This one thing for year-end fundraising success: keep calm

KEEP CALM. Fundraising is stressful work any time of the year but especially so at calendar year-end. With so much riding on the results of so few weeks, panic is just below the surface in most development offices. A couple of disappointing donor calls or a slow mail week and entire fundraising teams go into […]

This one thing for year-end fundraising success: Embrace social.

EMBRACE SOCIAL. Development folk are cautioned that the best gifts come with one-on-one interactions. “Real” fundraising, we’re taught, is intimate work. The more specifically tailored the better — a segment of one, if you will. All of which is true, at least some of the time and always when a major gift is the goal. […]

Generosity in quotes: Thomas Merton

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection […]

Recovering from a haiku snafu and a lifetime of lousy mission statements

I don’t recall what inspired me to sum up the board meeting in haiku verse, but the puzzled (okay, shocked) look on faces around the table left little doubt that doing so wasn’t a good idea. Needless to say, I’ve not attempted a repeat performance nor do I include haiku in my list of recommended […]

Generosity in quotes: Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill, and Douglas Morrison

“More important than any particular action or word of advice is the simple presence of someone who cares. . . We have lost the simple but difficult gift of being present to each other . . . we have been led to believe that presence must be useful . . . we have forgotten that […]

This one thing for year-end fundraising success: Tell a good story

TELL A GOOD STORY. “Any brand of toothpaste is peddled with far more sophistication that the life-saving work of aid groups.” Nicholas Kristof Which, as FastCompany blogger Adele Peters explains, is why and how nonprofits that are represented by staff who can tell a good story, get noticed and get gifts at year-end. And in […]

This one thing for year-end fundraising success: Ask

ASK. According to the folks at Better Fundraising, it’s the ONE THING you (and every other fundraiser) should do for sure at year-end. “The job of your fundraising from mid-November on is to remind your donor to send in a gift, not to persuade them. Just Ask. Ask Boldly. Ask without fear. Ask knowing that […]

Déjà vu, year-end letter writing, and other challenges of the season

To fundraisers who’ve been on the job more than a couple of fundraising cycles, cranking out yet another year-end appeal letter can feel like déjà vu all over again. Keeping it fresh is a challenge and all the more so when the work of your organization flows on, as it should, in endless sameness. Nonprofits […]

Five questions to ask before spending money on that “great” idea

The day after I posted “Six questions to ask and answer before asking my advice,” up popped a similarly themed bit of writing on Wesley Seminary’s Leading Ideas blog. (If you’re not already a subscriber, I encourage you to become one today.) To be sure, there’s a difference in the focus of the two pieces. […]

Six questions to ask and answer before seeking my advice

“What do you think about giving clubs? I’ve noticed that lots of nonprofits have them.” “Our board thinks we should start an endowment program. What’s your advice?” “I’ve been hearing a lot about crowdfunding. Is that something we should try?” Several times a month, I get questions like these from harried fundraisers on the hunt […]