Chris Logan: Fundraiser of the Month

September 29, 2008

Under Construction: Just a few more days till when the October 1 new logo will be released!

This month’s Fundraiser of the Month is Chris Logan! I will be highlighting a different fundraiser every month and asking them to talk about what makes them good at what they do. Last month I highlighted John Boyle. Feel free to refer someone you know of that’s a great fundraiser in the comments section below.

What kind of fundraising do you do and who do you do it for?

As Director of Development for NPower Seattle, challenges and unique opportunities are the norm! NPower is a non-profit that provides technology consulting and assistance to other non-profits, putting us in the realm of “capacity builders”. Like most non-profit organizations we focus on individual giving, corporate sponsorship and grant writing. The challenging part stems from the incredible talent and success of all my fundraising colleagues…it’s hard for our organization to compete against topics like homelessness or children. Let’s face it, broken computers and difficult software does not exactly tug on those heartstrings, does it? Seattle is a technology town, and hi-tech companies get us, and like us. We are quite grateful for our core funders that have helped make us successful for the past ten years.

What keeps you going? Why do you keep working in development?

I am often curious and motivated by those things that create such an inspiring sense of philanthropy among individuals. De Tocqueville spoke about this incredibly American spirit of giving, and I have seen it first hand. Knowing that there are people who give so much from their hearts keeps me going everyday. Development is such a difficult field, yet there continually arise wonderful examples of true generosity that spark me to keep fighting the good fight!

What tips/advice do you have to other fundraisers in your field?

Patience. Patience. Patience. And then you need a little more patience. Things don’t always work, they don’t always go your way. The test of a real fundraiser is how you pick up the pieces after something that didn’t work. The first year we created a golf event for one agency, we barely broke even. That was 5 years ago. Last year, they made $100,000 at the event. Imagine if we had packed it up after that first year?

I first entered into fundraising in November 2001, which is likely the start of the worst fundraising period in recent history. I stuck with it and came out a better, more experienced fundraiser in the end. Remember that fundraising goes up, and comes down, and is quite sensitive to economic downturns, like the one we are in now. Stick to your basics through the tough times, and you will be fine. Sometimes there is a tendency to try new “experiments” during tough times. My advice would be to be sure you have the basics down first, then try new things.

What is the most frustrating or difficult thing about fund development?

Ask the staff people outside of the Development Department what the Development folks do, and you are likely to get many different answers. Though everyone knows we “raise money” we do so much more! We are the lifeline to those people outside of the agency, from awareness to volunteers, from building relationships to vying for public recognition, Development Departments are so much more than fundraising! I think that we sometimes are so good at building bridges and relationships outside of the agency that we don’t leave sufficient time to build those internal bridges with our fellow agency staff members.

Check back on Friday for Part 2 where Chris will talk about a memorable donor event.


A Few Highlights

September 24, 2008

Under Construction: Just a few more days and you will see some changes on the A Small Change site, please be patient. Feel free to check back and see each new development.  And make sure to stop by on October 1 when the new logo will be released!

There are a lot of exciting things happening with A Small Change.  There has also been some recent community attention around some of the topics that we have discussed here and I thought it might be worth highlighting.
Early this month a blog by the name of Corporate Dollar that John Haydon interviewed me on the topic of Business Giving.  Here is an excerpt from that post:

Make sure that your non-profit is ready to handle corporate donors. You are going to need to have employee volunteer opportunities, events to sponsor, a donor recognition plan that recognizes and engages businesses. Then, you will learn more and more about a potential sponsor’s interests as they get to know your organization. At some point during the cultivation process the donor will usually start to ask: “What can I do for this organization?” (To read more)
I wrote for a new blog that is connected to a great prospecting service called Noza.  The post I wrote for them is called, The Fifiteen Minute Prospect Report.  If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll see a lot of similar themes and ideas from other posts I’ve written.  Visit their blog in the coming weeks to see that post.

Happy Donors
I wanted to share a few words about an interesting blog called Happy Donors.  The blog exists, “to promote counsel, commentary, and links that will help nonprofit organizations.”  They are focused on the donor and on providing lifetime value.  Make sure to check out their site and see what they are doing. This post is part of a partnership program with the Nonprofit Blog Exchange.

Ask and You Shall Receive

September 8, 2008

I’m going to confess something… I’m afraid to ask for money. I love talking to people and starting new conversations… I even like going on asks and presenting my organization. But, when it comes to that one little sentence where you actually ask for money it can be a little bit scary.

This month I have a number of posts on asking for money. Right now I’ve asked a handful of people directly for their gift and I’ve read and been taught a lot about asking for money but I would not consider myself a seasoned professional. A lot of what I’m writing about this month comes from the handful of mid-level solicitations that I have been a part of and a lot of reading, training, and thinking.

One thing I wanted to say before I right anything about asking is this. I’ve been a part of organizations that ask doing one-on-one solicitations and a part of organizations that send letters and make phone calls. These are two different things. When I talk about asking for money I am talking about one-on-one solicitations. If your organization does not cultivate your top-level donors this way you are missing a huge opportunity. Everyone will give a larger more intentional and personal gift if they are asked in person. If your key donors are not asked in person then they may increase their giving but you miss a huge opportunity to engage them.

Am I Talking About What You Want to Read?

September 3, 2008

I usually write about new ideas or lessons I’ve learned and I do not write a lot about my opinions, upcoming trends, or encourage you to check out other fundraising and nonprofit things on the internet.  I also do not write very much about new resources such as conferences or emerging fundraising consultants.  Is this something you’d like me to change?

I definitely have had a great opportunity to engage with some amazing people, business, and nonprofits and I’m happy to share some things that may be of interest.  I have done this a little bit with the Resources area and Grants Updates but I’m curious if you’d like me to do this more.  Another area of interest I could talk about is software or tools that may not be popular or widely used for a number of years to come but I find it interesting because I’m reading and thinking about it.

Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment or filling out the poll.

[poll id=”6″]

Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

September 2, 2008

This week I am hosting the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants. Here are some posts from around the philanthro-blogosphere.

Lacey Kruger at Connection Cafe submitted a post about, Engaging volunteers on your site, talking about how to post and advertise volunteer positions for your nonprofit.

Susan Hyatt at The Business Philanthropy Coach Blog is moving to and recently posted an interesting article, Skydive for Charity?? G.A.P. Adventures Does! This post talks about a new fundraising partnership that G.A.P. is doing.

Lucy Bernholz at Philanthropy 2173 talks about what we miss out on in the nonprofit world by not evaluating how we are serving our “customers” in, The customer is always right.

A few other brilliant posts to check out:

Here are a few recent posts I gathered from the nonprofit community. I encourage you to check out these non-profits and if they interest you to connect with them.

Stacy Monk from Epic Change recently posted a creative thank you to donors that gave to a project in Tanzania. Check out her post, Gratitude: There’s a note for that! or read more about what they do from an old Org of the Month post.

A non-profit that I am really fond off, The Wellspring Foundation, recently broke ground on a new building. Feel free to check out their post, Foundation being laid for the 2nd Secondary School Building, or read more about what they do from an old Org of the Month post.