August 24, 2016

Anticipating donor needs and wants before they are voiced is one of the best ways to form bonds with major gift prospects who don’t necessarily see themselves as being an important player in the impact of your organization.

In other words, hearing the unheard. Would you agree that this is a skill that everyone, not just leaders who work in a nonprofit fundraising environment, need to develop?

I have recently had occasion to re-visit the book 11 Rings, written by former Chicago Bulls head coach, Phil Jackson.  In it, Jackson points out that being a successful basketball coach is very much like being a successful leader – you need to have a finely tuned sense of where you are and what’s happe...

November 20, 2015


Given all the passion and efforts you pour into your mission year-round, it’s only natural to emphasize your organization and its reason for existence in your appeal.  After all, an educated and well-informed donor is your best donor…right?  Is it possible, however, that your focus on the WHAT and WHY of your mission leaves out the all-important WHO?   I’m referring to your donors, of course.


The best, results-producing fundraising appeals are donor-focused. And, if your appeal answers the following key donor questions in a compelling way, you will you have opened up avenues for tremendous success down the line.

  1. Why me? Your donors, whether they’re first-timers or repeat...

November 18, 2015

“What’s that new upscale grocery store like?” asked a friend from a different neighborhood. I told him it was great and that they went way out of their way to make sure the experience in their store was a pleasing one.


It got me to thinking about how a negative response from just one customer can cost a nonprofit.


Have you ever considered the lasting impact of a negative response from a single donor or recipient of your services and how it can negatively impact your cause?


I’m sure each of you has your own horror story to tell.


Yes, we can invest time, money and energy into the things we believe will create great first impressions. Things like professional logo design, a great looking web...

September 23, 2015

 Do you find yourself spending a lot of time behind your desk thinking about your development tasks, working on strategic planning, worrying about some ultimately inconsequential special event detail, or going to meetings-none of which is helpful when it comes to raising money? It can be easy to forget that a fundraiser’s number one job is securing donations for his or her cause.


Lasting relationships with donors are not cultivated through websites, e-mails, or brochures. They’re built in person, through one-to-one conversations and face-to-face interactions.


What you need to do is get up and get out!  Personally building and maintaining strong relationships with donors occurs outside of...

August 17, 2015

It’s kind of lonely at the top, isn’t it? Admit it. Who’s missing from the image that accompanies this blog? That’s right the CEO or executive director or president. The person who takes the responsibility when things go wrong and shares the credit when times are good.

Today, I’d like to talk about an issue that helps to build leaders at various levels of your organization – accountability.


True leaders have many great qualities such as the ability to:

  • have perspective

  • accept risk

  • adapt to situations

  • sort through details

  • know the business

  • and know how to solve problems.

Accountability is acknowledging responsibility for your actions, judgments, and policies....

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