Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to Email Updates

Featured Post

Recent Posts

Jeff Brooks thinks about bad fundraising habits


In this series of Group Thinkers podcast episodes, our focus is on leadership. Throughout each episode, we’ll chat with leaders in the nonprofit and commercial space to learn more about their careers and the unique journeys that led them to where they are today. 

On this episode, we sit down with Jeff Brooks, founder of the industry-favorite Future Fundraising Now blog, to discuss:   

  • What prompted him to start his blog in 2005 (6:56)
  • How he got into nonprofit fundraising after majoring in music performance (11:31)
  • Lessons learned as Creative Director at Domain Group (15:38)
  • People who have helped shaped him (19:27)
  • How nonprofits fall into bad fundraising habits (22:14)
  • How his perspective on blogging has changed over the last 18 years (35:26) 

Meet our guest 

Jeff Brooks Headshot

Jeff Brooks 

Fundraising Copywriter & Consultant 


“I think one big thing is, fundraising is all about how amazing we as the organization are. That’s probably the common denominator of it all ... It’s bragging about ourselves; it’s about us. The reasons donors give is to make the world a better place. They want to take action. They want to put their values into the world. So, you need to talk to them about that.” 

Podcast transcript

Justin McCord: Welcome to Group Thinkers. I'm your host, Justin McCord. With me as always is Ronnie Richard.

Group Thinkers is the podcast from RKD Group. And on each and every episode, we chat with someone in the space who's doing something innovative or different, thinking about and acting on things in a new way.

And so today, our conversation is with legendary podcaster and blogger―more blogger, although he brings up his podcast―Jeff Brooks of Future Fundraising Now. Ronnie, tell us a little bit about Jeff.

Ronnie Richard: Jeff Brooks, he's been serving the nonprofit community for more than thirty years.

He's done it as a copywriter and now as a consultant. He was named America's Top Fundraising Writer by the legendary Tom Ahern.

Jeff's worked at organizations large and small all across the world. You'll hear him talk about some of his clients who are in Australia in our conversation. He served, you know, all kinds of different charity sectors: international relief, and health, and hospitals, and social services, faith based, etcetera.

Like you mentioned, you'll find him blogging, and what he's very well known for is his blog, Future Fundraising Now. He also contributes to the Moceanic blogs, and he's also the author of three books, including “The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications.”

Justin: You know, it's, it would be too easy to say prolific, but I would say that Jeff is, at the outset of my time in this space, Jeff Brooks is one of the people that I was pointed towards to pay attention to.

To read his content, and to study it and to pay attention to it. And so, it's pretty neat, Ronnie, to get to chat with folks like that, that you're pointed towards.

A couple of things that stood out to me in the conversation for folks to be listening for is he gave ... he kinda offered up these two tenets. And we see this, you know, throughout these conversations that we're having.

Ronnie, he offers up these two tenets of something that he learned early in his career then I don't think that he embodies today. I don't think that he realizes that he embodies it today.

And one was the value in the pursuit of finding out what's real, like, the value in scientific testing, and the value in direct response testing and finding out what works and why that's important. And then the second thing is that it's good to give away knowledge, and clearly, we see that by the work that he does on Future Fundraising Now. And, you know, he talks a little bit about his fork in the road to where he almost went to academia.

But I can't help but liken him to someone that has some of the tendencies of folks from antiquity, of thinking, and proving and the inherent value in both.

Ronnie: Yeah. I mean, he's the philosopher in the public square sharing his knowledge.

Yeah. Those are great points. And another thing that stood out to me was he said that a lot of times he likes to write about, kind of like, what's wrong with fundraising problems he sees in fundraising, and he's said the biggest one that stands out, whether it's a large or small organization, kind of the same, that it's this navel-gazing of talking about themselves, and, hey, we do all these wonderful things, and we've been around for thirty years and everything, and what they should be doing, as we know, is that they should be talking to donors because donors want to make the world a better place, and you need to speak to that in your fundraising.

So, yeah, that, that part really stood out. So, for everybody, please enjoy our chat with Jeff Brooks.

