December 8, 2017


hope that the person who answers the phone at your nonprofit has been trained.  Too often, it’s been my experience that the least trained employee at a nonprofit organization is the person who answers the phone.

How about at your place? You need to know if they’re answering the phone with a “Why are you bothering me?” attitude  or with class and professionalism.

Taking that question one step further, does the person understand the value of an incoming call?

I ask because in the last couple of weeks I’ve been calling a nonprofit religious organization that you would think would know better.

Ron: “ Hi, this is Ron Rescigno from Rescigno’s Fundraising Consusltants, is Joe Schmo there?”  

Phone p...

December 4, 2017

I’ve been spending a lot of time this fall urging our clients to spend more time on their stories so that readers of their appeals would be engaged enough to care enough to donate. One of the key tactics I’ve been talking about is to fill in the words that aren’t spoken—words that are emotional and serve to connect the details to the one man, woman, or child the story is about.


A woman with keratomilensis was helped by our organization recently. She was unable to afford the surgery that could correct her vision. Then an ophthalmologist in the community stepped forward to help. He had received his training from our doctors. Now that the operation is over, the woman can see much better...

November 28, 2017

For some time now, we’ve been seeing the signs of steady decline in small gifts.

If you’re a fundraiser for an organization that relies heavily on gifts under $250 through direct mail, you need to be thinking seriously about this. Very seriously.

How has this come to be? According to the Institute of Policy Studies, American households earning $100,000+ increased their donation budgets by 40% between 2003 and 2013 while households earning less than $100,000 decreased their donation budgets by 34%.

If you’re saying to yourself, “So what? Year after year Americans give more money. What’s the big deal?” Here’s what this 34% drop in small gifts should mean to you: attracting donors means work an...

November 16, 2017

Personally, I’ve fielded any number of phone calls over the past month or so asking a simple, direct question: What am I supposed to do when my donors tell me they’re shifting their focus from traditional giving in order to give to some form of disaster relief?

As a fundraising pro, disasters probably aren’t in your arsenal of specialties to raise money for.

For your donors, your cause may be taking a backseat because of a perceived “lesser priority” than whatever disaster rules the day.

To put it plainly, donors do shift their giving to organizations with more immediate needs. Knowing how to keep donors engaged, while not seeming to be insensitive to the situation is a problem that must be...

November 1, 2017

It’s one thing to have a good story. Delivering it live or is the difficult part. I find storytelling is all in the specifics. Here’s an example of what I mean:

A client of ours had this short line in her 2 minute story: “We teach children financial literacy.”  When I asked the client for an example of what that meant, she said, “We show them exactly how much they can save if they buy a large bag of potato chips at the grocery store and bring a small baggie of chips to school each day instead of buying the single serving packages in the cafeteria.”

I told her that her explanation to me was what he should be saying (even though it was longer). When an audience hears your story, especially fo...

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