Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

Getting More Creative In Your Fundraising with John Lepp

September 13, 2023 Julia Campbell Season 2 Episode 106
Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
Getting More Creative In Your Fundraising with John Lepp
Show Notes Transcript

This episode is sponsored by Bonterra. Bonterra is a social goods software company focused on powering those who power social impact with best in class fundraising engagement, program management, and CSR solutions. By bringing together intuitive technology and social impact expertise, Bonterra enables unmatched connectivity between organizations and their communities of supporters and constituents, ultimately creating more ways for social good organizations to maximize their impact. To learn more about selecting the right tech for your nonprofit, go to

“What kind of fundraiser do you want to be?”

Donor communications can be challenging when you have an over-packed schedule and very full plate of tasks. But infusing creativity and #donorlove into your interactions with donors will help you raise more money and deepen relationships for the long term. 

In this episode, Creative Deviations author and Agents of Good founder John Lepp joins me to discuss creativity, donor appreciation, and how to maintain passion for the work after two decades of fundraising. 

We cover:

  • Why so many fundraisers ignore donor communications
  • How to tell more creative and engaging stories 
  • Examples from the book Creative Deviations 
  • How to keep flexing the creative muscle - where to get inspiration 
  • What’s next for fundraising in an unstable, noisy world

About John

John Lepp, author of Creative Deviations, is a direct response, marketing and graphic design expert with almost 25 years of experience working with charities around the world to help them tell better stories and to inspire donors to give, both online and offline.  He is a respected and coveted international speaker who has traveled the world helping fundraisers be more “human” and “vulnerable” to these other amazing humans we call donors.

Connect with John

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.  

Take my free masterclass: 3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

This episode is sponsored by Bontera. Bontera is a social goods software company focused on powering those who power social impact with best in class fundraising engagement, program management, and CSR solutions. By bringing together intuitive technology and social impact expertise, Bontera enables unmatched connectivity between organizations and their communities of supporters and constituents, ultimately creating more ways for social good organizations to maximize their impact. To learn more about selecting the right tech for your nonprofit, go to WW dot Bontera. That's B-O-N-T-E-R-R-A. Thanks and on to the episode. 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. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Nonprofit nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. Thanks so much for being with me today. Today's topic is all about creativity, how to spark creativity, how to keep the creative juices flowing, and examples of creative fundraising campaigns from one of the world renowned fundraising experts I'm lucky to have with me today, John Lepp. A lot of you are very familiar with John. He's the author of Creative Deviations, and he's a direct response, marketing and graphic design expert with almost 25 years of experience working with charities around the world to help them tell better stories and to inspire donors to give both online and off. He's a respected and coveted international speaker, and we were just talking about all the incredible places that John is speaking this year who's traveled the world helping fundraisers be more human and vulnerable to these other amazing humans we call donors. I love that so much. John, welcome to the podcast. Thank you, Julia. That's very nice. I appreciate it. Thank you. Yes. And I got you in between one of your many international trips, speaking and teaching and training. So I'd love to hear just a little bit about your journey into nonprofit work and how kind of you got started in fundraising. The nutshell is I went to school for writing for journalism and was told. I was I don't think we talked about that. I was told I wasn't very good at so and I had to find something else to do. So I started doing design stuff. I jobped out of school, went into working some marketing agencies and pharmaceutical advertising agencies and then was freelancing for a firm in Toronto called Stephen Thomas, which does direct response fundraising. And then Steve, who owns the place, asked me to come work there. And then I was working there full time with all the account teams and worked with every primary charity you could think of in Canada and stuff. But Steve was so internationally connected with colleagues in the UK and the United States. So I got to learn as well from some of these other massive firms and gurus who people were producing really interesting direct