Thursday, May 4, 2017

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...



  1. I'm a bit confused by the title. We do, indeed, have a fax & it's on our business cards. Want to know why? Because you can't hack into a fax. As we saw the other day, hacking is very much alive and well, and if they can hack into your email, they can read an attachment.

    1. You can't spoof the cell signal of a rotary dial phone either, but that doesn't mean we should still use them. The article challenges people to innovate and think beyond the traditional things we put on business cards. The very fact that you're questioning the value of that means that it's too late for you. And if you're still counting on people sending you faxes, its too late for your business as well.

  2. You meet your clients where you find them. Some prospective clients use faxes. Some existing clients use faxes. And it is typically in their procurement processes. Perhaps on the back of the card would be a compromise.

  3. For those commenting that people they come across still use a fax number, I would be intersted to know if those prospecting using it actually get it from your card. If not, then you still don't need the fax number on your card. If they do, then keep it on there.

  4. Much sound and fury, signifying....?

  5. Fax is for the post 40 crowd

    1. I'm post-40. Fax is still outdated garbage. :)