Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

Raise More Money with Good Copywriting with Julie Edwards

June 22, 2022 Julia Campbell Season 1 Episode 42
Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
Raise More Money with Good Copywriting with Julie Edwards
Show Notes Transcript

This episode is sponsored by my wonderful friends at Qgiv! I'll be holding a free webinar with them on July 21 - to go https://www.bit.ly/qgivandjulia and register for free! See you there!

Nonprofits often struggle with how to write emails, newsletters, and other copy that can connect with donors. The key? To incorporate vulnerability, warmth, authenticity, and even some silliness and disregard for proper grammar and style. And who best to teach us this style than someone who was in the trenches for years - with extraordinary results! 

For 11 years, Julie Edwards was immersed in the world of animal welfare as Director of Development and Marketing, then Executive Director, of a regional selective admission facility. Throughout her tenure, she learned from the best in the field and used this knowledge to take the organization to the next level including overseeing the expansion of public clinical services to $1+ million in annual revenue. Julie built the organization's development and marketing communications programs from the "ground up" taking annual gifts from less than $200K to more than $1 million.

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Why donor relations matter now more than ever
  • The essential elements of a donor relations program that actually works
  • How small nonprofits can split their time on donor retention AND donor acquisition
  • Tips to retain more donors and to make them feel acknowledged and happy

About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements. Julia’s online courses, webinars, and talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and raise more money online.

Connect with Julia on other platforms:
Instagram: www.instagram.com/juliacampbell77
Twitter: www.twitter.com/juliacsocial
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/juliacampbell
Blog: www.jcsocialmarketing.com/blog

Take Julia’s free nonprofit masterclass, ​3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

Julia Campbell:

Hi there, I want to invite you to a super special free live training that I am giving with my friends at Q give on Thursday, July 21. All about creating a future proof nonprofit social media strategy. You can register right now for free at www dot bit bi T dot L y forward slash que give and Giulia once again www.bit.li. Forward slash que give Qg I V. And Julia, you don't want to miss this free webinar. You can also go to the show notes of this episode and click the link to register. You're going to learn all about how to navigate upcoming digital changes, the four pillars of social media management, actionable ways to engage your community, and more. See you on July 21. Hello, and welcome to nonprofit Nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. And I'm going to sit down with nonprofit industry experts, fundraisers, marketers, and everyone in between to get real and discuss what it takes to build that movement that you've been dreaming of. I created the nonprofit nation podcast to share practical wisdom and strategies to help you confidently Find Your Voice. Definitively grow your audience and effectively build your movement. If you're a nonprofit newbie, or an experienced professional, who's looking to get more visibility, reach more people and create even more impact, then you're in the right place. Let's get started. Hello, welcome back to the nonprofit nation podcast. I'm your host, Julia Campbell, really excited to be here with all of you. Today we're going to talk about donor relations, donor retention. We're going to talk about copywriting and all the things and I have my friend Julie Edwards here, a lot of you probably know, Julie, for 11 years, Julie was immersed in the world of animal welfare as the Director of Development and Marketing, and then the executive director of a regional selective admission facility. And I just learned what that was. And throughout her tenure, she learned from the best in the field and use this knowledge to take the organization to the next level, including overseeing the expansion of public clinical services to $1 million plus in annual revenue. So Julie built the organization's development and marketing communications program, really from the ground up taking annual gifts from less than 200k to more than 1 million. So she has a lot of gems of wisdom to share with us today. So Julie, thanks so much for being here.

Julie Edwards:

Thank you for having me. I'm so thrilled to be here.

Julia Campbell:

Yeah. So why don't you tell us how you got into this work, and then some of the things you're doing now.

Julie Edwards:

So my actual professional background before nonprofit world was in marketing, communications and public relations. When the downturn of 2008 Nine, I was actually working for an organization that worked in the construction and remodeling industry, which was one of the industries that was really hit hard with that particular recession. So I lost my job. I was unemployed, the whole year of 2009, which was a year I turned 40. So that was a great birthday gift.

Julia Campbell:

That was the year I was actually laid off eight months. My daughter. Yeah, that was a great year for a lot of people.

