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Introducing: Fundraiser Barbie (w/ new realistic mindset!)

Published 7 months agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

Hi Barbie! It's the 101st issue of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter! Do you find value here? Might your peeps too? Would you mind forwarding this to them? That'd be lovely! (Your lovely peeps can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

  • Introducing: Fundraiser Barbie (w/ new realistic mindset!)
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you
  • Win It in a Minute

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Hi Reader,

Brett here:

Did you hear...

For good reason, in my opinion: the film is a masterpiece.

Which is why, after seeing it last Tuesday, I posted on my Facebook:

Some of my friends gave me flak. They questioned me hard.:

"Are you sure?"
"What? Really? You seem like a connoisseur of movies. That statement shocks me. Unless you are being sarcastic of course."
"Who hacked Brett Cooper's account?"

Yet when Julie and I went to the theater again last night and saw Barbie for a second time (Oppenheimer was sold out), my conclusion was confirmed.

I stand by my proclamation. Barbie is the best of the more than 1,000 movies I've seen (I know how many because I track them using the Letterboxd app).

Barbie is so improbably good that our 25-year-old son Baye heard "Goodnight, Ken!" from the sixty-something woman who sat next to him in the theater. Of course, he replied, "Goodnight, Barbie!"

The film is fire β€” firing on all cylinders: writing, directing, acting, cinematography, soundtrack, originality, costumes, dance numbers, themes β€” with laughter, tears, and pearls of wisdom "up the wazoo."

Barbie is chock full of life lessons, many of which apply to fundraising.

And so I recommend you add to your collection...


Introducing: Fundraiser Barbie (w/ new realistic mindset!)

Like a good outfit, mindset can make all the difference.

(mild spoilers ahead)

The film's story begins with Barbie knowing only about her home world of Barbieland, where today "is the best day ever. So was yesterday, and so is tomorrow, and every day from now until forever."

In other words, her existence is defined by the strangling unreality of perfectionism.

Fundraising is like that.

Before I elaborate, I want to connect to last week's newsletter β€” in which we shared 10 movie quotes that connect to fundraising. We asked for you to hit reply and share with us your own fundraising movie quotes.

The winning response?

"Show me the money!"

(from the movie Jerry Maguire)

We approve. This is a good one.

And we don't want you to be like Crippling Shame Barbie.

Money (for fundraising) is not evil. On the contrary, it's very good because it's used for good, for helping people to help others ... and for helping others to be helped.

Please, please, feel no shame!

Instead: Try to be more like Fundraising Barbie.

Because Fundraising Barbie has learned to escape from the unreality of perfectionism by avoiding the following 10 fundraising perfectionism traps:

  1. Overthinking: Like Barbie in her initial, flawless world, you might become trapped in your attempts to communicate "flawlessly." Authenticity almost always connects better with donors than does trying to be "perfect."
    ​
  2. Fear of NO: As Barbie faces the unknown beyond Barbieland, you might hesitate to approach potential donors, fearing rejection. But remember, every NO is one step closer to a YES.
    ​
  3. Holding onto Tradition: If you're clinging to the safety of old methods, you might be missing out on innovative strategies that resonate with today's donors.
    ​
  4. Drowning in Data: Seeking the perfect insight can lead you into analysis paralysis, delaying decisions and campaigns. At some point, you just have to say "enough is enough" and take the leap.
    ​
  5. Avoiding Feedback: The journey of enlightenment, Stereotypical Barbie discovers, is not easy or painless. It's weird, soft, mushy, and complicated. Also, it's worth it. (Constructive feedback is a gift.)
    ​
  6. Chasing Aesthetic Perfection: We aren't living in Barbieland. Focusing too much on visuals is a trap that β€” if you're not careful β€” can overshadow the importance of your core message. Balance is key.
    ​
  7. Rigidity Over Adaptability: In a rapidly changing world, flexibility and adaptability are your allies. As creator of Thoughts of Death Barbie and Mattel employee Gloria says, "That’s life; it’s all change."​
    ​
  8. Overlooking Smaller Donors: Every donor, big or small, plays a role in your mission's success β€” just as every woman is important (in life as in Barbie) ... which is why Gloria advocates for Ordinary Barbie.
    ​
  9. Steering Clear of Risk: Barbie steps out of her comfort zone and finds that "the real world is forever and irrevocably messy." If you are always trying to clean up the mess in front of you, you're bound to stay rooted in one spot. But if you move out of your comfort zone and take some calculated risks, you'll increase your chances of wisdom and success.
    ​
  10. Misaligned Priorities: Always prioritize your donors' perspectives over the quest for a "perfect" campaign. After all, it's their story too. (Like Ken, they are "Kenough." And so are you!)

Bye for now, Barbie! ❀️


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

For your brain, heart, and funny bone...

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” A Fundraising Metaphor? Choose Wisely.​ by Kevin Schulman (a blog post about the nuances of carefully matching metaphors and their implied connotations with your fundraising writing)​
    ​
  • Fully Fabulous β€” Greta Gerwig via Smartless (a 56-minute podcast episode in which Barbie writer/director Greta Gerwig is interviewed by actors/podcast hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett)
    ​
  • Amusingly Accurate β€” I think my dad really liked Barbie (a 95-second TikTok video in which a young man reads aloud his dad's gushing group text review of Barbie)
    ​
  • Conceptually Concise β€” My Contact with the Aliens (a whimsical image illustrating and charting how we humans might react to close encounters of the third kind)
    ​
  • Helpfully Forgettable β€” Forgettery (a word of the day that helpfully reminds us forgetting can be helpful)

Until next time: May you get real and keep it real, like Fundraising Barbie!

All our best,

PS: Here's the latest in our weekly video series, Win It in a Minute. You can (and maybe want to?) subscribe here.

Julie asks Tom: β€œHow do you respond to people who may argue that an organization’s voice or brand should be consistent across all communications including fundraising?”

Click below for Tom's answer...

video preview​

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Hi! We're Julie Cooper and Brett Cooper, fundraising copywriters for great causes. Does your fundraising bring in as much money as it could? You can send donor communications that stir hearts to action. We'd love to help. πŸ’› Start by subscribing to our FREE weekly newsletter.

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