Justin: Ronnie, I'm sorry to tell you that again we have someone who is connected to proper football.

So, I noticed our guest, Jeff, I noticed your Sydney Swans poster or email on the door behind you.

Jeff Brooke: Yes.

Justin: So now this is Australian rules football.

Jeff: Yes. The craziest sports event I've ever been to.

Justin: So first of all, what were you doing in Sydney, and then, what took you to an Australian rules football game while you were there?

Jeff: I was in Sydney to attend a couple of conferences. I have a lot of clients in Australia. This is before the pandemic, and I haven't been back since.

But … and Sean, a good friend down there, who we might talk about later, said you've gotta go to an Australian rules football game. And I'm thinking, oh, it's soccer.

You know? No. It's not soccer. It is a completely different game. It's like a combination of American football, rugby, soccer, and kids making up games as they go along. It's just, it's really amazing. I did not know what was going on, but it was very interesting.

Justin: Yeah. Yeah. It is I've caught Australian rules football on TV or even on YouTube from time to time. And it works in the context of this conversation because I feel like we're constantly, our guests are constantly trying to enlighten Ronnie beyond LSU football. And so … Yep.

Ronnie: Open up the world to me.

Justin: Yeah. Exactly. Well, welcome, Jeff. Welcome to Group Thinkers. Thanks for being a part of a chat with us today. We're excited to dig in through your journey.

Jeff: Great to be here.

Justin: Yeah. Okay. So, man, Jeff, it's so interesting, you know, having known of your work and read your work for some time, I, you know, I kinda wanna start our conversation in 2005 when you decided to start a blog.

And so, you’ve still got it today in Future Fundraising Now. But like, what prompted you in 2005 to start a blog and, really, the beyond just, like, the logistics of starting it, even today, the ideas and things that you're thinking about, I really wanna get to what's your muse?

Jeff: I think, at the time when I started in ‘05, there were no fundraising blogs. There were literally none. And there was, like, only one or two that even touched on the nonprofit space at all. So I, you know, I saw a need. Now, when you start a blog, even now, but back then when you start, like, there's no audience for it, either. Right?

And anyway, so I, I got it going. I just read other blogs, and you know, the blogs that were available then were very general interest kind of things. Humor blogs, and there were sports blogs and things like that.

So, it was unusual, I think at that point, yet, to be that narrowly focused. But that's the promise of the blog, isn't it? That you can be about something really specific that serves a small, a tiny audience, which is what our, you know, our space is. It's professionals in fundraising, which is not very many people. I mean, we it feels like a whole universe to us, but it's tiny. Right?

But, yeah, that that's what I wanted to do. And I'll tell you the truth, the kind of, the weird muse for me was then, and is now, when I see bad fundraising. And I want to complain about it, but it would be churlish to complain directly about it.

Justin: Yeah.

Jeff: It's kind of a way to say, I'm gonna talk about this issue without rubbing somebody's face in it, you know? And do it, hopefully, in a positive way that's helpful to other people. And then as the space has grown, and now there are ... I follow two hundred blogs. Yeah. They're not all fundraising, but they're fundraising or fundraising adjacent.

And so, one of my … the things I do a lot is I'll say, hey, here's a good post. Here's what they said, and I try to add, you know, my own value to it.

Justin: Yeah.

Jeff: That was not happening at first because there was no place to do that. I think the next blog, next fundraising blog that I became aware of was The Agitator. And they, they launched not long after I did, and I discovered them because back then, you get so little traffic that you actually look at your traffic every day, It's like, look another three people! You know?

And there was, there was one called, it's called something at The Agitator dot com, and I, and you actually go and look and say, who is this? And they hadn't even launched, but they had gone kind of private live, and that's how I discovered that.

Justin: Yeah. So, it's so funny. It is to your point, and, you know, I think I see this when I find myself in any sort of a social setting and someone says, “Oh, Justin, what do you do?” So, well, I'm gonna get to, like, we're a horse of a different color. Let me tell you first of all about the horses, and then the colors and let me tie together how small the space is. Right? Even though we feel like it's large.

