Does Your Fundraising Event Need a Facelift?

Does your fundraising event feel tired, old and in need of a facelift?  If so, then here are a few pro tips to help you bring life back to your fundraising event — and raise more money!

Pro Tips:

  1. Keep your event short and to the point.  Most fundraising events leave their guests feeling tired and worn out.  You don’t want that.  You want them to leave feeling refreshed and feeling good after they make their charitable gift.  For banquet style events try to keep the entire event to less than 90 minutes.
  2. If the main goal of your event is to raise money, it is very important to put all of the typical business items at the beginning.  Then get to the storytelling and fundraising portion of your event.  The “typical business items” I’m talking about include announcements, introducing board members, having a program staff member talk, etc.  Put another way, anything that has little to do with the problem you are asking the donor to solve with their gift should be done quickly and right way.
  3. Create a great fundraising offer for your event, then weave your offer throughout the event from start to finish.  You fundraising offer should clearly communicate the problem you are asking the donor to solve and how much it will cost to solve it.  For example, “$60 provides a night of safety to a homeless Mom and her kids.”  Mention your offer throughout the night, building a case for it, so that when you come to the Ask it all makes sense to the people in the room.
  4. Ask!  I have attended way too many fundraising events where the organizers are afraid to ask the donors in the room to make a donation.  Be specific.  Tell the people in the room exactly what you want them to do and how to do it.

Use these pro tips to improve your next fundraiser.  If you can make your Ask simple, clear and bold, your donors will leave feeling great about you, the event and the donation they made to make the world a better place.


Raise More Money with Your Appeals

Here are five quick tips that will help your next appeal letters and e-appeals raise more money.   Print this out and set it next to your keyboard the next to you write an appeal.  Because if you do these things I guarantee you’ll raise more money!

  1. You have to ask for help. If you don’t ask boldly, fewer donors will give!
  2. Remind your donors of the need. Most donors need to be reminded multiple times of the need your organization meets or the problem your organization solves.
  3. Have an Offer. Put another way, your Offer should describe a specific thing that the donor’s gift will do or accomplish.  ask donors to help in specific ways. Your donors want to help, but can only help if they know how
  4. Tell a real-life story to illustrate the need. Don’t use big numbers or statistics, tell an emotional story.
  5. Remember that most donors won’t read the whole letter – but they will scan So use underlining or bolding to highlight the two or three most important things you want them to read.  Here’s what we underline in the letters we work on:
    • The need or problem.
    • The solution and it’s cost.
    • A bold request for the donor to give a gift today.

Those are the ‘big ideas’ that will help you be successful if you’d like to know even more, click here to watch a short video we made to help you.

Create a Donor-Centered Newsletter That Raises Money!


Over the past few weeks we have blogged about how to Report back to your donors using donor-centered newsletters.

As you set out to do the important job of Reporting, here’s a short list of the most powerful tips to make your next newsletter a blockbuster:

  • It’s not about you!  Try to connect your donor directly with the beneficiary and limit (or preferably eliminate entirely) any organizational or institutional news.
  • Make it easy to scan and still get the message. Most donors have limited time to engage with your material. If they open your mailings, most are just scanning your newsletter for the highlights.  Really make sure your main message is in your headlines and picture captions – the things most likely to get red.  Don’t hide the good news at the end of an article!
  • While the newsletter is primarily a reporting vehicle, you should still ask for money.  Good newsletters raise lots of money! Balance the reporting and fundraising to give the donor great information about the impact of their giving and the chance to continue participating with your mission.  On a 4-page newsletter I do 3 pages of Reporting and use 1 page to present a need that donor can meet with a gift today.

Keep this list in front of you as you build your next newsletter. It will help you “keep the main thing the main thing” – and build a newsletter that Reports and raises money!

You Too Can Raise $1,500,000!

Ask ?

Over the past few months I’ve been working with a small, rural charity that serves homeless moms and kids. They want to increase their impact and they needed more space to do it, so they hired Better Fundraising to help them with a capital campaign.

I’m happy to report that this little charity has already raised over $1,500,000!

If I told you that this tiny organization could raise that much money, you would have laughed at me.

And even more amazing is that this funding has come from less than 10 donors.

I share this to encourage you as you seek funding for your charity.  I also share this with you to teach you that it only takes a few key donors to achieve fundraising success.

