Fundraising

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Gratitude makes us more public-spirited.

Seems self-evident, yes? Someone looked out for us in our formative years, hence we “play it forward” and look out for others who are at that vulnerable time of life.

But here’s the twist: Feeling gratitude of any kind – even completely unrelated – turns out to make us more likely to invest in the public good.

And makes us happier, more optimistic, healthier.

Scientists have proven this to be so…

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Posted on in Fundraising

A $1 million commitment to scaling a promising youth entrepreneurship program. $500,000 to fund mentoring for those recently released from prison. A $75,000 grant – one of 10 – awarded for scholarships to a summer science education institute.

These are the kinds of initiatives appealing to new philanthropists – those termed “high and ultra-high net worth donors.”

It’s easy enough to research the “what” of these donors – what they give to. But that’s after the fact. How can we figure out the “why” – and from that, understand how to position our nonprofits in this sphere?

A new study released in late November by The Philanthropy Workshop gives some clues.

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There’s a symbiotic relationship between an Executive Director and their Director of Development.

Without the ED as pitch person, supplying sizzle and vision, donors won’t make a significant investment. There has to be trust in the organization’s staff leader as the steerer of the ship.

But without the DoD as the planner and strategist, the ED’s time in the fundraising limelight can be spent mindlessly, re-nailing down already-in-the-fold sure shots or chasing fruitlessly after longed-for moonshots.

It’s a partnership of chess master and showman, planner and convincer. A marriage of complementary roles.

But why isn’t this partnership stronger in so many groups? What goes wrong?

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The charge from the executive director to the board members was daunting, although the intent was to be inspiring: Raise $80,000 from new donors.

Yet instead of rising to the challenge, board members are cowering in their seats.

The scene is reminiscent of a high school classroom where the students aren’t prepared – people sink lower and lower in their chairs, hoping not to be called upon.

How can we turn this around?

How can we transform a board goal into a guiding light, not a looming threat?

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Posted on in Fundraising

The gavel comes down – on every auction-organizer’s nightmare.

An exclusive back-stage tour of Hamilton is going for $500 – and the donor is going to be mad.

Expecting it would raise at least $5,000, the donor is sitting in the back of the room wondering why this jewel, which is clearly worth so much more, is going for so low a price.

The answer is a mismatch between the item and the people in the room. 

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