Jeff Jowdy

Jeff Jowdy

Looking for Jeff? You’ll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.

Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.

Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.

A Great Nonprofit Leader Needs to Be Genuine and Transparent

One lasting and successful quality of a nonprofit leader—I believe any leader—is being genuine, transparent and having a strong moral compass. Being genuine means being authentic and real. What you see is what you get. This is a leader who doesn’t have a public persona, and then one that his or her staff and family must deal with...

Best Practices to Avoid ‘Cookie-Cutter’ Fundraising

Too often, we see campaign strategy and development plans that are cookie-cutter. There are proven best practices in fundraising, as well as new and innovative strategies in communication and technology. We have formats for various plans with many variables and update these continually after every client engagement and through concentrated work groups comprised of our team members on a regular basis...

Maximize This Season

Seasons are an important reminder. As we transition through them, it’s a good time to pause, reflect and get away. Spring, as the season of rebirth and renewal, is an especially good time to get a fresh perspective on an opportunity or a challenge. With one-fourth of what I hope will be a stellar year for you behind us, take time now for some personal and professional reflection...

Nonprofit Strategy First, Tactics Second

Too often, folks look at tactics and forget about strategy and leadership in fundraising. This happens at any size organization when you don’t have a plan grounded in research, with sound strategy and clear, accountable goals...

Make Integrity the Bottom Line

For 30 years now, I have seen the incredible value of properly conducted campaign planning and feasibility studies. It is amazing what a leader who understands the concept and is trusting will share—and how then you can use that confidential insight to better the client organization and increase the success (both in dollars and in brevity) of a pending campaign...

Achieving a Fundraising Gold Medal

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are over. As always, the Olympics were full of drama and excitement as athletes sought the “thrill of victory” and to avoid “the agony of defeat.” The gold medal is the ultimate Olympic victory and is also sought and coveted in many other competitions. What does it mean to have a gold medal fundraising program?...

9 Best Practices for Successful Fundraising Communications

I don’t write copy for clients. It’s just not the most strategic use of my time. If you’re the CEO or chief development officer at a nonprofit, chances are this is true for you, too. I have yet to work with a CEO or chief development officer who is fulfilling his or her potential or responsibility in fundraising by re-writing (vs. brief edits) a document...

Be Brief and Compelling

Today’s Associated Press Style, used by most journalists and professional communicators, seeks to abbreviate copy and save valuable space—whether in print or online—knowing that readership and comprehension both increase with brevity....

2 Keys to Improving Nonprofit Leadership

There are some fantastic leaders in our nonprofit arena—CEOs, chief development officers and beyond. There are also some leaders who are underperforming and too often get passed from organization to organization...

The Major Gift Ask Secret to Success

Every contribution is important, of course, but major gifts are “stop-and-think gifts,” according to fundraising legend Bill Sturtevant. They’re different, for example, from those that might result from a direct mail piece or made as a reciprocal gesture to a friend...

In Football and Fundraising, Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing!

At Lighthouse Counsel, we love creating the right strategy for a client. It makes a huge difference. Every project, every organization, every campaign is unique and requires a personalized approach and strategy, undergirded by proven best practices and an understanding of where the organization is and where it wants to go...

Donor Relationships Belong to the Organization

One of the great fallacies in the nonprofit fundraising world is that fundraising professionals take donor relationships with them from organization to organization. It is not an effective strategy, and it is wrong and unethical. It is a significant way fundraising differs from other professions...