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In the past 4 or 5 days I’ve gotten countless emails from foundations.

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Here is a job description for a PART TIME development position with a Chicago theater with a $240,000 budget and a very strong critical reputation.

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Look at this statement off Senator Sanders’ Facebook page:

“…his campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump or anybody else. This campaign has got to be about you, your kids, your parents, and your grandparents. Whether the media likes it or not, that is what we are going to stay focused on.”

What do you see there?

It’s a classic donor-centric message. It’s not about me, it’s about you.

Bernie’s campaign is full of stories, and absent self-aggrandizement. When he’s not focusing on “you,” he’s telling you about impact, including his record and specific ways his work has helped specific people in specific ways.

The same statement quoted above also says that it’s hard. But donor-centric messages are the way to raise enthusiasm.

Feel the Bern, fundraisers. Whatever you think about his politics, he’s got the donor message down pat.


Yes, you can print your proposal out on your little desk top printer, then hop in your car and spend 2 hours driving to the funder’s office to drop it off. Or you can plan to get the thing done with enough of a margin to print it on the high quality machines at the copy shop and then spend 20 minutes (or less if you have them pick up) sending it by Fed Ex Super Saver.

Oh, but….

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The foundation rep is coming to see your program. Now what.

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For the successful ask, it all needs to align.

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Actually you can.

Budget writing is one of the minefields for start-up nonprofits, where you probably don’t have seed money, savings or an endowment, and need to run the business on current revenues.  But writing a budget doesn’t have to be a scary or onerous proposition, although you should be prepared for a lot of research and several drafts.

Here’s a step by step overview of the process.

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At a recent event, a senior staff member was trying to introduce me to someone. “This is Xan, she’s our…. I’m not sure what it is Xan does, hahaha”

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1:  Be a person, not a logo. #smnpchat

11:43am via TweetChat

2: Participate in chats run by, or followed by, your target #smnpchat

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3: Find a personal point of connection #smnpchat

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4: Keep the conversation going. #smnpchat

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5: Find opportunities for in-person meetings: meet ups, conventions,etc.

11:46am via TweetChat