Blog

Fundraising Priority Maze

Navigating the fundraising priority maze

If you have worked with a nonprofit you may have experience getting lost in what we call the “fundraising priority maze.” Here’s what it looks like. You know you need to raise money for your organization. Everybody else has a different idea about how much money is needed and how the funds will be used. You – as an executive director, college president, or fundraising professional feel as if you are encountering dead ends and detours when trying to accomplish what you believe is a simple task.  That task: define the organization’s priorities. Priorities – and the funds required to advance these – are at the core of an organization’s very existence. They are also at the core of the fundraising case for support. If you are not familiar with […]

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The reality of change

Growth. Transformation. Change. Innovation. Continuous improvements. Accountability. Transparency. Leadership. We know the words. We try to live them. We may think we are living them. But are we? What does it really take to live into individual and organizational aspirations? And what is the timeframe? Change is at the core of life. It is who we are at our very core. Like it or not, we – and our organizations – are always changing. Sometimes we are conscious of it, sometimes not. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t going on. Change can be about growth, it can be about deterioration, and everything in between. Related to this, what appears to be growth from one perspective can be experienced as deterioration when viewed from another lens. There are times when we […]

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Headed in the right direction

Headed in the right direction

Fundraising successes don’t come overnight. They are built over time. It is the many “small” actions that build on each other and yield funding and resources.   With this column we share with you the story of Lane College and its recent fundraising successes. Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Lane is a historically black college that needed to – and wanted to – increase its fundraising.  Two years ago they set a goal of raising $6 million over three years. They have raised $5 million and are closing in on the balance. In the past year the number of donors giving to the college increased by 23%, the amount of donations increased by 33%, and giving by alumni almost doubled. How did they achieve all this? We talked with Lane College […]

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How to increase board giving and fundraising

How to increase board giving and fundraising

Part two of a two part series Should board members give? Our answer is “yes.” And, they should fundraise. That doesn’t mean you don’t need fundraising professionals. You do. But don’t think for a minute that they can be successful without a partnership with an engaged board. In part one of this series we shared complaints that executive directors and board members have of each other. We also shared some “food for thought” – things for everyone to consider when thinking about the topic of board engagement and fundraising. With this post we share a few specific things you can do to increase board giving and fundraising. Here we go: For executive directors, presidents, and development directors: Be honest. Tell the truth, don’t paint a rosy picture that somehow overlooks […]

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Should board members give?

Part one of a two part series “My board doesn’t give.” That’s a common lament we hear from executive directors and college presidents. Here’s one from board members: “They only want me for my money.” Both statements may be true. If these sentiments are active within your organization or institution you might want to take a moment to think about what’s underneath these. We offer a few things for you to consider. If you are an executive director or college president, consider the following. How would you characterize your relationship with the board, and especially your board president? Do you feel responsible for the board’s actions? Do you feel like you have to do the board’s work because they just won’t “step up?” Do you wish the board would just […]

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VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT – KEY TO NONPROFIT SUCCESS

Volunteer management – key to nonprofit success

Part three of a three part series What if you could get eight more hours out of the day? What if you could “clone” yourself five times over? These are unspoken dreams of many a nonprofit executive or college president. While they are unlikely to come true exactly as wished for, it is possible to achieve that magical result. Here’s how. Hire a volunteer manager. This isn’t an “as needed” position. You need a person dedicated to working with volunteers all the time. This is a proactive position, not a reactive one. You may initially think of this person as another “cost” or “expense.” Our response: a good volunteer manager is an investment that yields positive results to an organization’s bottom line. She ensures that your volunteers have what they […]

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How to support nonprofit volunteers

How to support nonprofit volunteers

Part two of a three part series Sometimes volunteers within a nonprofit don’t measure up. That’s not unusual. It’s part of life. For all of us, there are times when we don’t hit the mark. And most know what it’s like when others don’t meet our expectations. With this column we share why it is important to be clear about next steps when making commitments. Our goal is to help increase your impact as a volunteer or board member, and help ensure you have the resources, follow up and accountability measures you need. Through our work we have observed that fundraising volunteers and board members are well intentioned when taking on a responsibility, yet there isn’t always a process in place for them to follow through. Consider this example: you […]

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The power of nonprofit volunteer leadership

Part one of a three part series Volunteers play a key role in the life of nonprofits. They serve as board members, provide services and advocacy, and they donate their professional services. In the area of fundraising, the important role of volunteers cannot be over stated. Fundraising volunteers provide leadership and strategy. They open doors that can lead to meaningful funding or resources. They give gifts of their own and they cultivate and solicit others to do the same. This is the model that is at the heart of thriving and successful nonprofits. At the same time there are many nonprofits with volunteers who don’t “step up” at the expected level. There are many reasons for this, all of which can result in less than optimal funding – and relationships […]

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Evaluate 2017. Ground yourself – and your #fundraising – for 2018.

2017: Pass or fail?

Happy New Year! We hope you will find within you a way to embrace the new year with thoughtfulness, optimism and calm. Before the promise of 2018 transforms into to-do lists and meetings we suggest taking a few moments to identify what’s most important and what you do well. Center yourself and your organization, and agree on a few priorities that will make a difference in the lives of those you serve. Here are four suggestions that can ground your fundraising as you begin 2018. Honestly assess your strengths and challenges. Take a moment to assess yourself as an individual. This isn’t about praise and blame – it’s about reflection without judgment. With an honest assessment you can focus your time and energy on those things you do well, and […]

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