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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Are you a BFF?

I've been seeing a disturbing trend of late: a sharp rise in what I call are BFFs: blunt force fundraisers. Nonprofit leaders willfully skipping planning to jump straight to asking. As the author of Ask Without Fear!®, you know I am an advocate for asking. But the...

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3 Common Capital Campaign Mistakes

Capital campaigns are a wild roller coaster ride of vision-fueled excitement followed by long stretches of slow. slogging. work. The slow parts require incredible discipline to stay on course. I know because I’ve helped run 18 capital campaigns at schools,...

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Upcoming Events

I'll be on the road quite a bit this fall. If you'll be at one of these events, let's try to meet up! Atlanta - August 14 - YNPN 2017 I'm looking forward to giving leadership trainings on taking charge of your own career. They've let me offer a $30 discount to people...

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The danger of seeking 100% online giving

Online giving definitely is growing. And if you listen to the growth statistics, you may feel you can fully fund your organization using online giving tools. If that's you, stop. Seriously. When something grows from 1% to 2% it's 100% growth, but it's still not the...

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Are you just putting out fires?

Here's the text of an email I sent to subscribers of the free #FollowUpFriday email list. Versions of this process helped keep me sane as a fundraiser so I thought I'd share it here. Good morning! Yesterday I felt overwhelmed by the demands on my time. Projects...

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It's not about scaring, but caring

I recently blogged about a storytelling tip for nonprofit leaders that I learned from Kindra Hall. The tip is especially powerful in nonprofit fundraising. Kindra took the millenia old story structure - beginning, middle, end - and reframed it as normal, explosion,...

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Nonprofit Payment Processing: The Ins and Outs

Passion may be a key player in determining a nonprofit’s success, but without the necessary funds to make it happen, your nonprofit will only get so far in making a difference. That’s why in order to gain real traction with donors, your nonprofit must first set up a...

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Are there other ways to fund your nonprofit?

Have you ever been asked by a board member, "Isn't there some other way of funding our work rather than asking for money?" Or have you thought that yourself? Well, NonprofitHub's CEO Randy Hawthorne says, "Yes!" He is experienced at generating revenue for his...

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Is fundraising hurting itself?

Today, the fundraising think tank Rogare published "Less Than My Job's Worth." In this important "green" paper - a paper created for discussion - Rogare's director Ian MacQuillin exams the questions "is fundraising a profession?" and "does it matter if fundraising...

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No donor wants to make a donation

Years ago, I wrote about Zig Ziglar teaching that nobody wants a drill. He said millions of drills are sold every year. But no one wants a drill. They want a hole. The same is true with donors. No donor wants to make a donation. Donors want the value the donation will...

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Don't put off fundraising planning to the fall!

Summer. It stirs up thoughts trips, outdoor activities, and school break. A pause in the normal routines of life. Even though we're no longer in school, we still let that "summer mentality" affect us. Rest is good. But taking a break from fundraising in the summer can...

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7 Techniques to Boost Donor Engagement

Before you can start to use the techniques below you need to figure out what engagement means for your nonprofit. Does it meaning getting involved in other roles like volunteering or getting more donors to read your communications? Once you have an idea of what that...

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The conundrum of corporate gifts

Last week, I was able to listen to a terrific discussion from business leaders about how their organizations make corporate gifts to charities. It's always good to hear the thought process of donors. But it sometimes raises more questions than it settles. Seeking...

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Even in email fundraising location matters

Effective email fundraising can seem like a mystery. As a nonprofit, you take a lot of time to craft your email. You balance images with words. And you often build up to the ask. Unfortunately, donors aren't reading your emails like they read a book! They're skimming....

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Help for funding your ministry

We've never met anyone who got into ministry to raise money. Most people sense God's call and start doing service in some area. People are excited for them and encourage them. In the initial rush of excitement, if money even comes up, they try to brush off the thought...

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Why I don't like crowdfunding

Speaking at a conference recently, fundraisers kept peppering me with questions related to fundraising. Some of those in the audience balanced their entire annual budget on a crowdfunding campaign. That is plain crazy. Yes, crowdfunding has opened up philanthropy and...

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Do You Need a Really a Nonprofit Mentor?

The nonprofit sector is a strong and vibrant community full of people willing to help each other out. And now more than ever, it’s important to come together and work as allies and mentors. The value of being mentored seems pretty obvious: new skills, confidence,...

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Tithing from the IRA Rollover

Charitable Gift IRA Rollover: The Past In 2006 I was visiting with a donor who was very excited about the recent Pension Protection Act that enabled him to give from his IRA to charity. The Charitable Gift IRA Rollover allowed many donors like him to give a Qualified...

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7 Year-End Fundraising Practices That Work All Year

Year-end fundraising is a bountiful time in the life of the nonprofit. Giving Tuesday and holiday-themed asks are just the beginning of the strategies that nonprofits employ for the end-of-year season. But many of these practices are too beneficial to reserve for the...

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The missing link in fundraising programs

Whether your fiscal year starts now or is only part of the way through, January is a good time to evaluate your fundraising progress. To help you're planning, here's an email I sent our Fundraising Kick subscribers yesterday. Good morning, Kickers! Listening to a...

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