black notebook

I am not your black book

The little black book. Treasure trove of ‘names’: connections, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, business contacts and family members. Being interviewed for both permanent roles and consultancy contracts, I’ve been asked (on more than a few occasions now) about the personal connections and contacts that I would be willing to bring to the role. Below is an example of a genuine interview question (to which I responded ‘absolutely not’):   “Please gives us the names of ten contacts you would introduce us to if you were appointed […]

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images spectacles notebook

Major donors and the charity image problem

My Uncle John and his wife, my Aunty Judy are two of my favourite relatives.  They have worked hard all their lives, endured challenges, taken some big risks and are now (mostly) retired and in a position where many would start to think about philanthropy and / or taking on a trustee role. Except Uncle John is not keen on charities. He is a very generous man, supports numerous causes through donating / participating in events (plus my aunty volunteers at their local hospice shop) […]

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thorn in my side

How to identify a major donor prospect

When considering how to identify a major donor for your charity, don’t allow yourself to become distracted by the house / car / appearance.  It may be only skin deep… Allow me to elaborate.  Chris Dawson, founder of The Range (home / DIY / garden centres) is Devon’s first billionaire. Therefore, every major donor fundraiser working in the locality will have him suggested to them as a possible prospect.  He is our local Richard Branson and quite frankly, a thorn in our sides (sorry Mr […]

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coffee and chat

Major gifts fundraising and informal, agenda free conversation

Last week’s article pondered how ‘simple’ major gifts fundraising really is and wrestled with the idea that the title of our new Major Gift training course is perhaps at risk of dumbing down or minimising what is a highly sophisticated profession.   It is my dream to make Major Gifts fundraising accessible to as many charities as possible and to help those new to it to distill it, as far as possible, into some easy starting principles.   The importance of informal, agenda free conversation […]

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major gifts made simple graphic

Is Major Gifts fundraising simple?

Good question – Is Major Gifts fundraising simple??? Our new online training course is called ‘Major Gifts Made Simple’. I had originally intended to call it ‘Major Gifts Magic’ but felt that it might be confused with legendary fundraising trainer Rob Woods’ course ‘Major Gifts Mastery’. I explained this to Rob this the other week, describing my desire to come up with a suitable (alliterative obviously!) name which didn’t cause cause confusion. As we were chatting, I was thinking, in all honesty, a) It’s still […]

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slow cooker

The slow cooker approach to major gifts fundraising

This is a revised version of a blog originally written for my friend and colleague Louise at Summit Fundraising.   The slow cooking movement was a revelation for me.  More so in the days when I ate meat and the winters in my house in Cornwall (where there was no central heating) felt long and lonely. Coming home to a perfectly cooked stew full of the softest veggies and melt-in-the-mouth meat, bound together in a richly flavoured sauce with herbs and wine permeating throughout, always […]

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red flag on beach

Red flags and super high ROI’s in fundraising

On the surface, high ROI’s in fundraising should be a cause for celebration / back slapping / bunking off early on a Friday. It might also point to some problems within your organisation. Ever the pragmatic voice (I can’t help it!), here are some red flags to be mindful of if you have a super high ROI:   Are your expectations aligned to your activities?   One of my clients has had loads of success with grants fundraising for a capital campaign. Funding from grants […]

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data numbers

How to use fundraising ROI data

It is really important to know how to use fundraising ROI data.  It can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you engage with it. The figures in our 2020 study on return on investment in fundrasing (The Calm Before the Storm) whilst interesting, cannot be used in isolation to make a case for investing / not investing in any one type of fundraising.   This is especially true in a rapidly changing sector where we are suddenly so restricted and yet also […]

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books and a pen

Is trust fundraising really worth the effort?

This is a guest post by Alicia Grainger and was originally published on her own blog.   As a consultant I’m often asked what kind of return on investment you get from trust fundraising and whether it’s really worth the effort.  Particularly if you’re at the beginning of your fundraising journey, trust fundraising can seem like a lot of effort.  The hours spent researching prospects, shaping projects, building relationships and all before you even get around to crafting the perfectly worded, compelling application.   So […]

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Return on investment in high value fundraising

This is an updated version of a post which originally appeared on the blog of my good pals at Money Tree Fundraising.   Pound for pound, return on investment figures differ depending on the type of fundraising you’re doing and tend to be higher for trusts and foundations, major gifts, grants and capital appeals (what I define as ‘high value fundraising’ or ‘one to one’ fundraising). Return on Investment in fundraising is a controversial topic, with some fundraisers decrying the publication of such figures for fear […]

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