I don’t have room here to share everything you need to raise $1,500,000 in such a short amount of time.  But email me if you want to talk, and I can share with you a few highlights…

  • Build a fundraising Offer that is clear and easy to understand. Don’t bog it down with a bunch of details or process related information.  And be sure it includes the problem you hope to solve – not just the sunshiney fantastic future.
  • Ask your board members to make the first pledge gift to the campaign. Their leadership is important and so is their money!
  • Identify your top donors and then ask them to make a significant gift.
  • Be bold. Ask your donors to give more than you think they can give. It is their job to downgrade their gift if needed.  That’s not your job.

I believe that most any charity can have fundraising success just like the organization I’ve been working with.  And if you want to be confident your fundraising is going to work, please let me know.  I’d love to help.  You can email me at

Be Confident!

Ask ?

Are you confident in your fundraising abilities and plan? If you are like most fundraising professionals, your answer is  – – “Well . . . kind of.”

Most fundraisers I work with know they need to raise more money.  They are familiar with the tools and resources that raise money.  But if they take a step back and really think about it – they aren’t that confident and they know they could do better.

So how do you gain confidence in your fundraising?  Try these things:

  • Learn from experts in the field of fundraising, specifically experts that have tested assumptions and have data to support their findings. Here is a list to the top 100 fundraising blogs. Find one you haven’t read before, and go learn from some of the top people in the field!
  • Track the results of everything you do, and only repeat what worked the best. This goes for email, direct mail, major donor work, and events.  You can’t be confident unless you really know what worked and what didn’t.
  • Review your fundraising to see if you are Asking powerfully, Thanking emotionally, and Reporting with gratitude. If you’re not doing each of those three things well, we’re confident you could be raising more money.

Major Donor Fundraising: Kick-Start Your 2017 Major Donor Fundraising

Major Donor Fundraising

January is the perfect time to kick-start your 2017 major donor fundraising efforts.

And the very best way to start is to evaluate last year’s major donor fundraising effort. Review your portfolio and results to figure out what worked and what didn’t.  Then set clear goals for 2017.

For now, let’s focus on making your meetings with donors in 2017 go as well as possible.  Following these 9 basic major donor-meeting tips. They come from an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy written by Eden Stiffman.

  • Get to know the donor
  • Meet on the donor’s turf
  • Listen intently and avoid talking too much
  • Respect the donor’s time
  • Meetings aren’t for everyone
  • Set reasonable expectations
  • Ask for a donation when it feels right
  • Express your gratitude
  • Involve the whole team

These are great tips and hopefully give you the framework for major donor fundraising success this year and beyond!

How to Raise More Money in 2017

Ask ?

Now that 2016 is in your review mirror, it is time to start raising money to meet your 2017 fundraising goals.  Here are four tips for you taken directly from what worked for our clients:

  1. Stop talking about your organization and start talking about your beneficiaries. Donors want to solve problems. They want to help people in need. They don’t give to fund you or your programs, so stop talking about your organization.
  2. If you want to raise more money you have to talk to your donors more often. But not every new communication piece should be an Ask. Use our Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat communication rhythm to raise more money and build stronger relationships with your donors.
  3. Featuring a Matching gift will increase your fundraising results. And here’s what we’ve found again and again; don’t use this tactic only once, use it multiple times through your year. Donor’s don’t get tired of doubling their gifts!
  4. Make it as easy as possible for your donors to give their next gift. Include response cards and envelopes in your appeals and newsletters. Make sure your online giving form is easy to find and easy to use. Do all that you can to reduce barriers in the way of your donors making their next gift.

These are the 4 easiest things you can do to raise more money this year.  If you have other ideas, please post them in the comment section or send me an email!

“Send in a gift before midnight December 31st”

Ask ?

This one simple phase can boost your year-end fundraising.  Use it early and use it often in your year-end appeal letters, emails, and major donor appeals.

Why does this phrase work? Because it tells donors exactly what to do and by when. The use of ‘midnight December 31st’ creates urgency. If the donor doesn’t act now they will miss the opportunity to help by the deadline.

This phrase is clear, easy to understand and gives the donor simple instructions to follow.

So, go now and use this phrase in your year-end communications. Your donors will love it and respond to it.  And you’ll love explaining to your boss why you raised more money this December!

How to Raise More Money Before Midnight, December 31st!

Ask ?

It’s time for our final – and perhaps most important – video of 2016!  Watch it now to learn how to raise as much money as possible and maximize your year-end fundraising season.

It’s a quick 3-minute overview of the year-end fundraising tactics that raise the most money.  Because there are still lots of things you can be doing between now and the end of the year that will help you and your organization raise more money.

Chances are, your organization raises more money this month than any other month of the year.  I know you’re already really busy, but I know you’ll find this helpful in these final, important weeks.

Thank for all you do to make the world a better place!

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas