Sharpen Your SawJuly can be an odd month in fundraising. Many nonprofits finish their fiscal year, so this is the first month with a new goal. Starting from zero.

Even those that don’t have fiscal years starting, July is often a challenging month. Donors tend to be less responsive. Even when donors are in your seaside, summer vacation location, they aren’t necessarily interested in talking about philanthropy.

So in many ways, July is a perfect month for learning.

Take Time to Learn Your Craft

As Stephen Covey talks about in his “sharpening the saw” story, it’s important to invest time in learning your craft so you can be sharper at what you do. Working hard seems like a smart choice. All your effort is going to cutting wood. But nonstop sawing actually dulls your blade, making work harder and harder, slower and slower. Over time, you become less and less effective.

Counter-intuitively, spending time and money on sharpening your saw actually increases your effectiveness. Each cut makes maximum impact and you can saw the same amount of wood in less time. Taking time to stop and learn makes your work much more effective.

Here at, we believe in helping you sharpen the saw, we’re offering two very special learning opportunities this July.

  1. The Crisis in Nonprofit Leadership

    The Crisis in Nonprofit LeadershipLast week, we ran a webinar that unpacked research Marc is doing with nonprofit CEO’s and research reported in the UnderDeveloped report. If it feels like you’re fundraising staff keeps churning, the research shows you’re right. More importantly, it shows it’s a complex problem involving your board, your CEO, your development director, and even systems that are sabotaging your fundraising. In this training, Marc pulls out 6 areas to focus on and gives detailed actions to take. People loved the webinar so much, we’ve extended the replay until July 30.

    You can sign up for the replay at:
    Signing up for the replay also allows you to download the slides to use with your team.

  2. Fundraising 101: An overview for board members and “accidental” fundraisers

    Fundraising 101: An overview for board members and accidental fundraisersOne of the most important things your nonprofit can invest in is a proper board orientation. Fundraising 101 was crafted out of Marc’s experience of doing board orientations around North America for the last decade. We’re now offering this class online. You’ll get 3 video lectures, handouts and assessments, and an online forum to ask specific questions. This general overview shows your board where charitable donations really come from, how to most effectively get those donations, and how they can participate for their nonprofit.

    This is the foundation of a board training that helped Milton Hospital increase their annual fund 40% in 2009 when overall fundraising went down for the first time since World War II! Although created for board members, we’ve been surprised to find that executive directors and development directors are loving this broad overview too.

    Students get lifetime access to all the course materials – videos, assessments, and the online forum. But enrollment in this class closes July 31. To enroll, get to

Can Be as Easy as Grabbing a Pen and a Legal Pad

We are thrilled with the results people are getting from the Crisis in Nonprofit Leadership training and the Fundraising 101 online course. These are great ways to sharpen the saw. But it can be as easy as grabbing a pen and legal pad and going to your local coffee shop. Ask yourself: how would you like to feel in 12 months? What would you like to have accomplished? What would you like to have said about you? What skills would you have liked to learn? Then start writing.

We hope you’ll join us in dedicating July to sharpening the saw!

21 Ways for Board Members to Engage with their Nonprofit's Fundraising book image

You'll discover the 21 ways each board member can help their nonprofit's fundraising - even if they don't like to ask for money!

As a bonus, you'll get free fundraising tips every other week too!

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