response back in the whenever that was late 90s. So it was amazing. And your company is called Agents of Good, is that correct? Your co founder? Correct? Yes, Jen Love is my business partner and we started that in 2009. And then Jen, I put a ring on it and we went incorporated in 2013. Yeah, here we are, 2023 and still going strong. I love you. Put a ring on it. Incorporation. It is romantic. I mean, it's a pretty strong commitment. It's a thing, definitely a thing. So tell me about Agents of Good. What kind of work do you do with your clients? So Jenna and I both came. Both worked at Stephen Thomas. Jenna's an account manager and writer, me as a designer and creative director. And so her and I both sort of worked and collaborated together when we were there at St and then a separately we both left. We continued to collaborate and it's not uncommon to have a really good in the marketing world or advertising world, to have a good, strong design and writer team pumping out concepts and ideas. So we just worked really well together. And she's brilliant. Anyone's heard? Jen lovespeak. She's inspiring, she's thoughtful, she's emotional. So her and I are a really nice natural couple, if you will. We just really wanted to kind of change the world together and we found some clients and started working together on them and we've just sort of grown with it. It's been a fantastic relationship. Like every relationship, our relationships change. We don't collaborate the way we used to collaborate and stuff, but we're still doing work with amazing creative folks. So we work with charities really all around the world. Some we're coaching just them through appeals or their annual work. We do a lot of one off specialty projects like Gratitude Reports. A lot of people know us for. We run annual programs. So full direct response campaigns month over month, year over year for some charities. So it just depends on what charities are looking for and what they need. Thank you for that. I love that there's this partnership and has lasted for so long and both of you are just so well known throughout the sector. I know that I've heard your names and been on your summits and collaborated with you myself. So I appreciate everything you do for the sector. And I guess the next real step was to write this book, which people are absolutely raving about. I first heard about it from Tim Saranio, who was absolutely just thrilled with it, talking about it on LinkedIn. So the book's called Creative Deviations how you can infuse your storytelling, fundraising and direct response with more creativity. So what inspired you to write this book? There's a book called Asking Properly by a fellow named George Smith. It was written back in 1995. George was a UK fundraiser. And I read it, I think, early days of my career. And then I think sat down on a dock at a summer vacation, like five years ago or six years ago and reread it. And I was like so much of the things I believe to be true today came from this book because they were taught to me by my mentors and people I worked with, because they also read the book and believed a lot of these things. And he just talked. One of the phrases in the book is he's like that the merest pioneering these days can have a monumental change. And he was saying that 1995. And I see that in our work all the time. I look at donors mailboxes and I can see that people are afraid to just do a little pioneering. Everyone wants to stay in a safe space because pioneering is scary, it's unknown, and being creative is a bit of an unknown. You don't know how people are going to take it, judge it, judge you, how they can react to it. And unfortunately, we do work in a sector that really is afraid to be a little more in touch and touchy feely with the work they're doing every day. So you say in your bio, which I really love, you want to help fundraisers be more human and vulnerable and especially to these amazing humans, these other humans that we call donors. Do you think that donor communications, we suffer from this lack of vulnerability and we forget that there are actual humans on the other end of these communications? It's easy to call them data. Do you what know? I mean, like, everyone wants to talk. About they're live buns and side buns. That's just a disconnect from what they actually are, which is real human beings that are like our loved ones and people who are doing a lot of amazing things. Maybe not splashing out tons of cash, but like I said, you have to measure your donors, not how much money they have in their wallets, because that's what I'm thinking of. I'm not thinking about how big Dale's wallet is. I only care about how she feels when she goes to her mailbox every day and what I want her to experience. So I want to stay connected and true to her, what she deserves from me. As I do my work with my organization that I'm doing work with, I have a responsibility there to let her do what she wants to do, which is give $50 to change something to make her feel really good about it. Because she's an amazing human who does a lot of good for lots of people. That's my responsibility. I