Reunions

By Events

I really thought this was lost forever.  I’ve searched for this essay for two years.  It combines some of my very favorite things; superb writing, a story with a message, and a shared experience. According to his website, “William Zinsser is a lifelong journalist and nonfiction writer—he began his career on the New York Herald Tribune in 1946—and is also a teacher, best known for his book On Writing Well, a companion held in affection by three generations of writers, reporters, editors, teachers and students.” I first read this essay more than 25 years ago.  I regret I don’t know

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Events? Or Major Gifts?

By Events

A reader writes: “Rob, one topic I would be glad to hear more about is special events. “I recently relocated from a large university setting to a much smaller development shop.  Special events occupy quite a prominent place in our fundraising strategy, and I’m constantly being asked to work on them. “It’s been quite a challenge.  I do see some benefit, but it takes away from my capacity for visits, proper follow up and strategy.  Should I be expected to do both visits and events? “If I may, two underlying topics here are, one, what is the role of special

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When Events Can Be Magic

By Events

It was the biggest gala in our history.  We’d been working for months to give it our very best. We knew it meant so much to the organization. The thing about events, you don’t get a second chance to make it right. Soon after dinner I pulled an index card out of the pocket of my tuxedo and headed over to the president’s table.  On the card were the names and table locations of the donors he needed to see that night. I got to my boss’s table and asked if we could make the rounds.  He gave me a

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Why Events are So Valuable

By Events

Events have been part of the advancement profession forever. Today this proven fundraising vehicle may be relegated to the development backseat. This technique is considered outdated by some, compared to social media and other trends of the moment. It’s interesting how often we regard the newest concepts as the best concepts.  Not always so.  When a fundraising vehicle has served so many for so long, there’s a good reason. As a carefully-positioned element of an overall annual plan, this “old warhorse” of development can provide targeted messaging to your key donors, an entrée to new donors, and multiple residual benefits. Events are

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The Phone Call

By Featured Content

So often, success in our work is just the result of old-fashioned common sense and simply giving the donor the chance to help us. This is the story I promised to share with you last Sunday night.  My boss at the time told it to me. “It was over the holidays and not many people were in the office.  But we had someone at the switchboard and the call came through to me. “It was obvious from the get-go the gentleman on the other end of the line was in a hurry.  He sounded exasperated about something.  I hoped it

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13 Keys for a Good Visit

By Major Gifts

No doubt you and your colleagues are making lots of visits at this time of year.  Here are 13 tips for a good visit I’ve learned along the way: Never be late. If you have to wait for the person you are meeting, do not sit down.  Stay standing.  If you sit, when the person you are meeting enters the room, he or she will be looking down at you.  This is not the way you want to begin. Your demeanor should project quiet confidence.  Not cockiness.  Quiet confidence. Remember to do these four things, all at the same time, when greeting your

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Great Fundraising Thinking

By etc.

Every once in a while I come across something that is too good, too important, not to share. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lesson-50-years-making-kindness-endures-joel-peterson/  

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Best of the Week

By etc.

The two best fundraising thoughts I heard this week: “No one ever told me I couldn’t do it.” And, “I remind myself every now and then how important it is to be grateful.”

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The “Right-Sized” Event

By Featured Content

Saturday was pizza night.  I stopped by to pick it up and had to wait a minute or two. As I did, I noticed how smoothly things ran.  It’s a tiny shop, carryout or delivery only, with customers constantly in and out. I thought to myself, “this place runs like clockwork.”  Not one of the cooks or cashiers seemed stressed.  Everyone had a smile on their face.  Every customer felt cared for.  What was their secret? It hit me.  They had enough staff.  More than enough help so that every aspect of the operation was attended to, from waiting on

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Donor Contact: Email, Phone, or What?

By Major Gifts

“A donor has invited me to contact her, but I don’t know her preferred means of communication!  Help!” There are only four, thank goodness!  Email, text, phone, or handwritten note.  Very rarely these days will you send a letter, especially if you are looking for a timely reply. If your connect with the donor was in person, hopefully you asked, “I’d be glad to!  Shall I give you a call?” and they may have said, “Email me!”  In other words, try to get a clue when you are with them. Otherwise, here’s what I do.  I don’t like to catch

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