September 8, 2016

I’d never heard the term Closing the Circle until I attended a major gift symposium recently. One of the sessions I attended had to do with stewardship. The facilitator made a big deal, and rightfully so, of the importance of “closing the circle:” in other words, the intelligent use of gifts, reporting back on gift impact, thanking, informing, and involving donors.

All of the above, of course, to cultivate donors for that next gift or, ideally, many future gifts, if we’re being honest.  

When your organization stewards a donor it should consider a strategy that confirms to the donor his or her wise decision to make the original gift and to draw that donor ever closer to the organization.


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...

October 27, 2015


Eastern philosophy has been making its way into western culture for sometime now, and many of us are now seeing things like science, medicine and world events through a more holistic lens.  We've started to incorporate some of its practices into our everyday lives.  


Concepts of Buddhism are especially commonplace.  Mindfulness, mental wellness and spiritual health are now a part of corporate health programs, and hundreds of Buddhist meditation centers have popped up across America.


If you grew up in the 60's and 70's (as I did), the concept of practicing mindfulness and compassion, balance and wisdom were quite foreign.  Could you ever picture an All In The Family episode tha...

August 6, 2015

As fundraisers, I know that you are often overwhelmed with opportunities to learn more about your craft in seminars, workshops, and training sessions, for example.  And when it comes to annual giving, major gifts, and planned giving very smart people talk about cultivation. They tell you about primary and secondary contacts, board involvement, software, stewardship and many other things.


All of the above are necessary for success, it’s true.  But, in my opinion, at the core of all of this is one simple word — trust. It’s really the one reason why donors give and give again to your nonprofit.




Yes, they believe in your mission, have respect for your staff, board and management. But t...

June 19, 2015

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious.  Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” - Jim Rohn, American entrepenuer, author and motivational speaker


And so begins the first edition of Fundamental Fridays, a blog devoted to making your organization fundamentally sound.  I’ll begin with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  My mother tenderly reminded me of the power packed in these two words, and I now believe they’re the two bookends of fundraising fundamentals.  Steady, on-going stewardship is the middle that is held firmly in place between these bookends – and should they fail to be propped up and tended to with constant care and attention, that middl...

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