Giving Pyramid

The Great Thinkers' Guide to Donor Relationships
February 3, 2014

As I was thinking about this whole donor relationship thing, I looked up a few thoughts from some really smart people to see what kind of insight they could offer on how to make relationships strong and lasting. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Are Your Treating Your Donors Like Gumballs?
September 10, 2013

Want your donors to sustain you? Then you can’t consume them in five minutes. Yet all too often nonprofits treat their donors exactly like a gumball dispensed from a machine. Chew it up. Spit it out. Done. If you’ve been treating your donors like gumballs, start tomorrow with these five tips: 1. Thank them immediately and with gusto. 2. Pay attention to any particularities. 3. Develop and implement a donor stewardship plan. 4. Wrap engagement opportunities into your stewardship plan. 5. Always be donor-centered.

Why Some Nonprofits Always Hit Their Fundraising Goals
September 10, 2013

Over the years, I have worked with a number of nonprofits that always hit their fundraising goals, and I have noticed that they all have 5 things in common: 1. They set deadlines and responsibilities. 2. They focus on individual donors. 3. They track donors through the fundraising funnel. 4. They build fundraising networks, starting with their boards. 5. They tell great stories.

Never Steward Your Donors
February 25, 2013

I’m going to say this right up front. I don’t believe there should be ANY stewardship of donors. What ...? Yes, you heard me right. None, zero, nada. Now, after you get up off the floor, let me tell you why.

Immediately after a donor signs his name to a check or wires his stock into your account, you are immediately CULTIVATING him. For what you might ask? Cultivating him for a deeper relationship, to inspire him by reporting on the impact of his gift and for moving him to a place for another gift.

Is It Really Better to Travel?
December 9, 2011

Is the journey that you ask your donors to follow a pleasurable experience that makes them feel special — or is it like jetting cross country on multiple budget airlines, with seemingly endless waits in characterless airports?

Fundraising and the Backward Brain
November 1, 2010

We found eight distinct cases of hemispheric flip in direct-mail fundraising. Hemispheric flip is when the sides of the brain are incorrectly deployed: What should be rational decisions are made emotionally ... and vice versa.

Salsa Lessons
July 1, 2010

At Crazy Jose's Mexican restaurant recently, a friend and I did a fine job of scarfing down respectable portions of our meals. But the gut-busting CJ's Special — two cheese enchiladas, a tamale, beef taco, bean chalupa, chile con queso, chips and guacamole served with Spanish rice and refried beans — was a bit much for either of us. So we wound up requesting doggie bags.