Karen Osborne, Blogger on 101 Fundraising

Major Gift End of the Year To-Do List

By Karen Osborne • November 14, 2016

Major gift end of the year to dos are not the same as your annual giving big push and wrap up.
For annual giving, your focus is on the final appeal for the year, working on getting the words just right and the letter out the door. You’ve reviewed all of …

Three Powerful Major Gift Questions You Might Not Be Asking

By Karen Osborne • May 23, 2016

You already know the importance of asking strategic questions and listening to understand (rather than to respond or even worse not listen and only react). Having strategic conversations with your donors, helps you establish rapport, build trust, uncover essential information and share your mission and vision in an interactive and …

What does major gift excellence require?

By Karen Osborne • February 18, 2016

I don’t mean what you need to get the job or even how to keep it. Too many nonprofits are willing to settle for less than the best. There are more available positions than there are good folks to fill them. You are employable without excellence.
What I’m talking about is …

Three Types of Major Gift Karma – Are you taking advantage of all three?

By Karen Osborne • November 19, 2015

Pay it Forward
I landed my first job in fundraising as an unprepared novice with big responsibilities and a bottom line to achieve. For the past seven years, I’d been home raising two children, doing volunteer work and finishing my college degree. I never heard of the fundraising profession. Yet they …

Can you create a culture of increased giving?

By Karen Osborne • September 3, 2015

Propelling your organization to double-digit growth, exponential mission impact, and leadership in your movement, there are only a few strategies that consistently make the grade.

Focus on major gifts from all sources 
Make individual giving a top priority
Keep EVERY donor through donor care and retention strategy 
Build a world-class board
Nurture a culture of …

Think, Feel, Do Major Gift Magic

By Karen Osborne • June 15, 2015

I just finished re-reading “Deep Dive” by Rich Horwath, a book about strategic thinking. It reminded me how important that competency is to successful major gift work.
There are lots of conversations on and offline about the importance of donor engagement. More recently, tons of talk, thank goodness, about donor retention, …

Making and KEEPING Major Gift (and Personal) New Year’s Resolutions

By Karen Osborne • January 8, 2015

I do it every year. Think about what I want to do differently in the months ahead.  Lose weight. Exercise more. Learn a language.  Be a more effective manager. Listen. January finds me strong and determined. By February, however, life and work begins to overwhelm my good intentions.  Then March …

December “Glass Balls” for Major Gift Teams

By Karen Osborne • November 24, 2014

We all have to juggle responsibilities. News commentator Leslie Stahl admonishes us to identify our glass balls, those tasks that we cannot drop under any circumstances.  When those balls shatter, the consequences are either dire, or there is a ripple effect and other things come crashing down.
Here is my list …

If It Were Easy To Do, We Wouldn’t Need You

By Karen Osborne • June 12, 2014

Major gift fundraising at its best can transform an organization.  When an inspired potential donor says, “We have to make that happen,”  “It’s critical that we solve this societal problem,” “How can I help?” incredible philanthropic investments follow.  So why do some of us spend so little time getting this …

Spring and Special Events – Magical or Deadly?

By Karen Osborne • February 24, 2014

For readers in the northern hemisphere, spring special event season is just around the corner. And they can be deadly.
Back-to-back events, exhausting staff and volunteers, not netting enough, no time for follow-up from one because another is on its heels.  Poor donor retention from one year to the next, so …

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