Blogs

Younger Donors Are a Waste of Time

We are a society that values youth. We want to look young, feel young, be young—forever it seems. Billions of dollars are spent trying to recapture a youthful look. I would say our society is absolutely obsessed with it. And, as Richard and I meet major gift officers and fundraising professionals around the country, it’s…

Social and Market Relationships: 3 Easy Steps to Destruction

Otis Fulton, Turnkey’s in-house psychologist, notes that a retail-unattractive event fosters social relationships. A retail-attractive event fosters market relationships. While both types of events and relationships can produce fundraising income at varying degrees of expense percentage, you can actually really hurt your income and your relationships by mixing the two...

How to Close a Gift at Your Next Golf Outing

The purpose of this post is to discuss how to close a gift in a golf outing. People pay to play in the outing and are typically asked to contribute additionally through raffles, auctions, etc., at the outing site. Another way to gain financial favor is to simply ask a prospect for a gift on the golf course. If I want to ask for a larger gift, I use the golf outing as cultivation time to match the prospect and organizational representatives who are responsible for priorities...

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Direct Marketing

We are a society that values youth. We want to look young, feel young, be young—forever it seems. Billions of dollars are spent trying to recapture a youthful look. I would say our society is absolutely obsessed with it. And, as Richard and I meet major gift officers and fundraising professionals around the country, it’s…

The purpose of this post is to discuss how to close a gift in a golf outing. People pay to play in the outing and are typically asked to contribute additionally through raffles, auctions, etc., at the outing site. Another way to gain financial favor is to simply ask a prospect for a gift on the golf course. If I want to ask for a larger gift, I use the golf outing as cultivation time to match the prospect and organizational representatives who are responsible for priorities...

I read recently that some physicians are now suggesting patients come in for an annual “wellness check,” rather than a yearly physical. The focus of these exams is on staying healthy and may include screening tests that can resolve a problem before it becomes insurmountable. With just four months remaining in the year, it’s a…

Development

Otis Fulton, Turnkey’s in-house psychologist, notes that a retail-unattractive event fosters social relationships. A retail-attractive event fosters market relationships. While both types of events and relationships can produce fundraising income at varying degrees of expense percentage, you can actually really hurt your income and your relationships by mixing the two...

The conventional fundraising wisdom is if we only have the right map coordinates and secret handshake, we’re in. And so, our fundraising challenges will miraculously evaporate. Countless webinars, short courses and workshops claim to offer this treasure map. Well I’m here to tell you this tale is half right. It’s not the half you imagine, however...

I have been tracking the journey of a donor, who is no longer with us, who gave a very sizable gift of more than $800 million to a nonprofit before he passed away. How can I be tracking the journey of a donor who has passed away? Because this donor not only gave the organization more than $800 million, he also left an estate of equal size to his kids, wife and grandchildren as well. And all of this wonderful giving has been managed by the nonprofit in a manner that is, well, amazing to behold...

Leadership Management

The best campaigns are designed with this concept in mind. They are implemented from an overall framework, from the pre-study phase to the study to any post study fine-tuning to the quiet phase—moving through the sequential phases until you joyfully announce the campaign and celebrate success. Sometimes we encounter a client—or potential client—who has an understanding of these best practices, but would like to make an exception. Now don’t get me wrong, every campaign is unique and you have to fine-tune your strategy—and be flexible. But be sure to always keep the big picture in mind.

I am old school and still maintain my to-do list by hand. Some days I do not look at the list because I know what is on the list. The point of this post is not to advocate for the elimination of a work-priority task list, but to encourage you to create a modified version of a list. Divide your list by time segments, priorities and importance with respect to deadlines...

If your board needs a spark, a stoking of the embers to get the fire roaring again, I have some ideas for you. They come under the headings of inspiring, exciting and directing your board. If you can do these three things with your board of directors, good things will come to your major gift program and organization...

Data Management

The movie Moneyball shows us a situation in which Oakland A’s Major League general manager Billy Beane, due to enormous pressure to perform, casts aside his natural bias (using visual attributes about players to make decisions) and instead turned to a non-natural way to make decisions: using statistics. Who but a crazy person would rely almost totally on statistics to make decisions?...

To segment your constituents you must understand your constituents. Whether you call it profiling or creating personas, there are several key elements we all must understand. As marketers we have to balance the vision of one-to-one marketing and what is financially realistic. Finding the sweet spot of knowing your constituents can make this easier...

The velocity at which data is being created, coupled with the ability to capture, store and utilize that information (more data crosses the Internet every second than was stored on the entire internet 20 years ago), gives fundraisers more access to pertinent information at the individual level than ever before. In the past, it would have been nearly impossible for fundraisers to imagine amassing such information at the donor level, much less at the prospect level...

E-Philanthropy

No matter what happens in the coming months with voting, and whether your blood runs red or blue (or purple), let’s face it—good marketing is good marketing and something we can all learn from...

Donor retention is abysmal as they take advantage of the revolving door we unintentionally have built with our poor service—or had built by other nonprofit organizations whose unethical practices have tainted all of us in the minds of some would-be donors. These days, we have to give our donors a reason to talk positively about our organization to others. Here is my six-step plan to help that become a reality...

In last week’s blog, I discussed the characteristics of movements. One person, a “lone nut,” typically initiates movements. It is the subsequent followers, who are embraced as equals, who really lend power to the movement. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a movement the likes of which are rarely seen. I had the opportunity to hear about this from the inside over dinner last week with Lance Slaughter, chief chapter relations and development officer of the ALS Association...

Sectors

I’m writing this article earlier in the week than usual because I am heading out of town for a few days. No, it’s not vacation—it’s continuing education. Like you, I don’t have time to attend training. I don’t have money to waste on training that doesn’t teach me anything new. And yes, I admit my main incentive for signing up for this training was the tri-annual renewal of my CFRE credentials...

How often do you try to connect with someone at another organization? Sometimes you need an opportunity to call on others without seeming too aggressive. If you have an opportunity to make a positive impression, do it.

I have been very fortunate to have mentors throughout my life. I have always been drawn to the wisdom of those older than me.