January is a great time to set plans for the new year. I know many of you are using my MagnetGoals Program or something similar.

If raising more money this year is one of your goals, one of the most important things you can commit to is investing in learning. Learn all you can about fundraising. In subsequent fundraising secrets, I’ll talk about books, CDs, listservs, and seminars.

But for today, I’ll recommend a free learning opportunity: read blogs.

Blogs are a great source of free education. Some of the best practitioners in the field have blogs. Read them. Learn from them.

I’m currently subscribed to 108 blogs. Even with most of them being pretty inactive, I couldn’t remember to go to all these sites! So I use Google Reader to pull all my feeds in one central place. In the past, I used Bloglines.com which is a good option too. Google is easier for me since I’m already using Gmail for all of my email accounts and the Google Calendar for church events.

Even with a feed aggregator like this, you won’t be able to read every article in depth. That’s not the point. Keeping a pulse of the blogosphere is a great way of hearing what’s news out there. And can be a great way to learn about new tools to help you do your job better.

Since you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have some level of comfort with blogs. If not, there’s a lengthy article on blogs at Wikipedia.

Here are some of the fundraising blogs–and a few other–I keep up with (in alphabetical order):

  • AlumniFutures.com: I just found this blog last week. For years, I’ve benefitted from Andrew Shaindlin’s comments on a listserv we were part of. I’m looking forward to being a regular reader of his blog!
  • BlogBaud.com: a low traffic pilot from Blackbaud employees.
  • [chrisbrogan.com]: I’ve got no idea how he does it, but if you want to learn about Web 2.0, Chris is your man.
  • ChurchMarketingSucks.com: Great insights on how to make marketing better.
  • Creating the Future!: Hildy is a change agent par excellence
  • Donor Power Blog: Jeff Brooks’s blog on fundraising. He definitely "gets" it.
  • Give and Take: The Chronicle of Philanthropies round up of blogs on philanthropy. Be sure to check out their extensive blog roll. They have links to dozens of blogs (including yours truly!).
  • GuidingVision.com: I always benefit from learning what Sandra Sims is thinking.
  • Hopecaptive: My wife’s blog. Keeps reminding me why I do what I do. (Read this gem for a chuckle: From Caleb This Morning)
  • LizStrauss.com: Liz’s thoughts on business and life consistently spark ideas that improve my life.
  • MarcPitman.com: Hey, how’d this get in here? 🙂 This is my other blog, one I’ve been writing since 2000. This is where I put my thoughts about church, family, life, coffee, and beer.
  • Mashable: This group posts way too often. But if there’s anything you want to learn about the latest advances (and retreats) in social networking and Web 2.0, this is the blog to read.
  • never eat along blog: I loved Keith Ferrazi’s book Never Eat Alone. His blog keeps up his great tips on networking and connecting with others.
  • Nonprofit Marketing: Katya has the ideas I wish I had!
  • Seth Godin: Seth Godin’s thoughts on marketing are amazing and easily applicable to fundraising.
  • The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy: Maya is prolific when it comes to Jewish philanthropy.
I’ll stop there. That will get you started.
Leave me a comment to let me know what blogs you keep up with, in addition to the Extreme Fundraising Blog, of course! 🙂
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