Staff Development

Denomination Rules: How much should we ask for?

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017 in Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets, Staff Development, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Denomination Rules: How much should we ask for?

I get asked fairly often how I determine what to ask for from a major gift prospect. My flip answer is always: “Depends on how much you need.” It actually depends on a great deal more factors that that, but I get tired of stopping at “It depends…” So, here’s a few general rules of thumb, I’ve used in my work and career: I’ll ask anybody for $1,000. Many people spend that on designer coffee and internet service every year. Got a smart phone? – you’re capable of entertaining a $1,000 price tag. Therefore, by extension, I’ll ask anyone for a five-year pledge totaling $5,000 – assuming it’s a...

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Encore Ideas – Scavenger Hunt for New Board Members

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Board Development, Featured, Staff Development, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Encore Ideas – Scavenger Hunt for New Board Members

Some ideas are worth re-presenting and re-considering as time and wisdom begin to shape them even further. This week, I’m thinking about board orientations – so-called “onboarding.” I’ve written about this before (See Rethinking Board Orientations). But in the last few years, I’ve met many more board members than I knew then, and my impressions have helped shape and further refine my thinking. Here’s the gist: Let’s say that we want board members who are fully prepared to make the strategic, critical, and wise decisions we ask of them at every meeting. Let’s also admit that we rarely find...

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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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Happy New Year!

Posted by on Dec 27, 2016 in Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Staff Development, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Happy New Year!

Looking for something to do this week? Try picking up the phone. I got teased the other day by someone who told me they were not taking this week off, because “someone” had advised them to make themselves available to donors who might need to talk to someone about making last minute gifts. I wonder where they got that idea? 😉 (See Planning for Year-End.) If you are in the same position, take some time out of each day this week to make a few phone calls. Try calling people you wouldn’t ordinarily call. Such as: Board members, Former board members, Field trip leaders or other volunteers who...

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David’s Writing Clinic – the Ask Line

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Membership, Staff Development, Uncategorized | 3 comments

David’s Writing Clinic – the Ask Line

As you can imagine, I’ve gotten lots of solicitation mail these last few weeks. Let’s see how they did asking for money. Just for context, I’ll share first that virtually every direct mail letter expert will tell you that asking for a specific amount of money will increase not only your response rate, but your total return as well. (If you’re not buying this, test it.) The language I have come to prefer goes something like this: “Please consider a gift this year of $100. If you can give more, please be as generous as you can. If $100 is not right, please consider a number that is more...

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