Blog Archives

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

We All Want the Same Things

If you are visiting this page, then it is likely that you are at a place in your life where:

  • You want to be successful in your chosen field
  • You want to make a positive difference
  • You want to leverage the most of your time, money and talents
  • You want to develop new skills to become more productive
  • You want to be connected with like-minded people
  • You want to be more – for yourself, your family and your organization

 Most of you visiting this page also:

  •  Have at least one relationship in your organization that is an obstacle to growth
  • Are facing revenue and budget issues that threaten your organization’s existence
  • Have been hanging on to processes and paradigms that have ceased to work
  • Are looking for a miracle to happen . . .

 I am here to remind you that YOU are the miracle you have been waiting for:  You have unlimited potential. You can be, do and have anything you imagine and desire.  That goes for your organization as well.

 However, it takes definite, clear plans and the discipline to pursue your goals with relentless persistence.

 It also takes the courage to:

  • Abandon what has ceased to work
  • Embrace new methods of working and raising funds
  • Admit that you need to learn more than what you now know
  • Ask for collaborative and supportive assistance from others

 That is why we are forming MasterMind Groups for non-profit organizations.

 What do you experience in MasterMind Groups?

  •  Support – from your entire team and accountabilty partner
  • Revenue – improve your financial condition from new knowledge
  • Happiness – in all relationships and help others to be happy as well
  • Long-term change – lasting, positive habits that are continually reinforced
  • Better ideas – through teamwork and people who care
  • Purpose – clarity of purpose + people to share it with
  • Direction– design a clear path of your journey and next steps

And how does it work?

  • Napoleon Hill’s principles and proven System of Success
  • Total portfolio of non-profit fundraising tools across an endless array of donor scenarios
  • Training and education that doesn’t fade away
  • One weekly meeting of one hour
  • Intimate groups of 6 people
    • Everyone commits
    • Everyone has a partner
    • Everyone participates
  • Online from your home or office

What do you have when participating in an on-going MasterMind Group?

  • Success in your chosen field
  • Making a positive difference
  • Leveraging the most from your time, money, and talents
  • Development of new skills to become more productive
  • Connection with like-minded people
  • Being more – for yourself, your family and your organization

 I know that these statements are true from personal experience and work in a mastermind group myself.

 If you feel that you can’t afford it or don’t have time to pursue this, I urge you to think beyond those objections.  In my case, I have 5 children and I doubt that anyone reading this has less in their bank account than I did when I began working with a MasterMind team.

 The real questions are– how are you choosing to spend your time and money?  If you want to be more successful in your endeavors, what are you willing to risk in terms of time and money to make it happen?  Asked another way – how badly do you want those things we described above?

 If you are in non-profit work of any kind, you owe it to your organization and to yourself to investigate further and discover what needs and desires a MasterMind Group can meet in your life.  Check out the MASTERMIND tab of this blog.  Listen to the weekly radio show (see the RADIO tab of this blog), and give us a call to ask more questions.

Laura Anne Miller – 614-915-4324

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!

Time Well Spent

Americans always know what time it is, but they never seem to have any . . .

–          Anonymous European

 When I host online Mastermind sessions, I ask two questions:

1)      What do you want most for yourself or your organization?

2)      What are the primary obstacles keeping you from reaching that desire?

 The answers to #1 are inspiring, visionary and noble – and every one distinctly unique.  The answers to #2 are almost always the same:  Not enough time and not enough money.

 Regarding TIME – every day has 24 hours – we all have all there is.  It is not a lack of time that is the obstacle; rather, it is how we are choosing to use that time.

 Regarding MONEY – when you spend your time wisely and strategically (as related to your purpose), the means for accomplishing any aspiration will develop.

 Consider these common uses of time and money:

Activity Your $$ Your Time/Year Your Time/Week
MBA – online from a highly respected University  $89,000 over 2 years 500+ hours 10+ hours
Hiring a non-profit organizational and fundraising consultant  $50,000 per year 100+ hours 2 hours
Attending seminars and executive coaching sessions  $4,000 per year 180 + hours 3.5 hours
Entertainment-          Cable TV

–          Movies

–          Concerts

–          _________


 $ _________

per year

 __________ hours


 __________ hours

ßYou fill in the blanks

  In our Mastermind Groups for Non-profits, we help each other to maximize TIME to raise more MONEY.  While working on an advanced degree, engaging in continuing education and working one-on-one with a coach are edifying pursuits; consider the amount of time and money spent in relation to what those activities can do to help achieve real success.  With Mastermind groups and accountability partners, we have an on-going system for personal and organizational improvement at much lower costs – both in time and money.

 Mastermind Groups are a proven method of time management:  learning how to do more in less time and with less effort . . .  In addition, the Mastermind Groups for Non-Profits add a specific education element focused on the most effective fundraising methods.

 If you are ready to take action and remove the obstacle of  “tempus fugit”, then join us for a sample Mastermind Session . . .  Click on the MASTERMIND tab for more information.

Three Ways to Succeed by Breaking Convention – H. James Wilson – Research – Harvard Business Review

Three Ways to Succeed by Breaking Convention – H. James Wilson – Research – Harvard Business Review.

Being unconventional or making a new convention is one of the life habits you can adopt to “Thrive in Times Like These” . . . click on the MASTERMIND tab to find information on attending a sample Mastermind session.

Remember:  Life is not without risk.  The good news is that you can choose which risks you want to take and succeed.


Overcoming Adversity

How do you view adversity?  Set aside the time to listen to an inspring call:

Listen to internet radio with Phil R Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

The attitudes, principles and actions that they discuss are exactly what we work through in Mastermind Groups.  Check out the MASTERMIND tab to learn how you can follow up the inspiration with ACTION.

Make a powerful difference

Consider these questions:

What do you really want to accomplish for yourself and your organization?  What are the current challenges preventing you from realizing that vision?

Many of you reading this blog are either on staff at a non-profit or are active in promoting a philanthropic organization as a volunteer or board member.  Despite that, these questions can be challenging.  You are busy doing good work – but are you and your colleagues as effective as you could be?  Are you engaged in frenetic activity or purposeful, planned action? 

What are your board meetings and committee meetings like?  Compare the percentage of time you talk about doing something and the time you spend actually doing it . . .  Are you making the wisest choices for the future of your organization and those you serve?

If you continue on the path you are currently on – will you accomplish your highest aspirations?

By joining a Mastermind group, you can commit a small portion of your schedule each week to dramatic improvement in your situation.  Take a look at the MASTERMIND page of this blog for more information.  The next introductory web call is Monday, July 18, 2011 at 7pm Eastern Time/USA.  Please make plans to join us.

We welcome all those desiring to explore new growth in themselves and their organizations –

regardless of the economy!