Jeff: Yeah.

Justin: And it's fascinating to think about you and Roger, you know, being, you know, somewhat opposite coast and still similarly producing content that was then, and is still now, very meaningful and mindful of the things that you see in the space. And you've been committed to it now. I mean, we're in, what, in year eighteen.

Jeff: Who would have thought. Right?

Justin: Yeah. Yeah. But to go, to go even further back, your career didn't start that way because you went to school, as we learned, for music. That your degree was actually in music performance.

So how in the world did you get from music performance to blogging about the fundraising space?

Jeff: I don't know. I mean ...

Justin: You know, that’s actually a really common answer that people won't say. They'll dwell around it, but I appreciate that you just jumped it. I don't know.

Jeff: Yeah. I, I mean, how many people as a kid, want to be a fundraiser? I mean, there must be people that have, but boy, that seems like a weird kid to me.

I think a lot more kids wanna be a musician. Right? And that was me, and I, I played, you know, I did music throughout my childhood, and by the time I got into college, I was, it was the obvious thing that I may major in. So, I did, and it was sort of toward the end there when I was starting to think, do I really want this to be my job?

And I talked to a professional, a long-standing professional, who is a little bit skeptical and a little bit tired of his work. And he told me, oh, yeah, we play the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. I don't know if you know this piece is a very commonly performed piece. We played it every year, sometimes three times a year, and I just thought, I don't want that. It's a great piece of music, but I don't want to play that that often. So I, you know, kinda cut bait, like, freelanced for a while.

But then started looking into other things. And I went to grad school in literature, getting what I felt was going to be on the academic track, the teaching track. And had a sort of a similar thing. I was, you know, on my way toward a degree. And I thought, do I even wanna do this for the rest of my life?

It's, you know, it's really cool, you know, talking about books, and hanging around in libraries and writing about books, but the other eighty percent of what you do is, it's not that.

I was starting to realize. So I, you know, again, so I kinda had two starts of a career. Academia is the family business in my family. My father, my brother, and my son and many other relatives are professors. So it was, like, kind of an obvious thing to do.

And then at that point, I just kind of randomly got a fundraising job, which I sort of thought of as a writing job. I didn't quite grasp what fundraising was. That's how it started, and it clicked with me. And I've been there ever since.

Ronnie: Jeff, what instrument did you play?

Jeff: I play string bass. Which is the best instrument in the orchestra. It's also very flexible, and you can play a lot of different kinds of music as well, but that way.

Ronnie: Do you still play?

Jeff: Yeah. I play in community orchestras here in Seattle. So, I'm a happy amateur, and I only play the 1812 Overture about once every five or six years.

Justin: That's good.

Ronnie: It's interesting that you mentioned that your family's in academia and they're all professors because, in a sense, even though you got out of academia, you're kind of a professor for the fundraising industry in a way, with your blog and the things that you share.

So, I was looking again at your career a little bit. You know, you, after a couple of years, you joined Domain Group where you spent a large portion of your career, seventeen years, working your way up to become the creative director there. Can you take us a little bit through, kind of, your time there and what you learned during this part of your career?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, the Domain Group is, you know, lamentably long gone now, but there are domain people all over the industry. Including a few of them at RKD, right?

Justin: Yes.

Jeff: And it's kinda largely true that if you, if you talk to a solid agency anywhere in the US, and in some other continents too, there will be Domain Group people there.

It was, you know, it was one of those magical places where some combination of vision and camaraderie and luck all kinda came together, and it … because it was a special place where the philosophy was, find out what's real.

That's what we just did. And we did lots of testing.

We discovered a lot of things, And, you know, the funny thing is we, when you test, you start to find out that those boring old, you know, masters of old were right. You know, basically, you, you can, you confirm what they told you. But you need to know, and you also need to refine it. And things change, and you need to catch up with the way donors are. And that's what we did. And the other thing we did that was magical was we had a strong belief that it's really good to give away knowledge.