Julie Edwards:

But the job came up in a sense of mission facilities, a humane society or animal welfare facility, but shelter, whatever you want to call it doesn't it's not euthanized on a regular basis. But the job came open. And it was a director of development, marketing, and I threw my hat in the ring. And I got the job. And honestly, I was a little daunted because I had never done fundraising. I knew I had the marketing part nailed down. But I really quickly realize that and this may hurt some people's feelings. But all fundraising is a sales. I mean, you were selling your mission, your what you do as an organization to your to your donor who is your customer. And once I realized that fundraising is sales and your donors, your customer, and me having my background in marketing, it was like, oh, you know, the light bulb went off. And I thought I can do this because I can do marketing really well. It made such sense to me after that. And so, you know, I spent four years as a director development, marketing and then when our long tenured Executive Director retired, I took that position in an interim position and then permanently. And you know, the organization has sort of treaded water for many years done well, but not excellent. I was the first CD I started going to conferences. As you mentioned, I think my first conference was in 2016 was calls camp where I met great people at John Hayden Rest in peace, my good friend, Tom Ahern, you know, who was the great grandfather, but it's a great grandfather, great isn't good, not great as an older Don't hate me, John. But that, you know, the grandfather of donor relations. And it talked about things like donor love, and love and up your donors. And it just all was so like, I never heard of that before, it was this new thing to me, right. So, started implementing a lot of those things in our work at the Humane Society as we went to which we can talk a bit more later about how you do that. And within a three to four year period, we saw our fundraising increase from $400,000 to 1.2 million, so about 300%. And I attribute the large majority of that to the donor relations slash stewardship work that we were doing. Because that was really the only thing that we did that was significantly different than what we had been doing before. In 2020. Again, you know, with COVID, in the recession, and I had been at the Humane Society for 11 years at that time. Nonprofit in general is a very difficult pill to work in that particular branch of nonprofit, you know, it's very exhausting, PTSD, sort of exhausting, you see a lot of really bad things.

Julia Campbell:

I remember you telling me about some of those at John's house, they fit believe,

Julie Edwards:

yeah, it's very wearing on your soul, and a lot of ways. And I also, you know, to the point where I felt like I had done everything I could do there. And I wanted to take what I had done there and apply it to helping other nonprofits that were maybe small to middle sized nonprofits that need that help to sort of push themselves to the next level. Because I think there's a ton of good that can be done in the world, that nonprofits just never comment down below to later being done at the time or the resources to do that. And sometimes just hiring someone to help you get over that hump, you know, to get to that next level, can really be helpful. And so that's why I started doing consulting work, which I hate the word consulting, because it always I do,

Julia Campbell:

too, we've got to find a new word. Because especially because you've been on the nonprofit side, and I have to, and you probably remember working with consultants, and it may or may not have been the best experience, and I feel like it does have a negative connotation.

Julie Edwards:

They do I think 100% agree with that. Yes, exactly. Like you have on both sides of the coin. You know, there are some some people out there who say they're consultants and charge a whole lot of money, don't really have a whole lot of return. And unfortunately, you don't always know that until you're in the mix with them. And I'm very conscious about that, as a consultant that I, you know, I'm very, I'm probably overly touchy feely with my clients and to open with them and direct but you know, that deliver on what I say, because it's important to me having been on the other side, I know that feeling of, especially when you don't have a big budget, that you're investing in someone to help you that you get that return on that investment.

Julia Campbell:

Right. And it can be such a risk. So let's talk about donor relations. So do you think that donor relations donor, I should say retention matters now, more than ever?

