"Raising" Your Board
January 6, 2009

For fundraisers, “raising” an organization's board of directors can be just as difficult and as important as raising a dollar.

Many fundraisers make strides every day in turning their boards from grassroots groups of committed people to professional business boards in the hopes of making their organizations better. But this is no simple task. It can be a difficult transition for the board, but it’s a great opportunity for the organization to groom a dedicated group of volunteers. Here are some steps you can take to do just that. Some of the examples are drawn from my own experience with the Church Street School for Music and Art, so the details are education-related, but the root of the advice is applicable across missions.

What Does Your Board Need to Know About Direct Mail?
November 1, 2007

Direct mail can be a challenge, even under the best of circumstances. But despite its difficulties, industry research consistently indicates that, when it comes to funding your mission, direct mail still is the foundation of the most successful donor-contribution efforts. Yet, all too often, CEOs, CFOs and boards of directors don’t really “get” direct mail.

Annual Fund ‘Giving and Getting’ Guidelines for Your Board of Trustees
September 25, 2007

All of your organization’s fundraising campaigns must have the leadership and the financial support of your board of trustees. The most important of those development efforts should be the raising of funds necessary to maintain and enhance your organization’s programs and services year after year. This is accomplished through the annual fund campaign. The annual fund provides the “bedrock” of reasonably predictable renewed support and is the entry level for larger gifts possible for future endowment, capital, sponsorship and underwriting campaigns and planned-giving programs. Thus, the annual fund especially requires that your trustees be in the forefront as they contribute their own funds

And We Quote
August 1, 2007

On Branding: “What we are telling our donors in terms of our brand promise, in terms of our communication strategy, in terms of the donor promise we make when we raise money from them — that’s got to make sense to the staff; it’s got to make sense to the beneficiary; it’s got to make sense to the communities we live in — to society in general. The donor promise, the community promise and the beneficiary promise — they have to be mutually understood and have to be mutually regarded as a win-win, and that becomes the single bottom line.”

Talking Back
September 1, 2006

Letters to the Editor and other opinions/tips.

Board Stiff?
July 1, 2006

Just the mention of the word “fundraising” can make many nonprofit board members a little nervous. But there are ways we can change their minds about fundraising. Here are 10 important steps that can re-energize your board and engage their hearts and minds for fundraising.

The Business of Volunteers
September 1, 2005

With corporations, community and private foundations, and individuals focusing donations to more specific areas, and the push for increased accountability and measurement systems, nonprofits are strapped with strategic and financial challenges that require skills more often exercised in for-profit businesses. That according to Alice Korngold, national consultant to businesses, foundations and nonprofits, and founding president and CEO of Business Volunteers Unlimited, which places business executives on nonprofit boards. While nonprofits take on more business-like practices requiring expertise in strategic and financial planning, market research and human-resource management, businesses are encouraging employees to volunteer.

Driving Home the Point
June 1, 2005

Sitting squarely in the upper echelon of effective and highly respected nonprofit organizations, the Texas-based Mothers Against Drunk Driving celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. For the past decade, the nationally acclaimed drunken-driving education organization has held steady as a $47 million charity fueled in large part by direct-mail fundraising.

An impressive number, by anyone’s standards. But MADD’s top dogs read “steady” to mean “static” and decided a few years ago that the organization needed a major kick in the fundraising pants. Enter Bobby Heard, who took over as national director of programs and development in 2002.

Make Me a Match Web technology helps nonprofits spur volunteerism
November 1, 2004

Nonprofit organizations are turning to the Web for more than just donation collection. Many are connecting with volunteers through virtual-placement agencies such as, the Web service of San Francisco-basednonprofit VolunteerMatch, which uses the Internet to link interested people with volunteer opportunities.

Mind to Muscle to Money
March 1, 2004

According to conventional wisdom, the world of fundraising for nonprofit organizations includes separate camps of volunteers and donors. Donors shall give their money, volunteers shall give their time, and never the twain shall meet, right?

Not necessarily. Increasingly, fundraising officials at nonprofits are seeking volunteers willing to make the leap to financial sponsorship. Volunteers are being asked to contribute money precisely because they’re already physically and emotionally involved with the organization. If they’re more or less committed to the cause through volunteer work, it makes sense to ask them to make a monetary contribution.