Do not take Fund Development best practices at face value!

Best practices. We hear that phrase often. This week, I even read a question asking if “best practices were misleading?” Are we throwing that phrase around to legitimize our field? Our do we have best practices and what are they? Well, I contend that the only true best practice is one that is grounded in […] Read more »

Sink or swim: the capital campaign steering committee

So, I have a niche somewhat of assisting smaller nonprofits with their capital campaigns. This niche can be challenging because many of these groups have not had an ongoing, comprehensive fund development program in the past. However, working on these smaller campaigns can also be very satisfying because I can help them use this campaign […] Read more »

OORAH – What the Marines taught me about fundraising

This weekend I took a little vacation of sorts.  I ran a marathon.  The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.  Running a marathon is exhausting, but also, reflective.  For you see, you run for 26 miles.  That is a long time on your feet – sometimes, three, four, five, six, or even more hours. Over […] Read more »

“Am I asking my donors too much?” Well, Virginia let me tell you the answer.

So, here it is. I am laying this question and answer right out on the line. Especially now that we are coming to the year-end giving season. I am asked time and time again, “Didn’t we just mail to them, won’t we be bothering them?” No, no, and no. You can never ask enough. Yes, […] Read more »

Holy cow, fifty shades of fundraising consulting, which do you prefer?

Lately, I have been doing a lot of driving.  And, as a result, a lot of thinking.  I have clients all throughout the Northeast.  And, sometimes, yes, the driving does get “old.”  But, then I sit back and reflect. You see, there are many different types of fundraising consultants.  And, lately, I have been hearing […] Read more »

Meetings – are you positioned right?

Meetings, meetings, meetings. We all know them, and we all attend are three types of meetings and the way that you position yourself physically within the meeting could make a world of difference.  Including meeting with our donors. But, did you know there are three types of meetings, and the way that you position […] Read more »

The “too busy” fundraiser!

“I don’t have the time!” Development professionals probably have one of the most demanding jobs in an organization. There are so many expectations, and the work is full of deadlines that need we need to meet. We work long hours on grant proposals, travel across the country to visit donors, and need to prepare budgets […] Read more »

Love me or lose me – How donor communications can do both.

We often talk about banning jargon when we speak to others about our organization.  And, that is so needed.  But, I would like to take it one step further, and say that we are not here to “educate” our donors about what we do. They don’t care about the specifics. There, I said it.  Truly, […] Read more »

Reflecting on a career in fundraising; simpler times

Twenty-two years is an awfully long time.  I can’t believe it has gone by that quickly.  And, it all happened by pure chance or maybe little small choices all along the way.  Now, I find myself a CFRE and have my Masters in Fund Development and Philanthropy. Years, years ago, I got my start as a […] Read more »

Is your fear of asking causing you to make assumptions for your donors?

Let’s cut to the chase.  I know, and you know that one of the biggest things that stop us from being effective in our fundraising is fear.  Good old, heart pumping, nail biting, fear. Recently, I had a conversation with some folks, and I asked them the question, “what is your number one concern around […] Read more »