Julie Edwards:

And, you know, and I will tell you why, because I was doing some research recently on stewardship, donor relations. And with COVID, you know, the past couple of years, and everybody been at home the pandemic, you know, over 2019 2020, giving the US increased by like, almost 11%,

Julia Campbell:

which is, that's just so phenomenally amazing. Yeah, and I mean, it

Julie Edwards:

sounds small, when we talk about 2020, the good, the good, or 2019, the giving in the States was 450 billion, that is a B. dollars, you know, an increase of 11% is a lot of money. And donors also increased by like over 7%. So

Julia Campbell:

that's what I love. I love that the number of donors increased. But, but Oh, no, but it's the leaky bucket. Oh, no

Julie Edwards:

donor retention rate dropped 4%. Well, half of the people basically, that came on board last. And that, again, is huge. Think about $450 billion. And what those people were giving and less, even though sort of the same amount of money to certain areas being given, there's less people giving that money. So you know, you have to really strive to hold on to the donors that you have, and make sure that you're stewarding them in all the best ways possible. So they continue to give to you.

Julia Campbell:

So in your experience, why do you think donors stop giving and I think this is so important for nonprofits to understand because we have the curse of passion, we have the curse of knowledge. We think we're doing great work. We're putting our heads down. Maybe we're releasing an annual report once a year, but why do donor stop giving?

Julie Edwards:

And I think you really hit the nail on the head there Julius I think a lot of people in the nonprofit world and I did too for a while we're doing the work and the money should just follow the sky. People should just give us the money because we're out here doing the good work and they should just know we're doing the good work right. They should just know that. People don't know that. And the number one reason why donor Shut up is they don't know how their gift is being used. They don't know what you're doing with their money, you have to tell them what you're doing with their money. And that requires you having to toot your own horn, which is very uncomfortable for people, especially nonprofits, because you feel like you shouldn't have to do that because of the charitable aspect of your organization. But at the same time, you do have to do that in order to keep your organization, you know, going, it's sort of a juxtaposition in your head. But if you can get past that, I'll be honest, it took me a minute to get past that I had to really talk myself through that, and toot your own horn, but you really can't think of as tooting your own horn, you have to think of it as I am letting the people that entrust us with their money to for our mission, know how I'm using their money to the best benefit to help whatever this cause is, and you just can't think about as you know, self praise, but as donor stewardship and when you think of his donor stewardship, and that you owe them that to a certain degree, or that's their receipt that they want their their receipt of feels, it becomes a lot easier to do it. I think,

Julia Campbell:

when you were the director of development, marketing, and then the executive director at this regional Humane Society, you took annual gifts from under 200k to more than $1 million. And I know a lot of people are kind of probably chomping at the bit to know, what are some of the strategies that you used to accomplish this,

Julie Edwards:

you know, the first year, so I was a donor of development, I mean, the Director of Development and Marketing, I'll be honest, when I came on board, that facility, they had seven events and no traditional fundraising. So basically, I was an event coordinator. So I spent my first several years,

Julia Campbell:

a lot of people can empathize. I will, I basically

Julie Edwards:

got rid of all of your events and came up with two new events, a gala, which they did not have, like a higher end event to attract a certain level of donor and then we had an event within the shelter. And so you know, over the years, because you know, we all know that there's not real money is that's where that's more fundraising, and then then fundraising. And then also was just building the marketing program, as far as they didn't have a Facebook presence. And I'm a big believer in focusing on one thing and doing it really, really well than trying to spread yourself too thin. At that time, you know, Facebook, to a certain degree, Facebook is still where it's at market social media wise, and it really depends on your donor I know, but I just really focused on Facebook and building that audience. And you know, and continuing to build that audience. So didn't do a whole lot, what we did put in place was a direct mail program, which they had never had in for many, many, many years. That is where a lot of our donor acquisition came from. And we're gonna talk about that a little bit later as well. So really, the first couple years was sort of, quote, easy because they had nothing. So putting anything into place sort of made it happen.

Julia Campbell:

It was right. Anything's better than nothing.

