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Posted on in Fundraising

Development Directors are facilitators. Their work is done through the actions of others: executive directors, board members, funders, donors, volunteers, program staff.

For the most part, the visible components of the development process – sending a letter, having lunch with a prospective donor, approving a grant proposal, writing a check – are prepared for by the development director, but undertaken by those in more external-facing roles.

A development director’s job can be compared to the invisible hand moving the pieces around a chess board. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

I went to a restaurant last week and lucked into “Mondays are 1980 Night.” The menu was considerably simpler, and prices were half – or less – of their modern-day equivalent.

It got me thinking about fundraising, circa the 1980’s. What’s radically different, and what remains the same.

Especially because many of the baby-boomers who are retiring from the nonprofit world now, got their start in the field – and founded nonprofits that are celebrating their 30th and 35th anniversaries – in the 1980’s.

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Posted on in Fundraising

6. 10. 15. More?

The number of annual appeals arriving daily in people’s mailboxes these days, that is.

Between the mountain of envelopes with color teaser messages on the front, and the onslaught of glossy holiday catalogs, it’s a wonder that people actually go through their piles of mail each day to find the letters they actually care about.

If they even do.

(Let alone the cascading e-appeals appearing daily in our inboxes...)

So here we are, at the fundraiser’s December Dilemma.

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Posted on in Fundraising

I spent $250 on the future last week.

As in – brought someone to a gala as my guest whose husband had just started his own company. They were on a strict budget for a couple of years, she informed me: no gala tickets, no auction items, no outsized donations.

Not what comes to mind when you’re asked to “bring in the big spenders.”

But I knew this investment would pay off down the road – that she would remember me, and my cause, as more than a “fair-weather” friend.

It was worth every penny.

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Posted on in Nonprofit

Having just come off a weekend flurry of emails and calls, I started reflecting on how much of a board chair’s work happens behind the scenes.

When it goes well.

Drop a critical issue into the mix at a board meeting without some preparatory groundwork? It might lead to important next steps; it might get sidestepped; it might panic board members right into even deeper disengagement.

But raise a point for discussion that’s been vetted and “owned” by a small group of board members – and the conversation’s more likely to get steered in a productive direction.

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