When organizations aren’t raising as much money as they need, they’ll often tell me: “We need to recruit new board members.” This is very often true, but it’s only a piece of the puzzle as to why they’re not being successful with fundraising. So if you’re about to embark on some board recruitment, I…Details
What will you hope for in the coming year? Recently a college classmate asked me and others this question, ruminating on how hope and optimism are similar yet different. It struck a chord with me (Thank you David Mahoney). You see, I’m not generally an optimist. Yet I’m often hopeful. I’d just never taken time…Details
I don’t compile a list like this every year, but this year was different. It marked a shift in the direction of my content, because… “business as usual” seemed out of sync with the times we found ourselves in. So this year I’m going to summarize my writing of the year by sharing the articles…Details
Has this really been going on this long?
Way back in March and April of 2020 I wrote a bunch of articles about crisis fundraising, donor communications in the time of corona and how to adapt your management and planning. Feel free to join me for a walk down memory lane here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Honestly, I’ve been continuing ever since then with as many helpful tips and concrete examples I could dream up and offer.
Today, I’d like to revisit something absolutely fundamental.
It’s not a tip or a tactic. It’s a modus operandi.
Eight months ago Joan Garry wrote True Leadership in the Time of Corona, an awesome piece I commend to you in full. At the time, we were grappling with the first wave. Now, as we head into a long winter, the lessons from this article are worth revisiting.
As tempting as it may be to pretend everything will soon be ‘normal,’ that’s unlikely. And good leaders don’t bury their heads in the sand. They plan ahead for crisis contingencies.
Leaders ask the key questions:
- What if this happens?
- If it does, then what?
- And then?
- And then?
- And then?
- … until there are no more “and thens?” to ask.
I call this the Cassandra role.Details
A good fundraising strategic plan, like a menu, should be broken into component parts so it’s easy to wrap your brain around.
With a menu, it might be appetizers, meat entrees, seafood entrees, vegetarian entrees, sides and desserts.
With a fundraising plan, it tends to break down into strategies.
It might be annual giving, major gifts, legacy gifts, foundation grants, business sponsors, events and so forth.
Before you can get to determining your priority strategies, however, you need to do a mini fundraising audit.
When I begin working with a new nonprofit client, I always ask the same three questions.Details
I learned something over three decades ago that I’ve never forgotten.
When I learned this, it made me very happy.
You see, I was transitioning from an unhappy, short-lived career in law and wasn’t really sure about my next chapter. Nonprofit work intrigued me, but… was it really a discipline or just something folks “winged?” How would I know I could be successful?
There weren’t a lot of role models around at the time, and I really didn’t know any other fundraisers. And there certainly were no articles to “google” online!
So, I enrolled in a week-long course offered by The Fundraising School, then led by founder Hank Rosso (who I call the “Daddy of Fundraising), which is now part of the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.
And my eyes were opened to the very nature of fundraising. And the essential pre-conditions for fundraising success.Details
Generally, I enjoy nothing than writing, writing and writing to share with you everything I’ve been learning from my clients… my coaching… my teaching… my reading…my research and studying… just what I’m absorbing from the ether. I absolutely crafting articles for you filled with strategic fundraising tips, advice gleaned from years of in-the-trenches…Details
“racism requires our silence to perform its wicked dance bigotry carries a golden watch to put us all under its trance prejudice is an old world sailor who tied our tongues into a knot intolerance is an un-blindfolded firing squad who can’t wait to take their shot we say that we’ve changed and now…Details
Is there a best way to raise money?
That question is really at the heart of what most nonprofits want to know.
And recently I was reminded of this when asked a question for a Virtual Summit for Nonprofit Changemakers in which I’m participating in the early Fall. [There will be a ton of useful content presented in this online conference – by 20 of well-respected experts over two days – so please check it out.]
Here’s what I was asked:
What is the best advice you can give to a fundraiser… and does it hold true in times of crisis?
I thought about this long and hard. Because I’ve lots and lots of advice!
But… my best advice? Hmmn…
And then it came to me.
I recalled a favorite quote.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solution.”
— Albert Einstein
That’s the advice!
You see, one can’t really pick a best fundraising strategy without first fully describing the reason money is not already flowing in. In other words…
You must identify and define your problem before attempting to solve it.
The time you spend doing so will be well spent. And when it comes to fundraising, worth its weight in gold.
I like to go through an iterative process of asking why, why, why, why…. until I’ve exhausted every question. It looks something like this:Details
Every day this virus haunts us. It reminds us of what is truly important. Coming together. Helping each other. Giving. Receiving. Finding balance. Finding meaning. Being grateful for tiny beautiful things. Acting with purpose. Helping others act with purpose. Bringing joy. Experiencing joy. Feeling what it is to be human. To support. And to lean.…Details