Julie Edwards:

Like we're here give us money. But then you notice certain point, yes, you have to start. So again, when I became Edie and sort of the first couple of years, we had to do some some restructuring reorganization of the house internally. And then when I turned my focus, much more so toward the fundraising, again, at that time, around $400,000 a year in fundraising. And, again, started going to conferences and learning from the great people out there. And really, again, started putting that into play. And I don't know how much you want me to go into like steps at this point? Yes, you

Julia Campbell:

can. Oh, I know, my people love steps. So

Julie Edwards:

so when we, we went to our first conference again, in 2016, it was called Camp. And at that time, I took my director development, who was very newly hired, she'd only been there five months. And she did not have a development background, either. She had a sales background. And again, that goes back to sometimes I think it's better to hire a development person who has sales experience, because people who have sales experience, know how to sell and you can teach them the development part of it. So we went to the conference. And it was like new, lots of lightbulb moments, as I said, and we sat down last night, I said, I'm going to pay and use our organization's resources for us to go to conferences. We're not going to go back and forget all that. I mean, I see so many organizations do that they come at us next year, they have the same problems. And I said so we literally sat down and wrote down our top takeaways, me and my development director independently. And we sort of did as what can we do in three months, six months a year, they would compare them and a lot of our top takeaways were the same. And we literally plotted out like, what are we going to do in the next three months? What are we going to do in the next six months? What are we going to do the next year until we come back to the Next Conference? And some of that was based upon it was based on resources also to a certain degree. So what do we have the money to do? What do we have the time and staff to do? But we slowly just started implementing steps now those steps can be different for every organization. You sort of have to look at where you know what you already have in place and what you know some things you making grow apart some things we have to put in brand new. I will say that we didn't use the time because we He didn't know what we know what we knew later, he had to focus on one thing, as we just said, above anything else, if you're just starting a donor relations program, it is your first time donors period, nonstop. Because there again, as we talked about retention is so poor. And you know, if you can get them to make a second gift, their retention rate really rises from 20% to 60%, it triples. So if you do nothing else, if you want to put some new effort into something, I would say, put that new effort into stewarding your first time diversion. There are different ways to do that. But again, we just slowly started building upon that and as our and I'll be honest, as our money grows, I added staff, so we added Development Coordinator, like a year or two later, we added two marketing team members. But even when I left the organization, it was me to develop people into marketing people. And we were doing everything. So again at 1.2 million with two events, two major events a year, all the grants, all the direct mail, everything was being done about that team. Yeah, so it is possible to do with a smaller team, you don't have to have a huge team, but

Julia Campbell:

you have to be strategic and attention.

Julie Edwards:

Yes, strategic and intentional. There you go, thank you.

Julia Campbell:

I love that. That's what I teach. Because you know, I teach a lot about social media. So it's so it's so easy to spin your wheels, grasp of shiny objects, and lose a whole day and not know what you did. But I love what you said about actually investing first of all in staff to build your capacity, then investing in professional development, but not just investing for the sake of it really being tactical and taking away certain things. And of course, you probably took 20 pages of notes, and then maybe three pages were actually actionable. And that happens, it spurs ideas. But you created this action plan where you said, Okay, we're going to see what is going to be feasible for the next three months, six months a year. And I wish that I really wish more nonprofits would do that and look at it as an investment in their growth.

Julie Edwards:

Absolutely. And I know, I'll say this to two tangents, first of all, boards are hard. And I know it is hard to sometimes, you know, sway your board to making that kind of investment. And I know it is trite, but it is true. You have to invest money to make money, you absolutely have to you have to invest in your people. And not only in salaries in hiring them, but also in growing and learning more things. Because if you don't if we hadn't went to the conferences we did and learn what we did, we would not have made the money we did I feel confident about that. I'll also say that, you know, I'm a slightly different note, I met so many awesome nonprofit consultants at these conferences like you, right? We're in tama, her and John Hayden, you know, I can make a long list and I became friendly with them. And the reason I did was because I would report back to them like we had success with your methods. And it was always shocking to me that they would be surprised that we actually did stuff because there was really Yes,

Julia Campbell:

or we don't hear, we not we don't hear a lot unless you're working one on one with a client. But if you're speaking it's very hard. I love, love, love, love when people say I listened to a random podcast or Facebook Live that you did. And I implemented one or two things from it. And it really worked. I mean, I feel like a lot of the time we just don't, we don't know the result of a lot of the things that we that we teach. And I talked to John about that. But I I think that's so right. And then you start to become a case study and an example for other organizations because you've had this success and that's a huge part of the reason why you're trusted because you walked the walk.