And I think that's probably why you have a blog and a podcast yourselves, right? Because you can't, it's not effective to say, I've got the secret, and I'm not gonna share it with anybody.

And in fact, when I see people doing that, I kinda think, you know what? I think they're probably full of it. And I don't really trust them. Now, it might be that they actually have the goods, and they know what they're doing, but they just have a bad philosophy.

But, yeah, the more you give away, the more work comes to you.

Because people, you know, yeah, in theory, if I tell you how to do something, then you can do it yourself without paying me to do it, and probably that happens. But to a larger extent, people respect you more and want even more. And, you know, you're nodding because that's the way it works.

Justin: Yeah. Just completely tracking with you on even the phrase “special sauce” makes my eyes roll out of my head.

It just doesn't like … it doesn't … I agree with you. I don't think that it exists. I think that it's the doing the work together, the collaboration, the creativity, the strategic thinking, plus with one another, and … Right. You said, like, find out what's real and then how good it is to give away knowledge. I think that those are apt and noble pursuits.

And so, yeah, Ronnie, it's funny that you, that you draw out that connection of Professor Brooks here because you are, I mean you do, you give away that knowledge, Jeff, through your blog and also, obviously, even if you're contracted with an organization, the way that you're consulting and the way that you're carrying yourself helps you lean in in a way that gives away that knowledge.

So, over the course of both those seventeen years and then your time since then, who are a couple of people that that have spoken into your path and helped shape you to the way that you carry yourself today?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, I guess so many people. Right? And I could just sit here listing just amazing people I've worked with and clients and co-workers. But I'll just pick out a few.

Tim Burgess, he has, he's not in our industry anymore. He was cofounder of the Domain Group, and after he sold the Domain Group―for which I wanted to throttle him, and still sometimes would like to throttle him for that―he went into politics, and he was, in fact, mayor of Seattle for a while.

He, he was kinda just done with fundraising, and he wanted to do something else. But he kind of helped create that culture at the Domain Group, that scientific approach and, kind of, combining knowledge with passion. And he made some really smart hires, you know, things like that. So, I'd put him on the list. Another person, another Domain person I would include is John Van Wike, and I don't know if you've heard of him. He was at Domain kind of the whole time I was.

He's an analytics guy, and he … you at least know people at your shop who know him very well, right?

Justin: Right. Yeah.

Jeff: And he's an analytics person that is, like, the opposite of what I am.

And we learned a lot from each other. And we, we've been good friends. We still, we still hang out, and he lives in Seattle here. And, you know, we and our wives go to the opera together. You know, it's been a great friendship but also a really good learning thing, being connected with him.

And then, I guess, finally, I'll mention Sean Triner in Australia. He's the founder of Moceanic, which is an amazing organization that's all about helping people become better fundraisers. He's also got, kind of, that mindset of, think about what you know. Don't make stuff up. Don't do what you think you ought to do because of what you like.

He also founded Pareto, which is kind of like the Domain Group of Australia, and then he sold it and then founded Moceanic.

Ronnie: Jeff, earlier, you were saying that one of the things that you like to write about a lot is when you see a problem, some fundraising that isn't, you know, doesn't work for you or you think it's just bad fundraising in general. What are, like, today, what would you say are some of the problems that you see frequently or things that maybe the industry as a whole just isn't doing right?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, it's interesting. There are kind of several different wrong avenues that people tend to take. And by the way, sometimes I'll write about something like that, and I'll hear back, and they’ll say, well, we're doing this, and it's working. And so, that can be a learning experience.

So sometimes you're wrong, you know, you just … because, you know, when you, when you just, say, you look at a piece of fundraising, and it seems wrong, you don't know it's wrong until you find out.

For the most part, though, and you know this too, right? You just see, just bad fundraising that just shouldn't be happening. I think there's … one big thing is, it's fundraising, it's all about how amazing we the organization are.

That's probably the common denominator of all. And it's based on the sort of, I call it, fundraising for yourself―FFY. Where you go, okay, what would make me wanna give? Well, we've been around for thirty years, and we have really awesome staff and our methodology, you know, and so you're just sort of thinking about what matters to you. And so, you build that. Super common.

