Author: angie.

“Social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers.” ~Bryan Weiner, CEO at Digital Agency 360i

This e-newsletter was written by Mandy O’Neill.

In our second e-newsletter of this three part series, we talked about social media campaigns, virtual campaigns and chaperoned emails and how to best utilize them to grow your donor list. In this last part of our series, we will talk about ways to use Lightbox, Search Engine Optimization and Advertising. Our hope is that we are helping you create the right plan for your next acquisition campaign.

Lightbox Captures
Lightbox captures are the transparent box that pops up on your website with a specific call-to-action that you’re encouraged to click-through or you opt to click an “x” out of the Lightbox. Lightbox captures are especially profitable at year end, with special campaigns, and major announcements. Many year-end lightboxes embed the donation form right in the light box, so you don’t even have to click through to the donation page. This box captures more than donations, it captures new donors. If you’re not running one for year end, reconsider doing so. If major news event happens in your field, take advantage of the increased traffic coming to your site with a lightbox. The development costs are well worth the new names captured. A word of caution: running an advertisement versus a mission-related call to action is not an effective use of a lightbox and will have a negative effect on your conversion rates.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Marketing consists of four strategies: Optimized Organic Search, Paid Search, and Grants. All three of these search marketing strategies can yield high quality prospects and are cost-effective because they are highly targeted.

• SEO of Donation Pages and Top Acquisition Pages. Studies are showing that between 50% – 70% of traffic is still coming from organic search. You can maximize your organic SEO rankings through new website architecture, page naming conventions, and key words in your page content. Using the right keywords on your website, blogs, microsites and social media can actually yield a 6 to 8% lift in organic search sourced conversion rates for target acquisition pages. Yep, it’s better to have your whole site optimized, but start with your donation pages and best content pages first.

• Paid Search. After you’ve done all you can for free – remember that most of your traffic will come from organic search, you might consider paid search for a couple of your keywords that drive the most qualified traffic to your site. Look at your top three (3) online competitors for targeted keywords, including brand keywords (nature, safety, international relief, arthritis–any of the top words used in your mission), and issue-based search terms (e.g. phrases associated with your cause, e.g. pain relief for arthritis, open space, after-school programs), to ensure you’re capturing traffic that is critical in generating leads for donations—which is how you will measure effectiveness. If the leads become donors the program works. If they don’t revise or stop the program. While paid search isn’t as effective as organic search, it’s still pretty effective—and you only pay for the people who click-through.

• Google Grants. If you already use Google Grants, this is an easy transition. If you haven’t yet leveraged Google Grants, you may want to consider it, but please remember running a “free” Google Grant program is “free” like a puppy is free. The cost of administering is something to consider before jumping in. It works similar to paid search in that you first identify which keywords you can use with your Google Grant (Google often puts restrictions on high bid keywords), creating ad groups or groups of keywords with customized landing pages that might result in lower volume, but much higher conversion rates, and then test your offer via Google Grants advertising. Often we find the offer that works via Google Grants is different than your offer in other channels.

Let’s start by saying that PPC advertising isn’t for everyone or every campaign. While PPC advertising is a pay-per-click model, there is quite a bit of upfront investment in creative, strategy, targeting, landing page development, and placement. You’ll want to use your best polished visual and video content with pay-for-performance or impression in-stream, in-slate, in–search and in-display video ad placements, targeted by both keyword and video topic. In order to maximize the ROI of your search campaigns, you really should plan on developing dedicated landing pages featuring design and content that’s highly focused on donor acquisition. Very few, if any, nonprofits run PPC campaigns internally. You’ll almost always want to retain a strong reputable firm to help you with this kind of acquisition campaign.

As we wrap up, here in Colorado in January, we say that if you didn’t fall at least three times skiing, you didn’t have a good day. The same is true with acquisition. Do some testing and skin your knees finding out what works best for your supporters. The upside is that testing online acquisition is quick and low-cost, so you cap your risk. Some channels work better with your mission than others, so we encourage you to test. And always remember …
if plan a didn't work -- photo

About Mandy O’Neill
Mandy O’Neill is the Chief Strategist and Founder of ConnectedNonprofit, a boutique online marketing agency that helps nonprofits with online growth initiatives, new channels of fundraising, and refreshing current online programs. You can reach her directly at

“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.” ~Malorie Lucich, Facebook Spokesperson

This e-newsletter was written by Mandy O’Neill.

