Give and Take

Headless Fundraising: Where is the Leadership?

I was invited to speak at a national charity conference with over 800 attendees. I know some of them were Directors of Operations and Chief Executive Officers. So where the heck were they hiding? The conference featured something for everyone, topic-wise — from operations and finances to strategies and fundraising philosophy, they had it covered. The conference was a huge success… except for my session, which was on planned giving marketing.  Read on.

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“Planned Giving” vs. “Gift Planning”

Our clients, friends and prospects often ask which term is better to use for their marketing efforts, “Planned Giving” or “Gift Planning”. This is a decades-old dispute and I am getting tired of it. So I decided to write this blog to end the argument. If anyone is ready to spar, sharpen your blade (well, pencil is okay). A few nonprofits have migrated to Gift Planning because it sounds more “sophisticated.” Others argue that Planned Giving has been around too long and it’s time for something “new.” And some “feel” it makes better sense and sounds better. This is all

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Transparency Is Its Own Reward

“Transparency” is just a trendy term for “operational openness.” Openness can work in a nonprofit’s favor. It allows donors and prospects to see that your organization is being run responsibly. It assures them that the money it raises is being used to further its mission. But a charity that tries to keep too many secrets may end up with the feds imposing a little “transparency” of their own. In the legal system, this is sometimes called “discovery.” Case in point: The Kabbalah Centre International. Just to recap, the IRS and a grand jury in the U.S. District Court of the

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To Junk Mail, or Not to Junk Mail…Is That the Question?

Listen: there’s a grassroots rebellion against direct mail marketing. For example, CatalogChoice.Org, a nonprofit “do not send” registry for consumers and companies who want to stem the flood of unwanted catalogs and other junk mail they receive, has served more than a million individuals and businesses since its founding in 2007. And while — at least from your viewpoint — your planned giving newsletter is anything but junk mail, to your prospect, it’s just part of the daily avalanche of unwelcome arrivals. And that means it’s quite likely your messaging is going straight from the mailbox to the recycling bin,

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Mr. Cameron Has Something to Tell You

William John Cameron (1879-1953) really lived the kind of life you would expect in an adventure novel or a Hollywood movie. We want to establish that to begin with, to counter any idea that he’s famous just for coming up with colorful aphorisms. The son of Manitoba pioneers, “W.J.” Cameron was one of 13 children in his family, and he is said to have once walked barefoot from Gladstone in Manitoba to Bottineau, North Dakota – a distance of approximately 100 miles – to go to work on his uncle’s farm. Later he founded a successful surgical equipment supply house

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