When in doubt, write a JTOY

Excellent fundraisers know that fundraising is about a relationship with a donor. Since they're a "donor," the relationship is centered around their giving. But it is a relationship. That giving is linked to a donor's values and passions - things that make her...

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Get fundraising unstuck by reframing

I just returned from training NGO leaders in Lebanon. Prior to the training, I spent time studying Lebanese philanthropy and interviewing people who'd registered. Fundraising is clearly getting harder. I kept hearing the two reasons it was particularly hard in Lebanon...

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Fundraising in the last days of December

Year-end is a huge time for nonprofit's fundraising. There's a debate if the spike in giving is because we ask so much more frequently at this time of year or if it's because people are more generous because of the mix of public and religious holidays combined with...

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Who's leading the army?

Last month, at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, I saw Jeff Brooks help nonprofits understand donor communication by sharing a great image. I wrote about it to my Fundraising Kick email subscribers. But I wanted to share it here. Hopefully it'll help as you write...

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Capital Campaigns for the 21st Century

Capital campaigns are a mainstay in nonprofit fundraising. There's something special about a time-limited, specific goal like a capital campaign. It gets us motivated to give generously and accomplishes results we can see and touch. But things are changing. For...

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A true disruption in fundraising

We often hear people claim they're going to "disrupt" an industry, even fundraising. "This will change everything," they promise. And the implied threat is that you'd better adapt or get left behind. They are usually selling a website or an app that is supposed to...

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Make the most of the summer

Last week, I sent my Fundraising Kick subscribers a couple ideas on how to make the most of the different pace of the summer. Although Kicks are written for nonprofit CEO's, I thought this might be helpful to a larger group of people as well. Happy New (fiscal) Year,...

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Happy (Fiscal) New Year

Years ago, I recorded this "Thank you for fundraisers." I wanted to get it out early this year to give you the extra "umphf" to push through these last few days of the fiscal year. (If your fiscal year ends in June!) Thanks for your hard work. Our world is better...

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Will you take the Red Pen Challenge?

Fundraising is a counter-intuitive profession. But it is a profession. Experts research fundraising tactics and test strategies to find out what works. Often, the results seem illogical. Like is the case in writing fundraising letters that actually raise money. The...

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What do you offer?

Listen to a direct mail specialist like Tom Ahern or Steven Screen talk about fundraising for any length of time and you'll hear them constantly talking about "offers." You need clear offers. Test various offers. What is your offer? This can confuse the rest of us....

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Are you able to sharpen your saw?

I've been talking to a lot of amazing nonprofit leaders and staff. Our sector is full of some of the most dedicated people! But dedication seems to go only so far, doesn't it? With all the hard work, doesn't it just feel like there's more to do? In our latest...

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He's rich. Now what?

I've been getting the same type of question from a wide variety of nonprofit leaders in many different sectors. The question goes something like this: "This guy is rich. What's my next step?" Part of me wants to applaud them. These leaders are doing the hard work of...

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6 Lessons Learned on the Capital Campaign Trail

Capital campaigns are both wonderful and stressful times in a nonprofit. Here are six lessons I've learned after 30 years on the capital campaign trail. 1. It’s About the Vision—Not The Money While preparing for a fundraising campaign can be a daunting enterprise,...

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Guilt, stories, and fundraising

A while back, I received a call from an ALS Foundation. The call was awful. So awful, I've waited over a year and a half to write about it. Long enough that I don't remember exactly which ALS organization it was. But fresh enough that the emotions linger. And I want...

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