Really common even with very large professionalized organizations, as you know, and, you know, they should know better.

They've got all these, you know, well-experienced, educated professional fundraisers, and they still do that because it's really hard to get outside of your own head. Now, realistically, something like 99% of all nonprofit organizations are very small organizations with, you know, 100 donors or, you know, up to 5,000 donors, you know, like, really small, too small for a, you know, large agency to serve.

You can't … the scale just doesn't work out. Right?

And I kinda like to work with small ones because I can … because I'm one person, and they can afford me. They kinda have a different problem, which is they just aren't connected to the knowledge base. And you'll see it's … I almost swear there's a school out there that says, here's how you do direct mail: A one-page letter with nine-point type, a happy smiling face, on and on about how amazing we are, the reply device is a bangtail envelope that the donor has to fill up, I mean, it's so similar.

These are the small ... the ones I actually get in the mail, right? Because it tends to be small local organizations, and it, and it's, where do you think that's how you do it? And it must just be, they do it because they see it, and it feels good to do it that way.

So I … that's the, that's the other one. It kind of is … those are both sort of two sides of the same coin. It's bragging about ourselves. It's about us. Not about, well, you know, the reason donors give is to make the world a better place. They want to take action. They want to put their values into, you know, into the world, so you need to talk to them about that.

And I think good donors, really good donors, actually translate your bad fundraising into that story for themselves. Right?

Justin: Thank goodness that they do. I mean, honestly, like, thank goodness that we have, that there's some kismet that can overcome the bad tendencies that you reference.

Jeff: Yeah. And so, it works. But the thing is, it doesn't work like it ought to, and it's working worse all the time. And as you know, the response rates have been dropping for something like twelve years in a row now―not in a row; because of the pandemic, they went up―But it, you know, it's getting harder. The costs are way up, postage, and printing, everything, so in other words, we used to be kinda okay to do it that way.

Justin: Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff: But it's increasingly not okay.

Justin: Yeah. It's gone from, in some ways, not, I don't know if I would go as far as to say laziness, although you could use that, but it's, it's like it was the easy way to cut corners, to do, like, just a control- based methodology and etcetera over time over time over time.

And now it begs the question of the rationale in even doing it that way, the way that we've always done it.

You know, you hit on something that I think is really interesting. You know, we're having these conversations with a lot of folks just about leadership, and the problem that you pointed out there for large organizations was a tendency to be self-focused first, right? Fundraising for yourself, right?

We probably have sat in many conference rooms where someone has given us feedback over creative that is a focus group of one.

Jeff: Right. Right. Right. Right.

Justin: That sort of thing. But then, likewise, what I heard you say from the small organizations is also from the focus group of one because it's the executive director who, you know, is only used to one way, their way because they may not be exposed to a broader knowledge base. So, it sounds like it's the same problem across the board, of thinking about yourself first versus thinking about the person you're ultimately talking to. And I wonder what that tells us about, like, even just the state of leadership and what that means as it relates to nonprofits and relationship with donors.

Jeff: Yeah. It is that. And if you think about it, it's, you know, that's sort of not being able to get outside of your head. It's not ... that's not just a fundraising problem. Right? That's a human relationship problem.

And if you think about, you know, friendships you've lost, relationships that have broken, that's usually part of it. I can't get out of my head. I can't relate properly to this person because I can't think about what they're in it for.

Justin: Yeah.

Jeff: So, you know … and if I knew commercial marketing better, I'd probably be saying the same thing about it. Because, you know, you see ads, and you get the commercial direct mail and you're thinking, does this work?

And, I don't know. I have no insight whether that works, but you know what? I bet there's just as much bad, misdirected navel-gazing stuff in all kinds of marketing.

Justin: Sure.

Jeff: That's just a guess, but it seems likely to be true.

Justin: Yeah. So, it, it really does.

