Ensuring Fundraising Success

A vendor needs a product or a service that someone will pay for.  Pretty simple economics.  Ergo, a nonprofit also needs a good product or service if it wants to be successful in its fundraising.

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Having a good product to sell for a nonprofit begins with program design, something no one recognizes as a capacity building need, yet it bellows out every time I teach an evaluation class. Ask people to describe the program they wish to evaluate, they can speak and write Read more

July 23rd, 2015 0 Comment


You have a mole in your organization who is thwarting your development function.    Do you know who it is?  If you are an executive director or board member reading this, the answer is you!

Senator William Proxmire  created the Golden Fleece mock award for research projects that he deemed wasteful because all they did was demonstrate what we already knew.

But the truth is that we don’t know something until we have the research that proves that something to be so.  Without that research, we don’t know; Read more

January 18th, 2013 0 Comment

Rethinking your Fundraising Plans

‘Tis the season to be giving—and, therefore, for nonprofits the season to be getting, with virtually every nonprofit that does individual giving, sending out an appeal before the end of the year.   The competition from the 1.6 million nonprofits is even more intense this time of year than the other 11 months. The tax benefit is just as good whether we give in January or December of the same year.  (Or, at least it still is; who knows if there will be a tax benefit Read more

December 7th, 2012 1 Comment

Freedom vs. Burden in Charitable Giving

It starts right about now:  an increase in solicitations in your snail and email boxes, on your phone and via all forms of social media, asking for donations for what is hoped is your favorite charity.  It continues with the news articles and radio and television stories on assessing where and how to give.  It continues right up to the first note of Auld Lang Syne.

The tug of war has begun:  charities that need your money versus the highly sought (and in high demand) donors Read more

Very, Highly, Truly, Rather, More Unique


It seems like such a platitude to start out the new year with a blog about new year’s resolutions.  So, I’m putting out a suggestion, planting a seed for folks to consider.  And that is this:  get over yourself!  You are only hurting your organization and the client base you profess to want to serve. No exaggeration, but conservatively, 80% of nonprofits we work tell us they are unique.  Their challenges are unique, their situation unique, their issues unique, etc.  “It is hard for us Read more

Golden Fleece Redux

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In the mid-1970s, Senator William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, created the Golden Fleece Award.  He would give this award to the organization which Read more