Fundraising Q/A: What has your experience been with family philanthropy?

I can talk about that from both sides of the equation: the giving and the getting. Especially when it comes to a significant gift, a spouse and/or other family member often is involved. If there’s a family foundation, its staff will come into play as well. The fundraiser needs to determine who the real decision makers are, and be especially aware of who has veto power. Read More

Fundraising Q/A: What inspires donors to increase, reduce or end their support?

Good question! Fundraising isn’t just about making that first ask, as we’ve said many a time. Your goal is to build a long and mutually satisfying relationship, but it is a moving target. Read More

How to: Engage Your Prospect

How can you get a sense of whether there is a match between your organization’s mission and your prospect’s interests that could inspire a significant gift? Here are six questions you need to be able to answer. Read More

Fundraising Q&A: How do you measure performance?

There has been a lot of work on that problem over the past few decades, but there still is no agreement on a common set of financial and social metrics for nonprofit organizations, and it can be somewhat fad-like. Here are some things to consider. Read More

How To: Fundraising Planning

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That adage, with some variations, is attributed to both Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin. General Eisenhower added: “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” We agree that planning really is more about the process than the output. Read More

What is your worst fundraising story?

I have a few of those! As I was wincingly recalling them, I realized what they had in common – jerks. Most of the people I have encountered were quite wonderful, but running into a jerk or two is inevitable. What to do? Read More

Fundraising How To: Support Your Fundraisers

During the Harvard Business School capital campaign, Howard earned – and wore proudly – the nickname “Professor Road Warrior,” logging approximately 1,000 one-on-one meetings, and speaking to more than 5,000 people in group settings on behalf of the effort. He is quick to point out, however, that he had lots of help, from a talented and tireless Development team as well as alumni, faculty, and HBS leadership. Read More

Can you share your best fundraising experience?

I’ve been fortunate to have many great fundraising experiences over the years, working with inspired and inspiring donors, development professionals, and volunteer fundraisers. You may be disappointed by my favorite story, though. It’s not about a billion dollar gift, and I’m not even in it. I share it, though, because I found it so moving, and learned a powerful lesson from it. Read More

Fundraising Q&A: We’ve been told that we should start an endowment. Any suggestions?

At the risk of sounding contrarian – yes, once again – my first reaction is: “Don’t do it.” That said, I understand where the question is coming from. Nonprofits are facing extraordinary financial pressures, and are grasping for solutions. Read More

Fundraising Q&A: What should we be looking for in a development director?

As with many things, the short answer is “it depends.” Your fundraising strategy, organizational complexity, and donor base all have implications for the personal characteristics, skill sets and experience that you’re looking for in your chief fundraiser. Read More