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Is there a fax number on your business card?

Go ahead, take a look. It's a cringe worthy moment. I know, hard isn't it? If you're ever wondering if your organization is resistant to change, or focused on the wrong things, then the flagship for this is your business card. Does it have a QR code on it? Well, bless your heart. One of my other favorites is to have social media logos on it but those little boxes can't be clicked now can they? OOPS.

You see as nonprofits we often focus on the wrong things. We focus on the size of our logo or the exact PMS color or the photo of our CEO, all the while ignoring major glaring indicators that we just aren't keeping up with what really matters to our donors.  WHY are they giving to your organization? How are we tapping into their giving heart muscles? Are we ignoring the truth of why we keep loyal donors at the emphasis on acquisition and ever higher dollar goals? These are the things I wonder about when I meet fellow fundraisers every day. Also, who's noticing the details? They matter.

So about that business card... Does it have the link to your LinkedIn profile on it? What does it say about you? When do you use them? Mostly in the "free lunch" bowls at the local eatery? Is it easy to read for donors young and old? What does it say about all of your communications when your first impression is one from 1994...? So what are the best practices? Here are some things I look for in a modern organization:

  • Clear, bold design - Life is meant to be lived in color- a white business card with a seal is a snoozefest

  • Play with texture, should it be matte or glossy? Consider some cool UV coating

  • Work for an environmental organization, consider plantable cards

  • Make sure it's easy to read for all eyes

  • Is all of that information necessary? Pare down

  • Do something novel and something that fits with your mission

  • Don't put your mission statement on your card

  • Maybe on the back put why you work in fundraising in a quote or personal statement

The whole point here becomes clear, it's not just about your business card or one communication piece, it's about how we think about communication and change, how nimble and diverse we are in our thinking. What do your simplest communications say about your organization? When's the last time you took a look at them? And when you do, do you have diverse opinions in the room? What are your thoughts? Post a photo in the comments of your card, or tag me with a photo of your card on Instagram, @donorguru or email me your card at

I'd love to see your examples, until then I'll be waiting by the fax machine...

Cheers, Lynne


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