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 This technique is considered outdated by some, compared to social media and other trends of the moment.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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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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