have to make sure that I am seeing her for the human that she actually is. And that's a lot of hard work. Just like we do in our real lives with our spouses or whoever. If we just kind of, like, checkboxed our way through our relationship with them, no one would stick around very long. This isn't a checkbox exercise, but so much of we're taught to be process oriented in schools and stuff. So there's a lot of things at Play. It's like creativity. People talk about creativity and people say, well, I can never do what you do because you're so creative and I'm not. And I'm like, we're all born creative, though. We're all born creative. So we just have to retap into that because that sort of smacked out of us as we go through some of these systems that are around us. And the world teaches us. Being creative means you're standing out, you're stepping online, and the world doesn't want you to step out of line. You need to stay in line to make the world work. So there's lots of little dynamics at Play that make us who we are in our professional careers that just have to be acknowledged. But it is scary to be creative. I agree. How do we tap into our creativity? If you're one of these people that says, and I hear this a lot, I'm not an inherently creative person, I can't be creative, what would your advice be? Well, sometimes I'd start with an like, well, just we'll just do a simple exercise. And the exercise one of them is like, let's say you're working at a charity and we're going to get Santa Claus to write your next appeal. So if you want have a glass of mind, do whatever you would, relax you. No one's going to read it, no one's going to see it, no one's going to judge you for it. And what would Santa Claus say in this appeal letter? What would sound like, what would he ask for? Would he be happy, would be angry? What would he talk about? And just doing that exercise can take you to a space because Santa Claus changes your voice, changes perspective on how he talks about what the problem is and how donors may be part of the solution. And it just takes you to a place where it's like, I don't need to use my ed all the time. So we play with voices in our work. I want to use anything I have my disposal because it makes the story more interesting as soon as I change the perspective. So tapping into that little creative exercise can get people going, oh, I can see how this becomes a little more light, becomes a little more fun, becomes a little more serious, like we had. I used Santa Claus to do an appeal for the lung association. He just stopped smoking. He was an advocate for the lung association. How they helped him and his recovery from being a smoker. Was it like, really was written from Santa? Yes. Well, it wasn't Santa, it was us. But yes, it was. I personally believe in Santa for all those. So you wrote it from the perspective of Santa and sent. We used Santa. I've used Santa a couple of times. He used it for an organization called CARC, which is awful to say. CARC stands for the canadian Arctic resource Committee. They basically help caribou survive in the north. And so we had Santa writing a. Very angry letter to write that one. Yes, he did. Very angry. These tankers were blowing up on his shores. His caribou and his reindeer were getting sick, and he was pissed off and he had a very angry tone. In this appeal letter, the client was like, not a chance. Our donors are scientists. They're smart, intelligent people. My old mentor, David Love. Jen's. Dad, actually I don't know who he bribed, but we got this appeal into the mail and raised a ton of money. So it's scary to do that organizationally. When you take those, it's not a risk. You're not going to break anything if you commit to it. Donors are there for the ride. They're happy to give with a smile on their face or kind of move into something going, wow, this is very different than what I expected from this organization. But to you, to us, it's scary to do that, because our boss like, what the f are you doing up in Know? Or what are you like, or this is dumb, or this juvenile or this cheesy all the time. Yeah, exactly. So how do you fight those? Not even just the lizard brain, seth Godin calls it in ourselves that says we shouldn't do something different. We have to stick to the status quo. But how do you fight those voices on the board and on your team, maybe, or your executive director that says, this is not our brand voice. We need to use our brand voice, or this is not on brand for us. We can't deviate from the mean. If I can figure out the simple answer to that question, Julia, I can retire. Because it's so prevalent in our mean. I work with organizations who branding marketing comms are approving fundraising, which is a problem because in fundraising, we need to raise money in marketing. If you get someone an impression on something, that's your metric for success. So I love marketing comms folks. The book actually is for marketing comms folks, not fundraisers, because I find a lot of marketing comm folks don't know marketing. So I know for as a business point of view, when people come and ask us to do work