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

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How to help your donors score a victory and make an impact

What’s it about? An effective fundraising story isn’t just a good story. It must do something. It must lead to a gift. This means the… Read More

Better Fundraising Begins With Better Terminology

Words matter. They shape our thoughts. Our thoughts shape our actions and influence our decisions. The lexicon of fundraising is full of one-way terms, as… Read More

How to Respond When a Major Gifts Prospect Says ‘No’ to Making a Gift

No matter how well your major gifts conversation goes, sometimes the prospect still turns down the opportunity to make a transformational gift. The question for… Read More

3 Big Reasons Why An ‘Ask’ Is Mostly About Your Donor’s Hero Story (Not Your Organization’s)

The narrative arc Story moves through a narrative arc. This includes: Backstory and setting These establish motivation from the main character’s original identity. The inciting… Read More

Stories are more important than metrics

I was once at a fundraising event supporting an organization that houses pregnant homeless women. I saw one of the most incredibly generous examples of… Read More

13 Reasons Why Donor Prospects Say ‘No’ to Major Gifts Proposals

Why Do Major Gifts Prospects Decide Not To Give? In the vast majority of situations where this happens, the reason is because the fundraiser failed… Read More

The 3 Key Elements of a Good Fundraising Story

What’s it about? Many stories can be good stories. But a good fundraising story must do something specific. It must lead to a gift. This… Read More

Restricted vs Unrestricted Gifts: Why Donors Love Restricted Gifts and (Some) Nonprofits Hate Them

A debate has been growing in recent years regarding the practice of offering major donors the option of giving restricted gifts. A restricted gift is… Read More

At last, the Not-So-Secret Formula for Raising Major Gifts

If you’re in the business of raising money for a cause, some on your staff (or your board) may have probably wondered, “What really leads… Read More

How Restricted Gifts Can Actually Be a GOOD Thing — And Why You Should Embrace Them

Fundraising is story world Lab experiments, field experiments, and academic theory agree: Fundraising lives in “story world,” not “commerce world.” Social-emotional story is the engine… Read More

The Great Resignation: An Advancement Perspective

Okay, so maybe all that talk about millions of people shucking their jobs and living off the grid was overstated. With a few more miles… Read More

What’s wrong with fundraising job titles?

Your job title as a fundraiser is part of the first impression you make with a donor. Of course, you might be wondering, “Come on…… Read More

Why people who say your non-profit should operate like a for-profit are wrong

Giving is different from buying Charitable giving comes from “story world.” Effective fundraising story triggers visualization producing social emotion. This is the engine that drives… Read More

“We don’t have the right people in our database.”

“We don’t have the right people in our database.” A Director of Development told me this a few months into a job. Of course, I… Read More

The 12 Donor Archetypes – How to Tap into Donor Identities and Generate Bigger Gifts

You Might Be Wondering Why a Fundraiser Needs to Care About Archetypes. Fundraising is all about storytelling (and story listening). Sometimes a fundraising story will… Read More

Why Simple Words Work When Telling a Fundraising Story

Use your words Story starts with words. Word choice matters. It matters for fundraising story. For example, Simple, conversational, family words work. They match the… Read More

Fundraising Success: Leveraging Your Value Propositions

Donors make more personal and practical calculations in their giving decisions than most organizational and advancement leaders recognize. Alumni most likely to give to their alma… Read More

The 4 Types of Legacy Gift Asks (Solicitations)

Death isn’t a fun topic of conversation. Asking for a legacy gift can feel like you’re curious about when the donor is going to die,… Read More

5 Reasons Why You Should Focus Your Fundraising On Foundations, Funds, Trusts, and Endowments

Many fundraisers don’t understand the world of big philanthropy. Why not? Because they don’t understand wealth. They don’t understand charitable instruments. So, let’s start with… Read More

6 Simple Reasons Some Fundraisers are More Effective than Others

One of my clients raised over $1 Million in the last 30 days in major gifts. Here are some of the reasons they have been… Read More

10 Follow-Up Questions You’ll Need to Deepen Your Conversation with Major Donors (and One to Avoid)

Fundraising is not an operation. It’s a conversation. It’s a conversation that can either build or diminish trust. Trust is the cornerstone in the foundation… Read More

How to make sure the experience you deliver to donors makes their giving feel worthwhile

Charity managers’ perspective How should a gift be structured? For charity managers, the answer is easy. The donor should just write a check. Write it… Read More

12 Keys to Conducting Effective Donor Interviews

Curiosity is a fundraisers greatest asset. Yet even the most curious must learn to ask questions that yield the most insight into donor motivation and… Read More

7 ‘Hire Me Now’ Traits of Highly Effective Major Gifts Officers

Hiring major gifts officers is hard. First, it’s just not an easy position to fill because there is a lot of turnover. But more than… Read More

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