In this episode of Bloomerang TV, Rory Green, a.k.a. Fundraiser Grrl, talks about curating her cheeky observations about life in fundraising over at http://fundraisergrrl.tumblr.com.
Steven Shattuck: All right, welcome. Thanks for joining us for this
week’s episode of Bloomerang TV. Thanks for being here. My
name is Steven. I’m the VP of Marketing over here at
Bloomerang and today my guest, really excited to introduce
Rory Green. She’s a friend of mind on Twitter. We kind of
got talking on Twitter and she also runs a really awesome
blog in addition to her day job as a major fundraiser. So,
hey Rory; thanks for being here. Thanks for chatting with
us for around 15 minutes or so.
Rory Green: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited
to, I love Bloomerang TV. So, I’m very excited to be on
Steven Shattuck: Oh, thanks. That’s nice of you to say. So, you’re in
Vancouver. You are a major gift officer, right? You have a
day job as a fundraiser.
Rory Green: Yeah, I work at a university in BC which is on the West
Coast of Canada for any American viewers and I’ve done
major gifts pretty much most of my career. I love major
gifts, but I also kind of in my spare time by night am
Fundraiser Grrl which is this kind of Tumblr blog that is
little stories and observations about the crazy, wonderful,
strange life that we have as fundraisers.
Steven Shattuck: So, yeah, that’s a really good apt description for
it. Every time you tweet a link to it and I look at the
animated GIF, I laugh out loud because my wife is a
fundraiser and a lot of them hit home really hard. So, you
have this awesome blog. What gave you the idea to start
this? Do you think that like working in fundraising is
particularly difficult or there’s maybe a lot of angst
associated with some of your post? Maybe you can describe
what gave you the idea for this outlet?
Rory Green: So, I have always done fundraising. I’ve never had a
career that’s anything but fundraising. Both of my parents
are fundraisers. So, I grew up around fundraising and
hearing a lot of stories about fundraising. I’m married to
a fundraiser. So, I have a lot of conversations about
fundraising and a lot of my very good friends are
I have been hearing for however many years, the most hilarious
stories about. . . Because fundraising is a really unique.
. . It’s a lot of different things rolled up into one job.
So, we come across working with donors, working with
boards, working with program staff, just the funniest
stories. I wouldn’t say that fundraising is harder than any
other job, but what I will say is we don’t get any
representation in pop culture, right?
Steven Shattuck: Right.
Rory Green: Like if you’re a cop, you have a hard job, but you can
turn on the TV and watch 15 different shows about being a
cop and see yourself in those shows and laugh along with
them and feel like you’re not alone. But, you have nothing
if you’re a fundraiser.
So, I wanted to create Fundraiser Grrl as kind of a place where
people could go, see their own experiences, laugh,
remember, kind of share with colleagues when they’re having
a bad day and mainly to be a confessional and a gathering
place of these crazy, wacky, hilarious stories.
And there’s some stuff that I get that I can’t put on the blog
because maybe the language is a bit too inappropriate or
they’re being really hard on a specific donor or person.
Some of the stuff that I get is just hilarious. I got one
not that long ago about someone opening a B.R.E., a
business reply envelope, and there was like hot sauce in
And I just thought the concept of someone putting hot sauce in a
B.R.E. and putting it in the mail. I was laughing for like
half an hour. So, it’s just an awesome, fun way to bring
fundraisers together and get them to all tell their
Steven Shattuck: The no representation thing is really true. I never
thought of it that way, but that makes a lot of sense and
you’re right. It seems like, you know, I mentioned a lot of
the posts are funny and angst filled, but there are a lot
of weird things that seem to happen to fundraisers more
than any other. . . I mean know every industry has weird
things, but I couldn’t make like marketing guy and have 10%
of the hilarious content that you do.
Rory Green: Oh, well, thank you. Although you should check out Clients
from Hell; is a marketing one.
Steven Shattuck: That is true. That is a good one. That is a really good
one. So, you mentioned this as a gathering place and you’ve
really sort of generated an online community around this.
So, you don’t only. . . You’re not only making the content
yourself, but you accept submissions from people?
Rory Green: Yeah.
Steven Shattuck: Is that right?
Rory Green: Yeah. So, I really believe that engagement is what you’re
goal should be. Whether it’s working with major donors, or
working with people online, or working with direct mail is
you want buy-in. You want people to take ownership of
whatever the thing is.
And to do that you really have to know and understand who your
audience is, right? You’re not ever going to create a
community that has every single person in it.
So, you know, take that time and for me it’s mainly people who are
Gen X, Gen Y. It’s obviously people who are professional
fundraisers. I’m not making this site for any office job or
anything marketing job. You know, get to know them, get to
know what they like and this is to key really is when you
get to know them really well, how can you add value for
So, everything you do needs to be about coming from a place of how do
I add value to you, how do I. . . For me it’s how I bring a
smile to you? How can I make your day a little bit better?
Maybe if you’re a charity, it’s how do I make you feel like
a good person for the donations you’ve made or show you the
difference your gift has made?
Don’t come from a place of I’m so great, hey everybody look how great
I am. Come from a place like, I can do something for you.
