Stop calling everything fundraising. Everything isn’t.

I bump into it all the time — development folk in small to mid-sized nonprofits and ministry organizations running themselves ragged with activities they call fundraising, but which aren’t. Some of what they’re doing could actually raise a few bucks – maybe even significant money — if done better, before, during and after. But most […]

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 […]

Generosity in quotes: Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century American essayist, lecturer, and poet

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 […]

Generosity in quotes: Gaping Void

“There’s something magical about kindness. It’s an element we no longer expect in our day-to-day interactions, but it’s something we long for. The thing about exclusivity is that it’s really, really lonely. It seems cool to be the girl in the sunglasses, the guy who never picks up his phone, but there’s a lot of […]

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 […]

Tipperary, the long walk, and fundraising

“The leadership pool has never been more shallow,” a recently retired pastor commented as a carload of us hurried to the airport following a seminary board meeting. “Why do you think that is?” I asked. “Too few folks are willing to do the long walk,” he replied. Heads nodded knowingly as the wise board member […]

Generosity in quotes: Elle Johanna Basinger

Elle Johanna Basinger, daughter of Adam (the above-mentioned Daddy) and Wendy Basinger and adored granddaughter of Randy and Rebekah Basinger, in a note found in her bedroom

Board member, how about giving fundraising a try?

I don’t want to be one of those people who assumes that every member of every board is cut out for fundraising. And slap me down if I veer toward a description of board members as ATMs or “pay pals” for the organizations they serve. As I’ve said time again here at Generous Matters, the […]

Generosity in quotes: Walter Brueggemann

” . . . life does not consist in frantic production and consumption that reduces everyone else to threat and competitor. . . The odd insistence of the God of Sinai is to counter anxious productivity with committed neighborliness. The latter practice does not produce much; but it creates an environment of security and respect […]