In last week’s e-newsletter, we discussed Welcome Series and Petitions. Again not all tips will work for you, but many will and are inexpensive to try. Here’s our second of three newsletters. We look forward to helping you grow your house file.

Social Media Campaigns
We generally advise focusing on no more than two social media channels, especially, if, like most nonprofits, you are looking to drive revenue or awareness with your social media presence. Two social media acquisition examples illustrate short-term, mission-driven ways to drive lead generation via social media:

Safe Kids used Facebook to run a downloadable-kit promotion for pool safety and acquired 3,000 highly qualified email addresses. They simply offered a single click on a Facebook tab to download your kit for free using your email address. The campaign was so successful; Safe Kids has gone on to run additional safety campaigns including helmet safety and Halloween safety. The goals of the Pool Safety campaign were to:
o Educate constituents about pool safety practices
o Provide pool safety kits directly to parents
o Increase Safe Kids Facebook audience reach
o Grow the fan base (“likes”) on Facebook
o Grow the housefile with qualified names

You’ll notice that, in addition to the 3,000 new email addresses acquired, their Facebook Fan base has grew from 54,000 to 177,000 today. used Twitter to run a “Power Hour” fundraising campaign to acquire 30 new donors. They hit their goal and then some. Grist started out by offering a pool of $5,000 to match any donation 1:1 with a goal of attaining 30 new donors within their designated “Power Hour”. They had a branded landing page and thanked donors immediately on Twitter to increase the traffic stream and enthusiasm. They lined up “celebrity” journalists to tweet that they had given to the campaign to inspire “giving” and create excitement. When Grist hit their goal of 30 gifts within the first 30 minutes, they increased the campaign goal with another $5,000 match that ultimately fell short of another 30 gifts in the time remaining—but they did get more donors. Grist didn’t use a hashtag, so we can’t do a quick search to pull up all the tweets, but you can scroll back on Twitter to May 10, 2012 (requires patience) to see the campaign in full played out.

Historically Blogs drive highly qualified leads because you are getting exposure through content, shared content (when someone forwards your blog to a like-minded friend), and visibility on search engines tied back to keywords in your blog post. Don’t shy away from creating a blog if you think you have to post every day. You don’t. You can drive plenty of leads by posting as few as one to two high-quality, shareable posts per month.

Viral Campaigns
A recent study from Pew Internet found that 75% of people who find news online get it either forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites, and half of them (52%) forward the news through those means. You don’t have to have a Gangnam Style hit song and video to benefit from a viral campaign. If you have touching, funny, or breaking news, turn it into a low-cost viral campaign by:
• Overtly asking your email subscribers to forward the email (people will do this if you ask)
• Asking Facebook fans to “share” a photo with a poignant phrase, data, quote, and a link to your landing page written on the photo in contrasting color and capital letters
• Asking Twitter followers to “retweets”
• Create an Infographic
• Create a video and again, directly ask people to share, post on your website, social media, and include in emails

Chaperoned Emails
Chaperoned emails are highly effective in the nonprofit arena for recruiting “like-minded” supporters. List sharing is a tactic you’re probably already using in your direct mail program. Instead of “renting a list” and mailing to it, each organization sends an email message to its own list promoting an acquisition activity from the other organization (excluding any subscribers the organizations share in common). Subscribers who affirmatively opt-in join the list of the partner organization. All data shows that this kind of list sharing does not result in cannibalization of donors from the partners. It’s a no-brainer to ask your corporate partners and sponsors to send chaperoned emails to their employees and segmented audiences with a specific call to action.

We hope you are collecting lots of great information and developing a plan of action to increase your house file.

Stay tuned. In next week’s e-newsletter, we will wrap up this series with our last two tops; Lightbox Captures and Search Engine Optimization. We hope you are collecting lots of great information and developing a plan of action to increase your house file.


About Mandy O’Neill

Mandy O’Neill is the Chief Strategist and Founder of ConnectedNonprofit, a boutique online marketing agency that helps nonprofits with online growth initiatives, new channels of fundraising, and refreshing current online programs. You can reach her directly at

“Every choice you make has an end result.” ~Zig Ziglar

This e-newsletter was written by Mandy O’Neill.

