June 29, 2015

You always have a goal of growing your donor base and there are many ways of doing that which include marketing, social media, and special events. However, I find that many organizations overlook a source of donations that’s staring them in the face.


These are the people who organize your auctions or drive senior citizens to doctor’s appointments or load delivery vans or work in your thrift store or…by now, I’m sure you get the picture. Your best potential donors are your current volunteers.


Yes, volunteers are natural donors and 2 recent studies highlighted the connection between volunteering for and donating to an organization:


a 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy...

November 4, 2014

We hardly ever hear the term “transactional relationship” when it comes to fundraising anymore — and that’s a good thing.  Now, it’s all about building a relationship with your various constituents.  Long-term relationships, that is.


This change in emphasis reflects the fact that fewer donations are made on a “once only” basis.  While it may seem that there isn’t much difference between a donation made transactionally and one made as a result of a relationship, there are important differences.


Transactional fundraisers don’t leave potential donors much choice.  Segmentation is very limited and the communications that are received tend to be very standard.  The emphasis of the content...

October 16, 2014

For a while we were telling our clients that the wealthy were doing a very unselfish thing — giving more to make up for those who couldn’t give as much as they had in the past.  According to the latest Chronicle of Philanthropy report, we need to clarify that.  The Chronicle is reporting that wealthy Americans  gave less to charity while low and middle-income individuals gave more in the period encompassing what they are calling The Great Recession.


For the period between 2006 – 2012, individuals making $200,000 or more reduced their giving to charities by 4.6%.  At the same time, those earning less than $100,000 a year increased their charitable giving by 4.5% over the same per...

September 4, 2014

If your Aunt Minnie from Minnetonka surprised you with a rare family heirloom as a birthday gift, what would you do?


  1. Wait until you saw her at next summer’s family picnic?

  2. Send her $75.00 (as what you deem the dollar value of the gift to be)?

  3. Or send her a heartfelt thank you note?

If you did #1 or #2, what do you think the chances are that she would send you anything on your next birthday?  I’d say, probably slim to none.


To me, the very definition of stewardship is a personal thank you to donors.  Whether the thank you  is in the form of a  stewardship report that lets the donor know how his/her gift was invested over the past year or an actual hand-written thank you not...

September 2, 2014

Looking to expand your donor base?  Of course you are.  Have you ever considered trying to re-purpose one of your underperforming fundraisers to do what they might be good at?


A few years back, Claremont Community College did. They took an admittedly less than stellar fundraiser and brainstormed with her at what she might be good at within the fundraising function.  Lo and behold, guess what?  They announced a new position based on their findings.


This “lousy fundraiser” was given a new title based upon her self-proclaimed skill set:  Director of Listening!  Just like that, a new alumni outreach program was developed.


An “alumni interview” project was set up to get feedback...

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