Sunday, August 25, 2013

Publisher reveals all “How to ask for a major gift” books all written by the same frustrated fundraiser

The real author of every fundraising book you've ever read


The largest publisher of fundraising textbooks in the world has revealed that its nearly 350 titles on asking people for a donation were in fact written by the same frustrated fundraiser who turned to writing when he couldn’t make a living as a major gifts officer.

Big Invoice Books publishes some of the most popular fundraising books and guides in the US. Last year, it sold $50 million worth of books, webinars and conferences. But in a filing with federal authorities in a civil suit launched by an investor the publishing house revealed that almost all of its books about donations were written by Derek Snidely, 57, of Plano, Texas.

In the court papers, Snidely admitted he has written 327 books about how to ask people for donations in the last five years. All were written under pseudonyms and involved taking the same material and reformatting and refreshing it each time.

The papers say Snidely was a fundraiser for a number of hospitals in New York State, but gave up fundraising because he couldn’t make people give him money.

“I gave up on fundraising because people didn’t want to give me big donations. I was a total failure. But I found my calling as a writer. I just strung together all the old phrases and sayings my more successful colleagues used to say to me and turned that into my first book,” he said in the court papers.

The first book, The Art of Asking Rich People for Donations, was a runaway bestseller for Big Invoice when it was released in 1998. That’s when the publishers came up with the idea of duplicating the book using virtually the same content using a different author’s name. In the filings, Snidely says he went along with the scheme because he was broke, and no fundraising organization would hire him.

“We rewrote the book and turned it into 103 Ways to Make a Major Gifts Ask and we changed my name to Doris Peachtreel. It sold so well that the Publishers wanted to do it again. And then again and again. We kept it up because the books kept selling,” he said.

Snidely expressed regret that he led so many fundraisers astray with false, fabricated and unrealistic advice.

“It became part of me. I had to keep it going. It became my addiction. I’m sorry that I set up an entire generation of fundraisers to fail just as I did. I’m sorry,” he said.

A spokesman for Big Invoice admitted the scheme and said that company has disciplined those responsible. The company said its latest fundraising book, 104 Ways to Make a Major Gifts Ask, was in fact not written by Snidely, but by a failed fundraiser from Vermont instead.




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Call of Fundraising 3 released on Xbox

The latest installment in the Call of Fundraising game series has been released on Xbox. Call of Fundraising 3 promises double the action and a whole new set of cool fundraising missions. Charity leaders are hailing the new game as a major technical achievement in fundraising gaming.

“This is head and shoulders above Call of Fundraising 2. The gameplay and the graphics are absolutely amazing. Fundraisers will be totally blown away by the action,” said James Snidely, Editor of Fundraising Gamer Magazine. 

Dibble/Brewer Interactive, maker of the game, says the new version took more than a year to make and involved a team of more than 100 designers, testers, fundraisers and gift planners.

“In Call of Fundraising 3, we’ve added a lot more features and some real cool missions,” said company CEO Sweets Tolonga.


The game features the adventures of major gifts officer, known simply as The Master Fundraiser, while he attempts to raise money for the $500 million University of Eastern Western Virginia’s new capital campaign. Through a series of fundraising missions players must raise at least $50 million in donations and pledges. Along the way, players must square off with the fundraisers from across town, called CHAOS.

“Of course, the bad guys are back again – the evil fundraisers from CHAOS, the evil foundation. They’re still angry about how The Master Fundraiser took the million dollar gift from the Jones family in the last game. And now it’s payback time. They’ll be trying to take all of your signature donors,” said Tolonga.

Missions take fundraisers around the US and around the world looking for top donors to help the campaign. This includes storming a billionaire’s ocean-going yacht in the Black Sea, penetrating CHAOS’s underwater base in Lake Ontario to steal their donor database and skiing down Mount Everest with a crazy millionaire who only talks to fundraisers when he’s in danger. There’s even a Cold War Retro mission that takes players back to the fundraising days of the 1970s where they must battle the KGB Foundation for a major donation in war-torn Africa.

The game also opens up a new backstory that explains how the Master Fundraiser started in Annual Gifts and worked his way up the ladder to senior major gifts officer in a sea of blood.

“We introduce a new character, Penny. She’s the Master Fundraisers first love and one of the admin types from Annual Giving. They raise money, fight bad guys and fall in love. But then she dies in The Master Fundraiser’s arms after a shootout with CHAOS. It’s really very touching,” said Tolonga.

