or she will gladly offer seconds. Nonprofits need to take a similar approach to getting a second gift. This is critical to

Thanksgiving

In a few days it will be Thanksgiving; a celebration going back to 1621 when a group of people from different backgrounds gave thanks for what God had given them. 200 years later President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated the last Thursday of November. In Lincoln’s words, it was to

Social Distance

Social Distance is a concept sociologist use. It is defined as the degree to which people are willing to accept and associate with those having different social characteristics. For example, someone living in an urban area can better relate to other people in urban areas compared to someone from a rural area. Those living in

Name?

Scott – it’s a name I’ve loved for over 57 years. Scott Swedenburg feels like I’m signing something and Mr. Swedenburg is my dad. I’m sure there’s a name that you really like. Names are also very important in your fundraising. Donors and prospects like to see their name (especially when it’s spelled correctly). You

Storytelling

What was your favorite – Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon or Green Eggs and Ham? You will probably never forget the stories in these books. That’s the power of good storytelling. International marketing guru, Jeff Bullas, recently shared on his blog 15 Content Marketing Trends That Need Your Close Attention. Number 1 on

Hero

We need a Hero! Who is the hero in your fundraising – your organization or your donors? Consistently, organizations make themselves the hero. We did (fill in the blank)…We’ve been serving our community….Our staff was able to…and so it goes. Not one word about the donor. This mistake is seen across the fundraising landscape -

Visual

I like reading Men’s Health to find new workout ideas. And, it’s no surprise that the articles are filled with pictures of very muscular men. If you had images of my puny arms, no one would try the workout. Your brain loves images, which is why visual content is all the craze in fundraising and

Death of the Annual Report

Your Annual Report should be put out of its misery. Why? Because it’s all about your organization, not your donors. My guess is it’s filled with statistics, financials, board members, pie and org charts, and all the wonderful things you did last year. How about what your donors did last year? Please know that our

WOW

When is the last time one of your donors said “WOW?” The next question that needs to be asked is was it a good WOW or a bad WOW. I know nonprofits care about their donors, but maybe it’s like some marriages where over time a spouse is taken for granted. Why do anything special

Case Study – ABCH

Who Partnership with a statewide children’s home, the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home “We’ve been extremely pleased with the return on investment that blue dawg (formerly Mail Enterprises) has attained through fundraising. Our results consistently rank highest for our industry. For every $1 raised it costs us less than 20 cents. That’s better than a 5

Do You Love Your Donors

A Valentine Proverb The only time I talk to my wife is when I want something, and I continually ask her for the same thing. The gifts I give her are not things she likes. I never ask how is your day or what’s going on in your life. Then one day she tells me

PB&J

While peanut butter has been around since the late 1800s and jelly even longer, the first known PB&J was thought to be eaten by soldiers in WWII. It took a while to bring these two great foods together. Direct mail and email are the PB&J of today. Both fundraising channels have been around for a

Donor Christmas List

New bike with banana seat and butterfly handlebars Stretch Armstrong Twister Sorry, that’s my list. The more important list is what your donors want for Christmas. 1. Donors want to know how they helped solve the problem. 2. Donors want to be the hero. Be sure they get the credit and praise, not you. 3. Donors want

Facebook Fundraising

Forget posting your lunch and videos of your cat. Instead, let’s give our donors an easier way to donate. Facebook will soon offer a new fundraising tool for nonprofits. You will be able to launch specific campaigns on your Pages, and let users see how many people have donated, how much money you need to

Lost Art of Listening

Dumbo does have one advantage over the rest of us…BIG EARS. Listening is a lost art. This is true of many fundraisers. We get so excited telling everyone about the great things our organization is doing that we forget to listen. Donors may support your organization for any number of reasons – many of which

I Feel Good

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ? Maya Angelou Every donor wants to feel good about his or her giving. Is your organization creating good or bad feelings? It starts with how you communicate. Is the focus

What day is it?

It’s hard keeping up with days these days. When I was a kid, we didn’t have all these special days. Doughnut Day is the first Friday in June and I got a free doughnut that day. The third Wednesday in October is Hagfish Day, and the last Monday of January is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

Phone Manners

As a child, it was a big deal to answer the phone and make calls. Plus, what great exercise dialing a rotary phone. For that privilege, we had to use our phone manners like being friendly. Is your website mobile friendly? If not, you've probably seen a drop in your website visitor traffic. Google is

Picture Is Worth a Million Words

If you were like me, all my favorite children’s books were filled with pictures. It made the story so much more interesting. In 1911, the expression “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words” was first published in a newspaper. With inflation, today’s pictures are now worth a million or more. Then why are images

Home Movies

Have you ever been embarrassed while watching old home movies of your childhood? As much as you would have loved to destroy those videos years ago, one company is glad your parents didn’t. Facebook wants videos in your stream, because that's what their 1 billion users like. If your organization doesn’t want to disappoint all

Riding Sharks

Who’s up for riding a shark? Despite the recent increase in shark attacks, it does look fun. Okay, forget sharks for a moment. Are you willing to take a risk when it comes to your fundraising? I am constantly being told, “this is how we’ve always done it” and “our donors are different, they wouldn’t

Encyclopedias

Years ago, an encyclopedia was my only resource for finding information about a person or organization. And if there was any information, it quickly became outdated. Thankfully, that’s not the case today. Encyclopedias are selling at flea markets and a world of information is now at your fingertips. Then why don’t more organizations provide current

Going Digital

Digital Fundraising continues to post double-digit growth. These exciting new channels are allowing nonprofits to reach a new audience of donors. Are you getting your share of the digital donation? Fundraising campaigns should no longer be thought of as a single channel like direct mail or e-mail. Multi-channel approaches keeps donors engaged “where they live.”

What’s on your list?

As 2014 was ending, everyone released their lists of the best and worst movies, books, reality shows, etc. What’s on your best and worst lists? Make a list of the best things you did last year in each area of your life – family, spiritual, career, health, and so on. Then make a list of

Survey Says

Survey Says No, we’re not referring to the top 8 answers on Family Feud. Instead, do you know the top 8 things your donors are saying about you – good or bad? In The Agitator’s research with 250 nonprofits in the US, Canada and the UK, they found: For every donor who registers a complaint

Thanksgiving

In a few days it will be Thanksgiving; a holiday that started in 1621 when a group of people from different backgrounds gave thanks for what God had given them. 200 years later President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated the last Thursday of November. In Lincoln’s words, it was to

Double Vision

Double vision is the new norm. Breaking Bad averaged 6 million tweets per episode. That means Breaking Bad viewers were watching the show and at least one other screen at the same time. Why is this important to marketers and fundraisers? Customers and donors are becoming more like those viewers. They have new expectations on