June 29, 2016

If I had just one dollar for every fundraiser who has told me that their CEO or Chair of the Board is afraid to ask, I could afford, well, a lot of stuff!

I bring this up because I was reminded recently of a leader of a well-known nonprofit in the Midwest who only wanted to go on “An Ask” if he was assured the answer would be “Yes.” As we all know, it doesn’t quite work that way, does it?

This aversion to “No” does create a certain opportunity, however.

If you happen to work under a CEO who is of a similar mind set, I’d like to suggest that you have a conversation with your prospective major donor that would go something like this:

You know my CEO/boss and I know you and he agree on many issu...

November 4, 2015

By now, many fall appeals have gone to the post office. You may be thinking, I can sit back and relax until the end of the year. Wrong!

You’ve got some decisions to make. For example, you need to decide

  • When the timing is right for a 2nd contact. If you mailed in mid-September, then you should hold off until mid-November (and that will be here before you know it).

  • Which of your donors warrant the extra effort and expense of a follow-up. You can start by contacting donors who haven’t given in the current year AND

  • Gave a gift in the prior year AND

  • Have given more than one gift to your organization in the past.

These are the people most likely to give again. Then figure ou...

August 26, 2015

The way we calculate a donor’s value over the course of his/her lifetime is to divide the total of all previous giving by the total number of gifts. That yields the average.


It’s a tremendously important metric and shouldn’t be ignored by development pros. What this “average” implies is that if the value is high, you’ve been following your key donor and such metrics as cost to acquire a donor, average gift, attrition rate, renewal rate, average revenues–per donor per year, average number of gifts per donor per year, RoI, cost to raise a dollar, etc.


If the value is low, or shrinking, it’s altogether possible one of the following problems exists:

  • you’re attracting the wrong kinds of don...

July 27, 2015

Have you heard these excuses before?


“We were forced to fundraise when I started on this board.”


“I do the golf outing. That’s how I participate in the annual campaign.”


“For me, it would be a conflict of interest, so I don’t fundraise.”


“It’s the responsibility of the staff to raise money.”


Rescigno’s has worked with many nonprofit leaders over the years and we’ve yet to come across one who doesn’t deal with issues like the ones just cited.


If you’re at your wits end and just want to scream, consider the following:


We work with many leaders of nonprofits and they all deal with the same issues. Don’t give up on your board until you consider their attitudes and fundraising abilities.

Most b...

May 13, 2015

I read somewhere recently that donors, on average, give to about 14 charities per year.  It’s no wonder then that they don’t wake up thinking about your nonprofit. I’ve got additional news for you: they don’t go to sleep with your latest direct mail appeal circulating in their dreams either.


The truth is donors are probably approached by many organizations seeking new donors. Boring them over and over or making the decision not to mail or email to them because you’re afraid of bothering them too much, gives them a real opportunity to consider other nonprofit causes and switch allegiances.


That’s money taken away from you and your cause. Great for the other npo, but not so much for you.



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