This one is a bit trickier because, as a volunteer fundraiser, you’re sandwiched between the donors you’re soliciting and the organization that you’re representing. Also, I’m not sure I really have the right to be critical of donors, since I am asking them to help me and my cause. But, since you asked… Read More
Do you have any tips for world-class donor communications?
Happy to answer that one, because communications are so important and a lot of what I see – as a board member and a donor myself – is downright awful. Here’s a top ten list for effective donor messaging. First and foremost: Know your audience! Read More
Inspired by Thanksgiving, we’ve come up with a list of suggestions for that all-important step of thanking people who contribute to your cause, early and often. Read More
I must say that bad as well as good experiences as a donor myself have informed my views on fundraising. Here are my top five pet peeves.
Making assumptions- When someone shows up with a request for a cause that I have absolutely no interest in, I can only assume that they haven’t taken the time or trouble to find out what causes I already support, which would be a clue as to what I care about. Read More
The true – but probably not very helpful – answer is that I have no idea! One problem, I can say with certainty, is the criteria used to evaluate nonprofit efficacy. The use of overhead (i.e., the percentage of expenses that go to administrative costs) as a metric has come under attack, as you may have noticed. After numerous critical reports from Stanford and others, the three major rating agencies – GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving – have issued an open letter condemning the practice, and launched a website (www.overheadmyth.com) where you can sign a pledge to end it. Read More
If you have a successful first date, how do you leave it, to get to a second date?
In sales training, they often talk about the window shade being up or down; is the customer receptive, or have they tuned you out? That’s what you have to determine, at the end of your first date, and go from there. How did the prospect leave it, is the important twist on your question. Read More
What’s the best way to convince someone to give to a wealthy institution?
That might seem like a nice problem to have, for nonprofits struggling to make ends meet. It does bring its own set of challenges, though. If your institution is perceived as wealthy, you may hear, “Why should I give to you? You don’t need it.” In Harvard’s case, I’ve never found it effective to say: “We’re down to our last $26 billion.” Read More
How can we better engage our board in fundraising?
Good question. And, without kicking and screaming, I might add! I’m reminded of a nonprofit that was eager to revamp its board, and actively involve it in the pursuit of a new strategic plan, including a significant capital campaign. The challenge was to rebuild board membership, and sound a call to action. Read More
1. People want to give but get waylaid. What can you do about that?
A friend of mine – who happens to be a generous donor as well as a successful fundraiser – made this observation: “There are more people with money looking for good ideas, than good ideas looking for money.”
2. How is the landscape in philanthropy changing?
One big change is that organizations are thinking more about non-philanthropic forms of revenue. Funding your mission really is a three-legged stool: earned income, memberships, and philanthropy. Read More
Last month, we began our two-part discussion with a look at the essence of entrepreneurship: the pursuit of opportunities. This month, we’ll talk about how to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in your organization. Entrepreneurial management is more about a spectrum of behaviors than a rigid set of practices. Read More