5 Powerful Don Draper Quotes for Nonprofit Marketers and Fundraisers

If you’re like me, you’re a huge fan of Mad Men.

Jon Hamm plays the legendary Don Draper, an advertising genius on Madison Avenue who is respected (and feared) by everyone in the advertising industry.

He sells cigarettes, pantyhose, and more with his powerfully persuasive gift of gab.

Before his eventual downfall on Madison Avenue (spoiler alert), Don imparts timeless marketing wisdom like it’s water. Here are my favorite Don Draper quotes as they apply to nonprofits:

1. On getting noticed

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Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.

If you want to get someone’s attention, be different. If this was an issue in the 1960s, think of how difficult it is to get someone’s attention today!

Look at how your peers are engaging their communities, and do it better.

Join their email list. Donate to their causes. How does their communication make you feel?

2. On storytelling

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Technology is a glittering lure. But there’s the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product.


The shiny object will not get the results. The best software won’t get the job done either. Not without a content strategy that moves people, in their feelings and actions.

Heart strings power all successful campaigns, not apps.

3. On engaging donors

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If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.


The best way to change any conversation is to join it.

Listen to what people are saying, and what’s trending. What’s the tone? How can you be useful? Is there anything urgent that needs our attention?

4. On retaining donors

The day you sign a client is the day you start losing one.

The day you sign a client is the day you start losing one.


Your job as a marketer really starts AFTER someone makes their first donation. In fact, you really should focus most of your marketing efforts on retention, NOT acquisition.

Why? Because the surest path to financial stability for nonprofits is about increasing retention rates.

5. On content marketing

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We’re going to sit at our desks and keep typing while the walls fall down around us because we’re creative – the least important, most important thing there is.


Embracing content marketing requires that you become a creative, a writer. You must always be creating, writing, experimenting, and refining.

John Haydon