Blog Archives

The Powerful Art of Conversation in fundraising (part 1)

Full, Active, Conscious Participation – (prelude to The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy)

Julian Treasure at TED U. TEDGlobal 2009, July 21, 2009, in Oxford, UK.

Julian Treasure at TED – talking so people will listen

As those responsible for promoting non-profits, we are in the business of speaking so that others will actually listen and then act.  Too often, however, we experience just the opposite of our goal.  Our voices are just another noisy bit in the cacophony of fundraising “pitches” that leave a prospect donor (partner) disengaged, disnterested and distracted.  This TED talk by Julian Treasure identifies how we can adopt new habits in our speaking that leads to people who really want to give.  This is an area of personal communication that I suggest we all work on. (watch it on YouTube here…)

I am a church musician and a member of the Liturgy Committee at my local parish.  The goal of all that we plan and execute is this: full, active and conscious participation by all those present.   In order to inspire people to meaningful action, we need to give them an opportunity to be part of the drama, part of the mission.  Have you ever been in church (or a fundraising event) where everything seems to be just a big lead-up to the offertory?  How did that make you feel?

Now think about the times when you were so inspired and energized by someone’s spoken word that you felt part of the story yourself.  How did you feel?  What did the speaker do to excite those feelings?  What did you want to do as a result?

Practical application of Julian Treasure’s TED Talk in the world of philanthropy and fundraising:

We are hosting The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy – an event August 1st in Columbus, Ohio to work on these techniques and other ways you can build a community of active, engaged supporters . . . it is one event in a series of experiences where you can develop skills and methods to build a collaborative network of partners to grow your nonprofit rapidly and have greater impact.

For example, Joel Kessel of Kessel Communications is presenting on “Cashing In on Media Awareness”.  It is a 25,000-foot overview of getting in the media and telling your story so people will listen.

Sign up at Eventbrite:

Check out Julian Treasure’s other TED Talks on LISTENING – – they’re wonderful.  Then, join an Unleashed Abundance Cohort with other fundraisers to identify and reinforce the good habits of successful fundraising that you truly want to achieve.

What donors want – and how to give it to them!

Too often, the only question a fundraiser has about a prospective donor is: “How much can I ask him for?”  When we don’t focus on the passions and vision of donors, we are leaving a lot of money on the table .  . . But many fundraisers are unskilled and lacking in confidence on how to talk about these deep, personal issues.

ImageJoin Laura Waller as she focuses on a few pages from Micheal J. Rosen’s Book – Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing.  We will discuss What People Want – and how to give it to them!  Gain the clarity that leads to increased income for your nonprofit . . .

This is an online web call – call instructions will be sent to you in a follow up email prior to the call.

Everyone who signs up can claim a FREE 1/2 hour of coaching with Laura.

Who is encouraged to attend? – development directors, board members, volunteers.  Also – any advisors who are interested in helping their clients plan their future on purpose, with purpose

sign up at Eventbrite –

5 Undeniable Truths of Successful Fundraising

5 Undeniable TruthsLast year, CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund conducted a study of the real challenge facing the development and fundraising efforts of nonprofit organizations.  The main theme I noticed was that all of the underlying causes of decline in revenue were internal to the organization.  Every problem, obstacle or challenge that the study researched has a solution that the organization could work on, control and manage. Nonprofit organizations can no longer embrace the idea that a “bad economy” or some other outside circumstance is the cause of their struggle.  The answers to the challenges definitely begin with work from the inside out.  If you want your organization to raise more money, foster new partnerships and widen the network of support then you must shift your attitude from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.  It also means that the accountability is focused squarely on the shoulders of ALL the people in the organization.

In a recent presentation, I discussed the main challenges and some general solutions to overcoming the obstacles that are preventing nonprofits from enjoying undeniable success in their fundraising.

See the slides from this presentation that I gave for a group of leaders responsible for development and advancement in their organizations – on SlideShare

If you’re interested in a walk-through on this or a deeper discussion on some immediate strategies to execute NOW, please contact me.

Big Lie #3 – Survival of the Fittest

Big Lie 3 – Survival of the Fittest 10/21 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio.

