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

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

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

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