for them, I have to vet them properly. How did you hear about us? What do you know about us? What have you seen about us, because I have to make sure there's a level of trust in whatever I'm going to do. I don't want to do all this work and energy and have someone go, well, my boss doesn't like this. I didn't ask your boss if he likes it. What he likes isn't my problem, actually. I have to do and everything I do comes from a place of it's been tried and tested and works. If our work didn't raise a lot of money, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you right now. Exactly. I agree with you that if I had the answer to that question, I could also retire. Because pushing people out of their comfort zone, especially with a lot of what I do in social media marketing and digital marketing, that's what I try to do. Because that's what you have to do to get attention. You don't have to be manipulative and you don't have to be provocative for provocative sake, but you can't be boring. You have to do something interesting. So I actually really love those two examples. So, in terms of storytelling, what would your advice be? Like, how can we collect more creative and engaging stories? Well, the stories are mean. The inspiration is know, my partner Rachel and I talk about this all the time because she's a writer. And it starts from that process of actually having a conversation from a motive, thoughtful, emotionally intelligent human to another, and creating safe space where you can have an open, emotive conversation. We all know we go out with colleagues and friends for beers or whatever we do and stuff. And you can make a choice to be a vulnerable, authentic human in that conversation. Talk about your mental health challenges, talk about what your kids are doing and how horrifying it is, and we can do that, or we can just go, no, my day is good. No, everything is perfect. No, my kids are amazing and have great teeth. I mean, that's a choice you can make in your work. It starts all the way up and down the line. Like, I talk about the thousand things in this work. There's not a thing you can do to all of sudden A, unlock your program and raise a ton more money. You need to be obsessive around all the thousand little moving pieces of how you have to show up, of the questions you ask, of how you give permission to others by your actions and your speak to also do the same thing. I'm playing with this idea of this chef's mindset when cooking. I'm a cook. You can't not pay attention. You have to be tasting, you have to be trying it to make sure that ingredient is perfect, that you have to make sure you've got the right equipment, everything. You have to pay attention all the way along. You can't just like half teaspoon of this half and the oven and call it a day. Do you know what I mean? You have to pay attention. And a lot of people in this work don't want to spend the time and energy to pay attention because it's tiring. It's so much as you know, Juliet, there's so much work. It's not for someone who just wants to take it easy forever and ever. So it's exhausting. It's tiring to be an emotional human being, to be vulnerable, to show up that way all the time, it's exhausting. And I say to my other friends who are like me, it takes a toll. This is taking a toll on all of us to be that way. But I can't imagine being living through life any other way than being who I am and also giving permission for other people to be just it's okay. Let's just be not judging anyone. Let's just share who we are and giving each other permission to show up as our truest version of ourselves and do the best we can, help each other do the best work we can. Easier said than done. Because I don't know about you, I feel like some days I'm working with a lot of robots. Yeah. And now with Generative AI. I know the AI gods. How do you feel about it? I think I could tell that's kind of an open ended question. Do you think that Generative AI like Chat, GPT or Bard, which I'm pretty fascinated with, but do you think that it's going to result in less creativity or more creativity? I don't know. To me, it's another shiny object that people are looking at. I mean, it's too easy for me to sit here and dismiss it as something. It's a new tool, like Jeff Brooks says, it still depends on what you put into it. You get out of it. Garbage in garbage know that will never change. So people get lost in some of these new, you know, the bottom line. We talked before we got on the call about my mother in law. Dale is her name, her mail and stuff. She's still not getting the very basics I went through in one full year of her mails. Tell me how it started and tell me the purpose behind it and what you do for people that are not familiar with Dale's mail. Dale is your donor. She is everyone's donor. She gives to 30 to 40 organizations through the year.