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 […]

Is that a choir I hear singing the praises of fundraising as ministry?

When a colleague commented on the ease with which I respond to questions about best practices in board governance, I shrugged off the compliment by pointing to my almost 30-year focus on the topic. “There’s not much I haven’t said by now,” I quipped. “Again and again and again,” he added with a chuckle. My […]

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 […]

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 […]

My three words for your 2017 fundraising success

In the week since I chose and announced to the world my three words for 2017, several times the trio has crept into conversations with the good folk with whom I work as a fundraising consultant. Not that I’m surprised. Curiosity, courage, and grace, all three, are key to success in raising money. Hear me […]

Generous Matters top 10 list for 2016

There’s much about 2016 that I’d just as soon forget, starting with the ugly U.S. presidential race. Fortunately, good memories from the past 12 months outweigh the bad for me. Such is the blessing of living, working, and worshiping with generous, faith-filled, and other-oriented folks. Gloom and doom don’t have a chance when confronted with […]