Julie Edwards:

And some people may know me because literally Rachel mirror and Tom Ahern. I think I'm over all over all of their

Julia Campbell:

Oh, yeah, Rachel definitely.

Julie Edwards:

Yeah, like my examples from when I was at the Humane Society that things that we did, because, you know, they again, they became our organization became a case study for them, because we're implementing a lot of things that they taught. And not only that, but I'll also say this, you know, I have never met someone in the nonprofit sector consultant. That wasn't helpful. Like if I if I need if I reached out to you or Rachel or Tom and ask a question, like y'all reply. Now, don't take advantage of that. Heck, no, because that's rude. And disrespectful. But you know, almost everybody, if you go to conferences will say, you know, reach out to me, I'll give you free 15 minutes, I'll give you a free 30 minutes, I took advantage of all

Julia Campbell:

I don't think as many people take advantage as they should.

Julie Edwards:

They don't. I mean, people say one person has contacted me about this and you're like, Are you the only person who's contacted me about this? And it was shocking to me but I will come back again from those conferences because everybody would almost always offer that after their, you know, whoever speaking and I would go through my notes from that session, and I would write down Questions and I will reach out to them and say, hey, you know, I really loved your session, I had some questions about what you meant by this or this, can we set up a time to talk? And again, I think you know, they really appreciate that until we get off the subject.

Julia Campbell:

Well, it's building relationships, which is a big part to bring it back to donor relations. It's being genuinely curious and interested in people.

Julie Edwards:

Use your relationships, use your connections, I mean, not. Again, don't be disrespectful to people that are trying to make a living and have a business. But there are tons of free resources out there, too. If you cannot get to conferences, downloads and podcast and webinars and all the things and people we use consultants, we usually talk to your answer a question or two. So you don't have to pay, you don't have to pay to go to conferences, there are things you can do to learn that cost nothing.

Julia Campbell:

So what are some of the ways that you recommend, like, what are some of your best tips on retaining first time donors?

Julie Edwards:

I think, first of all, you have to have that that immediate, you know, they call it a drip campaign, what that is, is that you know, a series of emails and or print depending on how you acquire that donor communication that goes out to them. And this is beyond the acknowledgement slash receipt. But you know, within a few days or less, you know, that thank you so much gushy email, or postcard or letter welcomed into your family to your organization, you know, week or two after that another letter. Usually, that second letter for us was talking about ways they could further engage with us. So like, here's our social media, here's, you know, this, here's how you could foster volunteer, whatever. And then usually, there's a third letter or email that went out. And usually that was about our monthly giving program. So we would talk about your monthly giving programs or other ways you could financially support us, but it wasn't a hard ask. And then they rolled into our newsletter after that, and they started getting our direct mail file. So but you had to take that time upfront. And then in the end, we had a somewhat, I won't say it was complicated, but it was, it made sense to us. But you know, even if the first time donor gave a certain amount, and they got a call from me, if they made a just like $500, they got a call from me, if they made over $1,000, I got a call from a board member. And there are first time donors that will give gifts that big, believe it or not. And then you know, the some of them got a call from our director developed something that call from our development coordinator. So it was it was a tiered strategy. But you know, phone calls, were also part of that, and, you know, depending on their gift, and then sometimes we invited them for tours. I mean, I remember, in particular, one gentleman who, through direct mail, gave a first time he had to $1,000, which is a lot of money for first time gift. I called him. And I said, You thanked him for the gift. And I say, Would you like to come for a tour of our facility? He said, Absolutely. He brought his wife, I had a board member there. We turned him through the facility. He wound up being a $15,000 a year match gift donor for our annual campaign. And by the time I left the oryzias, testing you at that 1000 Tynemouth, or has actually given us over $65,000 for years.

Julia Campbell:

Yeah, that's such a great story.

Julie Edwards:

There are other stories like that, too. But that's the one that's always you know, the one that I remember the the biggest, the most.

