The importance of cultivating BFFs for your organization

When I ask fundraisers what they most want from donors, the answer is almost always “more money.” And that makes me sad, although I understand the reasons behind the words. Organizational well-being depends on meeting this year’s fundraising goals. The burden of out-sized expectations weigh heavy on fundraisers’ minds. It’s little wonder that increased giving […]

The wow of fundraising as ministry

As part of her year-long Skype-based coaching contract with me, a ministry head from California and I are reading Henri Nouwen’s beautiful little book, A Spirituality of Fundraising. We leave a few minutes at the end of each call to share phrases or ideas that caught our attention from the reading assignment du mois– a […]

Stop calling everything fundraising. Everything isn’t.

I bump into it all the time — development folk in small to mid-sized nonprofits and ministry organizations running themselves ragged with activities they call fundraising, but which aren’t. Some of what they’re doing could actually raise a few bucks – maybe even significant money — if done better, before, during and after. But most […]

When anger is the motivation behind a gift, then what?

Gifts as expressions of concern, commitment, attachment, loyalty, and love — those are the motivations that fundraisers of faith assume and which we know how to encourage and build upon. But donations given in anger or to make a statement? We’re more accustomed to money withheld in protest. The idea of weaponized philanthropy is new […]

A turn-down isn’t personal. Seriously.

Ah that Seth Godin and his ability to say a lot in a few words. He did it again recently with a bit of sage advice that every fundraiser needs to hear and heed. Professionals take their work seriously. The work matters, the impacts and externalities are real. On the other hand, we can’t take […]

Tipperary, the long walk, and fundraising

“The leadership pool has never been more shallow,” a recently retired pastor commented as a carload of us hurried to the airport following a seminary board meeting. “Why do you think that is?” I asked. “Too few folks are willing to do the long walk,” he replied. Heads nodded knowingly as the wise board member […]

Board member, how about giving fundraising a try?

I don’t want to be one of those people who assumes that every member of every board is cut out for fundraising. And slap me down if I veer toward a description of board members as ATMs or “pay pals” for the organizations they serve. As I’ve said time again here at Generous Matters, the […]

Follow the love lines to the gift

A fundraising colleague told me about her work with a major donor prospect over a period of more than six months. She had focused the possible supporter in the direction of the project that was at the top of the organization’s must-fund list – raising money for AIDS programs in Africa. In anticipation of the […]

Singing abundance in the key of D major

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, See what God has done. — Johnson Oatman, Jr. Readers under the age of 50 likely aren’t familiar with the old gospel hymn “Count Your Blessings,” but it’s worth getting to […]

Yes, there is a “u” in fundraising, but it’s not about you.

Fundraisers are a passionate lot and with that passion comes strong opinions on various and sundry topics. However, there’s a time to  speak up for what you believe and a time to remain silent. Specifically, if your views run counter to those espoused by a donor with whom you are engaged in conversation, keep your […]