December 19, 2016

It’s amazing! The more time and dedication I put into my job, the luckier I get. 

In sports parlance, it goes like this: “Luck is the residue of hard work and design.” (Branch Rickey)

That’s right, luck, it turns out, has very little to do with simply being “lucky.” It has everything to do with planning and executing a plan that sets you on a path to take advantage of opportunities that arise as a result of all you did to get to that moment in time to seize good fortune.

And just like luck, creating a successful direct mail fundraising letter from scratch is really something special—when it happens.

Here’s an opportunity for you to capitalize on the accumulated insights of hundreds of re...

August 24, 2015

Industry research continues to indicate that, when it comes to funding your mission, direct mail still is the most successful way to get donors to make a contribution.

 

This being the case, it’s on you, Mr. or Ms. Leader of your nonprofit, to make sure that your board of directors, CEOs, and CFOs really understand direct mail.

 

As we travel around the Midwest to meet with our valued clients or to speak at different venues, Sue and I are often very surprised that even those who work with direct mail on a regular basis don’t understand how and why it works. It shouldn’t be surprising then that direct mail can seem old fashioned and confusing to those who don’t use it regularly (like board mem...

June 5, 2015

 

 

A basic maxim of the work you do is that fundraising is about more than getting a gift. It’s really all about building relationships with individuals.  Let’s be clear: it’s not about being best friends with every donor.

Successful development programs are not built off of one-time transactions, but rather by long-term relationships. These relationships are important not only when seeking major gifts, planned giving, or even the smallest annual gifts from individual donors. they also have a sort of ripple effect in the pursuit of corporate and foundation support.

 

You see? No matter what fundraising challenge you’re facing,  it’s people who decide whether or not to support your organi...

April 29, 2015

Today, while returning from a visit to a customer in the NW suburbs of Chicago, Sue and I stopped at one of our favorite places to enjoy a hot dog for lunch. If you’re from Chicago chances are strong you’ve had a Gene & Jude’s hot dog. To say that they are a bastion of Chicago style fast food is an understatement. Steamed bun, relish, and yellow mustard– yummmm!

 

I’m telling you about this because after we had placed our order for 2 hot dogs, Sue innocently asked if there was any ketchup.  You could have heard a pin drop. Everyone looked at us like we were from a far-away planet. Sheepishly, Sue said, “I meant do you have any ketchup for the fries.“

 

Now you can walk into this joint any day...

April 22, 2015

Why do your donors support you?  What is it about your organization that donors seem to like? What motivates them?

 

And, most importantly, what are you doing to gather this information?  The best way to learn more about your donors is to talk to them.  They do want to tell you how they feel.

 

Here’s a simple way Rescigno’s can help you learn more about your donors: on an index card inserted into a holiday mailing (or any mailing for that matter), ask this question: “I support xxx foundation because __________________.”

 

I promise you, when we’ve asked this question before the feedback has been extraordinary.

 

Some organizations even attached handwritten text to the index card. Page after...

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