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The Ascent

Powerful Planning: Your Next Plan

Powerful Planning for Development Part 3: Your Next Plan So, you made a mission-centric plan, and are in the process of executing. Great! But you can’t stop there, or your plan is nothing more than an “event.” Your well-informed and executed plan is: A kick-off to a new way of life Greater performance Stronger donor relationships […]

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4 Principles from Learning in Community

The current reality of social distancing due to the Coronavirus has helped us see the value of learning in community.   We know by now that online meetings don’t have the same “feeling” as grabbing a coffee with an associate at the nearby coffee shop.  While you may have dressed up your home office setting, it’s not the same […]

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The Care and Cultivation of Major Donors (4 Tips)

My wife and I just bought our garden plants. The nursery was packed. The dreams of a bountiful harvest of flowers and vegetables were palpable. Each plant variety gave an estimated “harvest date” – when the plant would yield mature produce.  Wouldn’t that be helpful with donor cultivation? Imagine a tag that indicated when the major […]

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Three Ways to Amplify Your Claim

Today, more than 1.9 million nonprofits exist in the United States (according to recently filed 990s). Most are dependent on charitable dollars to meet their annual expenses.   Make no mistake your organization IS competing to be heard and understood by the donor public. And you are competing for funding in a declining pool of charitable support. […]

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The Poverty of the Rich

The temptation to see major donors for what they can give is real. “We’ve got goals to hit, budgets to complete, after all.” It is a temptation we must resist. Henri Nouwen tells a compelling story in his classic A Spirituality of Fundraising of a rich banker who wants to help Nouwen with money. The […]

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School’s out for Summer! – Are your Donors too?

With Memorial Day behind us, summer has officially begun, and fundraising professionals know that giving goes down in the summer months. But it doesn’t have to. It’s true that donors may not be regularly seeing your communications, but summer can be a great time to prepare for an abundant harvest in the fall and end-of-year giving […]

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Announcing a New Program!! The Million Dollar Caseload!

When we first moved to Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak loomed before us calling out its challenge.  “See if you can make it to the top.” I, my wife, and then 13-year-old daughter took off with friends and with great expectations of summiting America’s Mountain. Filled with enthusiasm, we began the day-long hike through boulders, pines, […]

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What every major donor needs: A Story, A Partner, A Reason

I talk to a lot of major donors.  Somehow, they feel comfortable telling me things they may not tell their ministry representatives. Summarizing their comments, I’ve come to conclude that most major gifts are motivated by 3 important factors. A STORY             The story you tell donors explains the grand journey you’re on to solve […]

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What Has Happened with Fundraising Talent?

Last week alone, I heard of 10 organizations seeking new or additional gift officer positions. Unfortunately, most were replacing people they felt were not productive.  OUCH! Why is this?  Why does our industry struggle so often with talented development professionals? We could expound on the reasons: Too few leads Not the right fit Lofty expectations, etc., […]

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How to Know if you’re Using the Right Tools: Map or Compass?

In the world of non-profit development, how do you know if you’re using the right tools to get to your destination the fastest? A map shows us the shortest distance between where we are and our destination. The route is on roads, streets, or highways that someone else has built. We simply travel along the […]

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