Donovan's Donor Diary

If you are trying to raise money for your favorite charity/cause, Donovan's Donor Diary provides you with facts, tips and best practices on how to raise millions of dollars for people, pets and the planet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We Have Moved Our Blog

With the recent "face-lift" of our web site, we have moved all our blog listings to: . Please visit our web site and you will see a listing of our recent blogs on the right side of the page in a turquoise box.

Thank you for visiting. We appreciate your interest.

All the best for success,


Saturday, August 08, 2009

What Can We Learn from Three Accomplished Leaders

Nonprofit organizations that serve those most affected by the recession have seen giving shift to them. Many others have seen a decline in giving and are struggling. With less than five months to go in 2009, now is a good time to ponder some basic and strategic questions about your organization and to hone your management, fundraising and communication skills.

In this Blog, some tips on how to do just that from three accomplished American leaders:

Peter F. Drucker, Management Author and Consultant to the Fortune 500

Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, Pioneer of United Jewish Appeal

James A. Baker III, Former Secretary of State and Advisor to three U.S. Presidents

In 1972 I started my career at the United Way of Utica, New York. The first week on the job I read The Effective Executive by Drucker. It's a classic. Drucker offers this sage advice, "It's not important to get things done. It's important to get the right things done."

Today with Email consuming most of us, Drucker's advice is more relevant than ever. I have followed Drucker's advice over the years by starting my day with a long "to do" list. Then I ask myself, 'What are the right things I must get done today?' By addressing strategic tasks, the smaller ones get done as well and in less time.

Fast forward to 2009 and the latest Drucker book, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization. In it the late Drucker, with other authors, offers five strategic organizational questions that could set a new post recession direction for your organization.

What is our mission?

Who is our customer?

What does the customer value?

What are our results?

What is our plan?

As we pull out of the recession, maybe your board should ponder each question to better position it as we head, in less than five months, into 2010.

Rabbi Friedman, author of Roots of the Future, tells his life story as a rabbi in World War II, rescuing Jews from Hitler's death camps and then transitioning into fundraising for displaced Jews throughout Europe and finally his role in creating the United Jewish Appeal in America. In the chapter How To Raise Billions, he lists the "five significant assets in the fundraiser's arsenal":

Knowledge of the cause he/she is representing

A passionate belief in that cause

Strong self-confidence that produces clear articulation

An easy manner

An ability to rebound from rejection

When asked the secret of his success in raising billions throughout his career, Rabbi Friedman writes:

"Raising people (first). People raise money and if you develop a cadre of workers, knowledgeable about and dedicated to the cause they espouse, they will do the job successfully."

James A. Baker III was given advice by his grandfather early in life --Work Hard, Study and Keep Out of Politics. That is the title of Baker's recent book which he subtitled, Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life. Obviously he didn't heed grandpa's advice.

Baker went on to serve three U.S. Presidents -- Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan -- in capacities ranging from Campaign Manager to Chief of Staff to Secretary of State and Treasury. A lawyer by training, he notes early in his life his father also gave him some advice, which he did listen to. It was the Five P's:

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

As you read about the complex issues Baker had to work through in his various roles he keeps coming back to the challenge of preparation. He clearly makes the case for doing your homework. He was especially disciplined when it came to communicating the case for whatever issue or legislation was being debated before Congress and in the media.

In the early 90's I recall being told by a client just how good Baker was at stating a case. Prior to becoming a fundraiser, my client spent many years as a local television anchor. One day at lunch he said to me, "Did you see Jim Baker on Meet the Press Sunday?" I told him I had not.

My client said -- "I was in television news for over twenty-five years and I have never seen anyone more prepared, articulate and precise in making his case." We can all learn from that, especially when it comes to making and stating the case for fundraising. Today is the age of the 30, 90 and 120 second sound bite. You have to get the public's attention and keep it. There isn't a lot of time for rambling or generalities.

As we head into the best time of the year to raise money, take time to improve your professional and organizational performance by heeding the wise counsel of these three accomplished leaders in management, fund raising and communication.

Ask the right questions so you focus on the right tasks.

Raise people first. Money second.

Prepare before making the case for your organization. Then state your case in 90 seconds or less.

