What Do You Call a Development Staffer Who Facilitates Philanthropy?

Do you consider yourself a "Donor Engagement Guide?"

Do you consider yourself a “Donor Engagement Guide?”

 

A super star!

Seriously, that’s what you are.  But you may be wondering why I ask.

What’s in a name?

Recently, veteran fundraiser Jerrold Panas weighed in on the subject of development titles. He noted he prefers “Charitable Gift Planner,” “Chariable Gift Counselor,” and “Director of Donor Services” to the most often used “Director of Planned Gifts.” He also champions “Vice President for Philanthropy” over “Vice President for Development (or Advancement).”

This reminded me of a time when my boss and I went round and round on this subject.  It was a good 15 years or so ago.  We knew “director of development” was not exactly a transparent title [try looking up the definition of “development” and you’ll see what I mean].

“Development,” by itself, has little to do with philanthropy. Continue Reading

How to Handle Nonprofit Boards Who Won’t Play Nice

Are you and your board locked in combat -- often knocking each other down?

Are you and your board locked in combat — often knocking each other down?

 

Recently I posed the question “To board or not to board?

It was meant to be rhetorical. To get you to think about what may/may not be working with your board. And/or with the board’s relationship with your E.D. And/or with your board’s engagement with fundraising. Because unless you’ve got smooth sailing in these regards, it’s going to be difficult to “Dive the 5” Fundamentals I’m encouraging you to focus on this year.

Ah, pre-conditions. They’ve always got to be in place. First.Continue Reading

Leap Day Nonprofit Dilemma: To Board or Not to Board

Leaping man - to a new board model!

Ready to LEAP forward to a new nonprofit board leadership model?

 

My board is driving me nuts!

Today is “leap day” — that little something extra we’re given every four years, just to slow things down a bit and make February last a bit longer.

Leap day has something in common with nonprofit boards of directors — that little something extra, volunteers put in charge of the business, that has an unfortunate tendency to slow things down and make decision-making take a lot, lot longer than it usually should.Continue Reading

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: I Have a Dream 2016

Photo of moon rise
I have a dream…

I have a dream for 2016– and beyond. I have a dream  this is the year your organization will move beyond defining yourself by what you’re not (nonprofit) and will begin to define yourself by what you are (social benefit). I have a dream  this is the year your people will move from an attitude of taking and hitting people up (aka “fundraising”) to a mindset of giving and lifting people up (aka “philanthropy”). I have a dream this is the year your staff and volunteers will move from enacting transactions to enabling transformation.

I have a dream you will think big, because thinking small will not get you where you need to go. You will understand there is great power in a big, wildly exciting vision. You will share this vision broadly to attract people — and financial resources — to your cause. You will no longer be content to remain a “well-kept secret.”

I have a dream you will learn who your best influencers  and advocates are and you will embrace them.  You will recognize you are no longer your best messenger. You will understand that many forces beyond you influence your donor’s decision to invest with you, and you will expand your thinking and operations from a one-dimensional to a multi-dimensional model.  You will allow your constituents to engage with you at multiple points of entry, and to move freely between these points during the life cycle of their engagement.

I have a dream you will push yourself and your organization towards transformative change.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Large Scale Change; Leadership; Year-End; Social Tools; Gratitude; Team Building; Multi-Channel

Clairity Click-it ThanksgivingThis week’s Click-it is an eclectic mix of goodies. Maybe not as good as Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie, but sometimes your mind and soul need feeding too!

To my friends in the U.S. who celebrate Thanksgiving this week, have a good one filled with many blessings. For those of you scattered elsewhere around the globe, make yourself a nice meal anyway and gather together with people you love. Life’s too short not to.

This poem I wrote several years ago seems particularly appropriate this year, so check out “Attitude of Gratitude” if you’ve a mind to.

And if you can, try to find some time this week to dig into some of these resources.

Now… go make our world a more caring place, and hug yourself some hope!

I am thankful for you,

Claire

Continue Reading

It’s Blog Action Day: Raise Your Voice Against Injustice!

“RAISE YOUR VOICE”: Blog Action Day 2015 celebrates those who raise their voices to make the world a more just place. Let’s raise our voices to defend their right to raise theirs. In safety.

Did you know today is Blog Action Day? I apologize for two posts in one day. I usually send my curated links on Friday (and I did, because I missed last week), but I just had to let you know about this special day when bloggers all over the world unite, raise our voices and shine a light on one single thing that’s not going right in our world. And we talk about how to make it right.

