Annual Planning: Importance of a Written Development Plan

Why do you raise money?

  • To support your mission.
  • To provide services.
  • To grow your organization.
  • To promote awareness of a particular cause/issue.
  • To build a stronger community.
  • To teach, educate and train. (more…)

May 7, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Stewardship: 10 Hard and Fast Rules to Writing a Thank You Letter

A donor writes:

“Dear Friend,” the thank you letter began… and it broke my heart. Don’t they know my name? I wondered. (more…)

May 2, 2011 at 4:39 PM 1 comment

Building Strong Fundraising Pyramids

Every fundraiser has seen a variety of giving pyramids that all have the same basic premise of giving levels. A fundraising pyramid represents the number of donors across the horizontal axis and the value or potential value of a donor on the vertical axis. The pyramid represents pools of donors and their propensity to give to specific fundraising initiatives. For example, the bottom level of the pyramid represents, one-time, first-time or occasional donors. These donors should make up the largest number of active donors in your donor database. The top level typically represents legacy donors and are the smallest number of donors with the largest potential giving. The following images are examples of different giving pyramids. (more…)

April 18, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Letter Writing 101

In school we all learned how to write a business or formal letter. We were taught that there are set rules and guidelines that must be followed and we all got our letters back with some degree of red marks for poor punctuation, spacing, salutations, indentation, etc. (more…)

April 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM 1 comment

Email Realities and 10 Tips to Maximize Impact

For the past couple of years we have been hearing that email is becoming passe. To some extent this is true. For example, Boston College stopped issuing new students email addresses in 2009 on the premise that Generation X and Y do not use email to communicate. Between social media, text messaging and instant messaging applications, email is not the same tool that it was a decade ago (more…)

April 9, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Are your Development Goals in line with your Mission and Program Goals?

There are two distinct ways to analyze this question.

First, from a marketing stand-point the fundraising appeals that tend to bring in the most donor and advocacy support are those that tell real human stories about the way your agency has helped specific people, families, animals, communities, etc. However, often times from a legal stand-point these stories are confidential in nature and even alluding to the stories and using fictional names can cause legal and privacy issues. (more…)

April 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

Proper Gift Architecture Can Make or Break Your Database

One of the most important aspects of implementing a new donor database or cleaning up an out-of-control database is selecting the proper gift architecture. After working with many clients I have found that the more time we spend in the design session establishing proper gift architecture the less time clients spend defining report parameters, reconciling (more…)

April 4, 2011 at 4:08 PM

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About the Author

Susan Douglas is a non-profit advisor, social media consultant, educator and trainer, software and donor database implementation specialist and all around guru for the non-profit community. Susan has worked in non-profit development and management for 13 years and is currently an affiliated partner for Non-Profit Partners.

Although Susan has spent the majority of her professional career building traditional fundraising and awareness campaigns, Susan is most passionate and excited about emerging new media and how these tools can help foster and nurture real relationships with community advocates on behalf of the non-profit organizations she serves.