Advocating for foundations and fundraisers since 1979.
After forty years of fundraising and grantmaking, from participating in telethons to grant proposals to face-to-face solicitation of major gifts, I will share a few truisms:
Ya gotta love your work (my dad said this). It’s easier to raise funds when you let your passion glow
Yes, people give to people, not websites
Mostly people “ask” themselves. You can lead a donor to exquisite waters, but you can’t make them swim. The nudge you give them is the true art of fundraising.
If someone doesn’t give what you hoped, rejection is not personal
People with serious money do put their pants on one leg, then the other
Founders often attract generous donors, but founders should not be running development programs that will sustain a mission over time. If they are truly entrepreneurial, they can’t be bothered with the details, and the repetitive nature of many tasks in development can be crippling to a founder. The spark founders bring to donor relationships is magic, but regular development communication systems must be created by others.
I specialize in the psychology of cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major donors. And I share heaps of practical tools for these areas, gained through years of practice.
I believe we all want to leave a legacy and as fundraisers we need to be comfortable exploring this with donors. This is called “planned giving” and I help you integrate planned giving into your fundraising.
I believe anybody can be an effective fundraiser, but it does take courage, listening and passion.
I’ve met a lot of extraordinary philanthropists and many talented volunteers and staff. Nonetheless, discomfort and a lack of understanding processes and organization of donor communications stand in the way of growing an organization’s revenue. Organizational cultures (poverty mentality, chaotic management, lack of appropriate board support, and overworked staff) inhibit growth. Founders and Executive Directors can lead the evolution of an organization’s fundraising culture with support from a practiced coach.
Since I started serving on boards as a volunteer in the mid-eighties, I have also had the privilege of being a grant maker. Using my own grant making experience as well as my experience as a successful grant maker, I enjoy working with philanthropists to start, course-correct or enhance their giving practices.
Areas of Expertise
Capital Campaign Preparation
Though years of experience working in the trenches raising funds for campaigns, I can assess an organization’s readiness to launch a campaign. I can do a study which involves interviewing your most loyal supporters, board members and community leaders. You’ll get the unvarnished truth, which many people will not share with the founder, executive director, nor with a board member or staff. From a neutral perspective, I will share the vision for your growth and assess interest and levels of potential gifts. This forms the basis for a robust campaign readiness report which I will share with the key players in your organization and it becomes the building block for the campaign plan should the decision be to move forward.
How to Build your circle of major donors
I’ve met too many Directors of Development who have every excuse for not picking up the phone to invite a donor to coffee. The magic really begins when you learn more about your donors and gain their personal trust. You must invest in your major donor program and yes, do everything else besides. But since the vast majority of philanthropy comes from individuals, you and your organization don’t really have the option to do it “someday”.
Board training and Development
It’s been said that people are more afraid of fundraising than many things. And I have met those folks as well as fearless fundraisers. Together we will dig into the cultural, religious and familial underpinnings of what makes people excited about and reluctant to fundraise. We’ll review the mission, vision and best words to share with prospects and current donors. We will prepare and empower your staff and volunteers to be fundraising warriors.
Since the early eighties I have refined board trainings on “How to Ask”, “Fundamentals of Major Gifts” and “Planned Giving 101”. I also do development audits and present findings and recommendations to board and staff. If you are considering launching a capital campaign, I can provide an overview of how to get ready for a campaign and how to be successful raising millions in a relatively short period of time.
Major and Planned Gifts Programs
I hear this a lot: We’re a young (or small) organization, how can we accept planned gifts?
Every organization should be asking for and prepared to accept bequests. How do you do that without spending a lot of resources and keeping your eye on the primary ball of funding for this year? Let me coach you in birthing a legacy circle, developing basic marketing materials, a calendar to structure outreach, and to solicit those first few planned gifts.
Call me to explore these ideas and others. As a coach, my rates are modest and we will laugh together quite a lot. People are quirky. And every year when you are asked to raise YET more funds, what can you do but be challenged, laugh, and figure out how the heck to do it? I believe I can help.