Ronnie: I was gonna say, it's almost alike, as if they're so proud they joined the organization for the cause, and they, and they're working at the organization, and they're so of it. So surely, everyone else must be equally proud. But then, you know, when you put yourself in the donor shoes, they may not really even know the organization that well, especially a new donor who's just coming into it. Yep. So, yeah, it's definitely very interesting.

Jeff: Yeah.

Justin: But Ronnie, it's funny. You know, you know, I could take this idea of navel-gazing and even say that, you know, we can see this at times amongst our own peers, and, you know, even reflect whenever we think about, like, if we're prioritizing our perspective over that of the audience, you know? What that means for us as leaders in whatever spheres and spaces. And certainly, the impact that that has on trying to win someone to support you, right?

Because it doesn't … even, like, the creative, formative ideas of creative would tell you that that's not a way to articulate persuasion, by beating them over the head about your CV.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, you know, you've probably experienced this too. This is an RFP, I think. The three most dreaded letters in the, in our business. And you, as an agency, you get it, right?

Justin: Sure.

Jeff: That they ask you a bunch of detailed questions, and then you basically come back with your ideas of what they ought to do, and you give them spec creative.

That's how, that's how you get new business in the, you know, in the agency group. And I'll tell you what, this has happened more times than I can count, that we would create spec creative, that the prospective, and then later client, just loves it, drooling over it. They're just, it's like the dream come true. Because what you're showing them is that we get you, and then we test it to donors, and it's like the biggest failure ever.

So, you know, so much so that we know ahead of time, this isn't gonna work. Now, it might be that you have to do that kind of work because the audience at that stage is the person who's gonna pay you.

That is, you know, the people who work at the, in the organization. So, you have to make them feel good.

Justin: Yeah.

Jeff: So it's, I mean, if you think about it, there's no surprise there, right? Hey, I aim solidly at the prospective client. I make them feel great. It's irrelevant to their donors every time. Every time.

And you, it's almost like you can't skip that step, at least, you know, with a large organization, which is kind of one of the reasons I like small organizations, is that you skip that step, and you just, you just have an adult conversation, and you say, you know, we need to do it this way.

And this is gonna feel weird to you. You might really hate it. It's quite possible that you're gonna hate it, but we'll look at the results and see if it works. So it's kinda like, you know, you don't have to do, let me do really terrible creative that makes you feel good first, so you'll give me the chance to do good creative that actually works for you.

Ronnie: How is that when you, when you have those conversations, to explain that exactly, like, hey, what you've been doing over here, not really what you need to be doing, and you kinda redirect in that way, how do those conversations go? Are they typically, are people receptive to that? Or are they a little standoffish? Or little bit of both, or what?

Jeff: I get some of each, and the ones who don't like what I'm saying, they don't hire me. And I'm glad they don't hire me because I don't wanna work with them. You know?

So, in fact, my typical sort of sales funnel is, you know, somebody contacts me. We have a conversation. It kinda looks like maybe we could be working together, and then I do typically an audit of, like, their last year’s worth of fundraising.

And I get really into detail, and I look at their results, and I look at their creative, and I write them a document that says, here's what's going on. And predictably, it's like, you know, they're doing a few things well, and they're doing a few things not well.

And I just tell them that. Sometimes, they're upset by what I tell them. And so, we part ways, and that’s fine.

Other times, they go, ah, I see. I understand what you’re saying. Let’s work together, and let's fix this. And so, in a way, that's kind of my little gatekeeping thing where, you know, I don't wanna work with people who don't wanna actually take my expertise. I wanna work with people who want that.

Justin: That is your product. Right?

It's a peculiar relationship whenever you have those engagements to where they're paying you and then they don't like what you have to say. Like, that's not very high function. Right?

Jeff: Right.

Well, and it feels ... I like to make it clear to them. Be ready to feel uncomfortable. Right? Because that's a predictable side effect of all this. It's, you're gonna feel weird about this at times.

Justin: When you, when you were talking about the blog earlier and, you know, your original intent was to set out to have a place where you could talk about something that you were passionate about, to be able to, as you said, give away some knowledge and … or an appropriate way to vent. Right? To talk about your observations.

