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.

Giving To Your Church Doesn’t Count: Jon Huntsman Sr. And Twitter’s Biz Stone On New Philanthropy

John Huntsman Sr. has given away about $1.5 billion to worthy causes – about 80% of his total wealth. He is also spending $200 million building Huntsman Springs, a golf resort and nature reserve in Idaho that will donate all proceeds of real estate sold to his family’s charitable foundation. But […]


I especially like Biz Stone’s attitude – don’t wait until you’re old and comfortable .. . . philanthropy starts right now.  Both he and Huntsman talk about the “compound effect” of giving what you can right now, and the next time, and the next time . . ..before long, the impact is enormous.  It’s like bonsai – begin with what you have, work on it every day, and you’ll never be finished.

Changing Landscape of Philanthropy

Philanthropy is changing in a lot of ways, but the most important is the disappearance of elitism.  “Philanthropy” in the 20th century was synonymous with the uber-wealthy and ultra-powerful.  Now, the small business owner and young professional have access to the methods of engaging and supporting nonprofits that were once reserved only for the most wealthy and influential.  Their “average abundance” can make an impact – and they know it.  As fundraisers and advisors to these people, we need to become aware that  they are becoming more thoughtful, purposeful and focused in their giving to nonprofit work.

questionThis is confirmed by the cutting-edge experts and researchers in the philanthropic arena :

What is your response to the changing landscape?  What do you have to do differently – beginning right now?

If you feel stuck, confused or anxious about your future role in philanthropy and nonprofit resource management, then contact me.  I am bringing together experts and partners in education experiences so that we can advance the public good with financial stability.  Look at the EVENTS tab and contact me to discuss what experience will suit your needs best:

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 –

Giving Tuesday

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday . . . didn’t shop at all this past weekend (except for a few groceries to feed my crew of teenagers).  However, I learned of a day that I could really get into:  Giving Tuesday.

I have a theory:  You will receive only what you FIRST give away.  That means, for example, if you want more business, give some of your business away (see The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann.)  If you want more money, love, friends . . . give away money, love and yourSELF first and you will Imagesee an increase in those things.

So, here’s an opportunity to test this theory.

1) Find some things to give away today in honor of the special name . . . it doesn’t have to be big or a donation to a worthy non-profit (although that is encouraged, of course).  Find simple things, things that you already have . . . some examples:  Give someone your undivided attention for 10 minutes; share chocolate; be on the lookout for a colleague that’s having a rough day and give them a word of encouragement; buy lunch for your boss . . .  CHALLENGE – do something like this every day for the next 10 days.  Be as innovative and imaginative as you like.

2) Over the coming weeks, observe the affects of your giving and use this blog to post your comments.  Describe what you gave and what came back to you.  Another Theory:  what you receive will probably NOT come directly from the person / people you gave to.

Thank you for helping to test this theory.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?.

A reblog of Jacqueline Novogratz’s post from earlier in November.  Acumen Fund is putting a new face on philanthropy and self-determination.  Funding entrepreneurs for community development all over the globe.  Want to see the highest level of the Golden Ladder of Giving?  This is it . . .

This will touch your heart and give you new perspective.

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!

Buffett and Philanthropic Impact

Warren Buffett’s grandson is taking the conversation in philanthropy to a new level.  This article on the Fast Company website will pique your interest.  The younger Buffett (Howard) seems to be a young man on fire for making a difference in the world and influencing new, more effective action.  It is well worth your

time to click here to read the full article.