25 Secrets to Instantly Improve Your Annual Fundraising Appeal

Telling a secret

Do you want to know 25 secrets?


Are you starting to worry about whether you’ll raise enough money this year to meet your goals? Are you concerned because last year’s appeal didn’t raise as much as you had hoped? Are you fresh out of ideas for what to put into an appeal to generate the giving response you need to sustain vital programs?  Fear not!  Help is on the way!  Just use my “Happy October 25th” gift to you — this 25-point checklist — before you send anything to your printer!Continue Reading

Nonprofit Blog Carnival Call for Submissions: Tricks or Treats – How To Get and Sustain Major Gifts

Scream Pumpkin

 I need major donors, not candy! Well… maybe a Reese’s Cup.


I’m majorly S C R E A M I N G with delight to be hosting this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival!

So majorly, in fact, that the subject this month is TRICKS or TREATS How To Get and Sustain Major Gifts?

Tell us your tricks – the ones that work!

  • Do you HAUNT prospects through a series of managed ‘moves’?
  • Do you fly in on a BROOMSTICK and just drop in spontaneously?
  • How do you put them under your SPELL?

Tell us some treats – ways you wow your donors!

  • Smile like a JACK-O-LANTERN every time you think of them; then figure out a way to let them know?
  • Give them lots of virtual CANDY (seriously, do you use social media for any part of your major gifts strategy)?Continue Reading

3-Word Recipe Guaranteed to Raise Money

3_Word_Formula_to_Raise_MoneyI consider these three words the holy trinity of fundraising success.

They are simple.

They are easy to remember.

They really work.

Plus, if you wrap them up with some emotional color, you’ve got an offer that can’t be refused.

Let’s take a look.Continue Reading

7 Breakthrough Annual Fundraising Appeal Strategies

How do you make a fundraising offer that folks open and accept?

How do you make a fundraising offer that folks open and accept?


The end of the year will be here before you know it!

Working on your year-end appeal?

Wish you had a way to prioritize the stuff that really matters?

Around this time of year, it’s common for me to hear one or more of the following — not just from newbies to the profession, but also from seasoned pros:Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Fall Extravaganza of Free Nonprofit Resources

Lift your donor up -- along the pathway to passionate philanthropy

Lift your donor up, step-by-step, along the pathway to passionate philanthropy


It’s mid-September and we’re well on the way towards the year-end rush of “giving season!” Now it’s time to get serious about end-of-calendar-year fundraising.  It’s when folks are most generous, and you don’t want to miss out.  So while I’ll continue to offer links to articles and resources aligned with my top Dive the Fivefundraising fundamentals for 2016, and beyond, I’ll also include some practical, basic stuff that falls a bit outside these categories.

It’s all good stuff and, as usual, plenty of free resources too. I count seven freebies, and 17 great articles! I dare you not to find something you can use right now.Continue Reading

How to Use Psychology to Pre-Suede Donors to Give

Are you leading with a “gift” or “favor” to positively incline your donor to say "yes"

Are you leading with a “gift” or “favor” to positively incline your donor to say “yes”


What can you do now to prime the pump so your donors are pre-disposed to give to you when they receive your year-end appeal?

In Part 1 of this two-part series I described some new research from Robert Cialdini, author of the seminal Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and the new book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, and discussed how you might apply this research to your fundraising strategies. We learned the importance of leading with a “gift” or “favor” that would incline your donor favorably in your direction.

I promised that today we’d take a look at how to cement the likelihood your favor is returned, as well as explore some types of favors that are likely to be perceived as valuable.Continue Reading

A Revolutionary Way to Influence Year-End Philanthropy

"Should I or shouldn't I?" donor tango

How well do you dance the “Should I give or shouldn’t I?” donor tango?


You asked a bunch of folks to give a year ago. Some did. You thanked them. Once. Maybe twice. Now you want to ask them to give again this year.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Too often nonprofits ask once; then assume folks who’ve made the decision to give will continue to do so. This is similar to retailers thinking that once someone has bought from them they’ll automatically do so again. Not true in either case.Continue Reading

Raising More from Your Annual Fund: 6 Donor-Centric Strategies

Ready... Set... Let's get to know our annual fund donors!

Ready… Set… Let’s get to know our annual fund donors!


Annual giving is the cornerstone to any nonprofit fundraising effort.

And while some organizations think of annual giving as a way to raise money for their operational expenses and other projects and causes, I’m about to let you in on a secret:

It’s not.Continue Reading

How Leaning Into Fear Can Change the World

Lean into fear to inspire caring

Lean into fear to inspire caring


A very accomplished friend of mine recently wrote a beautiful and provocative article I want to share. It resonated with me on many levels, not the least of which spoke to me wearing my hat as a philanthropy facilitator and nonprofit coach.

Thank you Tara Mohr for having the courage to share On Political Fear. Tara writes:

 I don’t do othering. I don’t think one party or place on the political spectrum has a monopoly on truth. I think we all need to be speaking up right now.

Tara, in speaking up, describes herself as “proudly afraid.”

Are you “proudly afraid?”

Continue Reading

How to Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising to Grow Year-End Giving

Ask your advocates to raise their hands on your behalf!

Ask your advocates to raise their hands on your behalf!


Thinking about how to get more new donors this year?  Wondering if you should purchase lists?

Consider this: Response to peer-to-peer fundraising is about 25% compared with direct-to-donor campaigns where response is 1 – 2%.

Why?  People respond better to people than they do to organizations.  Especially when it’s people they know and trust.  Continue Reading