Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway!

Fear, we all experience it. Large major gift campaigns instill fear into every one of us. We can accomplish all the tasks we assign ourselves — forming a compelling and urgent case, identifying the prospective donors, recruiting the leadership, developing a solid plan…but success boils down to asking donors for financial investment.

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Do You Know Your Organization’s “Why?”

Do you know your organization’s “why?” I’m sure you know what your nonprofit does, and even how it does it, but could you describe why? More importantly, could you articulate it to a potential major donor? What about a new board member? A fellow fundraiser?

If the answer is yes, let’s go further: do you think if that same major donor asked the same question to three different people in your organization, they would give the same answer?

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The Color of Philanthropy: A New Dawn for Development Professionals of Color

I firmly believe that a new era has dawned for emerging fundraising professionals of color.

Reflecting on the early days of my career, I stumbled into this field with little understanding that a non-profit fundraising career even existed. In 1990, fresh out of undergrad, I took on the role of a departmental secretary in alumni relations at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. I was not only the sole Black individual in alumni relations but also on the fundraising side of the massive alumni and development shop.

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Onward! But Are You Ready?

Whether you call it a Capital Campaign or a Comprehensive Campaign…the excitement and fear are the same. Most nonprofit professionals rarely have the opportunity to be on a development team that is conducting a large fundraising campaign. Even fewer of us have the opportunity to lead the effort. I have been a frontline fundraiser for over 30 years leading both large and small development shops. And, I have been fortunate to lead three large campaigns, two comprehensive campaigns and one endowment campaign. If you are one of the lucky few that has been anointed the privilege of leading your organization’s upcoming campaign, let me share some advice.

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Your Funding is Drying Up. Time to Diversify!

In the nonprofit sector, we face a constantly shifting landscape of funding. Government funding waxes and wanes with every change of political office. Private funders change priorities in response to current events. Individual contributions rise and fall with the stock market.

So, how can organizations maintain financial stability in the midst of change? Diversifying revenue is the key. When your organization has support from multiple sources, it can weather uncertain times.

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