Julia Campbell:

So I think the struggle and you have faced it too, when you first started at this particular organization, is where do we strike the balance between donor retention and acquisition, and I've been a director of development and marketing, and I was actually the volunteer coordinator. So I had three full time jobs. But where do we strike that balance? And I think it's, the answer is probably you need two separate people to do it. But how did you strike that balance before you could hire more staff?

Julie Edwards:

I mean, if you know anything about fundraising, acquisition is very expensive. And but there are basically only two ways I've ever been able to figure out that you can can acquire donors and one is through direct mail program, and one is organically. And both of those are long haul games, you know, it is going to take you years. But what you can do is when you get those donors just make sure you keep them so I actually would probably lean more into because retention is also a long game, but shorter like it's part of take, I think it took us about a year when we started implementing some of the donor retention strategies to really see that return. And what I mean by that is gifts, increasing frequency of gifts and amount of gifts, increasing frequency of gifts, increasing our retention levels increasing so all those things increasing. So it took a little bit of time, but not yours like acquisition does but you know, there's that there's that old children's rhyme about make new friends that keep the old for one is silver and one is gold. So I'd say you know, your existing donors are gold, your acquisition donors are silver. You need both of them. But you really know I would say you know, 60 to 70%, you need to be focusing on retention and 40 to 30% 34% and you're focusing on acquisition because this is a Business is easier to keep the customer you have and keep them happy than it is to get new ones easier and less expensive.

Julia Campbell:

And I know that you are an expert in copywriting and communications. I want to ask a two pronged question, How often do you recommend that people communicate with their donors, and then sort of what copywriting tips do, you have to help retain them make them feel acknowledged and happy.

Julie Edwards:

So again, it took me a while to get over this hump. But when I got over it, I realized it was the right thing to do. And I still see so many of my clients and other non in nonprofits in general, being really scared about over communicating with their donors.

Julia Campbell:

Let's talk about that.

Julie Edwards:

And, you know, we sit for our direct mail, we sent seven appeals and three acquisitions a year. And for newsletters, it was a very robust program. And we sent a lot of emails now not during the year, but certainly a year in and during certain campaigns, we'd be sending emails multiple times a week, here's the key. And this, again, goes back to donor relations. If you are stewarding and your donors properly, and you were doing your donor relations properly, you cannot over communicate with them. If you're telling them fluff, if you're if you're praising yourself, but not in a good way, if you are not communicating at all, then all of a sudden, you're asking them for lots of money. That does not work. But if you're consistently you know, in touch with them, and telling them how they're helping and their money is making a difference. You really can't, in my opinion, communicate with them too much. And that is the difference. So that is the difference. If you if you've gone out a year and haven't done anything and you send 50 emails in December, I'd be mad at you too.

Julia Campbell:

I agree. And this is why I think a lot of GivingTuesday campaigns fail. And why a lot of donor acquisition campaigns fail or just a lot of appeals don't do as well, because you have to think about, I'd see it as putting deposits in a bank. You can't just withdraw, withdraw, withdraw, withdraw, and not put deposits in the bank.

Julie Edwards:

Isn't Tom Ahern? Maybe I know people probably said but he said the first time like you can't treat your donors like ATMs. And that is true. And I will tell a really quick antidote of yours. Last Last year, year, and I had a client who I won't name but their their national organization. And they did not have a great fundraising program. It wasn't horrible. But they're you know, I found that executive directors are usually operationally driven or fundraising driven. And this particular operation, this particular executive director was operationally driven. She was not a fundraising person. And that's fine. There's no insult in that, you know, you're either one or the other. I was a fundraising person. So you know, it took me a little bit swaying, but I remember we got a I was doing their urine campaign, the whole thing for us started in the September work them through mid January, which by the way, they exceeded by 35%.

