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.

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...

We have to focus on numbers to achieve goals. But never lose sight of the high calling of our profession, the power of giving, the respect and honor we owe to donors at all levels, and the life changing invitation (for donors and those who benefit from our worthy missions) we extend...

We have limited resources in fundraising. A key to success it to have a staff culture of philanthropy where your colleagues across the organization understand the importance of philanthropy and the valuable role that they can play to further the success of your organization...

A major nonprofit closed another branch. It had jettisoned several branches and many programs over the past two years. Financial, cultural and other issues had plagued this organization for some time, though the issues just became widely apparent due to the visibility of closing locations and programs. Here are eight lessons to be learned from the nonprofit's struggles...

Be sure that before you ask for the first gift that you are prepared. Have everything in place to drive the campaign to completion in an appropriate timeframe. Timing is everything. Momentum is vital. A campaign that languishes does nothing to build donor, prospective donor, volunteer and staff confidence.

We have been moving at a rapid pace—researching, studying, asking, evaluating and communicating. A steady, but rapid pace. Too often we see nonprofits not planning ahead, and then suddenly trying to rush a study process and then rush a campaign. If you are looking at a major campaign, begin taking the right steps at least a year in advance—and ideally two. Hurry up, slow down and prepare. It will put you in the fast lane toward a successful campaign.

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