There are, alas, always wrongs that need righting.

And, gosh, there are so many things. They seem to multiply like rabbits. It can seem hopeless.

But it’s not. We’ve proven that we can pull rabbits out of hats and make magic happen. Life has always been unfair, yet civilization has prevailed.

And lives have been made better. In large part, because of the compassionate work done through  civil society — the social benefit sector and citizens working together to right the ship.

Allow me to share a little story learned in my many years working for Jewish social service organizations:

There’s an old Jewish parable that begins with the notion that at one time everything in the world was perfectly balanced. It was “tzedek” – which happens to not only mean “balanced” but is also the root of  the word “tzedekah” ( justice) and the term for the money that is collected weekly by every Jewish community to take care of its poor. The goal of tzedek/tzedekah, throughout our lives, is to do what we can to get back to that equilibrium. That time when there was no injustice. No unfairness. No fighting. No wars.

In fact, the Torah insists, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.

Here’s to those who speak out against injustice!

This year’s Blog Action Day theme is the mother of all issues:

The right, and the moral imperative, to RAISE YOUR VOICE to speak out about any of the many injustices we see all around us. To shine a light on wrongs that must be righted — without fear of retribution. To look evil in the eye, rather than look away. To bring hope in the darkness, so that there will be light.

 

The case of Malala Yousafzai, the 11-year-old blogger who was shot in the head for chronicling the fears of schoolgirls under the shadow of the Taliban, has become a well-known cause célèbre. She prevailed. But there are thousands like her who are silenced.

This is a fight that must be won battle by battle. And the war is still raging.

Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Databases; Content; Leadership; Free Stuff; Learning Opportunity

 

Mouse with computer mousee
Click it!

I’ve got some really cool links for this first week of September. I try to find stuff I think you may not be seeing through your regular channels because it’s fun to get new perspectives. I especially love to find folks who come from other disciplines and see how nonprofits might apply some of their thoughts — art and science — to fundraising, marketing, management and leadership.  Plus you’ll find some free resources and a new learning opportunity (scroll to the bottom). Let’s begin…Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Social Media + Content; Cause-Related Marketing; Events; Business Cards; Coaching; Free Stuff; Last Day for Year-End Appeals!

Mouse with computer mousee
Click it!

I’ve a really eclectic mix of links this week, ranging from marketing to fundraising to management – and then some! Plus you’ll find some free resources and your last chance opportunity to improve your year-end fundraising (scroll to the bottom). Can you believe this will be the last “Click-it” in August? How’d it get to be September so soon? You know what that means – year-end fundraising is right around the corner! Stay tuned to my blog as I’ll be offering lots of tips to help you out. Meanwhile… enjoy the rest of the season.Continue Reading

Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? RESPECT

Can't get no...
I can’t get no…

Fundraisers report that money is the number one reason they leave their jobs [See Part I of this two-part series here]. While I do believe too many fundraisers are underpaid relative to their skill sets and performance, I’ve a hunch it’s not the real chief culprit for fundraiser dissatisfaction. What is?

Guess what? The reason is very similar to why donors leave you. If you read through this article, you’ll learn both (1) how to keep more fundraisers, and (2) how to satisfy, inspire and retain more donors.

Ready?

I gave you a hint in the title. Yup. It’s what Aretha Franklin famously sang about:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

It’s not just respect for fundraisers as individuals that’s lacking. It’s respect for their profession. For what it takes to succeed with development in a nonprofit organization. For what it means to be a part of a team — all working together towards the same goal — and why it’s impossible to succeed without a supportive infrastructure and culture.

And by the way, donors won’t thrive absent a supportive culture and infrastructure either. They’re looking to be a part of your community, your family, your way of life. If you won’t give them this warm, fuzzy, connected feeling — they’ll find someone else who will.

So what pre-conditions must be in place for fundraising staff, and donors, to want to stay?

Continue Reading

Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? MONEY

Money is only part of the story of why fundraisers leave
Money is only part of the story of why fundraisers leave

If you’re a fundraiser, does this sound like you?

Show me my money!!!

According to five years of research by Penelope Burk (culminating in her book, Donor-Centered Leadership) as well as a much-talked-about study by CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, half of chief development officers plan to leave their jobs in two years or less and 40% plan to leave fundraising entirely.  The number one reason fundraisers give for leaving is to earn more money.

What’s going on, and how can you fix it? Is it about money, or something else?Continue Reading