March 1, 2017

I swear to goodness gracious I am not a fundraising geek. This wasn’t my chosen profession, after all. I was an educator and a pretty good one at one time. However, marriage takes you in directions you never thought you’d go (or never even dreamed in your wildest dreams of going).

I married a sweetheart of a girl 28 years ago as of March 12, 2017.  After a few years as a development professional, Sue decided she’d start a direct mail business catering to nonprofits. That was 25 years ago.  

I encouraged her to go ahead and get the entrepreneurial spirit “out of her system.”

Hah! The joke sure was on me. I had to resign from education because of the success of Sue’s “little diversion” as...

October 26, 2016

Especially when it comes to your donors, at least, one size does not fit all. For example, if you’re mailing an impersonal $300 ask to someone you know is capab

September 14, 2016

The goal of fundraising seems obvious. It’s to raise money, right? When we dig a little deeper, however, the goal is to connect donors and prospects to those who are impacted by your cause, rather than to the cause itself.

In the case of healthcare fundraising, for example, the goal is to bring together donors and prospects and the patients and caregivers they have relationships with.

While most donors don’t believe they can conquer cancer or end violence, for example, they can believe that their gift has a direct and positive impact on an individual who lacks the skills to better his lot in life.

When organizations tell these individual stories, that’s when donors and prospects believe that...

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...

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