And so, I'm just curious as you think about it today, 18 years later, how is that the same, how is that different? What does that look like for you and your stewardship of that space even now?

Jeff: It’s what, well, what's really different for me now is, doing a blog costs me money.

When you're in an organization, and you've got smart bosses, you can say, hey, could I carve out some of the time that you're paying me for to do this thing that we aren't gonna bill to clients.

And, you know, you might not win that argument. It took me a while to get them, you know, get them to know what a blog is and why that would be good. But now I'm the boss, and I'm the employee and the whole thing, right? And if I wanna do a blog, I have to spend time not doing paid work.

And that's kinda scary.

It's just … but it definitely worthwhile, I'm pretty sure. I can't quite measure it. I mean, I can't do direct response head-to-head testing. I mean, blogging versus not blogging. But it's pretty clear to me that it's important.

And it's important not only, you know, it's like getting your name out there, saying things that are helpful to people. But blogging helps you organize what you know.

You know, having to write something that you already know, you know it better after you do that.

And so, basically, anything that comes up, I have not only whatever work experience I have with that, but I probably also have ... I wrote about it in a blog post experience.

And in fact, I had a podcast for several years with Steven Screen, and I post old podcasts on my blog now and then. And that was, in a way, even better because you had to do it on your feet. We didn't script our, you know, kinda like your podcast, we didn't script it. We just had a topic, and we would talk it through. So, it's almost like rehearsing for something. Somebody else is gonna ask me this question someday, and I will have talked it through.

Justin: Yeah. I love that. I love the just the idea of the benefit of the exercise, but also, it's not just for you, for now, that there's some inherent future value to going through the process of putting your thoughts on paper.

Honestly, it's something that I try to tell my eighth grader and sixth grader, and they look at me like, don't you know what a keyboard is? And why would I put anything down as opposed to, you know, try to improv my way through it? But it is, I think that there's this inherent value to the organizing of our thoughts. And I will tell you that it is … that the content that you continue to put out, even now 18 years later, still prompts discussion. It prompts discussion inside our virtual walls as an organization. And I know between some of our clients and the folks that are client facing on the front lines with them. And I think that's a good thing. I really do.

Jeff: Oh, I was gonna apologize for that.

Justin: Oh, well, I didn't say we always agree. Yeah. But that's okay too. Right? Like, it's okay to have differences in how you approach things or have seen maybe different things in testing. That's why I think there's beauty in the art that we create as nonprofit fundraising experts.

So, well, Jeff, we appreciate you lending your time today and talking through some of your journey.

And again, we just, well, you know, we wanna see another 18 years out of you, but we wanna keep seeing that content come across because it does, it provokes conversation, and so you're definitely hitting the nail on the head there.

Jeff: Well, well, thank you. I appreciate hearing that.

Justin: Yeah. Well, so thanks for being on the on the episode. Just one last thing. If folks want to connect with you, where outside of just searching Future Fundraising Now, where else can they find you? How can they get a hold of you?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, the blog is, that's kind of the main way to find me. I also have a, sort of my own business website, which is

I couldn't get just So there's a little hyphen between the first and the last name. That just kind of has the here's who I am, and here's my values, and you're some of my clients. So that, if that's of value to you. I blog also and do coaching and so forth at You can find me there and perhaps work with me in some way there.

So there's quite a few ways.

Justin: Multiple different avenues. Jeff, keep it up, man. Keep up the great work, and we appreciate you, sir.

Jeff: Thank you. And it's been really great talking to you.

RKD Group

RKD Group is North America's leading fundraising and marketing services provider to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, including hospitals, social service, disease research, animal welfare, rescue missions, and faith-based charities. RKD Group’s omnichannel approach leverages technology, advanced data science and award-winning strategic and creative leadership to accelerate net revenue growth, build long-term donor relationships and drive online and offline engagements and donations. With a growing team of professionals, RKD Group creates breakthroughs never thought possible.

ListenUp blog banner


Leave a comment:

MidYear Benchmarks-Sidebar_SolidGold
Gen X eBook download