Board Development

Setting the Board Retreat Agenda

This being the third post in my blog series about the best use of your board’s time this summer, and after several references to the critical nature of the board retreat (I’m hoping I’ve convinced you to set a date for the retreat by now), I thought it made sense…
Board Development

Board Retreating: 6 and 6

Last week we talked about the actions your board must take this summer in order to ensure success in 2017-18. One of these actions was the planning of a board retreat. I want to spend a few minutes expanding on the value the retreat brings to the board team so…
Fundraising 101

End of Summer Stewardship

For many non-profits, summer is a time when active donor work slows down. Donors and lay leaders may not be as available or accessible.  People travel, spend time with their children and families and take a break from work and volunteer responsibilities. The beginning of fall signifies a return to…
Fundraising 101

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

I used to sit by the window at a previous job. Great seat – looking out on the world below – contemplating how the money I was raising was making a difference, and taking inspiration from these thoughts to write the next campaign piece. Every two weeks, the window cleaner…
Events

Can Special Events Survive the Digital Age?

I’ve always been of the mindset that people give to people and are motivated by positive experiences. That’s why I strongly advocate for the power of the fundraising event. Events are a great way to raise funds, steward current and prospective donors and share success stories with stakeholders. However, with…
Fundraising 101

Putting Together a Successful Auction

Many organizations offering large-scale fundraising events find that a silent auction nicely compliments their fundraising efforts. Do you ever wonder how all of those wonderful packages and prizes are organized and readied for bidding? Giving Tree’s client, IMD Guest House, will be hosting their Annual Golf Outing in two weeks.…
Fundraising 101

What’s in a Message?

Nearly every nonprofit organization solicits donors and prospective donors via some form of written communication – whether it’s a print direct mail letter, a newsletter or an e-blast. Many individuals receive all of these types of solicitations, from multiple organizations, on a regular basis. So what sets your communications apart…
Fundraising 101

2 Steps to Cleaner, Easier Data

I’ve been thinking a lot about databases recently. During the past two years, I’ve worked in dozens of databases, helped clients move away from multiple spreadsheets to one cohesive system, moved clients into their first database system, converted clients from one system to another and helped others restructure their systems…
Fundraising 101

Five Ways to Avoid Volunteer Mishaps

When a friend asks you to volunteer with her for a cause she cares about, you say yes. Or at least I did last week.  Though she had little information about the event or the organization – what tasks we were to perform, where exactly the funds went, or even…
Grant Writing

Third Time’s A Charm…

Last week I participated in a site visit between my client, The Cove School, and a private foundation we are pursuing for funding. It’s a great story of cultivation and relationship building. The Cove School is a private K-12 school in Northbrook, IL serving students with complex learning disabilities. I…
Fundraising 101

Just How Organized Are You?

Whether planning an event, sending a direct mail appeal, or simply taking care of day-to-day business, getting organized should be the most important part of your day. We’re all guilty of forgetting to make a phone call or following up with a prospect from time to time, but the more significant errors…