Category: Fundraising

This is sort of a reworking of this earlier post: Why You Shouldn’t Worry So Much about #GivingTuesday. Every mid- to late-October when I was fundraiser, I would start seeing posts about #GivingTuesday. There are a lot of people who would love to give you—or, probably more often, sell you—advice about how to make this year’s #GivingTuesday the best #GivingTuesday ever. And they all use the hashtag. Giving Tuesday is a weird little holiday that started in 2012. It’s not even a decade old and it has caught on like wildfire in the nonprofit community. Almost every organization that…
At my church, we’re approaching the beginning of our annual pledge drive. Like a lot of mainline churches, we spend a couple of months every Fall talking about the church’s finances and asking members to make a pledge for what they will give the next year. This year, the committee that handles my congregation’s finances wants to think a little ‘outside the box’. They want to try something bold and new to attract more donors and inspire people to increase their pledges (though, I suspect, not too bold and new). And I’m not against that. I have bold, new,…
It’s no secret that a lot of churches and small nonprofit organizations struggle with fundraising. I know a lot of these organizations whose members-who-are-responsible-for-fundraising feel like they are working harder every year to raise the same amount of money that they did the previous year. And I know more than a few who feel like they’re working harder every year—or every quarter, or every month, or every week—to raise less. A lot of fundraising in churches and small nonprofit organizations is just plain bad fundraising. It’s common fundraising knowledge that things like major gift visits and direct mail appeals…
Recently, I was with a group of clergy when a dreadful topic came up: whether pastors should know what members of their congregations give to their churches. The room was about evenly divided. Some of the pastors insisted that it was important that they know. Others insisted that they should not know. Two things about the conversation struck me. First, that the pastors who said that they should know didn’t seem to know why they should know. Second, the pastors who said that they shouldn’t know gave a very specific reason for that; one that many parishioners give when…
Not too long ago, I finished writing my first book. Since that manuscript is now in the editing process, some thoughts that I already had about a second book are coming back to the front of my mind. The idea that I’m toying with for that book stems from this idea: church stewardship is weird. I’ve sat through a lot of church stewardship campaigns. I’ve helped run some of them. And, in general, they have a pretty simple argument. First, they point out that God has entrusted wealth to (some) members of the church. Second, they tell those people that…
When organizations need money — whether they are small congregations or large universities — a lot of the people who serve those organizations start thinking about events. I’ve worked with organizations that host golf outings, put together trivia nights, host parties and galas, and do dozens of other things. And I’ve worked with organizations that have suggested other ideas, ranging from putting on a play to hosting a euchre tournament to letting people pay to destroy office equipment. And I understand why that is: we intuitively understand fundraising events and we see other organizations hosting them. But here’s the thing: events…
In an earlier post, I wrote about refocusing this blog on three topics: charity, fundraising and communications, and being a pastor. In this post, I’m taking a little time to talk about one of these foci: fundraising and communications. I’ve been a nonprofit development professional for more than a decade. I’ve worked for institutions of higher education and for social service agencies. I’ve volunteered and consulted for churches. I’ve done everything from annual fundraising campaigns to capital campaigns to designing websites and newsletters. For over ten years, I’ve lived and breathed development work. I’ve also been part of the…
A while ago, I was on the phone with a member of my Board of Directors. We were talking about plans for a trip to visit his congregation, but at the end of the call he brought up another subject: that congregation had recently finished a capital campaign, it had some money left over, and was going to send a significant amount to my organization. And I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Here’s why. On the one hand, I didn’t do anything to get that gift. I didn’t solicit it. I didn’t even know that the congregation was…
Every year in mid to late October, I see posts and questions about #givingtuesday appear in my feeds. A lot of people want to give you — or sell you — advice on how your organization can have a record breaking #givingtuesday. And a lot of organizations, development professionals, and executive directors are wondering how they can make this the best #givingtuesday every for their organization. And they all use the hashtag. Giving Tuesday can be a great opportunity for you and your organization. And it’s not difficult to make it work: Spend the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday priming your…
Last week, I attended the United Church of Christ’s General Synod. General Synod is our biannual business meeting, full of resolutions to be examined and officers to be elected. There are also exhibits, workshops, reunions, and lots (and lots) of events. Even the extroverts are exhausted after a few days! One of our tasks at Synod was to debate a resolution about covenantal giving and adopting fundraising best practices (I wrote a little bit about it a few weeks ago). Here’s the key paragraph: Be it further resolved that the Thirty First General Synod of the United Church of…

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