Is Brandraising the Same as Fundraising?

I have a confession to make. In the many tensions between communications and fundraising folks I often feel like a man without a country. My true love was strategic communications, but after 16 years I no longer wince when I am introduced as a ‘fundraiser.’ Among intramural tensions between fundraisers and comms folks, few issues… Read more

It’s a long game

A client just told me that a donor who has been giving small gifts each year for several years, just increased her support to six figures. Why? She said she received a thank you call from a volunteer. Investments in cultivation pay off.

You’ll Thank Me for This

There’s a lot of bad fundraising advice lurking out here on the interwebs, so when we come across something so on point, so valuable, and so ‘right,’ we can’t not share it. This brief video conversation with writer-God Jeff Brooks and Steven Screen offer essential advice on how to incorporate storytelling into your fundraising communications.… Read more

Why now?

Every time you ask your donors for money, you need to have a good answer to the question, “Why now?” Because there’s a match deadline looming. Because we’re organizing 1,000 people to make Congressional office visits by next week. Because the UN is holding a conference on refugees and we’re helping advocate at the grass… Read more

A Credible Witness: Jury Duty and Fundraising

I just spent two weeks serving on Brooklyn’s Grand Jury. Throughout my experience as Juror #15, I saw first hand how credibility sways people making important decisions. If the witness stumbled, dressed inappropriately, mis-recalled something, or mispoke, the group of jurors – myself included — immediately called their testimony into question. Humans are hardwired to… Read more

To Call Out Is Human: To Transcend Aggression is Divine

If the famous naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough were to do field research in progressive circles, he might document in his curious tone, “The humans I witnessed sat behind their computer screens and typed with aggressive keystrokes. They appeared to be in an agitated state — their heart rates high and their sweat glands activated.”… Read more

Slow it down

Decisive. Active. Speedy. Our culture values these attributes. We want to get stuff done. And we want to get stuff done quickly. I have bought into this “quick to act” mindset for years. And it’s gotten me pretty far. But recently, I’m exploring how and when this doesn’t serve me – or my clients. Sometimes… Read more

Then This Happened

I gave a research presentation to a well-respected albeit obscure conservation-oriented trade association last week. The Board chair of the development committee kept haranguing me. He kept asking why they couldn’t reach their goal of $3.5 million in annual unrestricted giving. He was getting increasingly annoyed that I didn’t have a simple answer. Finally, this… Read more