Julia Campbell:

I love it. We're learning all the tricks. But we were

Julie Edwards:

getting it we were doing, as I said, really do some stewardship leading up to urine and given Tuesdays, I hadn't done any. So I will. So we were doing some different things. We sent in a little mini impact reports and other things. And I said we need to send an email on Thanksgiving. And she said, I don't want to do that. I think it's trite. Everybody sends email, Thanksgiving, that sort of icky to me. And I said, You know what? I understand that. But do you want to be the only organization that's not sending one? And I said, and it costs you nothing, you know, you're already paying me I will write it, you know, your delta coordinator will set it up, cost you nothing is only an email. I said, why not send that she's like, Okay, you just do it. So I did it. She got back, like 12 responses to that email, which she said, I don't know that I've ever gotten a response back the whole time. I've worked with an organization from an email because it was just a thanks, email. It was just an email. You know, it's like we so appreciate you Baba. Baba was very gushy, warm, heartfelt. She was actually she was actually sort of shocked. And I said, Yeah.

Julia Campbell:

Well, you knew that was gonna happen. But she just needed to see it in practice.

Julie Edwards:

I can't believe I got an email that didn't ask me for money. I mean, not from them, but just in general. And she said, this was so nice. And other people were like, I needed this today. Thank you for sending this. I mean, in the responses were so positive like that. And that's just a case in point of, you know, don't be scared to send something like that, especially when you're not asking if you're just giving you know, thinking and giving

Julia Campbell:

feedback. People are not used to that. No, they're not.

Julie Edwards:

They're not used to it. It's what was part to your question. I now forgot. I'm sorry.

Julia Campbell:

Well, you kind of answered it. It was what are some of your best copywriting strategies like what should we include in these communications?

Julie Edwards:

So I have a deep feelings about this. And again, I saw this change in myself but I think that people in general and then also when you're asking for money, feel this need to be very professional and very stoic. And like, this is very serious because I'm asked this person to give me money. And I found that that is not the way to be. I think that you shouldn't be unprofessional, obviously. But I like to write like I'm writing to my best friend. I personally structure my, when I have new clients that I'm writing for them, I'm like, this is the way I write and I need to let you know, right this way, because I don't want you to see it and be like, Oh, this is not me at all. But I write very warm, very open, very vulnerable. You know, I am not afraid to evoke emotion or even be a little silly, because that's how people connect with you know, they build that that connection with you. You know, I would, of course, I work for an animal welfare nonprofit again, but, you know, I would use little silly sayings like, I would be like, you know, your possum, that, you know, related to my field. But then also at the same time, Shannon Doolittle was one of the best people at the time, I felt who really was sort of that did a great balance of that silly and fun. And I cribbed a lot of stuff from her. But you know, like, I wouldn't say things like, you know, you have a heart of gold, solid gold. That was a Chandu little I'm totally cribbed that. People love that. Yeah, you know, we see and I will say like you we see your heart in our work every day, we see Oh, really like that? We see your heart, you know, here? Is there anything. It's a very warm feeling. And people you know, if you think read it and read it like you were reading it and think it makes you feel good and fuzzy. That's what you'd

Julia Campbell:

agree with you more.

Julie Edwards:

And don't let your board read.

Julia Campbell:

Never write by committee. Don't let anyone see it, just kind of send it. And it's gonna get a better response than you think. I don't know where we learned this school of email newsletters where they have to be seven columns, and 45 stories that they have to be written like a high school newspaper. I don't know where we learned it. I mean, and I was on my high school newspaper, but you don't write an email to your donors like that?

Julie Edwards:

No, no, I'm like you, I try to run him Ryan to map to a friend to somebody that I love. Because I do love them in a way, you know, I love them for investing in our mission and believing in us. And I actually farm that out because I could not get myself

Julia Campbell:

having a bad day couldn't be far enough removed from it. I see that in my

Julie Edwards:

background, and PR and marketing, communications and having written journalistically, and having written b2b publications, and a lot of you know, very business professional things, I could do the letters, I couldn't write long form that way, I just couldn't get it. So I found that out. I farmed out to someone who did. And it was a lot of pictures and a little copy. And it was very heartfelt, and even her stuff out. I was like, that's a little silly, but it worked.

Julia Campbell:

I think it caught attention, which is really important. But it was unexpected. And it wasn't something they've normally seen. And I've worked with a lot of my clients on transitioning this mindset from like you just said, the stoic the professional, the talking about the jargon writing it like it's a press release, and transitioning into writing something that looks like it's from a person. And as to a person.

