March 14, 2016

I often talk about the importance of acquiring a 2nd gift quickly.  And it is important. However, proper stewardship is the key to cultivating long-term donor loyalty.


So, while it is important to get that 2nd gift quickly, you must give 1st time donors the opportunity to see the impact of their first gift before asking for a 2nd one.


See how it works? You get the first gift and report back almost immediately (perhaps in the thank you process) on the impact the gift is already having.  This “reporting back” to the donor business on the effect of the 1st gift requires strong communications about the change the donor’s 1st gift has made in the lives of those your organization serves.  


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 9, 2015

One of the perks of doing feasibility studies is being able to talk with mid to high-level donors about their wants, needs, desires, and perceptions of the organizations they support. According to many of the donors we’ve been speaking with over the last couple of years, increasingly, they tell us they want more information about the following:

  1. The impact the organization in the community;

  2. Success stories;

  3. More details about the organization;

  4. Information that illustrates financial accountability.


To us, it’s clear that donors want, maybe even need, to know more about what you’re doing and how your work is impacting the cause they have invested in. They tell us they re...

September 2, 2015

Forever you’ve been told to honor donor preferences. Have you ever considered the fact that the more you listen to your donors the less support you get? I’ll bet you could verify that if you took the time to research it.


Here’s what I mean. If you’ve ever given donors the option of more or less contact, I’ll bet that they have chosen “less” many “more” times.


Donors who say they prefer to be contacted once a year are the very donors most likely not to respond because you haven’t engaged them enough during the year. So does that mean you shouldn’t believe them? Yes, it does–in most cases.  The caveat to this is that when a major donor or major donor prospect makes his preferences known, yo...

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...

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