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

The symptoms of “too many meetings” syndrome

Have you ever experienced “too many meetings syndrome?” The symptoms: Exhaustion due to back-to-back scheduling Straying attention span Anxiety over when you’ll get your real work done Confusion over who called this meeting and why Non profit staff are in too many meetings and it’s hurting productivity and impact. Every meeting you attend or lead… Read more

Surprise and wow

I spent the weekend at MD Anderson in Houston. My dad has cancer and my mom and I spent some sleepless hours in the waiting room while the surgeon removed his tumorous prostate and several equally tumorous lymph nodes. As she and I were on our last legs, this cheerful group of volunteers passed through… Read more

Navel Gazing and the Art of Content Creation

Navel gazing is defined as the excessive absorption in the self. Just like those people at the party who only talk about themselves, non profits are notorious navel gazers. And just like those people at the party who only talk about themselves, non profits have trouble making long-lasting friends (AKA donors). Are we truly narcissistic?… Read more

Don’t educate your donors

Don’t try to educate your donors. The refrain of “we have to educate the donors” typically comes from a perfectly reasonable but utterly flawed notion: That if you, the donor, knew what I knew, you’d care about the things I care about. So instead of caring about furry animals with big eyes, I’m going to… Read more

What is community?

Finding, participating in and building meaningful community takes work and skillful means.  As a fundraiser who wants donors to feel part of community, figuring out what makes a community a community is a super important question. Here are some takeaways from my personal experience and I welcome your thoughts: (1) A community has a clear… Read more

Pick up the damn phone

Full disclosure: I generally hate the phone. I’d mostly be happier in an all-text, all-email world. But that’s just me. And it’s almost certainly not the case for most of your donors. We’ve been helping with thank you calls for a number of organizations and the donors never fail to be surprised and delighted that someone… Read more