Menu Close

Donor “street” research is essential

Subscription services like DonorSearch and Wealth Engine are the go-to donor research tools. They are the best tools you have—until they are not. We all have many examples of wealth estimates being wildly off, high, or low. Why it matters: There is no substitute for what I call “street” research. Find out all you can about the donor from people ...

Staff-Driven vs. Volunteer-Based Fundraising Models

Stakeholder organizations rely on fundraising, commonly using either staff-driven or volunteer-based models. Professional fundraisers drive the former, developing strategies and campaigns. This promises expertise, focus, and consistency but limits scale and relationships. Volunteers lead the latter, canvassing, planning events, and stewarding donors. This enables scale and connections but varies in skill and effort. Best option: Ultimately, the best approach depends ...

The Case for the Case

Whether you work in annual giving, major giving, corporations, and foundations, or planned giving - the case for philanthropic support for your aspect of advancement needs to be written down and always ready to share with donors, donor candidates, and potential volunteer leaders. Case documents are dynamic. They are always changing, but must also be widely known so that everyone ...
stakeholders

A New Year’s Resolution 40 Years in the Making

I have been an advancement professional for 40 years and have never understood why 501c3 organizations are referred to as “nonprofits” or “tax-exempt.” In addition to not truly reflecting how they work, it is also demeaning and denotes second-class status in our capitalistic society. My 2024 resolution is to refer to 501c3’s as Stakeholder Organizations (STOrgs). STOrgs, like private sector Shareholder ...

Quick Tips to Improve Your Major Donor Program

Aristotle wisely stated that "excellence is not an act, but a habit." This especially rings true for gift officers. Rather than get bogged down with peripheral tasks, they must habitually focus on building relationships and soliciting major contributions. Kaizen system: The Virginia Mason Foundation provides an excellent model. They have implemented Toyota's Kaizen production system to focus gift officers strictly on ...

Do You Want to Be a Master Gift Officer?

A Master Gift OfficerTM focuses on skills and authentic relationship-building in fundraising, breaking away from rigid titles and boundaries. The fundraising landscape emphasizes genuine connections rather than predefined roles like annual gift officer, major gift officer, or principal gift officer. Titles don’t matter: Gift range responsibilities are less relevant, and job titles should be flexible and non-intimidating when optimizing opportunities ...