A band camp story

Suppose your niece asked you for money to help send her to band camp. You would give — as much as you could — and hopefully, she’d be on her way. What if — three months later — you never heard what happened? Did she even go? Did she change her instrument to percussion after… Read more

If work wasn’t hard, they’d call it something else

When you were a kid, you probably loved obstacle courses. The tire maze, the rope swing, the wall… these were challenging obstacles, but ones you took on with glee. When — during our long road to adulthood — do we lose that sense of glee when presented with challenge? Work is hard and obstacles are… Read more

Your donors care more about “why”

Many staff in non profits, including Executive Directors, focus on what the organization does and how it does it. Your donors care more about why. Mark and I have been training a group of Executive Directors from children’s advocacy groups around the country on individual fundraising. During one of our day-long workshops, we asked them… Read more

Campaign highlight: Showcase your donors

You never know who might make a donation to your cause. That’s why Population Services International makes sure they know who is donating and why. Every donor who makes a gift gets a handwritten card thanking them for their support and asking how they heard about PSI. Every inquiry gets a timely response, which often uncovers… Read more

Fundraiser Kudos Week

That’s right. I’m declaring this week Fundraiser Kudos Week. I made it up, but with holidays like International Bacon Day and Make a Hat Day, I think Fundraiser Kudos Week passes the laugh test and more. Why? Because according to a recent Sea Change survey, fundraisers feel under appreciated and misunderstood. We feel like most… Read more

All the feels: Emotion is an output

You are in the emotion business. Emotion should be an output for everything you put in front of your donor. Do you want her to feel passionate, angry, relieved, grateful, joyous or sad? You need to know what you want her to feel. So before you write your next letter, email or Facebook post, think… Read more

They signed up: Now what?

You’ve come up with a creative lead generation campaign aimed at attracting the right kind of donors to your cause. You’ve secured an advertising budget. You’ve optimized the user experience. You’ve gotten sign ups. Now what? Last week, I very humbly realized that I had neglected the “now what” part. Here is what we got right:… Read more

Do you have a great relationship with your CEO or ED?

We’re about to release a study that we hope will get tongues wagging. The thesis? That in most organizations fundraising is limited more by internal structural and cultural issues than by lack of strategic or tactical know-how. Inspired by studies by the Haas Jr. Foundation,  we aim to solve this problem by helping organizations build a culture… Read more