This version of the game also gives players a host of new tools, including automatic tax calculators and gift planning devices that let characters figure out the exact tax benefits of a gift of a life insurance policy.

“We’ve done everything we can to make this game  as realistic as possible. Players will know what’s it’s like to be a major gifts fundraiser – love, bullets, dust, sweat and blood.”

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kansas charity can’t understand opposition to new “F.U.C.Kansas” brand

CEO Snidely announces the new brand

A Kansas charity says it has no idea why there is such opposition to its new brand. The Foundation for United Charities of Kansas unveiled the new “FUCKansas” brand last week with full-page newspaper and TV advertising, videos and a new website. But the reaction was not what they expected.

“We can’t understand the response we’re getting. People just seem to dislike the new brand for some strange reason that we can’t figure out,” admitted Foundation CEO Turner Snidely.

The new brand was created by Big Invoice, the world renown ad agency who has created brands for some of the top 100 corporations in the US. The $250,000 makeover turned the Foundation’s old “UCK Foundation” into “FUCKansas”. Snidely says pre-launch tests of the new brand were very positive during its creation.

“Big Invoice did focus groups and surveys on more than 1,000 people during the creation of the brand and
The Board with the new brand
the results were obvious – the brand that got to most response was FUCKansas. It was the hands down winner,” he explained.

Snidely says the Board believes that some of the opposition is just from the charity’s long-time donors who want the Foundation to stick to its roots.

“We know a lot of people don’t like the new brand, but we think it’s because it’s different from the one we’ve been using for 25 years,” said Snidely. “Our older donors grew up with the old logo so they have an attachment to it.”

“But everything changes. They have to move with the times. I’m confident that in a year or so they will accept the new brand and soon FUCKansas will be just as well-liked as our old logo.”

The Foundation’s point-person on the new branding process, marketing coordinator Mary Snowblen, says she thinks she knows why there is so much opposition to the new brand.

“I know exactly what it is. It’s the multi-coloured star above the name. Those aren’t our traditional colours. I bet some of the old donors don’t like the star and that’s why they’re so cranky,” she said.

Snowblen took over the branding project after the Foundation laid off its marketing manager and vice-president of marketing last year due to budget cuts. She says the process was a lot easier than she thought.

“I just let Big Invoice take the reins and run with this and they did a wonderful job,” she said. “Some people said that we couldn’t do this re-brand without some of our marketing leaders. But things turned out just fine.”

Snidely says the Foundation plans to increase its advertising with the new brand because it feels that their new image is misunderstood.

“People just need to see more of FUCKansas. I’m confident that when they do, they’ll come to like it as much as I do,” he said.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anti-social media foundation launches new social media fundraising campaign

The Foundation Against Social Media is launching a new multi-million dollar fundraising campaign using social media.

The new $50 million campaign, called Anti-Social, will feature a new Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel. This is the first time the Foundation has used exclusively online marketing to fundraise for its fight against everything online.

“Our latest fundraising campaign will make a major dent in the evils of social media, and how it is enslaving us and exposing us to countless violations of our privacy,” said Foundation CEO Noisey Snidely. “Through our new Facebook page we’re asking Americans from coast-to-coast to contribute stories, videos and pictures about how social media is destroying our way of life. We then plan to feature all of them in new series of online videos supported by YouTube and Twitter.”

The new campaign will fund the construction of a new center for research into destructive power of social media, to be co-located on the Facebook campus at Menlo Park, near San Francisco.

Snidely admits their latest campaign is very ambitious, and that their fight against social media will be challenging.

“Social media is everywhere, but so, too are germs and killer viruses. We’re learning how to make people healthier and prevent these microscopic thingies from killing them. Same thing with social media. One day, people will look back and see social media for what it is – a pestilence on our society. And our new Facebook campaign will show them how,” said Snidely.

The Foundation’s new social media strategy was created by Big Invoice, the Los Angeles-based social media think tank that has fueled some of the most innovative and creative social media campaigns on the web.

It features a special smart phone app available for iPhones, Blackberrys and Android devices that the Foundation created in cooperation with the Foundation Against Smart Phones. The app includes tie-ins to the Anti-Social Facebook page, Twitter feed and other social media such as Tumblr and Pintrest.

“We urge all Americans to stop using social media, and listen to our message about how social media is destroying the world as we know it. All they have to do is follow us on Facebook.”