If you want your 2013 end-of-year fundraising higher than what you just achieved in 2012, you’ve got to grow your donor base. Now’s the time to get started! Direct mail acquisition is flat and major donor acquisition takes time, and online acquisition is fast, low-cost and hot right now. So hot, we are highlighting the best tips for online acquisition in a three part series all this month. In the first e-newsletter of our three part series, we will start with the lowest cost tips for the highest return.

Is your acquisition flat? Looking for a shot in arm? Online acquisition might be the boost you need. We already know you need a professional online program because:

• About 10% of the average nonprofit’s revenue comes in online
• Over 64% of major donors check out your website before investing in your nonprofit—and 80% of those big dollar donors have actually donated online
• 95% of grant reviewers look at your website when reviewing your grant application; and
• The annual gross revenue from multichannel donors is typically four times that of offline-only donors and three times that of online-only donors

What you may not know: is how valuable the online channel is to growing your donor file.

Online acquisition is faster, cheaper, and more successful than other channels
Most nonprofit revenue comes in via direct mail, major donors, peer-to-peer fundraising, grants, and services revenue. But new donor acquisition has been flat since 2008 in direct mail, at the same time online acquisition has grown in size and sophistication. Why? Mostly because it’s easier to target qualified leads online. And, while we’re about to share some tips and examples for effective online acquisition please note that we have learned that your newly acquired donors from online channels need to be put immediately into your direct mail stream in order to retain them and to get the ever-valuable second gift.

Tips and Examples

Welcome Series
We found the first 30 days are critical to converting a new lead into a donor. Yep, acquiring the lead is only half the battle. Before you even start an acquisition campaign, make sure you have an effective Welcome Series or your investment in generating new leads will be wasted. We generally recommend a three-email series that starts with a welcome and impact statement describing what donors accomplish with their donations through your organization, but no hard ask. The second email should be an interest survey; two or three questions that identity the topic of interest your subscriber values most. The third email is a hard-ask appeal based on the interest segment of your subscriber and needs to drop before your 30 day window expires.

You don’t have to be an advocacy organization, or heavily into public affairs to effectively use petitions. Nonprofits utilize Care2 and to generate new leads. The National Parks Conservation Association (follow this link for an example of a petition) runs several petition campaigns right from their website a year to grow their housefile. Before jumping into a “petition-to-grow” program, though, we’d recommend testing some low-cost targeted Facebook or Google Ads that lead to an engagement mechanism like a survey, quiz, petition, or simply a sign-up for more information. Adding an ad campaign allows you to reach new targeted “qualified” audiences that care about your issue.

Stay tuned for #2 of our three part series next week; we’ll talk about social media campaigns and other ways of growing your donor base online.

Mandy O’Neill is our Guest Writer for Tips and Examples of What’s Working in Online Acquisition (3 part series). She is the Chief Strategist and Founder of ConnectedNonprofit, a boutique online marketing agency that helps nonprofits with online growth initiatives, new channels of fundraising, and refreshing current online programs. You can reach her directly at

If you are a national brand that is seeking a cause marketing partnership or a non-profit looking to strengthen your corporate partnerships, you will want to listen to Brand Fast-Trackers podcast. In this podcast, Rachel shares her expertise on how to evolve your brand or nonprofit and develop a successful cause partnership by helping each other to hit goals, grow market reach and inspire the community to create real, measurable change.

To hear Rachel’s insights and advice on how to create a successful partnership, click on the link below to listen to the podcast.

“And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!” ~Dr. Seuss “Oh the Place You’ll Go”

We’re 3! What an amazing journey so far. As we reflect on the last 36 months, we are so proud of the work we have done. But, more importantly, the people we have been blessed to work with and the people who have benefited from the ideas, programs, and fundraising that has taken place. What started out as one person working from Austin has quickly blossomed into a first-rate team of experts from all over the United States. I find myself inspired, thankful, and motivated as we head into the next year of Armbruster Consulting Group.

3 Thank You’s
1. Our clients – There is always something so special about that first phone call where we get to learn about a new cause, a new mission, a new group of wonderful passionate people trying to make a difference. Whether it’s sharing a great concept, discussing team dynamics, finding new opportunities…anything – it is always meaningful and very interesting. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your communities, teams, and visions.

