Author Posts

Larry Raff
Ask – Don’t Assume – About Your Donors
You may be familiar with the old adage about the word “assume”… that it makes a “donkey’s rear end” of “u” and “me.”   And this is especially true when it comes to major gift fundraising.  The first lessons of Philanthropy 101 include knowing your donors and their philanthropic aspirations.   It takes significant time, effort, and […]
The REAL Value of Direct Mail
  The traditional (and frankly easiest) way to evaluate a direct mail program is to determine net revenue and the number of donors you keep, gain, and lose.  A mature and well managed program will invest in acquisition, end the year with more donors and, if you are really good, achieve an overall higher average […]
Creating Financial Rapport with Your Donors
Rapport.  That wonderful – and productive – state between two or more people when everything just seems to align.  The right words, and empowering body language, bring the conversation and its results to unexpectedly high levels.  Some gift officers are able to naturally bring rapport to their relationships with their donors and prospects.  This in […]
Congratulations to Kristina DeMain – Winner of the PLAN-Master Gift Officer Fellowship
By Larry Raff In Major Gifts, Training Posted April 9, 2012 0 Comments
Master Gift Officer.  Just the words alone conjure up confidence, optimism, energy, and success.  And the phrase embodies what we all strive for:  demonstrating the highest level of ability, talent, and dedication within the development profession. Today, the job title isn’t on the tip of the tongue of most nonprofit fundraising professionals or organizations, and […]
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER
By Larry Raff In Insights Posted April 2, 2012 0 Comments
Did you know that the word “news” actually comes from the terms north, east, west, and south? … meaning that information – positive and negative – truly does come from all over.  And, in a way, advancement officers, CFOs, and consultants in the development world are newscasters, constantly delivering updates on the state of affairs […]
Determining How Much to Ask For – Art and Science
By Larry Raff In Insights, Major Gifts, Training Posted March 19, 2012 0 Comments
According to author and well known life coach Shakti Gawain, “You create your opportunities by asking for them.” And the same certainly holds true for those of us in the fundraising profession.  It is usually crystal clear when the time is right to ask for a gift… but equally murky on exactly how much to […]
Creating A Culture For Philanthropy
By Larry Raff In Emerging Ideas, Insights Posted March 5, 2012 0 Comments
Money.  It’s probably safe to say that this is the key topic that keeps most advancement professionals up at night.   For better or worse, it allows our organizations to fulfill on our missions, keep the lights on, and pay our salaries.  NPOs that are consistently meeting or exceeding their advancement goals have at least one […]
Focus … Major Giving
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle A colleague here at Copley Raff constantly reminds me, and our clients, to “fish where the fish are.”  By that she means to focus on the areas with the greatest potential payback and ROI.  In terms of advancement “fishing,” […]
Survey Results: How Boards Feel About Fundraising
By Larry Raff In Uncategorized Posted February 6, 2012 1 Comment
As someone with key fundraising responsibilities, it is essential to know exactly where your resources – as well as deficits – lie within your organization.  A constant, regardless of the mission of your NPO, is that leadership from an organization’s board of directors is a key ingredient towards advancement success.  Thus, it is critical to […]
Magical Thinking…Redux
By Larry Raff In Insights Posted January 23, 2012 0 Comments
  I’m crossing my fingers here that this follow-up posting will really resonate with many advancement professionals.  About a month ago, this blog featured an article about fundraising ideas so outrageous and/or inactionable that they appeared to come from a galaxy far, far away. We received a great deal of feedback that really brought the […]
Focus On … Annual Giving
By Larry Raff In Planning & Strategy Posted January 9, 2012 0 Comments
  “In order to change something, don’t struggle to change the model, create a new model, and make the old one obsolete.” –  Buckminister Fuller A commonality amongst high performing NPOs is a strong and well oiled annual giving program.  Generally recognized as the foundation of advancement success, these essential efforts typically have two main objectives:  […]
Magical Thinking… Be On Guard
By Larry Raff In Insights Posted December 27, 2011 0 Comments
Give me a show of hands…how many of you have been in a meeting when a board member, boss, or colleague proposed a fundraising idea so outrageous or nonactionable that it appears to come from a galaxy far, far away?  As consultants, we frequently find ourselves protecting our clients from falling into the trap of […]

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