Fundraising Alchemy: Turns Volunteers into Donors

Cameraman filming a volunteer and donorAs the videographer runs the camera, the donor explained why she included a bequest to Selby Gardens in her estate plans. Her gift will buy potting soil and supplies. As a volunteer, she experienced first-hand the Gardens’ practical needs. So, she gave Selby a gift in her will.

Nonprofits generate great opportunities including the chance to transform volunteers into donors. Often the process transformation involves multiple routes, maneuvering hairpin turns, and traffic lights.  Here’s an overview.

Green Lights

• Since …

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Make New Friends: The Nonprofit-Business Growth Connection Explained in Less than 400 Words

Last month, I spoke in Cincinnati for the CPA firm, Barnes Dennig. Director Brad Chaffin who specializes in nonprofit accounting shared, “I get to work with the nicest people in the world.” People engage in nonprofits for many reasons including fine individuals and profits.
Business leaders consistently tell me that they know intuitively that community involvement helps their businesses. I’m not talking about getting engaged for money, although people sometimes assume this. Rather, this is about how community engagement, especially …
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Switching Friendships: How to Help High Worth Donors Engage with New Staff

Helping donors who loved the last staff member move on The Challenge: A new CEO or development director begins work and wants to connect with donors who loved the previous staff member. How can you renew and move these relationships forward?
1. Mindset
Recognize grief as healthy. Early in my career, I was introduced to the booklet, Running Through the Thistles. Although focused on leaving parish ministry, it teaches that healthy people grieve, that over time they form new relationships, and to honor the process. Your donors face a …
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How Companies, All Sizes, Benefit from Corporate Philanthropy

Happy Memorial Day! On this day of remembering I’m grateful for all you do for your customers, employees, and the community. For those of you who engage in corporate philanthropy, here are three benefits your investment generates:

1. Improved Outward Focus.

Most businesses focus 90 percent inward. Inward focus swirls with internal politics, software crisis, and office organizing. Consider the United Airlines passenger dragging fiasco. The internally focused leaders prioritized the movement of their crew over their customer’s physical …

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Meetings that Work: Fundraising Committees Where Everyone (Not Just You) Helps

It’s not uncommon. You create a committee to fundraise. You carefully screen whom to invite and coax them to join.
And then boom! You leave the meeting with lots of advice, tons of work, and only a little help. Why does this happen across the sector? How can you get the help you need? Take the following steps.
1.  Names Matter.
Select the title of your gathering with care. Unless you just want advice, don’t use the word advisory
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Video, Practical Business Philanthropy: A Man’s Best Friend

Connect Your Passion and Business Growth

Corporate philanthropy grows businesses. Do you agree?

Watch the one-and-a-half-minute video below for proof.
Last year, Michael Kline ( attended my presentation at Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. Afterward, he jumped at the chance to help Southeastern Guide Dogs. Michael realized that he loved speaking in front of groups, something not all staff and volunteers enjoy.
Reaching out to companies allows Michael to help Southeastern Guide Dogs and his firm. He connects with …
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Outside Influences: How is Today’s Political Climate Impacting Boards?

“I’m dealing with board implosion all over,” said an officer from an organization with hundreds of US affiliates. The comment tickled my curiosity. Given the harsh quality of public discourse, is her experience an aberration or a trend?

What’s Happening?
To learn more, I asked a dozen leaders who interact with multiple nonprofits. Two responses emerged. The first was no change. The second was neither greater board cohesion or conflicts, but more of both.
Admittedly, my inquiries only scratched the …
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Practical and Tactical? Yes! How Corporate Philanthropy Can Grow Your Business

I was recently a guest on Growth Igniters Radio with Pam and Scott Harper. Here are highlights from our conversation:
  • Historically, philanthropy was something nice to do. Now, to successfully conduct business, it’s essential.
  • Typical returns on philanthropy include branding improvement, employee engagement, and community enhancement.
  • Employees care about where they work. A company that gives back to society in a meaningful way has a powerful tool to attract, recruit, and retain.
  • Return on philanthropy data is depressed because the
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Stop Asking, “How Much Did We Raise?” to Solve Your Biggest Fundraising Challenge

Q: What standard evaluation question shrinks your donated nonprofit revenue growth?

A: How much money did we raise?
Surprised? Let me explain.
You’ve heard the adage: “What gets measured gets done.” So, asking how much did we raise is good, right? Yes. Evaluation improves fundraising. However, if you only measure immediate results, you risk sweeping future donations in the trash.
Instead, seek donations today and resources (including donations) tomorrow. Measure: 1. Money raised today AND 2. Future income improvements.…
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To Give or Not to Give? Profit Sharing with Your Nonprofit Customers

Are charitable gifts included on your firm’s tax filings? Many firms demonstrate their corporate social responsibility by setting aside a percent of their profits to give to nonprofit customers. Read on to learn more this tactic.

How Does This Tactic Work?

If you enjoy a profitable year, you donate some of your profit to your nonprofit customers. A national office technology firm, for example, gives one-third of its profits.
  • Give-back donating offers low-risk giving: you donate if you profit.
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