2. Team Armbruster – Over the past two decades I have been able to work with some of the smartest and hardest working people on the planet. NOW…I get the pleasure of tapping into their expertise and ideas for our clients. Thank you for being a part of the company and for always being good stewards of our clients’ resources and making me laugh along the way. Special thanks to Angie Schlanger who has helped keep me focused, organized, and is always a great thought partner.

3. My family – When I decided to open Armbruster Consulting Group in 2009 the initial conversation with my husband took less than 2 minutes and went something like this:

Me: ‘I think it’s time to open my company.’
Brandon: ‘Great. Let’s go open a bank account and register at the Secretary of State over lunch.’

Over the past three years, my husband, kids, parents, siblings, in-laws, and my ‘sisters by another mother’ have been so uplifting, encouraging, and supportive of this company. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas, serving on committees, running overnight relays, or just listening to me talk through ideas – they are always there and none of this would be possible without their love and support.

3 Highlights
1. Running in the Run to the Sun Relay – There was something so cathartic about running in the dark and then seeing the sun rise over the horizon. This event symbolizes everything I love about my work. One person with a huge heart felt a need to help his friends who had a daughter with a devastating disease. He came up with an idea. A former colleague working for the nonprofit organization the family had started hired me to take that idea and make it a reality. Fast forward eight months and we had raised $250,000 and had 200 people running 100 miles, through the night all for that little girl and other kids dealing with Batten disease. It was made even more special by the fact that the run in the dark symbolized the first symptom of the disease which was blindness around age seven. The concept of celebrating at sunrise was to show people there is hope. As we head into year three of the relay, I know it will be just as inspiring and meaningful as that first run, and I can’t wait to get on the road.

2. Being an author and speaking at conferences and events – I love public speaking. I like sharing the knowledge that I have gained over the years. I like asking questions that make people think. There is something so exciting to think about how people might be inspired or what might come from the idea exchange. Publishing Banding Together For A Cause in 2011 has given me an opportunity to speak at more events recently, and I am addicted. Love it.

3. Receiving a donation from my son – Sometimes it is hard to explain exactly what I do to my children (ages 8 and 6). But, I knew I was onto something when I told Evan (6) about a new project. We were working on an international fundraising program for children’s charities and had created a three minute video to describe the campaign. After showing it to him, he went to his room, gathered up all of his money, put it in a baggie, and brought it to me. He said the kids in the video needed it more than he did. It is always hard to be away from your kids, and everyone second guesses themselves, but that moment filled me with such joy and pride. I get to do work that will make the world a better place for my kids and inspire them to take action and serve others. I think that is awesome.

3 Goals
1. Feedback – During our business planning meeting this past summer, Angie and I decided to make client feedback a priority. We have started conducting post-project feedback calls, and our clients have provided such great comments and thoughts. We are looking forward to more input and ideas in the coming months and years.

2. Research/Thought Leadership – I have a few questions and ideas swirling around in my head that I would love to dedicate time and energy to this coming year. They are not related to any specific client but have the potential to benefit segments of the NPO community.

3. Do great work – I want to keep doing work I am proud of and that will have an impact. There is no time for mediocrity – only excellence.

3 Lessons
1. Surround myself with people I love – I am detecting a theme here. Relationships are what this work and really life is all about. Our relationships with our clients, vendors and partners, and their relationships with their sponsors, donors, teams, and those they serve. Any time I have waivered on the idea of ‘loving’ the person I am dealing with, it has gone poorly. There is no room for error here. I need to follow Jim Collins Good to Great advice and make sure the people on the Armbruster Consulting Group bus are right and ready for the ride of their life!

2. Importance of setting boundaries – This is a work in progress but something I think we could all work on and benefit from.

3. Schedule your life and then work around it. Take time to make vacation plans, dedicate time with family, carve out time for yourself, and then work life instead of always doing it the other way around.

3 Recommendations
1. Be challenged, not overwhelmed. You feel overwhelmed when you feel threatened. Realize when you are being challenged and rise to the occasion. Take charge.

2. Learn how to tell your story. If Steven Spielberg were going to make a movie trailer of your life, what would he include? That’s your story. Do the same for the organization you represent.

3. Work Hard. Play Hard.

3 Books
1. Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

2. Nonprofit Sustainability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman

3. Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

3 Predictions
1. I will still be doing this in three years and LOVING IT.

2. God will continue to point me in the right direction if I let Him.

3. I will have accomplished my goal of visiting all 50 states by the end of 2015. I have 10 states to go!

THANK YOU! Looking forward to the next three years with each of you!

