Give and Take

Who Asks Who? Trends in Data Sourcing

From a fundraiser’s point of view, or course, a perfect world would include all prospects coming directly to the fundraiser or her organization for advice on giving. But numbers indicate fewer potential donors are seeking advice from NPOs and their personnel. They are turning instead to legal and financial professionals.

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How to Get More Done in a Day

It’s well-known that I value productivity. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with it. So much so, that I’m frequently asked, “Viken, how do you get so much done in a day?” (Sometimes, when I look back over the things I was able to accomplish, it’s a question I even ask myself.) But the truth is, there’s no big secret to be found at the heart of my productivity. I manage my schedule well, plan out the week ahead on Sunday, and — here’s a no-brainer — avoid wasting time. I also: Follow Ben Franklin’s advice: early to bed and

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Parable: A River of Giving

A friend once relayed an interesting anecdote about simple, effective messaging that just so happens to be a perfect teaching moment for those of us in the fundraising world. It seems she was helping out an elderly couple who live down the hall of her apartment complex. The wife had a health problem that had just become acutely symptomatic. My friend was assisting by trying to find a hospital-type bed for the lady to use. Clear Communication In describing the want-ad that she ran on Craigslist, my friend said, “I didn’t really lay it on thick. I just said it

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“Entry-Level Organizations”: Wave of the Past?

Recently I read online somewhere the following: [A nonprofit] is seeking a planned giving advisor. This is a junior position for a fundraiser with 3 or so years of experience who wishes to move into planned giving. Focus is on bequests, CGAs, and marketing.

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Why Donor-Centered Marketing? Because talking to yourself is not an option.

Many years ago, for my sins, I did time on the editorial staff of a major urban “alternative newsweekly.” During that time I overdosed daily on badly conceived and written press releases. They were all hardcopy and they arrived via snail mail – that was the only game in town circa 1989. Every day I would read several such releases that would evoke from me no such response as, “That’s interesting! I think I’ll write about it!” but rather “This collateral is non-information-bearing.” Then I would crumple up the paper with extreme prejudice and launch it into the circular file

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Experience Proves: You Never Know

I was lying on the beach with my wife a few years back when a client buzzed through my cellphone, declaring in a sorrowful voice, “I’m going to have to apologize to all of them. In fact, I am writing the apology letter now.”

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`Worse Than No Blog At All? Bad Blogs Prove “Something for Nothing” Never Happens

You’ll find it up there at the top of the list of disillusioning truths: “There ain’t no free lunch.” It’s true in fundraising, of course; but it can be obscured by the endless parade of miraculous “next big things” that tend to put our common sense out of focus. For example, the seemingly limitless marketing possibilities offered by the Internet have charmed some planned giving fundraisers into the mistaken belief that this new miracle vector will do their job for them. Make no mistake: With planned giving on the Internet as with anything else, lack of effort and commitment translate

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