“And when they’re at our Facebook page, they should hit ‘Like’ to show us how much they really support our campaign,” added Snidely.

The campaign has already increased the number of Twitter followers it had by a factor of ten and now has more than 15,000 Facebook “Likes”. Foundation officials say it will likely go down to be one of the most successful social media-based fundraising campaigns in history.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fortune-Telling Magazine releases Top 100 Best US Charities Rating List

Charity's futures rated by the science of fortune-telling

US Fortune Telling & Cat Whispering Magazine has released its third annual Charity Top 100 list – the most comprehensive and thorough review of the nation’s best charities.

The Top 100 list rated more than 10,000 US charities on a range of topics from finances and administrative overhead to CEO compensation and Alectromancy (observation of a rooster pecking at grain). Magazine Editor Predicto Snidely says their annual list is the most authoritative of its kind published in the US.

“There are many who say they rate US charities, but our rating system is the one for donors to use. It’s detailed, fair, comprehensive and is the only one that actually looks into the future to see how the charity is doing,” said Snidely. “Beat that Charity Navigator and GuideStar!”

The magazine began its charity evaluation program after a séance at its annual Psychic Fair and Cat Trade Show is Las Vegas. Snidely says the spirits of former donors begged them to create a guide to smart giving that would let people know where to put their donations.

“The spirits asked us to come up with an intelligent, insightful and powerful method of looking at a charity’s financial health, accountability, transparency and reporting,” explained Snidely. “They also wanted our readers to buy more cat toys for the spirits of dead pets.”

The rating system uses sophisticated methods of evaluation including reviews of program expenses, predictions of fundraising efficiency, analysis of administrative costs as well as palmistry, rhunecasting, astronomy and clairvoyance. The magazine uses only top professional fortune-tellers who have wide ranging experience in state fairs and in judging competitions.

“Things are not always what they appear from the numbers,” said Snidely. “Sometimes, the books can look good, but the karma can be all bad. Through fortune-telling we can cut through all the spin and get right to the heart of the matter.”

Last year, the Top 100 List accurately predicted the need for more aid for refuges in Syria, which in turn led to higher ratings for international relief agencies.

“Madame Shelia, one of our top columnists, had a premonition that there would be a war somewhere on Earth sometime soon using pyromancy – the science of staring into a fire to tell the future. And what happened? There was a war. It shows us that our Top 100 List is amazingly accurate.”

“Downturn in the economy? We got that one. The introduction of crowdsourcing. Got that, too!”

Charity groups have argued that the methods the magazine uses are arbitrary and often over-simplify the challenges charities face. Snidely says the criticisms of the  Top 100 List are groundless.

“We have a voodoo thing we regularly do with a live chicken, so we see all the excuses these charities have been making. No one believes them. They had better take a hard look at the entrails of life and get with the program or no one is going to give them anything,” he said.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Doctor Who named campaign chair of Time Lord University?

An older picture of The Doctor

The Doctor has been named as the chair of the new $40 Sexdecillion capital fundraising campaign for Time Lord University on Gallifrey. The Time Out Campaign is due to be launched sometime next year, or last, or the year before that on Earth. 

“We’re so pleased that The Doctor has agreed to lead this important effort to raise money for a new sports complex and student life center at Time Lord U,” said Lord Borusa, University Chancellor and Cardinal of the High Council of Gallifrey. “He has always been a strong supporter of the University – except then 4th regeneration who was a bit of an ass. With him at the helm, I’m sure we’ll be able to meet our fundraising goal.”

The Doctor replaces the previously announced campaign chair, The Master. University officials say that The Master agreed to step down from the post after he was found to be in a conflict of interest because he was also on the campaign cabinet of the Daleks Universe Domination Foundation on the planet Skaro.

“We appreciated the efforts of The Master, but his Dalek friends made his role quite impossible. We’re grateful that The Doctor was able to step in and take the reins at such short notice,” said Lord Borusa.

The Time Out Campaign is the University’s first, third and ninth capital fundraising campaign, depending on where one is on the galactic time sphere. Previous campaigns had only modest targets and failed to meet their fundraising goals. The Doctor says he’s confident that they will be able to reach their goal.

“Time Lord U is a force for good in the universe. I know that with the help of the alumni, the High Council and fellow Time Lords everywhere we will be able to get the money to build this vitally needed new gym and student food court,” said the Twelfth Doctor, who looks a lot like the British actor Peter Capaldi.