In the News

I recently joined Megan Strand and Joe Waters on Cause Talk Radio to chat about my book, Banding Together for a Cause. We discussed the progression of a corporate partner from minor donor to major partner, common nonprofit missteps, and how nonprofits can create a celebrity brand – minus the celebrity. Click on the link below to check it out!

Jim Toscano from reviews Banding Together for a Cause and gives it 5-stars! Thanks, Jim!

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Armbruster Consulting continues to serve its mission and the missions of its clients. Since 2009, our vision has been to do great things and make an impact. We continue to consult with a variety of nonprofit organizations looking for guidance in actualizing their goals. In the beginning it was a one-person office but over the past few years, Armbruster Consulting has expanded to include an amazing and talented group of professional consultants, freelancers and agencies. Whether working individually or as a team, we provide the expertise needed by our clients for a variety of projects and goals.

The diverse group of nonprofit organizations that we are proud to assist every day includes the ALS Association, National Marfan Foundation, Cure Duchenne, Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation and Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer.

Below we have shared some of the recent highlights of our work. Our hope is that you are inspired by the ideas and that you find some useful suggestions for your own projects and plans.

Beyond Batten Disease Foundation – The Run to the Sun Relay was launched last year and in just two short years has raised over $500,000 for Beyond Batten. The event is a 95 mile overnight relay hosted in Austin. (Project Management and Concept Development: Rachel Armbruster; E-Communications: Lindsey von Weller)

Lesson: By creating an once-in-a-lifetime experience and having a strong list of potential runners with a passion for the cause, we are able to have a high fundraising minimum while keeping the event simple and focused on the mission.

Cure Duchenne – In partnership with Sally and Mack Brown, Cure Duchenne hosts Champions to Cure Duchenne, an event at the UT Golf Club which features Austin’s top chefs, former football players from the University of Texas and live and silent auctions. The event has raised over $650,000 in 3 years and continues to attract new sponsors and attendees. The goal is to expand the event model to more cities in partnership with other collegiate coaches. (Strategic Consulting: Rachel Armbruster; Event Management: Kristen Deweese)

Lesson: In year three, we analyzed the silent auction results from the two previous years and found that items with a value of under $200 were almost 50% of the items but only raising 5% of the funds. By removing those items this year, the auction was easier to manage, attendees had easier access to the items being offered, and we raised more money this year than ever before from the silent auction. It was hard to fight the ‘we need more items’ feeling but the commitment to the strategy paid off.

ALS Association National Events Team – Armbruster Consulting provides ongoing support for a variety of programs including One Dollar Difference, national walk program marketing, corporate partnerships and chapter event management staffing support. (Consultant: Rachel Armbruster; Project Manager: Angie Schlanger)

Lesson: A major roadblock to local event management success is allowing yourself to get focused on the production details and not focusing on the relationships. Whether it’s recruitment of new participants, stewardship of sponsors or working with volunteers, by creating a day-by-day action plan for relationship development, a group can see tremendous results.

ALS Massachusetts Chapter – After launching the Ride to Defeat ALS, the Massachusetts Chapter decided it would be best to outsource the management of the project including rider recruitment, fundraising support and e-communications, and volunteer management. The ride continues to grow and is becoming a new source of revenue for the chapter. (Consultant/Project Manager: Jodie Dolgner)

Lesson: Recruitment of a working volunteer committee is essential to the success of an event but may take more than one year to build. Understanding the strengths of the current volunteers and where help is needed is wise so that you can clearly communicate what you need and who you are looking for. It is much easier to gather volunteer recommendations when you say ‘I need someone who has accounting experience and a passion for cycling that may have been impacted by ALSA’ than ‘I need more steering committee members’. Be as specific as possible.

ALS Golden West Chapter – ALSA Golden West is hosting the 8th Annual Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS. This year has been dedicated to revitalizing their volunteer force, sponsorship outreach, and creating new event management processes and plans. (Project Manager: Jason Glassner)

Lesson: Be sure your event’s success does not rely on one single individual. By diversifying the management of the event production, the relationship management, and the volunteer support, you can ensure that the event will continue to be strong when turnover occurs with staff and/or volunteers.