$50 here, $75 here. How about here? She's a monthly donor to, like, five or six other charities. She's my mother in law. She, for years, has been keeping all of her mail and gives it to me to go through because she knows I like doing that because I'm strange. As time's gone on, she's writing a lot more notes to me all the time on what she liked about this. What about this? Or this was missing this or I really like this little thing. And so for me, it's a little petri dish of one donor. And she is a typical donor. So in Canada, she'll get between 30 to 40 appeals in a week. If she's your donor in the US, she's getting 30 to 40 a day. I'm talking like in October, November, she's getting a lot of mail. So you have to know that you can't go, wow, here's my special little baby I'm going to put into the world. Guess what? Your little baby is not that cool when it's coming in with a ton of other cute little babies. So you have to understand what all the cute babies look like to figure, I'm going to lose that analogy to figure out what to do differently. So she'll actually stop and look at it. So going through all her mail, she got in all that mail, she gives me everything. She only got one thank you card. And the thank you card that she got was at Thanksgiving, and it was purely a digital, like the digital handwriting, and somebody crossed off Dear, her last name. And the digitally wrote in Dear Dale, but it was all digital. But she was so moved by this thank you card, which she never gets from anybody, that she on the outside wrote like, this charity is going to my top four charities that I'm giving to you from here on. I just don't even know how many times we can say this. So forget about AI, forget about actually. Forget about Chat GBT, send a thank you note. Pal Frankie, who works at UNICEF in Italy, he ran the donor love department at UNICEF in Italy. He tested everything. He found he only had to do two things. Two things he had to do. One, he has do a phone call on the anniversary of a gift or like on a birthday or something, and a handwritten thank you card within 48 hours of getting a gift from a donor. Those two things, we saw 30% increase in their retention and a 50% increase in the lifetime value. And I've stood, Julia, just like you, on many stages in many different cities and places around the world, and I've said, who in this room? Tell me cannot do a call, a telephone call, in a simple thank you card? Of course no one's going to put their hand up. Why is no one doing it? Why is a sector we make a decision to not do these two low tech, simple things because we're afraid to make that phone call and get hung up on or be told to go F ourselves. And why are we bothering this person so much? It comes from our own personal fear. That's why we're not doing it. It's easier to play with AI and call them data rather than donors because it's removed. No one's going to judge us. We don't need to be vulnerable working with these things. But to do a thank you card, we do so make the choice. What kind of fundraiser do you want to be? Wow, I love that the gauntlet is thrown. What kind of fundraiser do you want to be? So I'm just so fascinated with sales mail because I watch the videos on TikTok, talk about also a creative way to communicate. If we're talking about creativity, your TikTok channel is a creative way to get the message across because it's very visual. Because obviously you just telling me about Dale's mail is not nearly as compelling as when you actually and I want everyone to go watch these videos when you go through the mail and you show people the actual envelopes and the letters and everything else. So what really has stood out to you as maybe one of the more creative pieces of mail that Dale has received or maybe a more creative example that you have seen in the past couple of years? Dale gives mostly to health organizations. She has a couple environmentals on her list, but she kind of dabbles in the diabetes, heart and strokes like hospitals. That's her jam. That's where she likes to get to. So most of the mail that she gets most of the time is it kind of follows the same sorts of rules. I don't see anything very outstanding. Again, it's the small things that stand out to me when someone actually sends her an envelope with a stamp on it, a first class stamp, or wrote her name on something. But again, I don't see a lot of that either. So I'm kind of looking through a mail from a trends point of view. It's funny to me that in mostly August she got a whole bunch of nine x twelve packs, all from the bigger charities, all with Christmas cards and wrapping paper and bows and all the things, and that mail goes down like this. And then all of a sudden in October, November the stack gets really big. December drops down to nothing. These are things I know, I know that's what people are doing, but I know it because I work with lots of different charities. But if you're working at charity, again, you kind of have to know that too and know that that stack that she got in November, 80 or 90% of it all are like these kinds of number ten envelopes. So again, it's just like I don't see a lot in her mailbox. Like I said, that's why I pointed that thank you card because that's her normal experience. I've all the time through the years just ask her, have you seen anything, has anyone called you? Have you gotten anything that's made this