Please let me hear from you. If you have a question or need assistance with an issue facing your organization, feel free to contact me at no obligation. By the way, check out our new and improved website:

All the best for continued success.

Jim Donovan, President & CEO, Donovan Management, Inc.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Is Your Organization Trusted?

In this Blog: Three Resources for Building Trust & Confidence

Remember the scandal involving United Way President William Aramony in the early 90's and how contributions to the United Way declined?

Fast forward to the present and the even more extensive media coverage of the Madoff scandal. Many charities, some right here in Florida, had significant losses in their investment/endowment funds due to Madoff's ponzi scheme. Today, building trust and confidence among prospects and donors is more important than ever.

In this Blog we explore, with the help of three special resources, how to create an ethical nonprofit organization so that current and future donors trust you. After all, those who give to your organization expect their gifts to be used in a prudent and cost effective manner.

So how do nonprofits create this level of trust?

The short answer is -- by encouraging ethical behavior among everyone involved in your organization. Here are three resources and suggestions that can help you build that trust.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Code-of-Ethics and Donor Bill of Rights available at:

The Ethics of Asking -- Dilemmas in Higher Education Fund Raising, by Deni Elliot, John Hopkins University Press

Compass for Uncharted Lives, by Donald J. Kirby, S.J. Syracuse University Press

A few thoughts on each...

Paulette Maehara, National President of AFP, recently spoke to the Central Florida Chapter of AFP on Weaving Ethics Into Your Organization's Fundraising. She got everyone's attention when she asked the question, "How do we view ethics?"

The answer -- often times in a negative sense and during a controversy or scandal. Citing a Brookings Institution survey, she noted that 70% of Americans say charities waste a "great deal" or "fair amount" of money. That's not a typo--70%!

Then this finding -- only 10% said charities are "very good" at spending money wisely. OUCH!

See survey at:

Donors have lots of options today to check on how much of each dollar they give goes to programs and services, such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator websites, according to Maehara.

These same donors also have rights. Maehara says nonprofits should use the Donor Bill of Rights as a guide. For example, one of the Ten Rights states that donors have a right to see financial statements.

Then there is the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Practice which encourages members to aspire to practice their profession with integrity, honesty and trustfulness. In short, put philanthropic mission above personal gain. AFP is the only association of fund raisers that requires members to sign a special card that indicates that by accepting membership in AFP one agrees to adhere to this Code. Does your fundraising staff belong to AFP, Association of Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) or a similar association with such a code?

In her book, The Ethics of Asking, author Deni Elliot makes the point that unless fundraising professionals strive for more ethical behavior, they and the institutions they represent invite unwanted media exposure and loss of their credibility with their constituencies. Who wants that, especially during a recession?

Elliot sees fundraisers as "facilitators of relationships between actual or potential donors and the institution." As such, they must not "insert themselves between the institution and the donor."

In my 1996 review of Elliot's book, I noted the moral imperative of fundraising. "The public trust is much too important to ignore what many of us have neglected for years, i.e., asking ourselves, 'Are we really doing the right thing?' " Elliot is concerned that fundraisers: obey all laws; not deceive; do what is appropriate.

My Jesuit friend, Father Donald Kirby, makes the case in his book, Compass for Uncharted Lives, that students today are being prepared to handle technical tasks but are not prepared to meet the moral and spiritual challenges of their personal and professional lives.

As a Jesuit priest and professor, he is troubled by that. Father Kirby makes the case that everyone involved in higher education, not just the professors who teach students, can play a role in enhancing values that lead to actions that are ethical. This can be done by following a voluntary and collaborative model he developed as director of the Center for Advancement of Values Education (CAVE) at LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York.

Father Kirby's model should be of interest to grant making foundations, as they make value judgments when considering grant applications. One question grant makers might want to ask is: "What do we value and how does making a grant to a particular organization help us achieve that value?"

In closing, ponder these questions:

How do you measure the level of trust of your donors and prospective donors?

Whose job is it to build trust and confidence for your organization?

Is becoming a more ethical organization a strategic goal of your organization?

Is that goal and process being driven by the professional fundraiser, board, staff and all volunteers engaged in the work of the organization?

