Tag: fundraising

Some Say Fundraising Is Just Sales: They’re Wrong!

Early in my 30-plus year career in the philanthropic arena, I was looking for a major gifts officer for a reproductive health clinic in Los Angeles. Of the many résumés I received, one was from a candidate with ten years of solid experience—but for eight of those ten years, he worked for religious charities that opposed the values held by my organization. Within the… Read more »

Return On Investment – A new age of business-mindedness dawns for nonprofit enterprises

Suddenly it seems like everyone’s talking about it. Or maybe “finally” is better than suddenly. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has gotten weighty on the subject. On June 7, it featured a scathing article by Amanda Pearce, CFRE, under the headline, “Nonprofit is a Tax Status, NOT a Business Model.” Even US charity watchdogs have admitted they got it wrong. In case no one at… Read more »

Scarcity or Abundance? An Experiment in Collaborative Fundraising

Many of the principles of fundraising I learned early on really are true: listen to prospective donors to connect them to your cause; build relationships to move supporters to the next level of giving; and thank donors more often than you ask for money. These do result in better fundraising outcomes. But based on my recent experience, I’m wondering if the scarcity-based approach of holding your funding sources under lock and key could use an upgrade.

A new conservation grantmaking strategy for today’s challenges

People of the North American West depend on healthy rivers, national parks, forests, monuments, and other public and working lands to sustain their families and their communities. These majestic landscapes provide refuge and inspiration, and fulfill economic, cultural, and spiritual needs. And yet, we are losing the equivalent of a football field of natural land in the Western United States every two-and-a-half minutes. Family… Read more »

My Top Eleven and Three-Quarters Bits of Advice for Winning at Donor Communications – Part II

7. Donors aren’t forever. Mostly. Again: Why do you need a donor acquisition program as well as a donor relationship program? Because donors come and go, like pee holes in the snow. A couple of years ago, I polled experts around the world with the question, “How long does the average donor stick with a charity?” There was a gawdly lot of hemming and… Read more »

The Best Route to Approaching Donors: Hand-Head-Heart

As someone who began her career as a fund raiser and migrated to become a funder as head of a large corporate foundation, I have a somewhat unique vantage point on the struggle many nonprofits endure when engaging funders and major donors to support their cause. In speaking with executive and development officers who are charged with fundraising, I find it most helpful to… Read more »

Funding Alert

Funding News and Grant Tips   Registration is now open for the Funding Information Center’s annual grant writing workshop/webinar. Please go to http://dshs.texas.gov/fic/al29-3-3.aspx#R for details and instructions.   Kaiser Family Foundation Issues Report on HIV, Opioid Epidemic http://dshs.texas.gov/fic/al29-4-1.aspx#A   2018 County Health Rankings Highlight Disparities by Place and Race http://dshs.texas.gov/fic/al29-4-1.aspx#B   Community Health Centers Don’t Have Capacity to Expand http://dshs.texas.gov/fic/al29-4-1.aspx#C   Parents’ Giving Habits… Read more »

Board expert to lead boot camp

Learn what it takes to govern efficiently Be part of Board Boot Camp on Saturday, April 21. Jennifer Moriarty, the founder of Moriarty Consulting Group, will lead board members and executive directors through the fundamentals of effective board governance the basic roles and responsibilities of a board strategies for building effective board structures. $5.1M raised during Big GiveOver 600 nonprofits participated in 24 hours of… Read more »

At this latest fundraising conference, I at last began to wonder . . . 
”What is abuse?”


Witness one form of abuse unique to fundraising . . . You get the training. You learn, say, how and why donor-centered communications raise lots more money. But your boss doesn’t like the way donor-centered communications sound … so your boss says no.

Why? Because your boss doesn’t know any better. Because your boss trusts her own uninformed hunches, instincts, opinions more than she or he trusts you and the training you’ve just received. 

And you need the job . . .

Donor-centricity hardball: “Show me the money.”

In Reciprocity We Trust Newbies, skeptics, the timid (and Ian) DO worry: “So, Tom, where’s the irrefutable research that switching to ‘donor-centered’ communications will raise more money for our org. than the comms crap we now send out?” Mike wrote me a couple of weeks ago…. I’m an avid follower of your newsletters and webinars, so first a little bit of flattery. Thank you… Read more »

Using Story to Change Systems

Humans have always used stories to make sense out of our chaotic world. When our ancestors had to kill animals they felt were kindred spirits to survive, they created myths to help them come to terms with it. When they invented agriculture, they created myths that glorified graft and highlighted the seasonal nature of existence. When they began to settle, humans created myths imbuing cities with transcendence. As Yuval Noah Harari describes in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, story went on to play a vital role in building all subsequent civilizations.