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Fewer Americans are giving to charity – but the ones who do, are giving more.

That’s the tale told in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article exploring the “vanishing” donor base.

How are fundraising-savvy nonprofits dealing with it? The ones looking hard at current returns are concentrating more and more of their efforts on major gifts – those donations that can have substantial impact on the bottom line.

But nonprofits that are also focused on the future, are spending equal energy courting mid-level donors – those $250, $500 donors whose loyalty will grow over time.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Galas.

So beloved yet so reviled…

So expensive yet so rewarding…

So much focus on quid pro quo asking (who will buy a table?) – yet so great an opportunity to make your case…

How can we get the most out of the extraordinary energy required to put on a gala? 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Ever been to a potluck where everyone brought dessert? Or a gathering that ended up with 12 different kinds of chips?

A potluck works best with a signup sheet – and curation. People feel responsible for doing their best on their own unique dish; and they’re assured there won’t be three sets of brownies, or five kinds of pasta.

There are lessons here for the organization of a board of directors into committees. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

We spend a lot of time in fundraising polishing the stone – getting better and better at what we already know how to do. Writing a more compelling appeal letter, sharpening our case statement for foundation proposals, running a bar party for our junior board.

But sometimes you need to take a step outside – explore a new sector, or subsector, that’s never given you funding before.

To approach the holy grail of a “diversified funding base,” we have to go beyond our comfort zone. 

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Individual vs. Institutional Fundraising: the great divide – or not?

Individuals make funding decisions that correspond with deeply-held values, based on who asks them. Subject, of course, to their capacity to give and other pulls on their resources. Whether they base their decision more on linkage (to the asker) or interest (in the cause) is completely case-specific, although special events contributions tend to be more relationship-based and major donor gifts more cause-related, as a general rule of thumb.

While institutional funding sources weigh these three factors as well, the corporate sector is the closest to mimicking individual donors in terms of their “why.” 

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