Getting a story: What questions to ask

Interviewing is an art. Just listen to Ira, Terry, Brian and other storytellers and journalists who tell stories for a living. Fundraisers also tell stories for a living. But we sometimes stumble on what questions to ask. I’m leading a storytelling training in DC today and I put together this list of questions that follows the… Read more

I’m in Congo: Here’s why

I’m in the Democratic Republic of Congo with Population Services International, a Sea Change client. I am leading a three-day training with their field staff on why stories are important for fundraising, how to identify the right types, the essential building blocks of story and how to write them to get more funding. We’ve designed… Read more

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

So says the 14th Dalai Lama. And if it’s good enough for him it’s certainly good enough for me. I like the word “kind” because its synonym, “nice,” has taken on a pejorative flavor in some circles. Nice is sort of like the consolation prize adjective, what you get labeled if you’re not brilliant or… Read more

Prime the pump: Ask for time now and money later

When you ask a prospect for their time, they will give more when you ask them for money later. That’s the result of a study from Stanford researchers Wendy Liu and Jennifer Aaker. In the study, participants were asked the following questions but in differing orders: “How interested are you in volunteering for HopeLab?” “How… Read more

Fundraising: It’s Not About the Money

That sounds silly, doesn’t it? Of course fundraising is about the money. But great fundraising is about so much more. The Haas Foundation just released yet another must-read on the state of philanthropy. And here’s the punchline: Getting past the monomaniacal focus on dollars in many instances leads to more money. The study, entitled Fundraising… Read more