Adopting MLK’s fundraising practices in 2016


Watch the parade or participate in a social justice activity. That’s good too. But if you’re interested in lasting impact starting today, try honoring Martin Luther King by adopting his fundraising practices. Imagine how many lives would change if a measly 5 % of nonprofits were so incredibly inspired by their “dream” that they couldn’t help…

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No frills, thought provoking nonprofit leadership for you


I encourage you to give this thought. Although these principles are no frills and foundational, they’re not formulaic.  If you’re not able to apply them to you personally, they’ll go nowhere.  Many nonprofit executive directors and board members that I’ve worked with don’t consider themselves leaders, at least in the context of their nonprofit role.…

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Your secret 90-day challenge

Number 90 - Tilted zero

If you love new beginnings, hate long cumbersome plans, and you need a kick in the butt to get moving, this post is for you. First, the kick in the butt. Does your approach to fundraising have integrity? Ouch. Consider this. If a donor with business savvy were to look at your 2016 budget, would…

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Don’t botch your thank you. It matters!


Our culture has gotten used to it. Get a letter, write a check, and receive a sterile thank you letter that goes into your tax file, usually unread. Sadly, many donors don’t even recognize how disrespectful the nonprofit has just behaved. But you can be sure that they are influenced, and 81% of them won’t…

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Do you know this nun?


In 2012, this extraordinary woman – armed with a small group of nuns – was instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. “Nuns on the Bus” received massive…

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Vulnerability and Abundance


We are surrounded by abundance in this world of ours, yet our struggle to raise enough funds to meet the growing need in our communities is named as central to the crisis facing the sector. How do we as nonprofits tap into the resources that we so desperately need? Is it possible that our race…

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This idea is emotionally difficult – do it

A single tree in the fog.

As we’re officially into the holiday season, I found myself thinking about donors, but in a different way. We all know that calling donors to thank them after they’ve made a gift is a smart use of a board member or executive director’s time. Not only is it the right thing to do, there is a…

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What is your fundraising EQ?


It was Daniel Goleman who first brought the term “emotional intelligence” to a wide audience with his 1995 book, and it was Goleman that first applied that concept to business with his 1998 Harvard Business Review article, What Makes A Leader. In his research, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence,…

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3 ways women play small with fundraising


The notion that women executive directors and board members of small nonprofits (they mostly aren’t in the leadership roles of the large ones) play small nags at me. In my writing, I’ve hinted at it but mostly danced around the topic. When I see it play out in fundraising, which it does in spades, it makes…

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This 1 thing will guarantee better year-end fundraising results


Sometimes the simple things make all the difference. One of the keys to successful fundraising is speaking to your donors in a way they can actually hear you. Yes, your message is important and you must get that right. But what’s even more important is the way you get your message into their hands –…

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