First Dates

Congratulations!  A prospect said yes to a meeting! Treating this like a first date is a great idea.  But some people are really bad at dating…so let’s elaborate. We all know this person: as soon as they make plans to have drinks with someone, their mind starts spinning wild stories into the future, envisioning a winter wedding, picking out names for their children… Read more

Anonymity vs. Public Legacy

Mark Oppenheimer wrote a great article in the New York Times about a couple of different things that motivate big donors: naming rights vs. anonymous donations (and altruistic satisfaction).  He came at it from a religious angle – both Judaism and Christianity elevate anonymous giving, giving without any expectations of recognition or return, giving without strings attached…

Without getting into any whiff of the hierarchical morality of various giving styles, this article can help inexperienced fundraisers gain a little insight into what might drive a donor.   Read more

Choosing the right tool: asking for a meeting

So, you’ve got your pitch prepared, and you’ve mustered your courage, and you’ve shellacked your ruefully thin skin so that you won’t be terribly damaged by inevitable rejection (as one of my first fundraising mentors was fond of saying – if no one is telling you no, you’re not asking enough people.)…

Go forth and ask for some meetings!
And for some people, that brings them to a screeching halt.  Break it down further.   Read more

How to Get a Meeting

We’re going to jump a few steps in the development process.  We’ll come back to them at some point.  For now, let’s recap: you will identify some people you want to target as donors.  Let’s call them prospects (they’re not donors yet).  You will research them.  You will come up with a strategy for getting in touch with them.  And then you’ll ask them to meet with you.

How? Read more

The Dating Metaphor

Major gift fundraising is a lot like dating.  There are a lot of potential matches out there.  You have to find them AND meet them and convince them to spend some time with you.  They have to get to know you, the warts and wonders of you.  You have to get to know them.  You have to figure out if you’re good together.  You take a couple of big steps together.  Work on a project.  Meet each other’s friends.  The fear of rejection is always hanging over you.  You take the plunge and pop the question…

Also, it’s hard to figure out what to wear. Read more

Hanging my Shingle

I’ve decided (since I have no lawyers to tell me exactly how bad an idea it is) not to start this blog off with an unattributed picture of Lucy Van Pelt, hanging out in her cardboard psychiatric “office”…but the doctor is in.  And has the same psychiatric credibility.

This is not a blog about your actual life problems.  I can’t help you there.

But when it comes to development – the business of fundraising – that’s what I’m here for.  I’ve been a professional fundraiser in one capacity or another for over 13 years, doing everything.   Individual giving (multimillion dollar solicitations on down to small gifts); mass appeals (direct mail, email, mobile giving); events; directing volunteer campaigns; grantwriting; corporate giving; crowd funding; earned income ventures…I’ve seen most of it.

Read more