charity stand out in your mind more than any others? Her answer typically is no, nothing. And she gives just because it makes her feel good and she does feel good about herself. But we don't do a very good job at reflecting her goodness back on her. Because if I can do that as a fundraiser. If I can make her feel seen and thanked soon after getting a gift, she's primed to be asked again. Behavioral science suggests that I can ask her again as soon as possible. I don't have to wait three months because the schedule tells me to wait three months. She's primed to be asked again and I better be asking her again because she wants to do it. So again, it's just another behavioral science is a whole other thing. Like, humans are conditioned to do certain things and you have to know what those things are. And I use those things in my work to make donors give and give more often, but you have to know what they are. I think it's so interesting that in this conversation about being creative, really, the simple things are what matters. That phone call and that thank you note or even just simple acknowledgment of the gift goes miles goes such a long way. So when you hear from organizations that say, well, we only send out two appeals a year, we don't want to bother our donors, we don't do a donor newsletter. It's sort of like you said, the mindset of we don't want to bother our donors. What is your response to that? If that's how you're approaching your work, then you probably are bothering them. I mean, they're probably not seeing your stuff anyways if you're only sending two mailings. We blame so much on our donors all the time. Like the whole idea of donor fatigue for ages was like, donors aren'tired of giving, they're tired of getting your shitty appeals. That's a you problem, that's not a them problem. Why are we blaming what they don't do on them? So again, all this sort of dismissive talk and thinking needs to go away. The responsibility is ours to create thoughtful appeals. I'm spending the time to think about what is the problem that I have as a charity today? How am I expressing that problem to this donor in a way that I'm creating a solvable problem that they can solve? Whether they're $50 donor or$500,000 donor. Can I be explicit in what do I want them to do and is it urgent? I always talk to people. This work needs to be a bit breathless. We spend oodles of time thinking about our next ask. We spend no time on thinking about how are we thanking these donors or showing them the impacts of giving. But we also spend time just sitting around looking at one appeal for three months. And like 5000 people approving this thing. There's no urgency there. There's no inherent breathlessness which should be there. There should be signs of that in this work. It always creates more effective, direct response. So I lean into these things as truth because I've done them over and over again and I've seen them done over and over again and they always raise a lot more money. But. It bothers me that you and I both go to a lot of conferences and I've had people tell me that in fact the only thing they can do that no one else has to approve is gratitude. And then bosses are going, yeah, our program is doing great. It's only doing great because she took all the time to do what need to get done, which is thank these donors in a human way. A lot of things are broken and I'm hoping that we're course correcting. I'm hoping we're course correcting. How do you stay inspired and keep the creativity flowing? I like to travel and I like to get out into nature and I like to talk about this nerdy craft that I get to work on with my colleagues and friends and listen to the strange things that they're trying. And I'm very gracious for the people that I surround myself with who are also kind of get a bit fired up and arm wavy about some of this work. Their work and thoughtfulness gets me fired up and stuff. I'm inspired by donors like Dale who keep giving regardless of how crappy we treat her and her own pursuit for her own personal betterment. She sees herself as an amazing human and she is an amazing human. And stuff that inspires me. That's a responsibility I have in my work and the responsibility I place on my colleagues and our clients that I know a lot of them do not like. But our job is important and it's a privilege to do this work, to tell these stories, to listen to Dale's stories. