Here’s To Trouble. Bring It On.

Here’s to Trouble. Bring it on.

I sat down with a client recently—one of my favorite clients—and was treated to a perspective that I dearly wish more nonprofit leaders would adopt. Jim and I were reviewing the status of his fundraising program—and the major capital campaign that his organization is in the midst of. Not a pretty picture by some standards.…

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When You Offer The Unlimited-you Fail

When You Offer the Unlimited-you fail

Those of us who contribute their hard-earned dollars and scarce time to charitable endeavors are getting a lot more discriminating, even demanding.  This is especially true for those of us under the age of 40.  We’re a lot more market savvy, and a little bit cynical than our older peers.  We want our time and…

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The New, The Powerful-and The Fake

The New, the Powerful-and the fake

Philanthropy, by its very nature, is a personal business.   Experienced fundraisers will tell you that the most effective fundraising method-the method which yields the most expansive, renewable philanthropic investments-is a face-to-face approach preferably from a peer of the individual being asked.  We even have a name for it:  peer-to-peer solicitation.   When you look someone…

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Invest Or Contribute?—you Make The Choice

Invest or contribute?—you make the choice

Hardly a day goes by that I am not asked to contribute to someone’s worthy cause.  It could be a very personal and individual request as when a bright faced young person rings my doorbell and asks whether I want to buy her candy bar to support her school’s activities.  It can be broader request…

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(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction!

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction!

For those of you in my generation—and a lot of those younger than we—these words conjure up iconic images of Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. To the philanthropists among us, the lyrics of Sir Michael’s ballad could as easily be their theme of frustration as they seek to make a difference in the lives…

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Lead With The Personal–follow With The Rational

Lead with the Personal–follow with the rational

When approaching a perspective donor we are often eager to explain the mission of the organization we are representing the good work and community impact that it has.  Full of facts and figures and often armed with glossy folders and annual reports, we make our case.  Experience has shown, however, that such an approach is…

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Trust—the Great Leveler

Trust—the great leveler

Perhaps the most critical resource in engendering philanthropic support for your charity or cause is trust; trust among your investors that you will deliver on both the outcomes you tout and also the values your donors espouse.  Your fund development program will rise or fall in direct proportion to the level of trust that your…

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Is It Them—or Us?

Is It Them—or us?

Nonprofits often decry their lack of resources while trumpeting an ever-growing demand for their services.  The conventional wisdom is often that donors simply aren’t caring enough to want to help others; smart enough to understand how good your organization is; or even aware enough to appreciate the important work you do. There’s another possible explanation,…

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Let’s Fail–again And Again

Let’s Fail–again and again

Our charitable organizations have the obligation to fail.  That is, to be leaders in innovation.  So says Seth Godin. Why?  According to Seth, because the work they are doing is far too important to play it safe.  Risk, fail, try, risk, fail, succeed. Young philanthropists, more and more, want to see solutions to problems not…

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They’re Just Lucky—we Can’t

They’re Just Lucky—we can’t

When working with my clients—charitable organizations who do worthy work in the communities they serve—I often hear some variation on this.  “That (other) organization was just lucky in raising money this year.”  “We can’t achieve results like those guys—they have the big fundraising budget.”  There are a thousand versions of this way of thinking but…

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