September 18, 2017

Picture this: a scruffy man is seated on the sidewalk next to a busy expressway. He has been loading empty beer cans into a plastic bag. After loading four of the cans, the bag breaks open and one of the cans rolls out. And then another.

The man starts yelling profanities as he begins to reload cans into the top. I witnessed this incident from across a parking lot several weeks ago What I saw next was another man offering the poor soul his spare plastic bag. I thought about my own reaction. In short, I didn’t want to get involved. I’ve had bags break on me before, so I know how maddening that can be.

The good Samaritan then spends some time with the man who is still muttering under his brea...

September 15, 2017

If you’ve ever gotten into a conversation about ways to use data to enhance your major and planned giving efforts, the conclusion you came to may well have been that you can take your top-ranked donors, do a wealth screening on them and simply hand them off to a major gifts officer.

Bang! On second thought, bring more TNT!

Wealth screening DOES NOT mean that you can stop mailing and calling your top-ranked donors.


Because it’s not a good indicator

of an individual’s likelihood to make a major gift.

Put bluntly, if you choose to do away with traditional annual fund mail, phone, and email contacts, it’s our experience that you’re going to end up with fewer gifts.

Let’s put this still another...

June 5, 2017

Let me guess. The mood of your staff now that the fiscal year is almost over with is “hurry, hurry…faster, faster!”

And with good reason! There should be a sense of urgency now that there’s only a short time remaining before the end of the month.

While it’s true that annual giving programs have 365 days every year to get as many gifts as possible, the closer it gets to the final hour, the more that sense of urgency is felt.

The final month of the year should be critical. This is the time to assess your success over the course of the year-to-date.

We’ve put together a fiscal-year-end checklist to help you through these last weeks of your annual giving campaign:

  • Review your go...

May 15, 2017

How long have you been in your current position? A year or two, three at the most, I’ll bet. People outside of the development profession are often amazed at the short tenure in this profession.

There have been scores and scores of hard working development staff who have been summarily knocked to their collective knees by those who aren’t knowledgeable about the work you do.

There may be a few good reasons for short stays, but overwhelmingly, the #1 reason is ineffective evaluation. In the 25 years  I’ve worked in this field, I’ve met very few people who are lazy or incompetent. Mostly, the profession has effective, hard-working fundraisers trying to do good work.

Here are my solutions:


October 4, 2016

It’s October, three more months to go before the end of the year. That may seem a long way away, but you know as well as I do that this time of year flies by. Now is the time to start planning your organization’s Year-End strategy.  As you know, nearly 30% of ALL charitable giving occurs during the last month of the year, and most of that within the last few days of December.

Many non-profits ask us, “When is the best time to send our Year-End fundraising appeals?” There really is no cut-and-dried timetable, but the answer du jour is “earlier and earlier.”

Just the other day a co-worker here at Rescigno’s brought in a holiday fundraising appeal complete with Santa and snowflakes on the oute...

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