All Posts By

Beth Markley

Knowing what to ask for takes some forethought

By | Capital Campaigns, Donor Cultivation, Major Gifts | No Comments

A campaign volunteer once asked my advice on a call she was would be making on local executive. The sum total of what she knew about this person included: 1. She ran a family-owned business that was doing well, 2. She sat on the boards of several nonprofits (not ours), and 3. She was a young professional with elementary school-aged children.

Hmm, what was it I was going to talk to you about?
“What should I ask for?” my volunteer wanted to know. A good question, but premature. In the absence of a crystal ball, though, there are still a number of ways to find out what range of gift might be appropriate for an ask.

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Want to bore someone to death? Stick to your stats.

By | Donor Cultivation, Marketing | No Comments

Recently, I presented to a group of entry-level fundraisers. This shouldn’t have been daunting, but the material wasn’t mine, and I had sworn a bunch of oaths to present it as precisely as possible.
Turns out, the material for my presentation and others in the workshop: slides, worksheets, and talking points; was dry as toast. This was sad because the topic is one I am passionate about, and with which I have extensive experience. I was really looking forward to the presentation until I realized the volumes of information I was going to have to be sure to cover.

I was sitting in the hallway, waiting for my time to present, going through my notes, when a conference attendee emerged from the room, doubtlessly stretching her legs in an attempt to stay conscious.

“Excuse me,” she said, “I wish the presenters at this conference would stick less to the script and instead tell us more about personal experiences, I mean, that’s why we’re all here, to learn from what you’ve done.”

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New Year’s Resolution Suggestions for Nonprofits

By | Giving Thanks, Social Media | 2 Comments

I am not one for establishing New Year’s resolutions usually, but it is the traditional time to evaluate what we’ve learned over the past year and set some goals for the coming one.  When coaching nonprofit professionals and volunteers, I encourage setting short term, well defined goals in “bite-sized chunks,” to encourage completion and inspire momentum.  I think the same strategy, employed on a organization-wide basis can have the same effect.  With that in mind, here are a few suggestions based on what I have seen over the past six years of consulting for several dozen small to medium-sized nonprofits. Read More