What better time to bolster donor trust and confidence in your organization than now?

Remember, people give to organizations they perceive as worthy of their generosity.

All the best for continued success. Let me hear from you.

Jim Donovan, President
407 321 0024

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Prepared to Invite that Major Gift?

In this Blog--Dealing with Objections

from my book: Take the Fear Out of Asking for Major Gifts

We are almost half-way through 2009. Are you, your fund raising staff and volunteer committees prepared to maximize your major gift fund raising efforts for the remaining six months of the year?

Most financial experts are predicting an improved economy and stock market toward year-end. Regardless, it is still a tough environment for philanthropy. In my last Blog (scroll down) I noted several reports and studies that indicate that donors keep giving even in tough times.

However, this does not mean it will be easy to obtain major gifts. On the contrary, it will be more competitive than ever because those wealthy donors who still have the capacity to give will consider the times we are in, the increased number of requests for their gifts and how their giving can have the greatest impact on those most affected by these tough times. The challenge facing nonprofit boards and staff is to prepare staff and volunteers to do their best when making the ask.

My long time friend and colleague, Bill Carlton, ACFRE is Chair of the AFP Board for Advanced Certification and Chair of Carlton & Company in Boston. Bill makes volunteer solicitor preparation a priority for the campaigns he and his associates direct. He insists, as part of his client contract, that all campaign workers attend special training before they ask for a major gift. As noted below, he will tell you that convincing his client to do this hasn't always been easy.

Over the years it has been my good fortune to provide this training for Carlton & Company clients in Alabama, Massachusetts, Ohio and elsewhere in the U.S. What is interesting about this exercise is that prior to the training, I ask Bill's on-site campaign director to poll each participant as to what they fear the most about asking for money. The answer is always the same -- dealing with the objections.

Occasionally, even Bill's client raises an objection about bringing me in to conduct the training. "How is this guy from Central Florida going to come to Huntsville, Alabama and tell us how to ask for money for our church/school capital campaign?"

His response to this objection is always the same, "Jim has written a book on this, I've road tested and refined it with him over the years. He has a method - it works, trust me."

Indeed, the content of my solicitor training is based on my book, Take the Fear Out of Asking for Major Gifts. In this Blog, I will share with you the chapter on Dealing with Objections in the hope you, your staff and volunteer leaders can be better prepared in the remaining six months of 2009 when seeking major gifts.

Tip One: Acknowledge the objections as they arise.

Don't overlook them. If you do, it says you are more concerned about what you have to say than what the prospect/donor is saying to you. Listen, then repeat back the objection. For example, "I believe you said, now is not a good time, as your stocks are down. Is that right?"

Then give a response such as, "There are still a few months left in 2009 and hopefully your stocks will appreciate. If they do, you know the tax advantages of gifting stock. And, we know you want to make a gift, as you have always been a great supporter. Why don't we come back to see you in two months?"

Tip Two: Don't debate, educate.

Nothing overcomes an objection better than facts. The prospect/donor may be worried that the goal for your campaign is too ambitious given the current economy. Use this objection to provide the facts facing your organization.

"Yes, $5 million is a lot of money. The facts are the Food Bank is getting four times the number of requests for assistance, has access to tons of government food and no more space to properly store it. Furthermore, we now operate in two new counties in addition to the four we already serve. The growing demand isn't going to go away even when the recession is over as these counties are six of the fastest growing counties in our state with the elderly poor accounting for the largest percentage of that growth."

Tip Three: Maintain a common ground.

Always stress principles that you have in common with the prospect/donor, like keeping costs down. "I have a problem with the organization's 12% fund raising costs. They are too high."

You can say, "I agree these costs are too high. In this economy we had two choices. Spend less, raise less, do less. Or, spend more, raise more do more. Thankfully, the extra costs we have incurred resulted in dozens of new donors. Sure the acquisition cost is high right now; however, if we treat these new donors right they will be repeat donors year after year and that is what we need. The fact is, had we budgeted more for fund raising in the good years, we would not be in the position we are in now. It takes money to raise money and we are well within acceptable guidelines."

Tip Four: Do an inventory of objections and responses to them.

