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.

Declare Independence from Poor Fundraising

It's time to declare our independence from poor fundraising. Americans—and others around the world—are remarkably generous. According to Giving USA, charitable gifts in the U.S. topped $400 billion for the first time last year...

Annual Giving Is Not an Event

An annual giving program is the foundation of a successful fundraising program and for establishing a culture of philanthropy. Even a small nonprofit should have an annual giving program, providing donors an opportunity each year to invest in your mission and endorse the difference you are making through their gift...

Nonprofit Board Members Must Ask Questions

The truth is that every member of the executive committee—all nonprofit board members—has a fiduciary responsibility to call for full disclosure to the board...

Behavior Reveals True Character

Barbara Bush leaves a void in the American political scene. She was a woman of class, and, when your husband and son became president, a woman of fortitude. She was fiercely loyal to her family, as she should be. Regardless of your political views, the true character of this woman is reflected in the deep affection that the Obama and Clinton families have for her...

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....