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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What’s In a Call Report?

By Major Gifts

I’m often asked, “What is best practice to include in a summary of a fundraising donor visit?” Here’s what I do: To me, they’re “call reports.”  Never include anything in a call report you would not want your donor to read.  The odds are, they never will, but donors do have the legal right to read information gathered about them.  I’ve heard of that happening and of the fallout when less-than-flattering comments are read. Type your call report directly into the donor’s record on your database.  Donor Perfect and Raiser’s Edge have places for this and I assume other donor

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How to Negotiate the Gift

By Major Gifts

There!  You did it!  You asked for the gift.  Good for you! You asked in a genuine, sincere way, with quiet confidence.  You asked for a dollar amount, to be sure, but you didn’t ask for money. You asked the donor to help make something important happen at your organization. That’s the key. Now what? Watch, and listen. Watch carefully the expression on your donor’s face because it will tell you a lot.  Did the person expect this?  Is he or she comfortable with it?  Or uneasy?  Their initial expression will tell you what they are about to say. If

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Exactly How to Ask for a Gift

By Major Gifts

Major gift work is like painting.  Professional painters will tell you that 90% of the job is in the preparation.  The time and care you take in prepping the wall (that is, preparing the donor for your ask) will determine how things turn out. I want to be sure of three things before I ask.  One, I know enough about the donor to have at least a ballpark sense of her or his capacity to make a gift.  Two, I have a pretty good sense of the project the donor will respond to with interest.  And three, there is some

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The Three Relationships with Every Major Gift Prospect

By Major Gifts

Remember the Manager, the Prime, and the Asker. Those three roles exist in every major gifts relationship.  Go ahead, think about one of your donors.  Who is the Prime?  Who is the person your donor best relates to, is most comfortable with?  Who does your donor think of most often when he or she thinks of your organization?  Who do they like to hear from?  Who do they like to see? Who is the relationship with? It may be you.  Or your boss.  Or the CEO, board member or faculty member.  Figure it out.  And make sure that person understands. 

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Swing for Singles

By Major Gifts

Swing for singles.  Don’t swing for home runs. There is so much pressure on major gift officers in our profession today.  “We need a big gift and we need it NOW!” You are nodding your head as you read this because it pretty much sums up the feeling you get.  You don’t have the time you need to develop the relationship to the point where that big gift is realistic.  It’s a major issue. Or, you want the recognition, the “high,” that comes from reeling in that big gift.  We all do. Can I gently offer this thought?  Be out

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