By the end of each solicitor training seminar we do for Carlton & Company clients and our own clients, we conduct the inventory exercise with participants. This forces them to collectively think and devise the best responses. The objections and responses are later printed on the back of a special Talking Points Card that is given to each campaign worker.

The front of the card contains bullet points for making the case to the donor/prospect. It has four questions with bullet point answers for each question. You can answer these same questions about your organization. The questions are:
  1. Where has your organization been, its past.
  2. Where is it today, the present situation/challenge facing it.
  3. Where does it need to go in the future? The solution to the situation/challenge.
  4. What philanthropic investment is needed to get there? The prospect/donor's gift.
I think Bill Carlton said it best for many of us consultants who have seen a trend of late:

Volunteers, especially in recent years, are less comfortable in asking for major gifts. Moreover, many who would like to get involved often do not because of their fear and dislike of fund raising. This is alarming for two reasons.

First, experience shows that campaign goals are better met or exceeded when the asking is done on a peer-to-peer basis, that is volunteer to volunteer.

Second, the shifting of asking to the professional staff sends the signal to major gift prospects/donors that their peers don't care enough to invite them to give and instead they are sending out the hired help.

One last tip from my book. If you really want your team to be successful in major gift fund raising, consider making a shift in your thinking. Asking for major gifts is not about solicitation, but invitation. I tell the story about how I came to this conclusion in the first few pages of the revised edition of my book. It took place in the Caribbean while working with the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Red Cross in the late nineties.

All the best for continued $ucce$$.

Jim Donovan

P.S. For information on my book: Take the Fear Out of Asking for Major Gifts, go to:

When ordering, reference this Blog and receive a 10% discount on single or quantity orders.

To learn about Carlton & Company, go to:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Consider the Facts and Ten Questions to Ponder

The Facts are that:

* Most wealthy donors will continue to give even if the charitable tax deduction was taken away. Nearly 52% of 700 households with a net worth of at least $1 million and an income of $200,000 indicated in a joint study by Bank of America and the University of Indiana Center on Philanthropy that their giving would remain the same even if the tax deduction was reduced or eliminated. While the remainder of the sampling said they would give less if deductions were wiped out, a third of them would somewhat decrease their giving.

* Over 92% of Americans are employed

* 70% of U.S. households give to charity, even in tough times

* Foundation portfolios are down an average of 30% or more. However, by law, they must give away 5% of their assets annually

* 94% of individuals in the U.S. have yet to make a bequest to a nonprofit

* Trillions of dollars will pass from one generation to the next in decades to come

* Gifts of stock, whether appreciated or depreciated, can be gifted to a bona fide nonprofit that has a Letter of Determination from the IRS. In this down market, donors can sell their depreciated stock, trigger a taxable loss and give the cash to charity. Donors get a charitable deduction for the cash gift and usually incur a second taxable loss (a second deduction) equal to the difference between the stock's taxable cost basis and its fair market value at the date of sale. Always encourage donors to consult their own tax advisor on such matters.

Sources: University of Indiana Center on Philanthropy, Foundation Center, Chronicle of Philanthropy

Ten Questions for Your Organization to Ponder in this Economy

1. Have you assessed your situation, adjusted or re-tooled your fund raising program/strategy? (Does your fund raising effort need a Second Opinion?)

2. Do you have a contingency plan or fund?

3. Have you done an inventory of what you must do to compete in this highly competitive fund raising environment, especially for the shrinking number of foundation grants and individual major gifts?

4. Have you tweaked your case by making it known how your organization is assisting those most affected by tough times?

5. Have you prepared a list of possible donor objections to giving in tough times and responses to the objections?

6. Have you devoted more time to training volunteers on how to ask for major gifts to bolster their confidence when making the ask?

7. Is it time to consider the feasibility of a merger with an organization with a similar mission?

8. Do you have a Stimulus Package shovel ready project and a special Board Task Force that can make the case for it with your legislative delegation?

9. Holding off on that capital campaign? Now is a good time to plan and prepare for that campaign. Have you considered a pre-campaign online survey to test the campaign project list among your constituency and ask them when they think the time is right to launch a campaign?

