A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas | Book Review

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas | Book Review

“How do we grow our individual giving? “How can we get our alumni to give back annually?” “How can we raise enough money to continue with the work that we’re doing?” “How do we create a first time donor plan — one that keeps them giving?” “Why won’t our board members ask their...
Making Money with Donor Newsletters: The How-To Guide to Extraordinary Results

Making Money with Donor Newsletters: The How-To Guide to Extraordinary Results

Can you imagine raising millions of dollars a year for your nonprofit…through your print newsletter alone?  That’s the kind of money Michelle Brinson generated in 2013 with Nashville Rescue Mission’s newsletter by following the simple techniques championed by master copywriter Tom Ahern. ...
Easy Money for Nonprofits!

Easy Money for Nonprofits!

That’s how many nonprofits view the topic of grants.  One of your board members sees that XYZ Charity, doing work in the same area as your organization, just landed a three-year $100,000 grant from the ABC Foundation…and shouldn’t you drop everything and apply? Um, yes and no. Foundation grantseeking...
Nonprofit email fundraising:  Are you overlooking the role consistency plays?

Nonprofit email fundraising: Are you overlooking the role consistency plays?

As a die-hard fan of SOFII, the International Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, I eagerly read every new article and exhibit.  However, as a student of email marketing, the article Nine tips for effective emails  made me pause. Oh, yes, I agreed with the author, Nick Allen, on most...
The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Raising Thousands of Dollars With Email [Review]

The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Raising Thousands of Dollars With Email [Review]

Is your organization using email to raise money? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe email marketing can level the playing field for small nonprofit organizations. All of the major studies point to a continued rise in online giving. Convio’s Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark report...
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade…reflections

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade…reflections

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I was reminded of a post that I wrote a few years back. Several weeks ago I received a number of angry emails in response to an enewsletter that referenced the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Following is my response: Thank you...
An earworm for your nonprofit organization for 2013

An earworm for your nonprofit organization for 2013

Typically we’ll do anything to get an earworm out of our head (how well I remember, as a young mom, wanting to beat my head against the wall to rid myself of the Barney theme)! But, for 2013, I’m urging every nonprofit to adopt this earworm…and shower your donors with love. Social...
Five donor-centered fundraising lessons from Obama’s campaign

Five donor-centered fundraising lessons from Obama’s campaign

A fascinating new article, Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win, clearly reveals that this election was won because Obama’s team understood the make up, motivation and support of their base. What take-aways can nonprofits learn? 1.  Lose the silos.  Your databases need...
A short lesson in email asks for your nonprofit year-end appeal
“I’ve written the perfect appeal. But my boss won’t let me use it.”

“I’ve written the perfect appeal. But my boss won’t let me use it.”

In yesterday’s Grow Report I asked my readers to share their greatest challenges in creating their organization’s annual appeal. Whoa…did I hit a nerve! One CEO wrote: “I write an appeal which is then taken to 2 committees and then the board.  Each group edits the letter, adding things...
When it comes to your organization’s year-end appeal, who’s your *tarquet?*

When it comes to your organization’s year-end appeal, who’s your *tarquet?*

You’ve spent weeks finding that perfect story to share in your latest appeal, interviewed five different mail houses, worked hard to arrive at  the *perfect* ask amounts and created your response device… What are you missing? Have you given any thought to the person who will be reading that...
Secure Your Database – Secure Your Future: Some Simple Guidelines

Secure Your Database – Secure Your Future: Some Simple Guidelines

Nonprofit organizations most often start from the vision of the founder.   Whether that vision is a neighborhood without violence, the elimination of hunger, or an appropriate education for one’s special needs child, the founder drives the train and others are inspired to jump on board because they...
Three Ways to Improve Your Foundation Grant Proposal

Three Ways to Improve Your Foundation Grant Proposal

Stop!  Before you send that grant proposal out the door, is there any way you can improve your chances of getting funded? Yes.  If you follow these three tips, you’ll improve your proposal exponentially: 1.  Eliminate jargon.  I worked with a foundation vice president who quite literally took a...
4 Tips to ensure that this grant won’t be your last

4 Tips to ensure that this grant won’t be your last

It came!  That grant proposal that you slaved over for three weeks has resulted in a check for $25,000! You’re particularly psyched because this was your third proposal to the XYZ Foundation (the first two were declined) and it feels like this grant has been years in the making.  Your hard work has...
5 tips for becoming a foundation grants prospect research detective

5 tips for becoming a foundation grants prospect research detective

Nothing quite irritates me more than a fundraising book that instructs the reader to spend one or two days a year at a Foundation Center Cooperating Collections Library and consider their foundation prospect research a done deal. To truly build a base of solid foundation grant support, you’ve got to...
A foundation director shares what resonates with funders

A foundation director shares what resonates with funders

Craig Stewart, president of the Apex/Bruce & Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, recently sat down to chat with the founder of Movie Mondays about what makes a likely candidate for grant funding. Quite simply: Strong boards A 100% commitment to fundraising efforts A CEO who carves out the time to spend...
Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Before I became a fundraiser in 2000, I spent nearly seven years working for a regional grantmaking foundation. When I came on board, the foundation had only recently transitioned from a casual, privately run organization with the founder and his wife sending out checks to their beloved charities to...
Fundraising in the Trenches | Would your organization turn down a gift?

Fundraising in the Trenches | Would your organization turn down a gift?

Today’s guest post comes via Rickesh Lakhani, Director, Campaign for United Way York Region. During the second round of a direct mail campaign, we received a second annual donation from a long-time, loyal supporter. She is an elderly lady, on a fixed income, and contributed a single donation of...
When it comes to grants, “trying” doesn’t cut it

When it comes to grants, “trying” doesn’t cut it

I was struck by a post today on Fundraising Coach Marc Pitman’s blog.  One of Marc’s readers wrote: I am working for a non-profit and recently have begun writing agency grants as well. This organization in the past has never relied on grants, but instead on funding from two fundraisers and the state...
Fundraising in the Trenches | The year of the individual donor

Fundraising in the Trenches | The year of the individual donor

Today, as part of our Fundraising in the Trenches interview series, I’m talking with Leslie White Clay.  Leslie is the Chief Development Officer of Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center in Dallas, Texas.  When Leslie mentioned in a tweet that Hope Cottage had deemed 2012 “The Year...

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