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.

 

Trust.

 

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

July 20, 2015

 

How about a teaching moment today?

There’s lots of talk in fundraising about the importance of nonprofits forging deeper, more intimate relationships with their donors. In theory and in practice it makes good sense. The stronger the relationship is the better chance you have to keep donors and get them to increase their gift-giving, right?

 

What if donors want less of a relationship with you? It’s a scary, but realistic thought. It’s also your responsibility as the leader of your nonprofit to teach your staff to be sensitive to those among your donors who don’t wish to have anything more than what is known as a transactional relationship with you.

 

The fact is that there are times where add...

June 1, 2015

Do you know where your organization is headed? Are you steadily moving in the same direction all the time or are you all over the place? More importantly, are your activities in line with who you say you are and what you say you do?

 

You see, in terms of dollars and donors, if your program isn’t very closely in synch with with your mission, you’ve got trouble. You have to be headed in one direction without deviation.

 

You should be able to answer the following questions without hesitation:

  • What are you raising money for? Why?

  • Who are you raising money from? Why?

  • How do you do your fundraising? Why?

These 3 questions should act as your compass to help you when it’s time to mak...

May 15, 2015

I have a friend who has been having trouble with her boss. “We’re not connecting. I’m not sure why, but things seems to be deteriorating quickly between us.”

 

I asked, “Do you trust her?” My friend said, “I used to, but not any more.”

 

It’s a sad but true fact of life — trust is everything. Do you trust those in your own office who you sit next to or nearby 5 days a week?

 

Let’s reverse it. Donors give you money because they trust you. Volunteers give of their time for the same reason.  Development directors and executive directors succeed succeed because they have learned to trust each other. However, trust is a slippery thing, isn’t it?

 

I’d like to suggest 3 ways you can create more trusti...

May 13, 2015

I read somewhere recently that donors, on average, give to about 14 charities per year.  It’s no wonder then that they don’t wake up thinking about your nonprofit. I’ve got additional news for you: they don’t go to sleep with your latest direct mail appeal circulating in their dreams either.

 

The truth is donors are probably approached by many organizations seeking new donors. Boring them over and over or making the decision not to mail or email to them because you’re afraid of bothering them too much, gives them a real opportunity to consider other nonprofit causes and switch allegiances.

 

That’s money taken away from you and your cause. Great for the other npo, but not so much for you.

 

Do...

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