The National Marfan Foundation – Over the past 6 months, we have worked with The National Marfan Foundation to create a new independent fundraising program including branding and messaging, and provided recommendations for their national volunteer program including chapter management. The next phase of work includes collateral development, systems implementation, and more. (Strategic Consultant: Rachel Armbruster; Project Management: Jodie Dolgner)

Lesson: To review the case study for the National Marfan Foundation, please click on the link provided.

Texas Premier Football Camp Foundation (TPFCF) – Over 200 children will gather for 2 days of football instruction from former University of Texas players and current NFL athletes. We are assisting with event coordination, marketing, and sponsorship, for the 6th annual football camp and the corresponding golf tournament. (Project Manager: Angie Schlanger)

Lesson: Be sure you and your board of directors have a clear vision for your programs. For TPFC, Phase One of the camps is to host paid participants with the long-term goal of hosting underprivileged youth and adding an elite camp for high school students.

No Marine Alone – Organize a cross country bicycle ride for the Marine Graduation Foundation. Tasks include fundraising strategies, underwriting/sponsorship packet development, volunteer organization and web enhancement. (Project Manager: Angie Schlanger)

Lesson: Create a solid logistics plan to eliminate any difficulties along the way. Course selection and execution timeline is very important with weather always being a factor. Implement solid online fundraising opportunities and promote them along the way at a variety of mini events.

Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation – Event planning and logistics execution. In addition to event management, we provide ongoing marketing and development support, web support and grant writing. (Strategic Consultant: Rachel Armbruster; Project Management: Catherine Albertson; Grant Writer: Lindsey von Weller)

Lesson: When managing ongoing projects for any nonprofit, establish and work through a solid long-term plan. This will keep you and staff focused on an end goal.

We are proud to be assisting these fantastic organizations and feel blessed to be working with such passionate, smart, and inspiring clients. To learn more about how we might be able to help your organization achieve its fundraising goals, please contact us at or visit us online at

In the News

The Aglaia website recently published a story on Pi Mu authors, Rachel’s story can be found here,

“Manners are one of the greatest engines of influence ever given to man.” ~Richard Whately

I recently read this article about manners in a parenting magazine and after a while I realized that these reminders were good for everyone – not just kids. As representatives of a cause, it is important that we take our role seriously and be on our best behavior.  Taking time to read the list of 25 manners and think about how it relates to your daily job can make a big difference in your career.

The full article can be found by clicking on this link:

Manner #1: When asking for something, say “Please.”

Manner #2: When receiving something, say “Thank you.”

Manner #3:
Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking.

Manner #4: If you do need to get somebody’s attention right away, the phrase “excuse me” is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.

Manner #5: When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.

Manner #6: The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.

Manner #7: Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.

Manner #8: When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.

Manner #9: When you have spent time at your friend’s house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.

Manner #10: Knock on closed doors — and wait to see if there’s a response — before entering.

Manner #11: When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.

Manner #12: Be appreciative and say “thank you” for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect.

Manner #13: Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant.

Manner #14: Don’t call people mean names.

Manner #15: Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.

Manner #16: Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.

Manner #17: If you bump into somebody, immediately say “Excuse me.”

Manner #18: Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t pick your nose in public.

Manner #19: As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.

Manner #20: If you come across a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say “yes,” do so — you may learn something new.

Manner #21: When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.

Manner #22: When someone helps you, say “thank you.” That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teachers!

Manner #23: Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.

Manner #24: Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.

Manner #25: Don’t reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.


In the News

PPAI Publications recently interviewed Rachel about her book, Banding Together for a Cause.  The cover story, “Cause Marketing – Bridging Commerce with a Cause” can be found here,



This case study was written by Jodie Dolgner, Project ManagerThe National Marfan Foundation (NMF) is the only non-profit organization in the United States solely dedicated to saving lives and improving the quality of life for patients and families affected by Marfan syndrome and related disorders.Challenge: 

The National Marfan Foundation partnered with Armbruster Consulting to help generate revenue and engagement opportunities while increasing awareness of Marfan syndrome.

