Communicators are from Mars. Fundraisers are from Venus.

I have a confession to make. I know with great intimacy the conflict that occurs between communications/marketing people and fundraisers, because not that long ago I was part of the problem. Throughout most of the 1990’s I was the communications director for a large national organization. Not only did I have a negative attitude toward… Read more

Toward a culture of philanthropy

Today we are proud to release our latest whitepaper, How to Create a Culture of Philanthropy By Treating Systems Instead of Symptoms. We interviewed and surveyed more than 300 senior organization professionals and have come to the conclusion that cultural dysfunction is a far larger impediment to successful fundraising than lack of know-how. We were thrilled… 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

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

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

Caution: Sudden Wealth Syndrome

Mary wins the lottery. A million dollars. Mary goes on a spending spree. She buys her mom a house. She buys a Lexus for her son. She donates a little to charity. In a matter of months the money’s gone. Jack wins the lottery. A million dollars. He hands 90% of it over to a… Read more

Don’t Give Me Money

“Don’t give me money” is not an everyday call to action coming from an organization that depends on contributions to survive. So when i got an email from Emily Jacobi, the founder and CEO of Digital Democracy, saying just that, it caught my attention. Under the subject line “Don’t Send us Money,” Emily alerts her readers… Read more