Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plugging my Australian masterclass on Mar 7

FIA Conference is just around the corner.  I am really looking forward to it, but I wouldn't mind another three people coming along to my Masterclass on the 7 March. 

It is similar to one I have presented at FINZ, at the IFC in Netherlands and AFP in the USA.  All got great reviews.  Why?

Everyone says stories are important, but how do you get GOOD stories? In this upcoming FIA Masterclass I will show you how to find them, write them and use them. 

The Masterclass will be tailored, not generic, I will look at your charity, how it communicates now and how to improve. It is fun, really good fun, but you will learn and have better communications as well.

Don't take my word for it.  My mum thinks it will be great 
"Sean's presentations are always great" Susan Triner

I got great feedback from charity people too

Director of marketing at MS Queensland, Dan Sweetman liked it, and we are not related.
“Sean’s Storytelling workshop is inspiring, practical, and most importantly based on decades of REAL donor analysis. Sean balances the art of telling stories with the science of what techniques actually cause donors to engage and give more.”
Even those not actually working in a charity liked it...

"My company provides prospects data to the non-for-profit sector. We don’t write copy, but when the chance arises I always try to pick up usable insights I can pass on to our clients.  
This is how I found myself in one of Sean Triner’s storytelling master classes in Auckland last year.
As a presenter Sean successfully walks the fine line of being entertaining enough to hold the group’s attention, while simply providing usable bites, on how to tell your own story, in a way your own audience will find compelling.
Be it your website, mailing piece, or phone script we were delivered a toolset to ensure our message would engage our donors.
Being a nuts and bolts type of guy I liked that Sean didn’t preach as an “expert” but delivered case studies, and reference material, on how other non-for-profits had successfully implemented the techniques to improve their donor communications and therefore responses.
From novice to seasoned fundraiser I would recommend Sean’s next story telling workshop to all."Rick Fitzgerald, Alliance Data

(He did ask for a Corona beer after writing that, but he means it).

At $545 it is a heck of a lot cheaper than consulting, and places are deliberately limited (you will see why if you come).  If you are interested, please register now for Thursday March 7, my last day as a 42 year old.

Click here to register.

What works should trump what looks nice

Make it readable

Something about many graphic designers makes them love to write white copy on dark backgrounds.  I tell them 'til I am blue in the face that reverse type is simply not on - older donors struggle to read it at all, and it is harder work for younger donors.  Two factors not good for response.

Even though I accept it can look cool, the answer is 'No Reverse Type'.

I had a great, unprompted bit of feedback from a New Zealand donor when I interviewed her for a fundraising letter last week.  I was interviewing her because she is also a beneficiary of this charity. I will call her Daisy.

The words below are from the transcript of the interview.  I have edited identifying bits out.


Daisy:  Exactly. And so I think, you know, Mum wanted to help by giving blood for research. And I think people are happy to give money to research, because it’s so prevalent with [disease], you know, and it can affect anybody. And that’s why I think in fact, the story that they sent out, I think, was about a two-year-old girl. And the reason why I didn’t read it all, because that was … it was hand­written, which is always a little hard to read if it’s not a clear hand­writing. And they printed it white …

Sean:  Oh, no.

Daisy:  … writing on pale-coloured paper.

Sean:  That’s just … you have no idea how useful that little quote is for me at work. All designers want to do that, and I’m like, “But no one can read it!”

Daisy:  I know. That’s why I didn’t read the story; I read the first paragraph, got the gist that it was a child that had had a stroke, and I thought, “I don’t have the time and I don’t have the energy to try and decipher that.”


Of course, I frequently warn that anecdotes are dangerous but this is an anecdote reinforcing something that has been tested (especially by Jeff Brooks of www.futurefundraisingnow.com).

Please  don't use reverse type in appeals, or advertising, or anything other than a large font headline.

Although it is handy sometimes, for things that you don't really care if the recipient reads.  Though why you would write that I have no idea.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Best Conference In the World

TED talks are renowned as probably the most prestigious place for anyone to get the opportunity to speak.

If you have never heard of them, please look into them - they are all videod and downloadable for free from their website. Past presidents, current politicians, inventors and people with awesome ideas and stories are invited along to speak for up to 18 minutes.

I am particularly excited now because Peter Singer - who is the plenary speaker at our very own conference next month.  He will be speaking there for a little more than 18 minutes though!

(If you are an Aussie fundraiser, and for some strange reason haven't booked your spot at the conference yet, please do so here.... www.fiaconference.org.au).

I will post his video up later, but he will be better in person.

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here