Tag Archives: Fundraising

Yes. There is an “I” in persuasion.

I in persuasionWe all know that there is no “I” in team. But there is an important “I” in persuasion.

When I saw Arlene Dickinson’s book, Persuasion, on a display table at a local bookstore, I was curious. I know Dickinson from her role on CBC’s reality investment show Dragons’ Den where she is the lone female dragon. She appears to be confident, friendly, real and knowledgable. She landed the role because of her sharp business acumen and intuitive marketing mind. (You can learn more about Dickinson here.) So, I picked up her book expecting to read about sales techniques, dealmaking and argumentation. I am half way through the book and none of these topics have come up.

Dickinson’s focus is on the persuader. The “I”. The individual. She challenges me to think about who I am. Continue reading

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A tip for a better case for support

Take few steps into the National Steinbeck Centre in Salinas, California, and you will come across this quote: “If the story is not about the hearer, he will not listen.” It is from Steinbeck’s classic novel East of Eden. As I read Steinbeck’s work, I often pause and marvel at how succinctly he captures a complex idea and presents it in a few unpretentious words. The quote above is an excellent example. If the story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. The takeaway for the nonprofit sector is this: Continue reading

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A reliable theory for predicting success.

This week I turned 51. I tend to reminisce on my birthday, and this week I found myself back at the beginning. I entered the world in Falun, Sweden. As a child I could never have imagined the path my life has taken. The notion of change is fascinating. What precisely has brought me to this place in life? Why did I make certain decisions and not others? Why do some changes succeed and others fail?

That's  me in the middle.

That’s me in the middle.

In the nonprofit sector we are certainly in the business of change. I think of the case for support as a change agent. It articulates an argument for the change we want to see in the world. The change may be for better access to local healthcare, enhanced literacy, housing for all, access to education, better care for the dying, sustainable communities at home and in faraway places.

Our nonprofits work to bring about important changes in society, and as we do we hear about campaigns that exceed target while still in the quiet phase, and others–with similar mandates and in equally affluent communities–struggle. Why?

While in grad school I did some research into change. I came across a theory Continue reading

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Tips for a well messaged gala

The other day, a client asked me for tips on how to message a gala. Since we are approaching gala season, I thought I’d share my reply here with you.How to message a gala_Case for Support

Every gala is different. So instead of giving you advice and specifics that may not be useful for your organization, I will share my approach.

Gala messaging is not about reinventing the wheel. It is about expressing an already strategically, thought-through case for support to a specific group of individuals.

I keep the message real by developing it with real people in mind, donors who will be at the event. I am talking about real people not composite characters based on demographic indicators. I look for people who have capacity to give and who may  not be fully sold on the cause. By selecting skeptics, Continue reading

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Ask this. Get that. Why questions matter.

When I was fresh out of college, I had a conversation with my sister’s academic advisor, a Ph.D. in in immunology. He was giving me advice on how to get academics to explain their work in more detail. His advice, challenge them by saying, You don’t really believe that, do you? A great question to get people, not just academics, to talk.

The Case for Support and good questions

Are you asking long-lever questions?

Albert Einstein said, If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes. Continue reading

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The Commander’s Intent: Find clarity fast

Here’s a concept that can help you find clarity, fast. Developed by the US Army, the notion of the Commander’s Intent has useful application for fundraisers, and is working its way into the cases for support that I develop. I came across the concept last year when I read Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Health.

As I mentioned, the concept has its origin in the US Army. Imagine planning for combat situations. If this happens, do that. But it that happens, do this. Yikes.  (Not unlike fundraising in an unpredictable environment.)  Colonel Tom Kolditz, head of behavioural Continue reading

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