The Fundraising Coach

Is uncertainty undermining your volunteer fundraising effort?

By | Major Gifts, The Fundraising Coach, Volunteerism | No Comments

16697171583_7c33584c4b_zOn a recent episode of NPR’s Marketplace, host Kai Ryssdal noted: “business hates uncertainty.”

Huh. You don’t say. You know who else hates uncertainty? Pretty much everyone.

Take, my kids for example. I think it’s a hoot when they ask “what’s for dinner?” and I say “well tonight, it’s SURPRISE dinner.”

As in surprise, there’s no dinner.

I think that’s hysterical. Those guys? Not so much.

Others hate uncertainty too: parents wondering when their teens will get home, teachers waiting for that late assignment, outdoor concert planners wondering what a 30% chance of precipitation might mean.

It means get an event tent, people.

You know who else hates uncertainty? Your fundraising team. Read More

What’s my mild-mannered persona going to do?

By | The Fundraising Coach | No Comments

When I’m talking to nonprofit board members and executives about the work I do as a fundraiser, I like to make clear at the outset that I’m not a superhero. I’m not the person who is going to swoop in and make sure everything is hunky-dory, then leave with a “my work here is done.”

It’s a tempting thought: “we hired a fundraising consultant, and suddenly cash started rolling in,” Kind of like: “who was that caped crusader? I don’t know, but we owe her a debt of gratitude.” Fact is, I have never seen a person single-handedly turn an organization into a fundraising machine without the enthusiastic cooperation and participation of those who were already there. For that reason, I would be reluctant to take credit for the successes I have been privileged to lead, witness or participate in, in any capacity.

Whether it’s professional staff, development committee chair or outside consultant, it’s important to realize the role of the fundraiser is that of a personal trainer rather than the cosmetic surgeon. With either one, you’re going to look different in the end, but with a trainer, you’ll sweat more and may hate her later, but your successes will be yours to keep, sustainable over time, and a direct return of the effort you put into them.

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