Connecting with your most loyal and senior donors

“Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.”
Charles Dickens

Connecting with our most loyal and senior supporters can be the most inspirational thing we do in our career as a fundraisers. It is such a privilege to meet and learn from people whose bodies are aging, but who, as Charles Dickens says, have hearts and spirits that are young and full of vigour.

Today I am going to share with you a little bit about what we are doing in my organization to develop a robust Planned Giving program. (more…)

I’m awesome. You’re awesome. We’re AWESOME…aren’t we?

A few years ago, while discussing a learning opportunity, a colleague of mine said: “The last thing I need is to sit and listen to a bunch of fundraisers talk about how great they are.”

At the time I was pretty offended. Now I think maybe she was right. We (fundraising professionals) really do look to each other for validation. We build ourselves up, cheer each other on and even have award ceremonies for each other. We need to inspire and support each other because we are still a long way away from this profession garnering the public support and respect it deserves.

You have read about my mother in law in previous posts. Eileen, didn’t really want me talking about my job of fundraising in social situations with her friends. I remember one birthday party in particular when one of the guests disclosed that he ran a small foundation and suggested that I submit a proposal. This innocent, friendly, organic conversation resulted in a family scandal that lasted for weeks. Eileen just couldn’t understand how I could be so crass as to “solicit her friends”. I never did follow up on the lead. The personal strife simply wasn’t worth the donation.

On another occasion at a major donor cultivation event I somehow ended up on the receiving end of a lecture about how fundraisers don’t need to get paid. In fact they “SHOULDN’T” get paid. I set my immediate defensive instincts aside and tried to patiently justify my paycheck by explaining that I have specific training. (more…)