February 3, 2017

I’ve heard it said that at one time or another in a given person’s life, he or she will be faced with a life or death situation. When that moment comes, it’s that person’s action or inaction that will be a key determining factor in the survival or demise of the individual in distress.

For example, it’s Sunday morning and you’re in church. Things are quiet until you suddenly here a commotion. You go to where the crowd has gathered and see that a man has passed out and that people are wondering what they should do.

If you’ve had CPR training, you know that one of the first things to do is to pick one person out of the crowd, point at him or her and loudly say,

“You! Please call 9-1-1 Now!” Not...

December 28, 2015

The health of an organization and success of its fundraising efforts begins with leadership. Leaders who understand the mission and devote necessary resources (financial, human, social, political) to get the funds and push the organization ahead.


Effective leaders come from many places:

  • The executive suite

  • The board room

  • The development office.

When all three of these work together there should be a healthy culture which is worthy of donor investment.


Here’s how leaders measure the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts:


Tangible Measurements

  • Dollars raised

  • Donor retention

  • Return on investment

  • Program outcomes

Intangible Measurements

  • Healthy cultu...

November 20, 2015


Given all the passion and efforts you pour into your mission year-round, it’s only natural to emphasize your organization and its reason for existence in your appeal.  After all, an educated and well-informed donor is your best donor…right?  Is it possible, however, that your focus on the WHAT and WHY of your mission leaves out the all-important WHO?   I’m referring to your donors, of course.


The best, results-producing fundraising appeals are donor-focused. And, if your appeal answers the following key donor questions in a compelling way, you will you have opened up avenues for tremendous success down the line.

  1. Why me? Your donors, whether they’re first-timers or repeat...

October 26, 2015

So often when I ask executive directors about their relationships with board members what I get is, “Well, we meet quarterly and I have about 75-80% attendance, so that’s pretty good.”


Have you ever thought about your board meetings as opportunities to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders (your board) while also building your reputation?


If you’d like to better leverage your board’s network and influence in the future to benefit your nonprofit, try these 3 strategies during board meetings:

  1. If you want success when it comes to asking your board to invest energy and connections, you must build a foundation of trust. You’ve probably already started this process with a transparen...

October 12, 2015

Do you have a genuine understanding of the overall health of your development department/foundation? It’s critical to your success moving forward.  If you don’t have that understanding, it’s probably affecting both the effectiveness and the efficiency of your organization.


A development audit can include many different things, such as:

  • A business operation review

  • Marketing and communication efforts

  • Positioning amongst your competitors

  • Donor surveys

  • Employee and volunteer staffing surveys

One of the advantages of a development audit is helping to find low-hanging fruit like major donors or planned giving opportunities or even discover segments of your donor databas...

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