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. So all that inspires me and I love the basics, I love the simplicities and the fundamentals of direct response and direct marketing. And a lot of people have just sort of lost connection with them. So I like to share them and talk about them. It's great. It's 2023 and I talk about stamps and paperclips and that sort of thing. And people find that paperclips engaging like paperclips. Paperclips machines don't use paperclips because they will make a mess of the machinery and stuff, but humans do. So it's a small stamps on angle. There's small little things that suggest to humans that another human sat down and made this thing just for you. So it's such a low tech, like, who wants to talk about paperclips? But people pay me a lot of money to stand on stage to talk about paperclips. It's really fascinating to me. It's funny and hilarious. Great, though. It's just something we don't it's great about. I know, yeah. It's absolutely something that is like you just said, it's just a signal. It's a signal that a human worked on this or it's a signal that a person thought about this or did this. So I think that's really important because what I talk about, of course, I talk about digital marketing a lot and it's really difficult to infuse humanity into email appeals and especially social media appeals. So for me, I always talk about using video or creating personalized video or personalizing things as much as you can, using analog things like thank you notes and calls in the ecosystem of how you're communicating with donors. Because it has to be an ecosystem. It can't just be like one way. So I always think about in the digital world, how can we be more human? Because especially with the rise of AI, with the popularity and the proliferation, I think that the only way we can stand out is putting our fingerprints on things and putting our unique stamp on things, if you will. Because humans are imperfect. I think that we're conditioned to notice imperfections. In my writing, I do a lot of basically all of our emails. I just developed a welcome series finally after all this time, as part of that ecosystem, if you will, and stuff. But I'm comfortable with my voice, the way I'm speaking. I write and it comes through a little bit more polished. But even my book is written at a grade five reading level. It's got a nice big type. It has truncated sentences, not always incomplete thoughts, but I move through things very quickly. It does sound very conversational. This stuff I'm asking my clients to do in their work all the time, and it makes for an engaging read. So this is I don't know how many page book and stuff like that. It's an engaging read. And I wrote it because I really want to empower other people to be creative in their work. It's going to be okay. And I've been beyond moved at the feedback I've gotten from people who've picked it up and have read it and are sending me what they've done with it. Like, here's what I created out of this, and what do you think about this? And I'm beyond validated as a human. I feel like I'm very blessed to get this from people. So being human, Julia, is the pathway. Being imperfect is the pathway to greater, more successful, more money raising fundraising online or offline. That's the bottom line. I love that. So one last question while I have you here. We talked about the basics, right? You have to have the basics down before you can really flourish and do anything else. If you're not thanking your donors, if you are sending it to dear friend, or if you don't actually know who they are and you're just looking at them as data, you need to have the basics down first. But what do you see as sort of the future of fundraising? Do you see any trends on the horizon? What do you see going on? Maybe I don't want to say post pandemic, but pandemic adjacent maybe. Or as we're escaping the pandemic, hopefully. I think all the bars on lots of levels are still very low. So anyone who wants to lean into the fundamentals. One of the biggest things to talk about is your list. Every new client I do coaching with, I'm like, where did this list of humans, where do they come from? Who are they? What do they give to? What do they care about? And often people don't even know where the list came. Know, even with technology, we're spending money and time on using TikTok or using Facebook and using some of these other channels to engage with lists that we've either paid for or whatever and stuff. But the problem in our sector first, I don't know what the best way to describe it, but having your own data that is yours and you know where you got it from, that you own, that isn't owned by someone else is going to be massive because these channels are coming and going and disappearing and changing their rules and yeah, like, you know, it you could lose half your audience if that's where they are overnight. So I think list is always going to be direct response 101 from the very day it started thousands of years ago. Who you're talking to, if they don't care about the thing you want to talk about, then whatever it is, is dead. So list is 101, the most important thing. And same with just offering, what are you asking for? You need to have that crystal clarity on what you're asking someone for and why I should care about this thing right now and hopefully I will do it. So these are simple things. People don't know how to craft a good offer. This is stuff they have not been talking about for a long time. So I love my friends and colleagues. Everyone who's listening to this, I'm sure I know is working extremely hard. It's very easy for me to sit here in this beautiful sunlit spot in Vancouver, BC and talk about these things. I'm not dismissing anything or the energy and effort people are putting into their work. I'm just saying just be