Tag Archives: philanthropy

DONOR VISITS: Setting Up Those Relationship-Building Conversations

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Imagine having a long list of major donors just waiting for the chance to spend a little time with you. They all want to tell you about themselves, hear about your cause, and hope to build a long-term relationship… Early in my career, I dreamed often of such a job but unfortunately would wake up and return to the reality that there was nothing unusually interesting about me that would attract attention. I was just a regular guy who felt great compassion for those his organization served. As excited as I was about the organization, it was very difficult to find people willing to meet with me to talk about it. “Maybe,” I periodically said to myself, “I was not cut out for this kind of work.” Continue reading

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THE FAMILY STORY: Recognizing Our Opportunities for Legacy Gifts

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For ages on end, people have derived their sense of place and purpose in the context of multi-generational family stories. Unfortunately and for various reasons, fewer and fewer have that experience today. In this blog I talk about my 12-year involvement in the gatherings of one exceptional family of donors and about one important lesson for planned giving executives.  Continue reading

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NONPROFIT BATTING AVERAGE: Increasing Your Organization’s Bequest Retention Rate

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The results of a twenty-year survey among donors with charitable gift commitments in their estate plans revealed that the retention rate at the ten-year mark was about 55%. In other words, almost half the respondents reported that they no longer had a charitable gift in their estate plans. Somewhere in that ten-year period they had revoked the revocable bequest. That survey constitutes either bad news or good news, depending on whether your organization has a progressive or regressive perspective. The follow post explains how and why. Continue reading

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THE SECOND QUESTION: Talking to Donors About Their Kids’ Inheritance

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The first question about how much parents will need for the rest of their lives is not that difficult. The second question about children’s inheritance is often more complex because it’s not just a matter of how much we can give, but how much we should give and when. Below are a few thoughts on what to say and what not to say in a planned giving conversation about transferring wealth to the next generation. Continue reading

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CAREER STRUGGLES: Pursuing Success but Getting Lost in the Process

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I’ve had the privilege over the years of working with thousands of nonprofit fundraisers. These are great people doing great work, and they’re making the world a much better place. I can’t help but notice, though, many are struggling. I’m particularly sympathetic to frustrations and discouragements I hear from young fundraisers working somewhere down on the organizational chart. I was in that very same position many years ago. I finally had to draw a circle around myself and just focus on things that I could control within that circle. If you’re a struggling fundraiser (young or old), I hope my story helps.
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FAITH-BASED PHILANTHROPY: Appealing to the Devout Affluent

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Through the years, my observation has been that people of faith are extremely consistent and usually very generous givers. This article focuses on one particular group of faith-based donors with two main characteristics: 1) those who are very devout and very serious about their relationship with God, and 2) those who have very high giving capacity. I call these the “devout affluent.” Below are a few the unique concerns that these donors bring to the table and what fundraisers need to keep in mind when appealing to them Continue reading

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FUNDRAISERS AS MATCHMAKERS: Getting Donors to Fall in Love with Your Organization

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Fundraisers are a lot like professional matchmakers. They regularly introduce eligible people to their organizations, point out all the most admirable qualities, and hope those potential donors will fall in love and begin lifelong relationships. If they can win hearts and minds to their causes, the money will follow. So, how do fundraisers get donors to fall in love with the organizations they represent? Continue reading

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