Project Goals:

Multi-phase project

  • Develop a pro-active community events program structure through endurance programs and third party fundraising resources while increasing fundraising potential and  participation levels
  • Build a database of constituents including donors, volunteers, and patients through local and national branded initiatives
  • Provide recommendations for volunteer network reorganization to improve effectiveness , engagement and retention

Services Provided

  • Reviewed existing program assets and completed a non-profit comparison analysis as well as conducted interviews with key Board Members and constituents
  • Developed National Brand
  • Implemented turnkey event structure
  • Customized communication plans with e-mail templates
  • Provided website content and wireframe design
  • Created effective training tools
  • Strategic organization restructure


After completing extensive research on both the community events and the volunteer program, the brand “Team Heart and Soul” was developed and will be implemented throughout the NMF.  This umbrella approach is designed to embrace all constituents to make a difference by organizing and participating in events or volunteering within the volunteer network to support the mission.  There are exclusive benefits for Team Heart and Soul members including online resources such as fundraising tools, turn key events, letter templates and Team Heart and Soul University training program.  Furthermore, Armbruster Consulting provided a comprehensive plan to restructure the chapters into six Regional Leadership Councils to further build the organization across the US.  These enhancements will allow NMF to improve and increase community leaders and participation, improve ROI, increase collaboration, and increase fundraising opportunities and total dollars.


Team Heart and Soul to be launched in phases during 2012


“Rachel and her team are enthusiastic leaders who have walked us through each and every step along the way of our first steps toward building a new endurance and community events program. They listen to your organization’s needs, become a true partner, and offer well thought out and strategic guidance. Unlike some consulting relationships, Rachel sees her self as a true extension of our staff and the work she generates is easy to implement. We are thrilled with our partnership and have signed on for additional help with our national volunteer program.”

Jennifer Grignoli, Director of Development, National Marfan Foundation 



“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.” – Dennis Waitley

This year’s Run Walk Ride fundraising conference was held on March 6-7 in Atlanta. Every year I look forward to attending the conference. It is a great time for learning, sharing, catching up with old friends and making new ones. Everyone is there with a shared goal: more effectively and efficiently raise funds for their cause. At the conference, industry leaders shared success strategies to help you:

• Raise more money
• Cut costs while maintaining quality
• Manage people and technology better

Last year I provided three separate e-newsletters with notes. This year, I decided to focus on the couple of items that stuck with me post-conference and make them very actionable for you. Here are my recommended follow-up or action items from the conference:

 Explain your mission in 140 characters (read

 Know your story (read

 Get comfortable making the ask and then be quiet and listen (read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People)

 A great ask is tactical and practical (ask should include specific instructions on what to do next and be something that is within the donor’s ability to deliver)

 During the hire process, ask the interviewee to make an ask (can be related to job they are applying for or something they are personally raising money for currently)

 Focus on largest teams to make biggest impact (pretty clear!)


For more information including slides and presentations from this year’s conference, visit and be sure to sign up for the e-newsletter and other highlights.

Don’t be scared…help is on the way!

Does your organization have an e-newsletter? Is it sent sporadically? Is the process to generate content, write, edit and send the newsletter cumbersome and a drain on already limited resources? Are results hard to determine and reporting non-existent?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you are considering launching an e-newsletter but have hesitations because of similar concerns, consider outsourcing your e-newsletter. Outsourcing provides a third party group accountable for on-time delivery of the newsletter, a strategic plan for content, community mobilization and implementation of e-newsletter best practices.

Armbruster Consulting identifies ways to help nonprofit organizations in every aspect of their business. In order to help make the e-newsletter process more efficient and effective, Armbruster Consulting is pleased to offer a turn-key e-newsletter package including set-up, design, writing and management. Our goal is to create an annual communication plan for the newsletter, uncover meaningful and motivating content and provide the implementation to ensure consistent and effective delivery of your newsletter.

Before deciding to outsource your organization’s newsletter, please consider the following impacts:


  1. Is the newsletter published in a timely manner?
  2. Is the newsletter integrated into the larger organization strategy and mission?
  3. Does it require staff time that could be spent on more productive revenue generation or mission related activities? 
  4. Do you know the true impact of the newsletter? Is it increasing gifts, average gift amounts, engagement with the organization, event participation and more?
  5. Is your organization looking to convert its direct mail newsletter to an e-newsletter or do you need to get your database in order before an email can be sent?

E-Newsletter Packages start at just $5,950 and can be customized to your organization’s goals and objectives. In addition to e-newsletters, Armbruster Consulting can help with all of your fundraising and communication needs. Contact me at 512-944-3417 or to learn more about how we can transform your e-newsletter into a true marketing and development tool for your organization.