Teeny tiny type

I was on a flight home to Ottawa last week. I’d had a long day of meetings, so decided to delve into the travel magazines that I’d brought along. Have I mentioned how much I love to travel? My secret indulgence is subscriptions to all of the best travel magazines.

I sat back, ordered a glass of wine, turned on my overhead light, and opened the first of the two magazines. I realized I had a problem as soon as I got to the table of contents. I couldn’t read it. I put it up closer to my face. Nope. I held it out at the end of my arms. Nope. I put my glasses on. Nope.

I couldn’t read it. Not just that page, but all the pages. So, I flipped through the photos feeling annoyed. I then moved on to the next magazine. Same problem.

I’m 49 years old, and I have pretty good eyesight for my age.

Think about it. I’m 49. I have pretty good eyesight. I can no longer read my travel magazines because of the teeny tiny type, or type put on dark backgrounds. So, I skip the text and flip through them, feeling annoyed.

What’s the average age of your donors?  I’m betting it’s older than 49. Are you making your fundraising and communications materials accessible to them? Are you using a minimum of a 13 pt font (14 pt is even better)? Are you using black text on a white background? Serif font (for offline communications)?

If not, you’re basically putting your materials directly into the recycling bins of your donors. They can’t read them, and they’re not going to put the effort into trying.

Don’t turn off donors with teeny tiny type!   ← Tweet this

Studies have been done around legibility and comprehension that are simply fascinating. I recommend you go order this book as soon as possible (and I see used copies are going for as little as $0.01). It’s a must read for non-profits.

Canadian fundraising benchmarks

It’s a sad fact here in Canada that we don’t have much in the way of fundraising benchmarks. We’re often forced to turn to reports out of the United States to get some idea of how our direct marketing programs are performing.

Consulting firms like Good Works are able to compile their client data to poke away at possible trends, but unless we can put the data of hundreds or thousands of non-profits (broken down by sector) into our compilations the results aren’t going to be statistically valid.

But change is afoot!

Ten years ago, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute established the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP). The goal of the FEP is to help non-profits be more successful by providing them with (free) reports and tools to track and compare their fundraising performance. The project partners with many of fundraising software companies in order to have plenty of data for statistically valid results (the FEP pulls from the data of 8,000 non-profits).

Some of this data comes from Canadian non-profits. But even more exciting is the fact that the team behind the FEP is currently raising funds to build a Canadian version of their tools, based on Canadian data. If you’re interested in supporting them, let me know … I have an in!

But even before that happens, the FEP tools are ones you should check out. You can download a Fundraising Fitness Test and Growth in Giving template where you very simply input your data and have the templates spit out trends, comparisons, retention rates, growth in giving statistics … the list goes on and on. You can also check out the results of FEP’s 2016 sector survey, and read through all sorts of other reports. All for free!

What other benchmarking resources do you look to when measuring and comparing your key performance indicators? I’d love to hear about them.

(first published over on the Good Works blog)