10. Finally, keep in mind the number one reason why people give money in good times and bad -- because they are asked (invited) to do so. How many invitations have you extended this month?

Please let me hear from you.

A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Mark J. Wolff, Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami Gardens for his advice and counsel on this Blog.

All the best for continued $ucce$$.

Jim Donovan

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Objections or Excuses to Fund Raising in Tough Times?

Every time the price of gas goes up, the economy takes a hit, consumers, business/industry and the government (at all levels) cut budgets, reduce spending and stop hiring. Florida's economy has taken a serious hit from the effects of higher gas prices and airfares to the tourist dependent Sunshine State. Add to this the fallout from the mortgage crisis and now the rising cost of home loans and it's a perfect prescription for passive fund raising. At present, the financial picture of Florida doesn't look like a Peninsula of Philanthropy.

This brief overview sums up the reason why so many board members of nonprofit organizations, local leaders and others are spending a lot of time raising objections rather than raising money to fix their nonprofit budgets. Are these real objections or excuses for not raising money in tough times?

Having received so many e-mails and phone calls of late about such objections, in this Blog I will share with you the top three objections my consulting colleagues and I have been asked to address and our responses. These are as follows:

Why try to fund raise? We all know, now is not the right time.

How can you not "try" to fund raise? What does not trying say about the importance of your organization's mission or the relevance of your case? Hasn't your message been that you are performing a vital function for the community? Isn't your mission even more relevant now?

This objection also strikes me as a sweeping generalization that most giving is done by corporations and businesses, when in fact we know that less than 15 percent of all giving is from this sector. Given the media coverage (hype), one would think the U.S. economy (the world's largest) is about to crash. Some would say -- the right time is when the nation's economy and the stock market are soaring.

Closer to home in Florida, one might say -- when the mortgage crisis is over, tourism and housing construction picks up. Keep in mind, even in the tightest market, many businesses flourish. It's the law of supply and demand. Some sectors are doing well; seek them out. Check what the experts say at the websites of Florida's public universities and community colleges. These economists provide valuable insights into what's ahead. It's not all gloom and doom. We still have 95 percent employment.

But, more to the point: The best time to raise money is when you need it. This isn't a fund raising issue, it's a communications challenge. You must convince your constituency that your mission is more relevant NOW than ever before. Remind them of the consequences of not meeting your mission. Who will suffer, go without, be worse off than they are today?

Money is tight, people won't give.

How do you know? Have you asked -- by mail, by phone or in person? Nine times out of ten when I ask that question the answer is, "Well, no we haven't, we just figured..." In tough economic times donors may not give as much as in the past, but they don't stop giving. Ask them to give what they can now and pledge more to be paid in the same year or future years. Pledges are not legally binding and 90 percent of the time donors do honor their pledges. When being interviewed for a new client account, I am always asked, "How much do you think we can raise?" My response is twofold -- "I can only estimate that if we do a feasibility study. But I can tell you how much you will raise if you don't get out and ask -- nothing." The history of giving shows that during economic slumps people continue to give, particularly to causes that are serving those most affected.

Some say right now is a really difficult time for the arts. Perhaps. On the other hand, the major donors to the arts -- financial service sector, stock brokers and individual philanthropists -- have seen the ups and downs before. Now is a good time to hug and hold on to them so when things improve they know you didn't abandon them or their passion for art, dance, music and theater.

Yes, money may be tight. Let the donor/prospect tell you that, don't assume you know. People who really care about your work and mission try to find a way to help. In the end, that's why people give -- they want to help.

We need to wait until there is a turnaround in the economy.

And when will that be? While your organization is waiting for this announcement from the business gurus on television, calculate how much money your organization left for the asking by nonprofit groups that kept asking while your organization sat on the sidelines. Even worse, imagine how croweded the starting line is going to be when television hosts Lou Dobbs, Jim Cramer and Larry Kudlow tell nonprofit leaders, "Ready, set, go."

I know, I know, you are just a staff person. You work for the board. It's your board that is dragging its feet. Well sure, they fear failure. Most board members, any given day, month or year, don't get out of bed in the morning and say, "I think I will launch a fund raising campaign today, that will be great fun." No, when it comes to fund raising, most boards do so reluctantly. Board members prefer to spend their time in examining budgets, scrutinizing expenses, developing policy and some, even micro-managing staff.

