Today we are huddled in Washington, DC cogitating over how to improve The Agitator. It's our way of celebrating National Philanthropy Day in the US (in case you missed the parades).

Meantime, we'd like to share the results of our recent Agitator reader survey, which will be guiding our direction. As of this writing, 154 readers have given us feedback, or about 15% of our subscribers. Virtually all responses came from subscribers, biasing the results positively, we think (why would folks who think we're jerks subscribe for daily torture?).

Thanks to all who took the time to give us their assessment and recommendations for future coverage.

To get over the suspense we know has you biting your nails, fully 79% of respondents confirmed that they did indeed deserve a raise! It's heartening to see The Agitator is popular with high achievers. Only 5% confessed to slacking off. The rest couldn't remember what a raise was.

Who are you?

Reflecting the acceleration of our growth, particularly over the summer and since, 70% of respondents have been reading The Agitator for six months or less.

Most readers work for nonprofits (68%), and most of those are fundraisers (61%). The other key segments are nonprofit communicators & executives (26% of all respondents) and folks working on the other side of the table in agencies (21% of all respondents) or as individual consultants (9%).

Three-in-ten of you read DonorPowerBlog and/or Seth Godin's Blog. Keep doing that!

We are particularly gratified that readers respond to The Agitator. Fully 85% of respondents have forwarded a post to a colleague. The same percentage has explored a link suggested in a post.

And 68% have downloaded a white paper or other resource we've offered. The best received downloads (i.e. either “very useful” or “shared it”) have been: Top Ten Things Fundraisers Should Monitor, Copywriting Checklist, Donor Loyalty: The Holy Grail, Boomers: Navigating the Generational Divide, and 4 Reasons You Should Care About the Under-40s.

On the other hand, only a somewhat disappointing 15% have actually commented on an Agitator post. Some of you noted the difficulty of using the “Comment” function in our blog platform (we're stuck with that for the moment). Still, with 70% rating us as “often” or “usually” provocative, and 74% saying we're “never” dull, we'd like to stir up more, well, agitating! Perhaps our sheer brilliance simply leaves you speechless?! OK, so you're too busy.

What do you think of The Agitator?

Again, keeping in mind that respondents are likely to be our most devoted readers …

94% say The Agitator is “often” or “usually” insightful, and 87% find us “often” or “usually” entertaining.

But there's a drop to the 73% who find The Agitator “often” or “usually” unique, and the 70% who fund us “often” or “usually” provocative.

And 69% find us “sometimes,” “often” or “usually” preachy. Thankfully, 64% of that is only “sometimes.” So the question for us: Can we provoke without being so preachy? We think Roger can; the question mark is Tom.

Rating The Agitator as a resource, only 18% of respondents put us “right up there with Google and Wikipedia.” We're determined to improve on that benchmark … that's why we're “retreating” this week.

What content do you find most useful?

Top three (percentage “very useful” plus “can't get enough”): Online fundraising & communications (84%), Innovative tools & techniques (83%), Fundraising issues – donor trends, donor psychology, donor loyalty, integrating channels, etc. (83%).

Next three: Communications strategy (76%), Creative issues & copywriting (75%), and (tied at 72%) direct mail and market research.

Almost all of the suggestions offered in our open-ended question about top topics to cover fell into those seven areas, with a unifying theme of “tell us what's working.”

Least useful: Telemarketing, Sector specific (e.g., education, environment), Legacy giving.

Your advice on improving The Agitator

  • More guest writers (we can take a hint!)
  • Question of the month submitted by readers (we're game)
  • More polls on what readers are doing/trying (we're game)
  • For those getting Feedburner email delivery of posts, provide actual title of post instead of “Latest from The Agitator (we've complained to Feedburner about this … they're considering a change)

All in all, great feedback … which we much appreciate. Stay tuned for changes in The Agitator as we attempt to be responsive.

And thanks for reading.

Roger & Tom

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