Getting the visit. Tip #1. Look for the Hook.

Dec 05, 2017

How did anyone raise any money before email?

It's like traveling before Google Maps!

But, email can also be infuriating.

Have you ever spent hours pouring over just the right words, re-reading your email a thousand times, checking your grammar and punctuation only to get absolutely no response?

Have you ever gotten so few replies that you actually started to wonder if there was something wrong with your computer? (I've so done this. I've emailed a friend just to make sure my email was working. It sucks so much when you realize it IS working, people are just ignoring you!)

Have you ever just given up and started sending "form" emails? You know, where you just change the name at the beginning and send out a zillion messages hoping for just a few replies?

You are not alone!

Getting the visit is the hardest thing about fundraising.

Spam filters and massively busy people with massively full inboxes don't make our jobs any easier.

In our next few posts, we'll walk through the steps to...

Continue Reading...

Serve. Don't Sell.

Nov 29, 2017

Nancy and I recorded our very first episode of the brand new Generous Change podcast. Woohoo!

Episode 1 is coming to your ears very soon and we'll share the link here on the GC blog.

We've learned some phenomenal lessons from inspirational people and, in this first episode, we share just a few of those lessons that have most helped us - especially on this new entrepreneurial journey (did you know we quit our full-time jobs to go all-in on GC? Yep, it's day 29!).

One of the most important lessons we've learned came from the Smart Passive Income blogger/podcaster, Pat Flynn, and fitness/business guru, Chalene Johnson:

Serve. Don't Sell.

It might sound a little cheesy, but they are words to live by - especially in fundraising!

Have you ever thought that if you just said all the right things at the right time in the right way, you could convince a donor to like you or your org enough to give?

Have you found yourself in donor meetings, throwing out every fact, figure, stat and quote,...

Continue Reading...

Easiest Cold Call Ever - It's as Simple as 1, 2, 3!

Nov 21, 2017

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!

We are so grateful for YOU.

As a token of our appreciation, we just posted two short videos at - one on who to call first, and one on how to make it easy. Check 'em out!

December's focus in Fundraisers Monthly is the dreaded cold call and we're getting a head-start on it now.

Calling...loathe much?? Afraid of this on the other end?

Or this?

Cuz we've all felt that way ourselves, right? The dreaded telemarketer at dinner? 

But...almost never when the call is actually to say a genuine, heartfelt thank you. 

Which we should all be doing far more often. Fundraising guru Jerold Panas says to thank donors seven times. Seven. And numerous studies say we need to be in touch with donors at least three times without an ask before we ask again. 

So...have you spoken with your top 50 donors in the last three months? Ever? If not, it's time to pick up the phone and make the easiest "cold" call ever.

It's as...

Continue Reading...

Difficult Donors (It's Not Your Fault!)

Nov 15, 2017

This month, in Fundraisers' Monthly, we're getting really real.

We're talking about difficult donors. (booooo!)

Our awesome member, Alex, said:

"Every fundraising training/book/etc. seems to operate on the assumption that all donors are warm, trusting, altruistic teddy bears that are full of love and sunshine."

It's true. There is a lot of sunshine, roses and sickeningly sweet talk in fundraising.

Nancy and I are guilty of this, too. We like to say - when you're generous, you can't be mean - when you're giving, you can't be angry. But that's just not always true.

Sometimes, people - even generous people who are giving away their hard-earned money for a damn good cause - are just plain rude.

And fundraising is 1000% percent a people business, so, here it is, the really real truth about fundraising:

You will absolutely meet and have to deal with a few jerks. (I'm sorry for this and I'm sending you an e-hug right now.)

More than a few people will hang up on you (ah, the joys of cold...

Continue Reading...

What's Your One Thing? Part II

Nov 09, 2017

What's the one thing you wish you'd known when you started fundraising? 

   Share your answer in the comments below?!

We're asking you. Whether you're a fundraiser, executive director, board member or volunteer, what advice, secret, tool or tip do you wish you'd had earlier? 

Share you answers here on the Generous Change blog and, together, we can help take the fear out of fundraising! 


What's my one thing? 

It's about the money. 

That sounds obvious, right? But honestly, I didn't quite get it early on.

I tend toward the, shall we say, overly optimistic. When I first started fundraising, if someone clearly had wealth and said they loved my org, I assumed that, eventually - once I'd built the fabled "relationship" and "engaged" them - they would give.

Not so much.

I'd visit these delightful folks three, four, sometimes five times before realizing that:

  • yes, they...
Continue Reading...

What's Your One Thing?

Nov 07, 2017

What's the one thing you wish you would've known when you started fundraising?

Share your answer in the comments below?!

