Straight talk about major, mid-level and legacy gift fundraising to help you be a better fundraiser

Don’t Give Up!

“I’ve already made all of my giving decisions for this year, so there’s no reason for us to meet.” Here is another common objection that… Read More

“We need new donors!”

I hear this so frequently from organizations that are not hitting their revenue goals. Before running out to get new donors why not start with… Read More

Donor Complaints: Why it’s a bad idea to get upset with donors when they complain

No one likes to hear complaints.  But when you work for a nonprofit or a private sector business, you need to welcome complaints. Here’s why:… Read More

6 reasons why some donors prefer to stay anonymous

In case you’ve ever wondered why some donors prefer to stay anonymous, here are 6 proven reasons why: They do not want fundraisers from other… Read More

The 6 most read parts of any major gift letter

I’m always a bit baffled when I see fundraising letters that fail to take into consideration the following. After all, research by Professor Siegfried Vogele has clearly proven… Read More

Are you ready for the 24/7 donor?

Accenture – the world’s largest consulting firm – says that we’re in the era of the “nonstop consumer”. According to their website, “A customer’s path… Read More

The 8 core components of engagement fundraising and why you desperately need them

Most fundraising is based on what I call “single shot” strategies. For instance, it’s an event, gala or golf outing. Or, perhaps it’s a mailing,… Read More

Why mistakes are awesome and what to do about them

I know the feeling. A supporter calls to tell you your email or letter spelled her name wrong. She’s pissed! You begin to sweat and your muscles… Read More

5 thoughts that might lead your supporters to feel donor remorse

Here are some of the thoughts crossing your donors’ minds while you’re asking them to support your cause: Will they say thank you or just… Read More

Is your nonprofit organization really that special?

No. Sorry. It isn’t. For example, if you search for environmental organizations on Wikipedia, you’ll find the following list: Why should anyone make a major gift… Read More

If you're asking yourself whether or not direct mail is dead, then you're asking the wrong question

There’s too much talk about whether or not direct mail is dead. Of course it is NOT dead! I get direct mail delivered to me every day.  … Read More

What’s your fundraising asking style?

According to Brian Saber, “Your ‘Asking Style’ is based on your personality and unique set of strengths in fundraising.” But, don’t be fooled by stereotypes…. Read More

The more things change, the more they stay the same

I was wondering who might have created the first survey ever.  My search led me to Charles the Great, the “Father of Europe.” Apparently, in… Read More

Almost four years ago I declared: "The Fundraising Pyramid Is DEAD!"

Recently I was reminded of a blog post I wrote four years ago that got a lot of attention. Some of the reactions were not so kind…. Read More


Too many nonprofits fail to inspire people to give because they don’t understand value. An exchange of money from supporters to nonprofits only occurs when a clear value… Read More

6 major donor expectations you simply cannot ignore

1. Dialogue. Major donors expect to be able to have a dialogue with an organization and its staff. 2. Permission. Major donors expect to maintain… Read More

Fundraising metrics: you have to see them to believe them

I always hated when my staff sent me an Excel file showing our astounding growth. You might be thinking, “Why would you hate getting an… Read More

4 great reasons to hire a capital campaign consultant

1. Large amounts of money are at stake. This might be the largest amount of money your organization will ever raise. Getting an experienced consultant… Read More

The 80-20 Rule is dead!

76/10, not 80/20! Last year the Congressional Budget Office released a report about wealth in the United States. Here are some points to consider: The top… Read More

The 5 p’s of engagement fundraising

1- Permission Donors have immense power these days. They can ignore your communications!  The best way to ensure that they don’t exercise that power is… Read More

Should your CRM include photos of each of your donors?

My uncle is a radiologist. Recently he told me about a 2007 study of radiologists. The study found that including a photo of a patient along with their… Read More

If asking for donations makes you uncomfortable, read this now!

Recently I was asked the following: “The whole idea of the ‘ask’ is very uncomfortable to me. How can I become more comfortable with it?”… Read More

The most powerful motivators of major gifts and legacy gifts.

  RemembranceHonor Memorialize Pay tribute Fairness Right wrongs Give back HormonesOxytocin “the love hormone” Cortisol for focus Brain Neurons transmitting information Mirror neurons support empathy… Read More

Are you a technician or a facilitator?

The flow chart below makes me very uncomfortable. Here’s why: Science and experience have led me to realize that a donor’s objective is usually, first and foremost,… Read More

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