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

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

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

The Cadence Conundrum

The never-ending debate over how many emails is too many roils on. On the one hand most fundraisers, including yours truly, have seen no diminution of income caused by too-frequent asks. The latest musing on the subject (it’s a good one) is here. On the other hand, if we’re only looking at income, is it… Read more

How to decide what to ignore

It’s ok to ignore things. I often help clients decide what ideas they need to ignore. They usually already know they should ignore them, but they waver because they worry about missing opportunities. This is a leadership tension. When should you pivot to an opportunity that arises? When should you stay the course with your… Read more