aware there are lots of simple things you can do that might feel a bit scary and awkward, but you would transfer your program overnight because we do them all the time. So I don't worry about the latest and greatest shiny object. I'm fascinated by it as someone who loves technology and that sort of thing, but it has little no place in my work that I have to do with my clients every day. Get your offer down. Because I always tell my clients, if you don't have that offer, if you don't have that compelling ask, it doesn't matter what you're using to spray it out in the world, it doesn't matter what you're using to disseminate it. Because if it's not interesting, compelling, like you said, if you're not a little breathless, that's so fantastic. I'm going to take that to my clients. If there's no yeah. The practical example is people are like, what do you mean by offer ask? The practical example I use is give us $7 now or the dog gets it. So it's a practical example that you need a version of that in your work. The reason why it's a classic example is because it's clear on what the problem is, which is the dog is going to get it. It tells you what the solution is, which is your $7. We'll make sure the dog doesn't get it. It tells you what we need you to do, which is we need you to give us $7 and it is urgent if we don't get it, dogs, right? And so every single fundraising piece you send out has to have a version of that. And people tell me all the time, give me all these excuses why they can't do that. I would give you create a version of excuses. I want to play devil's advocate. What if it's an academic or like an advocacy organization, do you know what I mean? For $7, I'm thinking of quite a few of my clients. I just don't know. I mean, we could probably work on it, but it's hard to does it have to a smaller amount or what do you recommend? Well, no, because that's where the donor sizable problem comes into play. Because again, if I'm a$700,000 donor, I can solve that. This makes no sense to me. So you have to think about how does it offer change and stuff. Sometimes it's a program, sometimes there's a key individual that having their cost certain amount. Sometimes it's just certain equipment. It can be all different kinds of things. It's not about designation. People run away because they're like, well, if I get $7, I have to use it on the dog. Well, you don't because if you're a hospital, you're fundraising for lots of things. If you're an institution, an educational institution, you're raising money for lots of things. But you have to have something that understand what my money is doing, the impact it has. So again, that's why I say this is a bit of a you problem. I know again, I hear people like, oh, you can't do that. I'm like, okay, then you won't make any money because just like salt in cooking, the offer is your salt in fundraising. If you don't have it, your peel is bland, it's boring, and no one wants to take another bite, they're done. I really like that you're saying this is not the donor's problem. This is our problem and this is our problem as fundraisers and communicators and this is our job. We have to figure this out if we're going to have sustainable revenue streams and if we're going to pull heartstrings and change hearts and minds and do all the great work that we're doing in this world. So I really like that pushback because of course, I do storytelling work and people are always telling me, well, we don't have stories we can't tell stories, we can't share stories, we can't craft stories and that really is like, no, but you can, you just won't. Is it a will or won't? Is it a can or can't? The work is hard and we're not going to do it. Or is it the work is hard and we are willing to take baby steps and see what can be done. So that's really powerful. I would love to hear you speak, so I'm going to come and listen to you speak and I'm just going to stand up and applaud for all of this. But it goes back to that question and I think this is what we'll end know. What kind of fundraiser do you want to be? I think that's just a great question to end on and for people to really think about. So, John, where can we find the book? Where can we learn more about you? How can people work with you? You can find me on Twitter at john LEP or email The book you can find on Amazon, any Amazon around the world, it's available. Yes, it's printed here in Canada, but if you buy on Amazon, they'll do print on demand and send it to you within two days. What else can I tell you? Apparently I'm on TikTok. Doing TikToks to mostly Tim. Most of the time I'm pretty findable and reachable. I'm not hard to find. Okay, I'll put all of that in the show notes. Okay. Thank you so much for being here today and being vulnerable and open and human, sharing all of your wonderful expertise with my audience. I really appreciate it. So thanks so much. I appreciate you too, Julia. Thank you so much. Have a great day. I'm going to see you in a couple of weeks. 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 in 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, you nonprofit unicorn.