Giving isn’t just for Tuesday

Excuse me for raining on the #givingtuesday celebration parade. If the day went well for you and yours, hooray! But I’m still fuming about the torrent of reminder emails that flooded my inbox that past Tuesday. Never mind that I’m a regular donor to many of the good causes urgently seeking my #givingtuesday gift. There […]

Nonprofit boards aren’t as inept as the headlines suggest

The online nonprofit press is abuzz over the 2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations, with headlines suggesting nothing but bad news. However, after digging into the report for myself, I’m here to dispute the board bashers. The survey results (at least as I read them) simply don’t support the sorry soundbite summaries. […]

Following the lead of Generations X, Y, and Z and “liking” it

Not long ago here at Generous Matters, I chided churches for being late to the technology revolution, citing my congregation as a case in point. That the article was one of my most viewed to date suggests I touched a nerve – as did the push back I received from some readers. But truth be […]

Two century-old fundraising wisdom from the second Mrs. Judson

Donor-centered fundraising has never been as important as it is now. Or so goes the buzz among development gurus. I’ve said as much myself – first in Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry and then again (and again and again) in my interaction with clients. When it comes to nurturing loyal giving, nothing beats […]

4 tips for minimizing risk when selecting a donor management system

Infrastructure. For most folks, the topic is about as exciting as underwear. No one wants to talk about infrastructure, let alone pay for it. But ignore infrastructure, and you doom your best laid plans for fundraising success to failure. Topping the list of infrastructure essentials – just after budget and staff – is your donor […]

When building a board, look for the helpers

“Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” Following the bomb explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday (April 15), this comforting word from Fred Rogers has popped up again on social media sites. Our favorite neighbor was referring, of course, to advice from his mother about dealing […]

When building a board, look for the helpers

“Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” Following the bomb explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday (April 15), this comforting word from Fred Rogers has popped up again on social media sites. Our favorite neighbor was referring, of course, to advice from his mother about dealing […]

Avoid the trap of “maybe gifts” and mission drift

I heard it again on my last trip out —  a proposal to expand an organization’s mission packaged as a development strategy. “By launching X, we’ll open the organization to a whole new group of donors,” the executive director said with more conviction than evidence. Never mind that the organization’s strategic plan included nary a […]

7 deadly sins of grant seekers

For the faith-based nonprofits with which I work – and in fact, for the majority of small to mid-size 501(c) 3s – foundation-funded grants are a tiny fraction of total gift income. Yet invariably, “write more proposals” is the first suggestion from organizational leaders when money is tight. I spend a lot of time talking […]

10 indications your organization is healthy and doing well

Similar to Leo Tolstoy’s families, healthy organizations are all alike. Or so I’ve noticed. Mission, scope, size, or sector don’t much matter. Nonprofits that are performing well share characteristics the ailing crowd lacks.