Your brain is not enough

Critical thinking is important, but it’s also over-rated. When faced with choices and decisions, you have at least two equally important sources of wisdom and guidance. First there’s your heart. Second, and surprisingly, there’s your gut. You have roughly 100 million neurons in your digestive system, so much that scientists refer to it sometimes as… 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

The bounty hunter thing, again

Small wonder that the average tenure of a development director is only slightly longer than the lifespan of a fruit fly. If donors are walking ATMs to many executive directors, then development directors are bounty hunters. And too often, scapegoats. Great piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy this week succinctly titled “Development Directors are not… Read more

Forget about the money

I often am introduced as a “fundraiser who doesn’t care about the money.” It always gets a laugh at conferences, but the irony is that in many respect it’s true. To me, the rewards of fundraising lie in fostering a community of people united around an urgent cause. That they express their solidarity with their… 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

When intuition fails

As an aspiring storyteller I love the Flannery O’Connor quote “I find everyone thinks they know what a story is until they sit down to write one.” It’s hard and there’s so much more to it than you think. And much of it is not intuitively obvious. I’ve come to realize that the same can… Read more

Data Shmata

Maybe I am the only one who feels this, but the hyper obsession with data – big, small, hairy, long-limbed – seems a bit over the top. I’ve been listening to Dan Goleman’s Primal Leadership on tape, and he raises some big questions about the limit of data-driven anything. What about intuition? What about heart?… 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