The Campaign calls for The Doctor to roam the universe calling on Time Lord alumni, planet leaders and galactic bigwigs for leadership gifts. The campaign is currently in the quiet phase, but is expected to be formally announced next year after the Time Lords have defeated The Daleks and The Cybermen.

Other people named to the campaign cabinet are Romana, the Medling Monk, the Valeyard and the 2nd regeneration of The Doctor (who currently is on an extended holiday with Zoe and Polly). 

Officials with the campaign says they plan to place billboards on all TARDIS’s to help market the campaign. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Study says most US charities should be able to master crowdsourcing just before they go bankrupt

Most US charities should be able to master the change that crowdsourcing will bring over the next few years, just before they go bankrupt because of that change. That’s the conclusion of a new study that predicts that the new, revolutionary social finance tool will gain widespread acceptance among US charities before it puts most of them out of business.

“This is really great news. For the first time, it appears US charities have managed to get ahead of the technological curve. Instead of just being flattened by the steamroller of change, US charities have finally learned how to manage ever so slightly before being turned into roadkill,” said Dr. Dufus Snidely of the Center for Meaningless Research at the University of Southern West Virginia, which conducted the research.

“If this happens as we predict, then the charity sector can die and suffer horribly knowing that it achieved a great accomplishment.”

The study of crowdsourcing looked at adoption rates among US charities and polled charity leaders about their perceptions and future plans. The result, said Snidely, was the conclusion that crowdsourcing is within the grasp of most US charities.

“They have what it takes. The online infrastructure, the marketing skills, the social media connections. We think that most of them will successfully move into crowdsourcing in the next few years,” he said.

The success at crowdsourcing will be fleeting though, according to the research. The Center also concluded that crowdsourcing will likely kill off most US charities shortly after they adopt it.

“It’s sort of like the Anti-Christ of fundraising,” he explained. “The crushing level of competition it will bring coupled with the focus on micro-needs rather than on operational-type fundraising will act as a plague on US charities, eventually destroying most of them.”

Snidely says other technological changes have had different impacts of charities. The introduction of the Internet and, more recently, social media, brought similar changes.

“Most US charities were slow to adopt the Web when it came out. And they were extremely slow in picking up social media,” Snidely said. “They suffered as a result, but went on to make the most of it.”

“Here, we see the reverse. They are actually getting out in front of the change for once. And that’s great. Too bad it will only be for a short while.”

This is how we pay the this stuff!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gift Planners group urges Baby Boomers to retire sooner, give more, die quicker

The association that represents the more than 50,000 gift planners across the US is calling on Baby Boomers to retire sooner, give more and die as fast as possible.

The American Association of Gift Planners and Crossing Guards made the statement in its annual report, released last week at its annual conference in Las Vegas. In the report, called “Time To Go”, the group argues that to keep US charities solvent in the next decade the Baby Boomers will have to double their charitable donations. The only way to do that, says Association CEO Arnie Snidely, is for the Boomers to retire and then pass away at a much faster rate.

“The demographics are clear. The Xers don’t have the numbers or the finances to keep most US charities going and Millennials are likely to be living in near poverty for most of their lives,” explains Snidely. “That leaves a very small window in which Boomers can retire, shed their money and save the US charitable sector.”

“The best way for them to do that is make a planned gift – leave something in their will or give gifts of life insurance policies,” said Snidely.

“And then politely die.”

The Association says that if Boomers answer the call to make a planned gift and then pass on US charities will get enough of an influx of new cash to keep going despite the downturn in the economy. It worries that Boomers will retire and live out their lives for as long as possible. If that happens, research shows the Boomers will give up their money in donations at too slow a pace to keep most US charities afloat.

“The Boomers are really the only hope for US charities long-term,” said Snidely. “I know most of them want to spend their golden years in style as king of the generational heap, but US charities can’t afford them to. They’ve really got to go for the good of society.”

The Association is launching a new public education program to encourage Boomers to go early called “Check Out.” It features a humorous, animated cat who thanks the Boomer generation for everything they have done, asks them to make a planned gift and then leave existence. The program features link to euthanasia, skydiving and bungee-jumping organizations in communities across the US.

“We really hope the Baby Boomers answer the call to help US charities,” said Snidely. “If this doesn’t work, we may have to start robbing banks and 7-11s.”

Hey, buy this!