Survival of the Fittest means Survival of the Strongest – right?  The actual observed success model is cooperation and collaboration in focused, harmonic effort.

“The world we are in now requires revolutionary approaches. We need board members that are courageous enough to move forward in uncharted territory, leaders who are clear about purpose and willing to let go of programs in favor of new opportunities. Leaders need to be willing to embrace efforts for which success may not be defined and outcomes are not guaranteed.”

— Angela Blanchard, President and CEO, Neighborhood Centers Inc

We address how to do this in our radio program this week.  Our guest in this episode is Ron Stebelton, professional educator and certified success coach.  He shares his approach on goal achievement.  Ron presents the basic concepts that are found in his new book:  From Surviving to Thriving in 30 Days.  Ron presents a solid structure for goal achievement in any situation.  We also examine how Andrew Carnegie became a huge success in business and philanthropy by applying one basic process in all his endeavors: collaboration with groups of experts.

Are you ready to move from surviving to thriving?  Want to move donors to action? Do you question whether that can even happen “in this economy”?

If these questions are at the front of your mind, and if you are willing to test the “uncharted waters” Angela Blanchard spoke of, then you are ready to join a Mastermind Group to explore the possibilities.  Check out the cooperative success model for yourself:  We have an introductory Mastermind for Non-Profits called Thriving in Times Like These.  You CAN take control of your direction and results . . . Contact us to learn more and to be connected with a group of other non-profit professionals so that we can all MAKE GOOD WORK.

Give to your donors FIRST

The Divine Economy is automatic and very simple – we receive only that which we give. (Napoleon Hill)

If you are reading this, you are probably itching to do more to generate revenue for your non-profit organization.  You are probably frustrated that the only options you see seem to be methods that are passive, with a “wait and see” component.   What if you could be more active and in control of your fundraising success?  What if you could set a goal and be able to manage the results?

This video from the Chronicle of Philanthropy is revealing:

The professional fundraisers in the clip indicate that they are increasing their communication and stewardship efforts.  If you are engaging in this, that’s great.  However, if you aren’t careful this extra communication could be viewed as a lot of “talk” .  Your donors are already receiving thousands of messages each week from many sources.  They are all designed to persuade your donors to part with their hard-earned cash.

Instead, why not offer to give donors something they want and need in this economy?  Further – do it before they give you more money.  Why not be the first to offer something? Michael Rosen, CFRE of ML Innovations, Inc. encourages non-profits to offer value to donors and prospective donors – especially to the business community.  (See radio program of October 12, 2011)

In other words – be the first to give the donor something.  Give them something that helps their business grow and be in a better position to help you.  Become a trusted partner in other people’s success, and you will create a network of raving fans.

We have two programs that are active and innovative.  They involve a new approach to promoting your organization so that you don’t have to just “wait out the storm”.

The Pathway Partners program gives your non-profit organization a way to engage small businesses and help them grow.  A key element is also the ambassadorship component that gives donors and volunteers a customized tool to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your organization.

Corporate Programs – investigate this and encourage your corporate partners to engage in a program that includes Profit and Philanthropy.  It is a value-added plan that generates extra income and builds communities at the same time.

These two streamlined programs are based in a practice of cooperation and collaboration.  You are no longer passive and forever making YOUR case  – the methods are truly donor-centered.  It changes the nature of your organization’s communication and stewardship. It also transforms the lives of your donors so they can help you transform the lives of those you serve.

The guests on our radio show this week give us practical advice and inspiration on reaching out in a new way to achieve fundraising success.  We debunk the myth of a competitive model and offer tools to get you on an immediate path toward taking control of your own success by investing in the success of others FIRST.

Contact Laura for more information: 614-915-4324 – – –

Capturing Your Organization’s Stories

Wild Apricot Blog : Capturing Your Organization’s Stories.

It is important to tell your organization’s story – it’s not all about the MATH and “bottom line” numbers.  The blog article referenced above has great advice on how to engage your “raving fans” and volunteers to gather photos, leads on stories and various ephemera that can make a heart-felt compelling case for support.

The YouTube video below is a piece I put together recently for a couple that received an award for outstanding philanthropy.  They ran a successful small business that became the engine for major gifts and planned giving to several outstanding non-profit organizations.  Building these relationships and telling their stories inspire others to higher levels of philanthropy that will benefit your non-profit fundraising efforts as well as many other organizations.