We're asking you. Whether you're a fundraiser, nonprofit executive director, board member or volunteer - what advice, secret, tool or tip do you wish you'd had earlier?

Share your answers here on the Generous Change blog, and, together, we can help take the fear out of fundraising.

What's my one thing?

Peoples is peoples.

This awesome quote from The Muppets Take Manhattan still helps me to be a better fundraiser. Yes, I'm serious. The Muppets have helped me raise money. There's inspiration everywhere! Even from way back in 1984.

When I started in fundraising (and honestly, for the first few years), I lacked confidence. I was completely intimidated by the strangers I was meeting. Honestly, I couldn't sleep the night before donor visits because of these thoughts:

  • I'm going to say the wrong thing.
  • I don't know enough.
  • I'm not as smart as the person I'm meeting.
  • ...
Continue Reading...

Banish Overwhelm! Get (Much) More Done in (Way) Less Time!

Oct 05, 2017

Today, we attack overwhelm, analysis paralysis, and general busy-ness. There is a better way to live your work day - and it's actually easier!

Have you ever had days when you're busy every minute, going as fast as you can, but then wonder over that well-deserved adult beverage, "What did I actually get done today?"

We have a simple antidote. It works like magic and will supercharge your career. 

Before you go home every night: reach out to three new prospective donors. For extra credit, make meaningful contact with three existing prospects or donors.

You can do this in one hour! And if you do, you will contact a stunning 750 new prospects every year - likely adding 30 valuable new donors to your portfolio.

Plus, you will make everyone already in your portfolio feel seen, heard, valued.

And you will happily reside in the top tier of fundraiser productivity.

Not bad for an hour's work, right? 

Which brings us to the critical point: block this hour on your calendar...

Continue Reading...


Sep 28, 2017

One of our awesome members, Alex, emailed us after joining Fundraisers' Monthly and told us (after watching our "FU" video) she immediately subscribed.

Alex said, "...that is the moment I knew for sure the two of you would be able to give me direct and upbeat guidance instead of the same regurgitated vanilla advice..."

Hearing this from Alex made us ridiculously happy (seriously, Nancy and I were jumping up and down as we were reading her email).

It also made me think about all of the "regurgitated vanilla advice" there is out there. 

I love fundraising, so this is not about bashing our industry, but who says we are supposed to be stiff, formulaic, jargony and...well...vanilla?

P.S. I love vanilla - shakes, cake, frosting - so this is also not about bashing vanilla.

Think about how much jargon we use in fundraising:

  • Development (raising money)
  • Advancement (raising money)
  • Development Officer (a person who raises money for a living)
  • Advancement Officer (another...
Continue Reading...


Jul 28, 2017

As I type, my dog, Millie, has her head in my lap.

She nudges my elbow every few seconds to get a few pets and looks up at me, ready at any second to GO OUTSIDE!

Everyone believes their dog is the smartest and cutest. I'm no different.

Millie (and every awesome dog) can teach us a thing or two about raising money, so we're launching a new blog series, Lessons from Millie.

LESSON 1: From Energy to Grit

Millie is an Energizer Bunny.

She's ready, at a moment's notice, to run - whether it's for work (chasing birds) or play (chasing birds).

Raising money requires Millie-sized energy!

Think about all of the verbs in your job:

  • raise money
  • get the visit
  • get out the door
  • travel
  • cold call donors
  • email donors
  • qualify
  • identify
  • cultivate
  • solicit
  • steward
  • write proposals
  • enter contact reports
  • manage relationships
  • manage your portfolio
  • manage volunteers
  • partner with directors/deans
  • raise more money

Whew! I'm exhausted from typing this list and I know you could add at least 10 more things to it....

Continue Reading...


Jul 18, 2017

Ohhh, that feeling. Sweaty palms, beating heart, shortish breath (if you're me, bad coffee breath, searching for a mint but all you find is gum that you pop in and chew like it's an Olympic event)...

It's time to make the big ask and you're nervous. Will they be offended? Will they say no? Are you asking too soon, for too much?

It doesn't have to be this way! We've got a formula to make big asks easy, fun, and satisfying for your and your donors.

It's as simple as this: TAP, and then Pre-Ask.

Timing, Amount and Purpose come first - and that's easy cuz you're using our TAP worksheet for every visit right? Each time you meet with your donor, you discover at least one of those elements and confirm it with your donor:

  • Suzy, thanks so much for taking the time to chat today. So it sounds like the right time to talk about a gift is early next year?
  • Thanks for the guidance, Suzy - so $50,000 is the right neighborhood for us to be talking about?
  • I loved your story about study abroad - so...
Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7