A lesson from Coco Chanel | npENGAGE

A lesson from Coco Chanel

By on Mar 23, 2011


Are you wondering what Coco Chanel has to do with fundraising?  By now, you’ve probably learned that I like to relate fundraising to a variety of topics from football [defunct link removed] to dieting [defunct link removed], so why not fashion.

Coco Chanel is famous for saying, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”  Over accessorizing is a no-no.  I think this same thought can be applied to websites and emails.  Have you fallen into that trap that you feel like you need to include every bit of information on your website or in your emails?

I have and it’s hard because when it comes to events there’s lots of information to relay.  But, consider this… sometimes by including to much information we’re distracting the reader or visitor from taking the desired action.

Here’s my new technique for emails.  Once you’ve created your email and you’re ready to hit send: Stop.  Walk away from your computer, go talk with a co-worker or grab a cup of tea or coffee and then come back to your email with fresh eyes.  Ask yourself –  what is the purpose of this is email, who is my audience and is the call to action easily identifiable?

When we write an email there’s usually a purpose.  We’re not just sending an email just to send an email.  We also need to consider, that while we want the receipt to read the entire email, they’re probably not.   Today most individuals tend to be scanners.  It’s important to create emails that an individual can easily scan and can quickly discern what you want them to do.  Instead of sending one huge email filled with lots of information, how about breaking it up into a couple different messages?  What do you think?

We’ve talked football, dieting, and fashion. What’s next?  How about fundraising is like dating?  But, before I move on to dating check back for more tips on how not to over accessorize your emails and websites.


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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