All posts by Dr. Mark Zobel

Director of Annual Giving at Blackburn College

Disney Castle

Be “Show-Ready” and “Optimize the Mundane” with Alumni

Here’s what a trip to Disney World taught me about delivering an exceptional level of service to alumni and donors.

hurricane damage

5 Alumni Engagement Strategies for When Tragedy Strikes

Alumni/Development work is all about relationships. Good alumni engagment after a disaster strikes is all about being responsive to the needs of the moment.

written letter

Before Your Next Appeal Goes Out, Check the “You” Factor

Appeal letters are at their best when the language focuses heavily on the donor’s need to know that he or she is the only one who can make a difference in that moment. Too many refernces to “us” and “we” redirect attention back to the organization, attenuating the importance of the donor’s role.

balance

Why I Now Use the Term “Balance” Instead of “Work-Life Balance”

Life is one indivisible whole, and to fragment it into discrete categories introduces a kind of needless schizophrenia. Instead of seeing work as this thing that is somehow at odds with everything else, we need to see what role it could/should play in enhancing all the other areas of life, so as to foster greater levels of happiness and fulfilment.

direct mail appeals

Gone in 20 Seconds: Grabbing Attention in Direct Mail Appeals

Over 90% of potential readers never open the envelope. The more that writers understand about how readers engage with direct mail appeals, the better chance they have of maximizing open rates.

gift range chart

How a Gift Range Chart Can Reveal Gaps in Your Donor Base

Gift range charts are invaluable tools that can help drive fundrasing appeals throughout the year. One can see clearly how many gifts are needed at each level, and how many prospects are needed for each gift. There is one often-overlooked benefit, however, and that is their ability to reveal gaps in your donor base.

panning for gold

Managing News Overload Part 2: The Processes and Tools I Use

Getting to the most useful and helpful content is a lot like panning for gold. There is much detritus to sift through in order to find the best reads. With the right tools, however, the process can be made fairly easy and even enjoyable.

newspaper

Managing News Overload Part 1: Four Rules to Follow

News feeds, blogs, websites, and print media are like an army that mounts a daily assault on your mind. We are constantly bombarded with “stuff,” much of which is poorly written and peppered with errors. With a few simple rules and the right tools, however, you can get control of the glut and increase the quality of what you read.