Bedrocks & Beacons

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 FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board.

What is your big vision? What is next for your organization? If you could double your contributed income, what would it mean for those you serve? Ideally, this should come from your strategic planning process. A campaign I was leading was about to hit its goal, and we had momentum to raise significantly more funds. When I asked the CEO what was next, there was a blank stare. They had not thought beyond what was a very obvious building need...

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 love asking for a gift. I love the conversation about big dreams and changing lives. I enjoy helping people realize what a difference they can make. But another great fundraising rule is: Do not ask for a major gift on a first visit. That’s the first date. You are just learning about your donor(s)...

While I believe all of us in the nonprofit arena have noble intentions, we all make mistakes. As board members, fundraising professionals, CEOs and everything else, we should be able to grow from our errors and not repeat them. If not, they become habit...

The messages you send early on in a project’s development, the leaders you involve, how you plan for and implement a campaign and when you break ground all impact the success of a major fundraising campaign. Throughout a campaign, if people think the project is taken care of, by the organization, or other donors or volunteers, they will happily pass and let someone else do it...

We conduct feasibility studies to provide the research on what we will face in a campaign. It is invaluable. When it comes to someone’s potential, life happens and other commitments and priorities are in play. Someone may have a health or family situation that no one knows about that is impacting their giving. They may be in a very different position in a few months or a few years. Let’s keep honoring our donors and prospective donors, and building long-term relationships that transcend campaign timeframes...

More Blogs