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

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The 6 Core Elements of a Well-Told, Well-Executed Donor Fundraising Story

Before you think this is another post about how to tell great fundraising stories, read this: This article is not about the elements of how… Read More


How to Reduce the ‘Cost’ of Philanthropy So Major Donors Give More

Teen Talk Barbie famously stated, “Math is hard.”[1] This may be particularly true in fundraising. Giving is motivated by social emotion. Triggering math, logic, error-detection thoughts can hurt. It… Read More


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


The Next-Gen Major Gifts Fundraising Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Be Measuring

If you looked up suggestions for which major gifts metrics and KPIs your organization should be measuring, most of what you’d find would seem fairly… Read More


Why You Should Focus Your Fundraising Efforts on Generating Gifts of Wealth (from Assets) Not on Disposable Income (from Credit Cards, Checks, or Cash)

Gifts of wealth A donation comes from the intersection of motivation and cost. Most of this series focuses on the motivation side. But often the… Read More


The Most Important Lessons Learned by Retail Clothes Stores: With Obvious Parallels to Fundraising

If customers don’t see themselves in what you offer, they won’t come in the store. Those that come in are often “just looking’. If a… Read More


6 Things Your Donors Don’t Care About (That You Assumed They Did)

This news can be shocking to hear and might even make some fundraisers and nonprofit administrators fall out of their seats. But it’s true. Donors… Read More


How to Lower the ‘Cost’ of Philanthropy So Your Supporters Donate Major Gifts of Assets

In fundraising, a gift results when motivation overcomes cost. Increasing motivation helps. So does lowering cost. These make the gift easier. But sometimes, these two processes conflict. Number problems… Read More


Don’t get fooled by metrics without context

No one cares how much money you’ve raised. Displaying how much money you’ve raised on your website, on your LinkedIn, on your resume, or anywhere… Read More


3 Ways You Can Alter Your Perspective and Approach Toward Wealthy Donors So You Raise More Money

In my previous article, which you can read here, I outlined three challenges wealthy people face when they start exploring the idea of giving away… Read More


How To Use Numbers To Inspire More Giving (and How You Should NOT Use Them)

Numbers For nonprofit managers, numbers are important. Numbers define success or failure. Numbers keep the lights on or off. Numbers can show impact. But numbers,… Read More


Philanthropy happens in person, not at your computer

When getting started in Major Gifts, don’t be ashamed of starting small. When I first started as a Development Officer in Dallas, I barely knew… Read More


The Truth about Wealthy People and Philanthropy Should Affect Your Fundraising… But Does It?

In your organization, it’s likely you have a bunch of people who make five or six figures interacting with people who are worth seven, eight,… Read More


How to develop a ‘character’ in your fundraising stories in 3 steps — according to Dr. Russell James

At the heart of philanthropy is story. Story starts with character. Without a relatable character, the fundraising story is dead. To be relatable, the donor… 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


5 Strategies for Turning Smaller Major Gifts into Larger Ones

What’s the only thing better in fundraising than a major gift? A bigger major gift. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you… Read More


4 big ideas Dr. Russell James got from scanning donor brains with neuroimaging equipment

Philanthropy originates in story. In the earliest foundations of human social cooperation, story is at the center.[1] In empathy development of preschool children, story is… Read More


Keep calling!

It took me 16 contacts over a 12-month period to get a visit scheduled with one couple. They then went on to give over $100,000…. Read More


How the Most Successful Fundraisers Use Stories to Inspire and Motivate Donors to Give

This is the fifth and final post that summarizes a series that tackles why storytelling doesn’t work on its own to generate big donations. To… Read More


Finally, the story behind Dr. Russell James’ research on fundraising stories

My journey My career has always focused on charitable giving. This was true in my practice experience, my research, and my teaching. But I’ll admit… Read More


Why Listening and Investigating Matter So Much for Funding Your Mission

You might want to check out the first post in this series before reading this one. In that post, I told you that telling is… Read More


Why Stories Matter in Fundraising

In my previous article, I explained what fundraisers get wrong about storytelling. Mostly they tend to think stories about what their organization does can inspire… Read More


4 Reasons Why Fundraisers Think Storytelling Matters

In case you missed my last post… I wrote about my unease with the storytelling surge in our sector. It made me uncomfortable because I… Read More


What Everyone Gets Wrong About Storytelling in Fundraising

First, the surge in storytelling. Five or ten years ago, it seemed like everyone in fundraising suddenly started talking about storytelling. Books were written, conferences… Read More


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