When donor capability goes down, look up

According to Giving USA 2016, generosity is at an all-time high in America. Happy days are finally here for our nation’s nonprofit community, or so the report suggests. But dig deeper into the numbers and there’s another story to be told. An analysis by the research team over at the Institute for Policy Studies of […]

Pocketbook voters

You’ve likely heard it said that people vote with their pocketbooks. I’ve used the old saw myself when encouraging nonprofit leaders (board members, CEOs, and fundraising staff) to mind trend lines in annual giving. Now we have proof to back the idiom. Tucked among the findings of Giving USA 2106 is this: “When it comes […]

It’s time to vote competition off the island

I love when an idea that’s central in my teaching, writing, and consulting on fundraising is confirmed in the words of a thought leader admired by millions. I beam with satisfaction knowing my message will be amplified many times over by the reach of a significant other — someone like organizational guru and blogger par […]

Red letter money talk

Recently, I was privileged to lead a Barnabas Foundation webinar on the topic of the pastor’s role in growing generous hearts. Despite my doubt that anyone would bite, a good number of church leaders showed up to hear what I had to say. Even better, they responded with questions, comments, and illustrations from their own […]

And now for a kick in the ask

If Giving USA and other such reports are believed, this is the best of times for fundraisers and the good causes for which they work. Donors dug deep in 2015 (the most recent year for which giving numbers are available), doling out a whopping $373.25 billion to their favorite causes. Individual donors upped their gifts […]

Let’s make truth great again

We’re months away from declaring a winner in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, but I’m ready to call the loser in this latest run-up to the White House. Hands down, it is truth. Loyalists to HIM or HER are willing to believe the craziest things. No accusation is too far-fetched, no tweet too flimsy to […]

Named gifts, posthumous reputations, and judgment day

I didn’t expect to bump into fundraising in the pages of Michael Kinsley’s touching, funny book, Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide. But there it was, capping off his chapter-long riff on the Boomer Generation’s quest for immortality. Kinsley latches on to a favorite of the non-profit world – the named gift (a modern-day “indulgence,” in […]

When saying thanks, downplay the part about you

When I wrote here about a friend’s rant over a thank you gone wrong, I didn’t anticipate a part two on the theme – at least not this soon.  But I’m back a few weeks later with a sorry story of my own about a thank you that missed the mark. (Let’s hope there won’t […]

You, too, can learn to love fundraising

The theme of the Harvard Business Review article is networking. However, the quoted comments from reluctant business schmoozers ring familiar to the way fundraising adverse nonprofit folk talk about asking for money. Uncomfortable, phony, distasteful, a necessary evil, feels slimy. I’ve heard them all, including from ministry leaders who claim to have accepted the good […]

Church attendance, generosity, and fundraising as ministry

Charitable giving is on the decline in the Sacramento (CA) region and a reporter for the local paper has traced the problem to its root – “a relatively low rate of residents who say they attend church regularly.” The article in the Sacramento Bee continues: The areas in the nation with the highest rates of […]