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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

With abundance, it’s de ja vu all over again

Back in the early 2000s when Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry hit the bookshelves, Thom Jeavons and I were chided for under-selling the all too real limitations faced by nonprofits large and small, secular and faith-based. But what a difference 15 plus years has made. These days, abundance thinking is touted as good […]

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 […]

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 […]

Re-claiming a one-time commitment to fundraising as ministry

It’s been 15 years since the publication of Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry and although I’ve tried to keep up with the organizations featured in the book, what I’ve heard has been mostly through the ministry grapevine. Until now, that is. A few days back, I was invited to assist the board of […]

Organizational narcissism, World Vision, your ministry, and donor response

On the day that the faith-based charity giant World Vision (US) announced it had shifted its employment policies in the direction of same-sex marriage, the blogging team over at the Agitator (a daily must-read for me) posted an article titled “The Narcissistic Nonprofit.”  The two events had nothing to do with each other. But in […]