March 24, 2017

When donors are questioned as to why they don’t put a gift to their favorite charity in their will, they often say, “I didn’t think about it!”

Hey, Mr. or Ms. Development Pro, that’s part of your job, isn’t it? What’s that you say? You never thought of it that way?  Interesting, and, I suppose, understandable. You’ve got a lot to do and it can take a back seat to other things.

Just to be clear, though, it is part of your job (maybe even a big part) to get your donors to be thinking about leaving a bequest.

And the best, most widely successful way of doing that is simply to mail your prospects a letter once a year or so in which you remind them that they can really be a difference maker by th...

September 6, 2016

Personalizing the experiences of your donors is It, I’ve decided. It?

Yes, simply asking  donors their preferences and then respecting them is the first, and maybe even most vital step an organization can take to ensure the establishment of more than just a one-off relationship.

From what I’ve seen, it’s the one ingredient most nonprofits can do better. If they do, they will be rewarded.

What about you?

I’ve seen it time and again and now I’m putting it to you directly.

What are you doing to get to know your donors better than you already know them? Are you recording and respecting their preferences? Do you know what their preferences are? Have you asked? Have you looked for trends? How are yo...

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...

May 26, 2016

Ask anyone in planned giving and they’ll tell you that when planned giving prospects discuss bequests, it’s very common for them to want to designate to something specific.

While there is no guarantee that a 60-year old donor’s current interest will be something a nonprofit is interested in by the time the donor dies and the bequest is realized, unrestricted bequests are what you want, I’m sure.

What can a planned giving professional do to convince a donor to provide an unrestricted gift instead of a gift which is restricted?

Relationship, relationship, relationship, that’s what!

Making the donor comfortable with you, the planned giving officer, is what it’s all about.

In other words, when you...

May 18, 2016

Recent statistics show that nonprofits retain only about 27% of first time donors. That means that for nearly 3 of every 4 people who donate to your organization there’s never  a “next time.”


There are questions to be asked…and answered:

  • What turned them off?

  • What can be done to increase retention?

  • How can I strengthen my organization’s relationship with donors?

Losing a donor is bad enough, but when you consider the cost of that lost donor and the expense involved in acquiring a new one, it’s just sad.


Here’s a suggestion: imagine donors asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” to you in response to any communication you share with them.


We’re not talking about giveaway...

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