Development Audit

Strategic Planning for Fundraising: Start with the Goal!

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Development Audit, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets, Staff Development, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Strategic Planning for Fundraising: Start with the Goal!

Strategic Planning for Fundraising: Start with the Goal!

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Why are we doing this event? Because we did it last year. Why do we send out an appeal letter in October? Because that’s what we’ve always done. Why are our $250 donors called “Patrons”? Why do we host an annual golf tournament? Why do we write notes on renewal letters? Someone wise once told me that every once in a while, instead of trying to climb faster or smarter or more efficiently, it’s important to step back and make sure your ladder is still leaning on the right wall. I’ve written about this...

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Stop Shooting Yourself in the Foot: Three Common Practices that Undermine Fundraising

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Communication, Development Audit, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Membership, Plans and Budgets, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Stop Shooting Yourself in the Foot: Three Common Practices that Undermine Fundraising

This weeks’ post is about shooting yourself in the foot. And in each case, the cause is related to an overreaction to a complaint. Worse, sometimes the person complaining is someone internal to the organization and who therefore should know better.   Life Memberships (and other forms of “discount” memberships) When I first started working for The Nature Conservancy, the organization offered Life Membership to people who contributed $1,000 or more. The logic was that membership came with a minimum gift of $15 and $1,000 therefore represented nearly 70 years’ worth. That same logic...

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How Many Individuals Gave Money in 2016?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Development Audit, Featured, Membership, Plans and Budgets, Staff Development, Uncategorized | 1 comment

How Many Individuals Gave Money in 2016?

Yesterday was the 9th, which means that you have now received gifts from everyone who actually wrote their checks and mailed them on December 30th. So the fundraising year 2016 is now officially over. Here’s what I want to know: How many different individuals gave you money last year? It seems like such a simple question, but I have had more trouble getting clear answers than I ever would have suspected. Some of the confusion is just the nature of the beast. But much of it relates to this not being a very interesting data point for many people. It should be. Here’s why: The number of people...

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And that brings us ‘round to Do, oh, oh, oh……

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Communication, Development Audit, Featured, Membership, Plans and Budgets, Staff Development, Uncategorized | Comments Off on And that brings us ‘round to Do, oh, oh, oh……

And that brings us ‘round to Do, oh, oh, oh……

Start again. January of another year. 2016 is over. History. Fa, sol, la, ti, Done. And January brings us ‘round again to Do. 2017 yawns before us. It could be anything. What will it be for you? January is a good time for reflection. Where have we been? How did we get here? What could we have done differently? What have we learned? *   *   *   *   * For example: Do you hold on to your email? You shouldn’t. It clogs up the server, and someone once told me that claiming they have to go through your email is a classic strategy for FODs (Forces of Darkness) to use in lawsuits. But you can use...

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Agents of Change

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Board Development, Communication, Development Audit, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets, Staff Development, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Agents of Change

Agents of Change

At Rally this year, I finally got to present the Development Committee Makeover workshop I’ve been wanting to do for some years. I had billed it as an advanced workshop and the room was filled with Development staff and experienced board members. The point of the workshop was to show, using before and after scripts, how Development Committees could address their work in a much more productive way by limiting their discussion to how board members were interacting with donors. In other words, talk about specific donors, and talk about what board members do instead of what staff does. Overall...

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Are You Ready for December?

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Communication, Development Audit, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Staff Development, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Are You Ready for December?

Happy Holidays everyone. It’s time again to finish strong. Are you ready for December? Here’s what I’m thinking about. What are YOU thinking about?   Fall Appeal 2nd Drop Most of my clients plan to do two or even three drops of their fall appeal letters. If you are planning two drops, you should be getting the second drop ready this week for mailing next Tuesday. If you are on the three-drop plan, you’ll be looking at a third drop in two weeks. (See Fall Appeal Planning)   Good News From your solicitations to your newsletters, to your updates and thank you letters, the importance...

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