Julie Edwards:

Yeah, you know, and I also, I will say this, and this is not for everyone. And this is sort of a tangent, but I do have a Facebook page that is my personal Facebook page. But I made the choice when I became when I joined the organization that was with to not change my pay to to allow donors and adopters and volunteers to friend me. And I was very conscious of that. And so I did put personal stuff out but not super personal and you know, had to be conscious of not being profane profanity, or whatever, whatever you need to be if we're not put up. But it served served the organization and me well as sort of the head of the organization later and spokesperson because I am that person in life. I'm very big hearted, vulnerable person. And I was always putting up almost daily pictures of me. I mean, you probably remember using kittens and kissing dogs and stuff.

Julia Campbell:

You were really doing now

Julie Edwards:

doing it and I was like, get a look at this cute puppy become adopted. But I didn't even realize at the time how much of an impact that had on the organization by showing that side of me and so, and I'm not saying that, to say that to praise myself. But, you know, just I guess my point there is make sure that you know, your social presence lines up with your, the presence of your communication, your what you're sending out to people. And I think that's where people miss the boat too. And they could also be messy. Other animal welfare organizations in particular, putting up posts that are not like again, we'd be super silly and cutesy on our social media post. I remember Tom Ahern had a fit one time because and I stole this from another organization, Angola. But it was a National Peanut Butter day and I had my team right wolf backwards in peanut butter on a on a window. And we let these puppies loose and they ran up and started licking the peanut butter. No, I mean, that's it was Yeah. And it was like why don't you know that those kind of things are so, so simple, but and so meaningful, and you don't have to always put up the sad, sad, sad, awful stories and things can be silly and fun, and just show the work you do in a warm, vulnerable, big hearted way.

Julia Campbell:

I love I absolutely agree. I totally agree. Julie, thank you so much. We could talk, I just think we could really talk for hours about this, we're gonna have to have you back on. But I want to know, you know, what's, what's coming next? Where can people connect with you?

Julie Edwards:

I'm only doing and I don't really, honestly, I've tried to pull back a lot from social because I do less social for my clients and just maintain a work life balance. You can find me on LinkedIn, I do have a website. And I'm sure you will probably put it up with the podcast that's up somewhere. And I do offer a free minute 30 consultation initial conversation. So if you just want to call and talk to me about your pain points, and we can see you know, if we can work together, if it makes a good fit, I don't really have anything per se coming up. I'm just you know, I've been doing this now for about 18 months, and I've had some great success with my clients. And right now I'm just enjoying doing that you're helping these clients achieve their best results. And, again, I think I have a little bit of a different approach because I have been on both sides. And I understand the pains they have because I had those pains as an executive director. And you know, as a consultant, I think there's a different level of empathy. Maybe because I have worked in the field, you probably feel that as well. And so you can like I absolutely understand where you're coming from. And let me help you. My favorite, favorite quotes from Jerry Maguire, help me help you.

Julia Campbell:

I love that movie. Okay, that might be my weekend movie. I forgot I almost forgot about that. I love that movie so much. Well, thanks so much for being on the podcast today sharing all these fantastic tips. I know a lot of people are gonna want to connect with you. So everyone listening, I will post Julie's information LinkedIn website, and a link to schedule a 30 minute call with her in the show notes. And thanks so much for coming on the podcast.

Julie Edwards:

I love it. Let's come back. Thank you all.

Julia Campbell:

Well, hey there, I wanted to say thank you for tuning into my show, and for listening all the way to the end. If you really enjoyed today's conversation, make sure to subscribe to the show and your favorite podcast app, and you'll get new episodes downloaded as soon as they come out. I would love if you left me a rating or review because this tells other people that my podcast is worth listening to. And then me and my guests can reach even more earbuds and create even more impact. So that's pretty much it. I'll be back soon with a brand new episode. But until then, you can find me on Instagram at Julia Campbell seven seven. Keep changing the world. Nonprofit unicorn