And that’s where I think I gotten the engagement and I
started slow. I put a GIF on twitter and say what makes you
feel like this? Then, slowly I kind of pushed actually
submitting direct on the site.
I’m at a place now where I create very little of the content on
Fundraiser Grrl. I mainly just edit and curate it. People
are out there funnier than me. So, it’s been a real joy to
kind of see this grow from something I own to something I
really feel like Fundraiser Grrl isn’t mine anymore. It
belongs to the community.
Steven Shattuck: Yeah, I think that’s probably why you’ve been. . .
It’s definitely why you’ve been so successful. You’ve been
able to create an online community around it and crowd
source the content. So, I think it was really sort of a
genius mechanism because a lot of people, they create a
blog and they kind of toil over creating the content
themselves, and they don’t feel like anyone’s really
But what you’ve done, getting other people involved. How else. . .
What other kinds of ways have you built that community
other than crowdsourcing the content?
Rory Green: So, I think for me, I’m a big advocate of listening and
give before you get and I don’t think that people
especially in sales roles always do that very well. So,
instead of going on. . . So, Twitter was kind of my main
social media platform to build the community. So, instead
of just kind of tweeting and broadcasting, I would find
people who are talking about fundraising. I make a lot of
use of the Twitter advanced search function which not a lot
of people know about.
So, I can search for people who are tweeting about Razor’s Edge who
live in this area who are using the words like angry,
upset, whatever. And then I can kind of share with them a
post I’ve done about getting really mad when a query
crashes your computer. So, look for conversations that are
already happening. Use the wonderful free features that are
already out there and then join that conversation.
Find ways to draw people in. So, if I really wanted someone with a
lot of twitter followers to notice the blog. I would maybe
do a couple posts inspired by things that they’ve done or
dedicate it to them to get them to kind of feel flattered
to want to share it out with their network. That worked
really, really well.
Steven Shattuck: That makes sense. I love it. So, obviously I don’t
think you would advocate a nonprofit to create a blog and
just have funny GIFs about their day in the life. Or maybe
you would. That might actually work for some nonprofits.
What are some things. . . What are some takeaways from your
success, you think nonprofits can do when maybe they’re
creating content or going about creating a digital
Rory Green: Yeah, so I will say Fundraiser Grrl has a zero dollar
budget. So, I went from 300 to 6,000 Twitter followers in a
year and three site visitors to a thousand a day in a very
short period of time on a budget of nothing. So, I think
it’s less about the money you spend and more about your
dedication to doing things right.
So, like I said, knowing who your audience is, defining them, giving
value to them, being interesting, and there’s different
ways you can be interesting and I think emotions and
stories, regardless of the kind of nonprofit you are, are
the right way to do that.
So, Fundraiser Grrl is very emotional and the emotions are often
angst, anger, sadness, frustration, but maybe for your
nonprofit, you’re key emotions are happiness, joy, despair,
anger, whatever it is make emotional content. People will
resonate more strongly too if you’re sharing emotional
things than just kind of statistics and strategic reports
and stuff like that and telling stories.
So, whether it’s. . . For me it’s stories of what life as a
fundraiser is, but maybe for you it’s going to be stories
of the people you’ve helped or stories of your amazing
wonderful donors, or stories of the dedicated program staff
who spent their lives working to make a cause better.
So, be emotional, tell stories, and tell stories that you know are
going to resonate with your audience. So, there’s so many
great free analytics out there. Twitter will tell you what
your most clicked on links are. I use Google Analytics for the site.
So, track what’s working.
So, if happy stories are working really well for you, repeat that and
know that it takes, maybe you might have to share out the
same story about twelve times to hit everyone in every time
zone at every time of day. Don’t be afraid to keep reusing
what’s really working and what’s really popular. Don’t feel
like it always has to be brand new content.
Steven Shattuck: That’s awesome advice. I love it. And I should say,
I don’t mean to paint the picture as the blog being a
downer. There are some happy posts on there.
Rory Green: Yes. Yes.
Steven Shattuck: It’s not all Razor’s Edge trashing
Rory Green: No, although I have to say my most popular stuff is stuff
about dysfunction and being stuck somewhere dysfunctional
or feeling like your life is falling about. Although, Harry
Potter stuff and cat stuff also does really well.
Steven Shattuck: Not surprised.
Rory Green: Yeah, yeah, not at all.
Steven Shattuck: Well, cool. Rory, this was really awesome for you to
share all that good advice and we’re going to link to the
blog, but just so people know, where can they find that
particular blog, which everyone should bookmark? They
should make it their homepage actually because it’s
Rory Green: Yeah, it’s Fundraiser Grrl, G-R-R-L. I don’t know if you
can see the button. Fundraisergrrl.tumblr.com or find me on
Twitter at RoryJMGreen and I am linking to it every day on
Steven Shattuck: Yeah, definitely follow Rory, definitely bookmark
that blog, it’s hilarious. Rory, thanks for being on the
Rory Green: Thanks for having me.
Steven Shattuck: Really appreciate it. It’s a lot of fun and we will
catch everyone next week with a brand new episode. Thanks
for watching. Check out that blog and follow Rory on
Twitter for sure. So, we will catch you next week. Thanks
again for watching.