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 […]

Generosity in quotes: Peter Harris and Rod Wilson

“Philanthropy for Christians is first about people rather than about money, the possibility of relationship rather than resources. We must stand against anything that turns persons into wallets or friends into banks.”   Peter Harris, founder and president of A Rocha, and Rod Wilson, former president of Regent College, in Keeping Faith in Fundraising

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]