Category Archives: Fundraising How To’s

Top Ten Tips for Effective Donor Messaging

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

Fundraising How to’s: Ten Ways to Say Thank You

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

How To Be Entrepreneurial – Part 2

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

How To: Be Entrepreneurial

While in Brazil recently, Howard gave a talk on entrepreneurship that included the inevitable “it’s not just…” reminder. Entrepreneurship isn’t just about start-ups, or technology based ventures, or small businesses, or crazed risk takers, or scoundrels. And, it’s not just for-profits. Nonprofits, we would argue, are the very definition of an entrepreneur, pursuing opportunities beyond the resources they currently control. Read More

How To: Entity Planning – A Case Study

Some months ago, we introduced the touchstone of our “big picture approach” to fundraising – entity planning – and promised to talk more about its four major steps. In our October newsletter, we spoke about how to develop a powerful mission statement. The time has come to tackle the remaining three steps – determine resources required, specify economics, and identify financial sources and gaps. Read More

Fundraising How To: Sausage making or friend-raising?

Some fundraisers take a sausage-making approach. Haul out the gift pyramid, and grind through these steps exactly, using these tools and methods, they say. Others take what, at best, can be called friend-raising. (At worst, it’s more like a lamprey eel.) Latch onto someone wealthy, and hang on until they give (up), they say. Both are exaggerations of elements that are both necessary for effective fundraising: process and relationships. Read More

Be proud, you’re not begging

“How can you do fundraising? It’s so unpleasant.” Have you been asked that? I have, more than once. Many nonprofit volunteers and directors themselves will say they hate asking people, especially their peers, for money. My response is that I’m proud of the fundraising work I do. I’m not asking for myself. I’m asking for a cause I believe in. And I’m helping donors accomplish their philanthropic and personal goals. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. Read More

How To Build Relationships

When it comes to raising significant gifts, it’s about the journey, not just the destination. And it’s not a day trip; you need to pack a suitcase and whatever else you may need. You choose a travel companion, and plan your itinerary. There are waypoints, where you pause for rest, or provisions, or simply to enjoy the view. It’s a long and windy road, with ups and downs. Read More

How To Build A Team

Fundraising is not just the person who makes the ask, whoever that may be. It requires a team of people with special talents. What brings it all together is a common purpose. Then you need to understand everything that needs to be done, leverage each person’s strengths to do it, and make sure each person feels recognized and appreciated for his contributions. Read More

Fundraising How To – Developing a powerful mission statement

In our May newsletter, we provided an overview of the entity planning process. This month we will focus on that all-important first step – defining your mission. Let’s start with where you are. Here’s a quick quiz. Think about the nonprofit institution you’re involved with, and ask yourself—and perhaps others in your organization—the following questions:

Does our organization have a shared understanding of the work we do and why it’s important? Are we clear about what we don’t do?
Am I—and is the rest of the organization—committed to, and even passionate about, our mission? Who else will care about this mission? If you answered “yes” to both, I applaud you and your organization. If you didn’t, here is a framework with some key questions. Read More