Contact Laura to set up your organization’s editorial calendar – tell great stories and widen your network of raving fans!    614-915-4324

Profiler – Part 1 09/28 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio

Profiler – Part 1 09/28 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio.

Non-profit databases provide profiles, ratings and basic data regarding 501(c)(3) organizations.  Keeping your profile updated and attracting good reviews will help potential donors and grantmakers get a dashboard look at your organization and its mission.  Michele Demers from Foundation Source will talk with us about Access – a new database made available to private foundations.  Learn how to boost your fundraising and grants from major donors.

I really like the feel of the Foundation Source ACCESS database – it tells the story not only in words but in pictures as well.  It has a community and conversation feel, not just the cold, hard data.  They have purposefully made it so that non-profits and private foundations can interact to make significant impact in communities all over the world.  Looks like Foundation Source has hit another home run in promoting private “venture philanthropy”.  Thank you for this innovation and Making Good Work!

  see the TOOLS tab for a free offer to Non-profits:

Update your Guidestar profile for FREE today!

Making Good Work 08/31 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio

Making Good Work 08/31 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio.

Laura Malone of American Endowment Foundation joins us this week for a discussion on being truly “donor-centered”.  The ideas she will share with us will challenge you to rethink your current plans and strategies for fundraising now and in the future.

Join us!

Making Good Work Online Radio by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio

Making Good Work Online Radio by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 2pm Eastern Time (USA) –LISTEN NOW TO THE ARCHIVED EPISODE

The next episode is titled: Thriving in Times Like These , with our guest Barbara Brown of Cristo Rey Columbus. You will want to tune in to learn how this successful “philanthropic entrepreneur” was able to persuade people to support a high school for under-served youth that had not even been built yet . . . Hear about her methods of successful fundraising – I’m sure you will find Barbara to be engaging and enlightening.

NEW paradigm in giving is actually OLD

The New Paradigm in Philanthropy – it’s really quite old.

In 1630, John Winthrop was sailing west to a new land, America.  He was leaving England to build and lead a new community in a wilderness.  He knew that it would be difficult and would take persistence to achieve the aim of creating a new type of society.  So on the long journey across the Atlantic, he wrote a sermon addressing the ideas of independence and INTER-DEPENDENCE that would be necessary for all to succeed.

In Winthrop’s day, as in ours, he realized that to work for one’s self and one’s family was an important motivator in building community success.  However, he saw peril and “shipwreck” of the local economy and the Massachusetts Bay Colony if the residents did not also work to support each other in mutual generosity . . .

From the conclusion of this sermon:

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah: to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.

For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man.

We must entertain each other in brotherly affection.

We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities.

We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality.

We must delight in each other; make other’s conditions our own;

rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together,

always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body.

So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

This was the core principle of private philanthropic endeavor in the United States.  It is a voluntary system of working together for a common end.  It is a harmonious cooperation that allows for freedom of choice at all times.  In modern terms, this harmonious cooperation we call a “Mastermind”.

Becoming part of a Mastermind Group means joining together with like-minded people to achieve our aims and goals.  Each person in the group brings something different to the table and each has unique goals. Despite this seeming disparity of talent and desires, they all work toward of a common aim of learning and applying what they learn from each other to achieve success in their individual lives.

As John Winthrop realized in the 17th century, unless we all cooperate and share our tangible and intangible assests, the community will dissolve and our power to do good will dissipate.

Reflect on the economic news  in the past few weeks.  It is not getting better, folks.  The only way for the economy to get better is for each of US to make it better.  But we can’t do it alone.  Stop waiting for someone else to do something – you have unique gifts and talents that are lying dormant.  Those special skills can be developed to help your own situation and that of others.

How to take the first steps in improving your own personal economy:

  1. Join a Mastermind Group (See the MASTERMIND tab of this blog.)
  2. Join the weekly conversation – MAKING GOOD WORK – a radio program dedicated to non-profit excellence and success. (See the RADIO tab of this blog.)

I invite you to explore using a Mastermind Group as a way to build your organization and to MAKE GOOD WORK!