Special event fundraising, ugh! But if you must . . .

A flood of emails urged members of a ministry’s Outreach Committee to round-up prizes for the spring bike/walk fundraiser. We’re talking a veritable fundraiser’s dream team — networked, talented, and unafraid to ask big — being “challenged” to chase after everything from free movie passes and ice cream coupons to a $5-$10 gift certificate.  “Or […]

After hello, then what?

I love this image from the cartoonist and organizational theorist Hugh MacLeod. The drawing, along with Woody Allen’s sage observation that “90 percent of success is just showing up,” pretty much sum up what it takes to succeed as a fundraiser. But not completely. There’s also what you do with the critical 10 percent. Once […]

Once in a while, too good is actually true

You’ve likely heard that if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. But here’s an exception to the rule that you can take to the bank. Getting out of the office, every week, for one-on-ones with past, present, and potential donors will boost total dollars raised by your organization. Guaranteed. Year after […]

Secular fundraisers told to look to the faithful

“Don’t count out Christians.” This wasn’t advice I expected from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, but there it was in bold face, large font on the SSIR blog site. “By including religious groups in their outreach efforts, secular nonprofits stand to significantly strengthen their ability to effect change,” the tag line to the piece promised. […]

Listening for the gift

Most people think of fundraising as all about the ask. But truth be told, the best gifts come because a fundraiser listened. Don’t get me wrong. Asking is important. In fact, the majority of small to mid-size ministries have not because the fundraising team doesn’t ask as much as they should. However, after observing a […]

There really isn’t anything new under the sun or in fundraising

Despite the mountains of fundraising advice that’s churned out daily via blogs and other online venues, remarkably little of what’s being written is new. Whether in 140 characters or full-length articles, what passes as counsel these days is more derivative than innovative. That’s the reminder from Steve MacLaughlin, director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab, in a […]

Don’t let informed attributes inform your fundraising

I recently ran across the phrase “informed attribute,” which I’ve learned involves saying something is X, but without showing it to be so. We bump into informed attribute all the time while reading fiction or watching television. It’s a convenient trope of writers too lazy to fill in the back story of their characters. The […]

The importance of keeping the lights on

I shudder when I hear fundraisers declare with gospel fervor that raising money for ongoing support is a lost cause — which means I shudder a lot. And when everything operational is rolled into the dismissive phrase “keeping the lights on,” I go apoplectic. How otherwise reasonable people fail to appreciate the connection between infrastructure […]

5 actions in response to a positive philanthropic outlook

Good news has been a long time coming for the majority of small to mid-size nonprofits, including those with a faith base. So it’s no wonder that a report from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and consulting firm Marts & Lundy predicting almost 5 percent increases in charitable giving for both 2015 and […]

The answer isn’t always “raise more money”

When funds are tight (as is true for the most nonprofits, faith-based included) hopes are pinned on the development program. I hear it all the time in boardroom discussions or as I talk with weary ministry heads. “If we can just raise more money, we can (fill in the blank).” Fundraising is the non-profit community’s […]