5 tips to a winning a good first impression with your donors


First impressions are serious business. Please don’t disregard this as soft or too touchy feeley. Why are they so important?  “First impressions matter when you want to build a lasting trust,” says Robert Lount, an assistant professor at Ohio State University.  Did you know it takes only three to five seconds for someone to form a first…

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Is there a self-defeating power dynamic between you and your donors?

You know the dynamic. They have the power and money and you’re the beggar. They’re one-up and you’re one-down. They’re doing you a favor by making a gift. Sound familiar? How do you figure into this awkward power dynamic? When thinking about a donor that’s important to your organization, say, Jana, is money at the center…

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Indications and Traits of Great Leadership Ability in Nonprofits


According to John Maxwell, best-selling author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, one of the best indicators of great leadership ability is having proved yourself as a nonprofit leader for at least 6 months. Successfully, that is. Whether it’s leading a board, a fundraising campaign, or an event –Maxwell believes that if you can do this,…

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You can’t be good at everything

Right note requires effort outside your comfort zone in a conceptual image with a little girl climbing on the stool to stretch across a piano keyboard for the correct key or note

This truth is a hard pill to swallow. What’s the matter with you? You mean you’re not detail-oriented, an MBA, a people person with extraordinary EQ skills, and an expert in the subject area of your nonprofit? Interesting, isn’t it? The culture inside many nonprofits is exactly what creates this fallacy. It’s tolerated and accepted…

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How to motivate yourself with fundraising and board leadership

A discouraged businessman or academic wearing too many hats.  Isolated on white.

Are you wearing too many hats? Do you wonder what’s at the bottom of your organization’s fundraising or board problems? Is it you? Or maybe that “dysfunctional” board?  Side note: I really hate that word. Now it’s getting personal and that’s the topic of today’s post. Whatever your organization does to change or save lives…

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A Quick Friday Tip: catch her off guard


Great fundraising is not superficial. It’s quite the opposite.  I hope you have the opportunity this summer to be more contemplative about your work and your donors.  If you’re intentional (and a bit lucky) you may have the honor of being in a conversation with a donor where they get further clarity about what matters…

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5 ways you’re sabotaging your fundraising

Isolated young business woman ignoring

Of course you’re not sabotaging your fundraising on purpose.  Self-sabotaging behaviors, however, are often hidden from our everyday thoughts. Fundraising is right up there with the things many nonprofit leaders would prefer not to think about.  Summer can be a great time to think. I’m referring to the fun kind. It’s a time when leaders like…

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What fundraising superstar’s “get” – that you may not


It’s ingrained… It’s at the heart of how they operate. And…it’s how they attract talented board and staff, increase their impact, and break ground on that new building that’s been a dream for so many years. These executive directors “get it.” I know you do too, but if you’re like the majority of nonprofit leaders,…

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3 Career Boosting Habits for Great Fundraisers


I use the term “career boosting” broadly. The truth is, the better you become at fundraising, the more impact you’ll have in the world. That holds true whether you’re a volunteer or staff. The fact is, you’ll always be marketable and in demand if you can effectively develop relationships and raise major gifts. It may take…

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What if your fundraising problems aren’t fundraising problems?

I am stuck

Are the struggles that you face with fundraising a result of something specific – something that you can essentially fix? Like ramping up an already established major gifts program or recruiting new volunteers to a functioning development committee.  Or finding the funds to send the executive director to a reputable nonprofit leadership program that trains…

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