I’ve been thinking about Jerry Panas this week. He passed away last Saturday night, the 14th, at age 90. What a full life he lead, and how busy he was! Jerry lived in northwest Connecticut, and yet the office for his consulting firm was in Chicago. I asked him about that once. “Rob, I’m on a plane so much, it just made sense to put the office in the middle!” Do you know that Jerry Panas wrote the best-selling fundraising book of all time, “Asking,” when he was 74? His last book, actually a collection of works by Sy Seymour,
Are you passionate about your job? No? That’s okay. Passion is an overused word. Do you love your job? No? That’s okay, too. Love is a pretty strong word. Can you represent your organization to donors with pride and enthusiasm? No? Houston, we have a problem.
What’s in my fundraising tool kit: National Car Rental’s Emerald Club. The shuttle bus from the airport to the rental car lot. Ever wonder why half the folks on the bus hop out where National’s cars are parked? Because just like the commercial says, they pick any car – and go. A handwritten note with a handwritten envelope and a live stamp. Irresistible to a donor. Guaranteed to be remembered. Like the doctor says, “Two, every day.” Binder clips. If you have paper clips attaching papers in your hard files, the day will come when a crucial piece of paper
Things I like? They come in all shapes and sizes. Summer. And not for the reason you’re thinking! You bet, summer is a great time to recharge the battery but it is also a wonderful time to try something counter-intuitive. Submit grant proposals in the summer. No one else is. Try a creative direct mail campaign. How many other appeals are in the summer mailboxes? And forget about visiting Florida and Arizona donors in January! Everyone else is doing the same thing! Visit them when those donors are dying for company! Trust me, I’ve done it, and it works!
It’s a holiday week. If you’re not out of the office, your head is probably halfway there. A good time to share 21 things about our work (tools, tips, ideas) that I like. Hondas. Or Camrys, Subarus, or Fords. The point is, don’t pick up your donor in a Tesla or a Mercedes. It doesn’t look right. Let your spouse drive the Beemer and enjoy it on the weekend. Zero-based budgeting. Hey, I was an English major. But I’ve learned enough about budgets over the years to know that if you don’t start from scratch every time, new ideas won’t
Driving from Indianapolis to Chicago ten days ago I spent some time on the phone (hands-free, of course) with my friend Tim, who is the executive director of a major foundation. We talked about planned giving, and then the possible effect of the tax law changes on charitable giving (see The Weekend Briefing for June 24). Then, “Rob, can I ask one last question?” “Sure!” “Of all the people on our planet right now, what percentage do you think are charitable?” Wow. I told Tim it was a brilliant question. He didn’t ask “how many people in our world give
Not much about the fundraising profession shocks me anymore. This did. According to the Council for Aid to Education, as reported by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Almost one-third of the dollar value of gifts to all colleges in the last year came from only a dozen donors.” And: “In 1990, the percentage of college/university alumni making any gift to their alma mater was 19%. “In 2017, it was 7%.” If those two statistics don’t give us pause I don’t know what will. We know why donors stop supporting us. The question is, do we have the commitment to do anything about it.
The first time I received a gift of mutual fund shares I thought “Yea!” and set about liquidating the gift in the same way I would process a gift of appreciated stock. NOTE! I neglected to mention something very, very important in yesterday’s blog about stock gifts. Each and every time you receive a gift of stock, you and your organization want to instruct your broker to sell the stock immediately and transfer the funds to your account. There are no “ifs, ands, or buts” about this. It should be an ironclad rule at your organization and your broker should
Gifts of stock and mutual fund shares are second cousins to one another. So you’d think the procedure to accept them would be the same, or almost the same. It’s not. Virtually all gifts of stock today are now conveyed from the donor to the charity electronically. On rare occasion the donor will want to donate actual paper stock certificates. There are specific procedures for that which we won’t go into today. When the donor wants to give you stock, the two things they must know right away are; have they owned the stock for more than one year and
A car pulled into the driveway behind me and the horn beeped. A voice called out, “Hop in!” I was parked in the driveway of Terry’s home in Boca Raton, Florida. “Let’s go have lunch at the club,” she said, as we greeted one another. We’d never met before. But Terry was very familiar to me. She was a great friend of our president, who had contacted Terry and asked her to see me. Terry said yes immediately. Not because she was dying to meet me, mind you but because her friend, our president, asked her to. We drove over