Archives for category: Development

Want to set a development director’s teeth on edge? Insist that your $100 donation be used for “direct expenses” only.

Totally aside from the fact that not even Microsoft has software set up to specifically track any given hundred dollars that comes in, most donors have no idea what they mean by “direct expenses” or “program expenses” only. Mostly what they want is for not a single dime to go to fundraising.

Read the rest of this entry »


I once spent two years cultivating a gift. And the donor I was cultivating actually never did give me a large gift– I got a few nice dinners,  some inkind stuff, a couple of auction premiums.

And then one day he called me up and told me he had just spent about 6 months working on one of his clients, and that they were donating all of the building materials and a volunteer corps for our huge project. I had been telling him about the build-out project, but hadn’t asked him to participate in it. Read the rest of this entry »

For planning purposes, I give donors a “shelf life” of 5 years. In other words, I assume 100% turnover of my entire donor base every five years .

Read the rest of this entry »

Especially in small and even mid-sized organizations, there’s a perception that development is a support function–those are the people that set up those annoying auctions, and that know when the proposal is due.

Never doubt it, development is a core activity of your nonprofit endeavor, and there’s a reason we don’t just call it “fundraising” anymore.

Read the rest of this entry »