November 30, 2009
What we think and believe is important to all of us. I often find myself wondering what I can or cannot, should or should not say to donors, co-workers, and other staff. Should we always draw back from conversation in fear of what the response might be? Or are can we have a dialogue about what is important to each of us?
In a profession that is so people-focused and relationship-focused, it is hard to not involve yourself personally. Having a personal component to a relationship gives it richness and depth. I cannot ask personal questions for the sole purpose of soliciting for a gift. I really am interested in what is happening in the lives of the co-workers, donors, and volunteers with whom I work. For this reason I don’t think religion has to be a taboo topic.
Forcing thoughts about religion into a conversation is adversarial. The key is authenticity: don’t say something because you feel like it is what you “ought to” say or because you feel obligated. When you are talking about something close to your heart, it should be shared naturally from that same place.
I know this can be a very sensitive topic with many people. I am really interested in hearing from you as to what is and is not okay to discuss at your workplace? How do you handle conversations about religion or belief in your office and with donors that ask you about it?
November 29, 2009
Wanted to let you know about a contest you can enter as a nonprofit. Chase is giving $25,000 to each of the Top 100 charities that are voted for on Facebook.
For more details and to vote for your favorite charity check out the Chase Facebook Page.
Voting from November 15 to December 11.
Announcing top 100 on December 15.
November 23, 2009
The role of the devil’s advocate is important in any organization and with any project as it helps everyone to see another side to a situation or problem. Intentionally playing the role of the devil’s advocate can be a great problem solving technique for every team. Sometimes people are hired because of their different way of thinking and for having a different opinion.
Playing devil’s advocate allows us a more candid response on a project or proposal we are working on that we might typically get from a donor or someone else. This can help us refine our work and make it better. Have you played the role of devil’s advocate? How did that turn out? It can sometimes be a scary place to put yourself, how did it go?
Being a devil’s advocate does not mean that you have to “know it all” or that your opinion should carry any less respect than if you were presenting a more agreeable idea. Acknowledging to the team that you are intentionally playing that role is helpful to everyone as it gives them an opportunity to separate a statement from you personally. But be nice about it.
November 18, 2009
From Penelope Burk to Terry Axelrod, there are a lot of different models and fundraising programs out there. Many development shops base their fundraising programs on one of these models. I’d love to hear back from you on what model you use and what you’ve found to be successful.
Donor Centered Fundraising– Penelope Burke: Focuses on personalizing your appeals and proposals to each individual donor.
Benevon– Terry Axelrod: Focuses on event fundraising using a tried and true program format. At the center of the event program is a compelling donor story. Using this model, events will be your primary cultivation tool.
Moves Management: This model involves planning each specific action you will take with your donors. After an action or move has taken place (such as a donor tour or solicitation), you plan another move for the donor through the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship process. (Good external posts: Major Donors and Moves Management, Moves Management Key to Major Gifts Fundraising.)
Transformational Giving: The Mission Increase Foundation with Eric Foley has coined this term. The idea behind this model is that donor giving can transform an organization and a group of donors. This model is built on biblical principles and focused on using giving as a tool for life transformation.
Most of my fundraising has been in the Pacific Northwest, so I wonder how these practices are recognized nationally. Please share your experiences with these models and/or what other models are out there I did not mention.