About Scott Swedenburg

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

Designed For Resilience

Storms can sink a ship. Captains who successfully navigate storms at sea are both proactive and adaptive to avoid disaster. In the same way, successful non-profits have modified their fundraising messaging and communication channels in response to the rogue wave of COVID-19 to achieve amazing results. Many non-profits have taken the additional proactive step to

Designed For Resilience2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00


R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to Donors! You may think your organization does a great job thanking donors. However, if a donor doesn’t feel thanked, they may never give again. What are the 7 essential elements to creating a Donor-Centric thank you letter? If these elements are absent, you may be missing an opportunity


WOW Experience

Giving your donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders a Wow experience is more important than ever. In 2019, Blue Dawg has been assisting our clients with ways to improve that experience. Whether it’s your digital, direct mail, front desk, or other touchpoint, donors want their giving experience to feel less transactional and have a more personal

WOW Experience2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00

Go the Distance

4 Tips to Go the Distance What is your “win” for year end? It could be acquiring new donors, reactivating lapsed donors, increased giving by current donors, or all the above. While your energy and efforts are rightfully focused on achieving your year-end goals, your FOCUS is to view midnight on December 31 as a

Go the Distance2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00

Don’t be Confusing!

“I’m confused!” Many times in my life, those two words have been my mantra. However, these are not words you want your donors saying. Jeff Brooks, fundraiser extraordinaire, recently shared how many nonprofit organizations do a terrible job of explaining what they do. Without realizing it, you are leaving your prospects and many donors confused.

Don’t be Confusing!2019-08-06T20:01:52+00:00

Giving Tuesday

MEND is a forward thinking social services organization who wanted a big presence for Giving Tuesday. The plan was to utilize several save the date style emails, announcements ahead of the day on social media, multiple emails and posts on the actual day of Giving Tuesday, and do digital thank you follow ups the next

Giving Tuesday2019-03-06T16:25:26+00:00

Top 5

There was a time or two in elementary school when I was not one of the first ones picked. For some odd reason, the two captains skipped over me until the end. Many donors are becoming more intentional in who they choose to support. For example, you have a donor who gives $100 to 10

Top 52019-03-11T21:11:23+00:00

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s almost 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 is to be “a day of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving2018-11-07T13:45:11+00:00

King of the Hill

While I wasn’t the biggest or strongest, I could hold my own in King of the Hill. Everyone wants to be the King of the Hill in digital fundraising. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all working to reach the top. But like direct mail, it’s the older boring option that continues to work – email.

King of the Hill2018-08-14T20:24:18+00:00

Thank you upgrade

Growing up, my Mom constantly stress to us kids the importance of saying “Please” and “Thank you.” There were dire consequences too if we didn’t. As fundraisers, we have no problem with the “Please” part when asking for a gift. It’s the “Thank you” that gets us in trouble. This is the reason many donors

Thank you upgrade2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00

Is the Sky Falling

Is the sky really falling for your nonprofit? The new tax reforms have created a lot of uncertainty at nonprofits about how these reforms might impact donor giving. While it will take time to know for sure, things may not be that bad. Here are 3 good blog posts about donor giving and the new

Is the Sky Falling2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00

Christmas Giving

I always share this story from my favorite Charlie Brown TV special – A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s a great reminder for me. If you’ve never seen it, Charlie Brown is asked to find a tree for their Christmas program. With Linus at his side, he searches through rows of artificial trees with no luck.

Christmas Giving2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00


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

Protecting My Brain2017-10-25T13:08:16+00:00

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

Content Truths – #8 is really good2017-09-12T13:55:38+00:00

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

Facts vs Feelings2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00

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

Before and After2017-03-15T21:36:13+00:00

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

What’s Important?2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00

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

Second Helping2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00


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

Social Distance2020-10-22T16:42:58+00:00


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



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



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 -



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

Death of the Annual Report2020-10-22T16:42:59+00:00


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 Blue Dawg partners 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 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 to

Case Study – ABCH2020-10-22T16:42:59+00:00

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

Do You Love Your Donors2020-10-22T16:42:59+00:00


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

Donor Christmas List2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00

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

Facebook Fundraising2020-10-22T16:42:59+00:00

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

Lost Art of Listening2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00

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

I Feel Good2020-10-22T16:42:59+00:00

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.

What day is it?2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00

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

Phone Manners2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00

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

Picture Is Worth a Million Words2020-10-22T16:42:59+00:00

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

Home Movies2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00

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

Riding Sharks2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00


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.”

Going Digital2016-04-05T18:27:36+00:00

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

What’s on your list?2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00

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

Survey Says2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00


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

Double Vision2016-03-21T13:46:02+00:00