September 19, 2017

I know you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating:

Keeping a first time donor happy is easier AND cheaper than replacing that donor.

Listen to me—prioritizing retention over acquisition will ensure that you will be memorialized as a fundraising wizard. Just kidding about the wizard part, but I’m not kidding in the slightest about the wisdom of placing more importance of retaining new donors over the constant search for new ones.

You say you don’t know what to do to accomplish the above? Don’t fret. If you can avoid these mistakes, you’ll be doing exactly what you should.


  • Not saying thank you—Bloomerang reports that 13% of new donors don’t give a 2nd gift because they don’t fee...

November 15, 2016

Have you ever heard those words and cringed? Probably more than once, right?

Do you feel like you’re expected to perform miracles? Of course, you do. After all, were you afforded the opportunity to provide your input? Of course you weren’t.

When the above is the case, it’s almost always more of a budget in line with the needs of the finance office rather that the fundraising or development office.

Two of the Most Common Ways NPO’s Set Their Goals (Don’t Do These 2 Things!):

  1. Set goals based on last year’s income – Wrong! Just because you raised I million dollars last year, doesn’t mean you should set a goal of 2 million for this year. Last year might have been the exception to the rule. If...

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...

April 14, 2016

You probably received a donation from someone today. Why not pick up the phone and give that person a call? Chances are your donor will be thrilled, and you’ll feel great for having made his day!

Why is this important? Well, mostly because fundraising shouldn’t be all about mass volume campaigns and struggling to get to the hallowed goal. Sometimes (maybe even more often than you think) you can get yourself a partner for life through a 60-second phone call.

And, yes, I’m a strong believer in making “thank you” calls to donors…regardless of the size of the gift. The personal touch can be so impactful.

If you have volunteers make some of the calls, watch for the reaction that takes place betwe...

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...

Please reload