But what about the big picture? What about the organization's ultimate purpose -- which is called the mission?

Fear of failure is normal. In fact, it's healthy for board members to feel this way. However, with proper planning, the right message, a compelling case, good strategies and the right combination of outstanding staff and volunteers, nonprofits can not only survive in this economy, but flourish.

But, don't take my word for it. Ask your donors and prospects. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Please, let me hear from you.

All the best.

Jim Donovan

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Major Gifts -- The Old Fashioned Way

The older I get, the more old fashioned ways appeal to me -- especially when it comes to fund raising for major gifts. In June I conducted a major gifts training session in Ohio for the Salvation Army of Licking County, outside of Columbus. The firm providing capital campaign fund raising counsel was Carlton & Company of Boston, headed by my long time friend and colleague, Bill Carlton, formerly with Ketchum in Pittsburgh.

The project was a $4.3 million capital campaign for a new homeless shelter for lodging, feeding programs and other family activities. The demand for a larger shelter was there even before the present slow down in the economy which has made things worse for many families.

Phil Warner, Carlton & Company's Campaign Manager for this account, is a terrific guy. And, when it comes to running capital campaigns, he's done dozens of them. Phil is as old fashioned as grandma's apple pie. A tall and unassuming gentleman, Phil does everything by the old text book.

Phil managed to assemble two dozen high-powered campaign workers in a conference/training room of the local hospital, complete with all the A/V bells and whistles. He had things organized to the nth degree, starting with the invocation then a complete breakfast with eggs not just danish. Then a warm welcome from the major gifts chair followed by an excellent Powerpoint by the Army's local Co-Commander about the need for the new shelter. It was the perfect set-up for what I had to do next.

After being introduced, I said to the campaign workers, "We are here today to talk about raising $2.5 million more toward your $4.3 million goal and I want you to know major gift fund raising is not about the money." At that point the major gifts chairman looked at Phil as if to say, "What planet did this guy come from?" Then, I went on to say, "Carlton & Company retained me to train you on the solicitation of major gifts, based on my newly revised book, 'Take The Fear Out of Asking for Major Gifts,' but I am not here to train you on how to solicit major gifts." Now the group was sure I was nuts.

So I told them, since the original publication of my book in 1993, how I came to understand from my own capital campaign client work, hundreds of training sessions like this and being on major gift calls with clients, that I had a paradigm shift from solicitation to invitation. Why? Because that's what major gift fund raisers and volunteers do -- invite others to become a part of a noble enterprise, in this case helping the homeless. Call me old fashioned but I believe people would rather be invited to give to a capital campaign like this rather than be viewed as a target and being solicited to give.

Then, I proceeded to cover the APOC Method noted in my book: Amenities; Presentation of the Case; Objections and Closings. Briefly, here is a capsule summary of what I said. (1.) When you walk in to meet with the prospect thank him/her for taking the time to see you and promise to be brief. Then, engage in amenities -- social/small talk to warm things up like, "That is a great photo. I have a golden retriever too, aren't they the best dogs?" (2.) Get to the point. Begin making your case for the prospect's major gift. (3.) Anticipate his/her objections and be able to answer them. (4.) Finally, bring it all to a close by inviting the prospect to give to your noble cause. Close the invitation to give with one of three closing suggestions from the book, such as: "Can you think of any reason why you can't join us in this campaign at this time and make a gift in the range of $25,000?

Now, for the best part. Phil takes over when I am done and says, "Ladies and gentlemen, on that long window shelf over there (some thirty feet long) are two dozen stacks of prospect cards laid out alphabetically, all of them have been researched, each has the capacity to give $10,000 or more. Also, in your packet is an Assignment Form. Please fill in the form with the names of the prospects you take today and give it to me before you leave."

The campaign committee spent a lot of time reviewing the names, discussing them with others, trading names before completing their selections. What a refreshing exercise to watch. As they filed out the door, Phil collected the forms. On average each worker took five names, over 100 invitations to give.

Keep in mind as trainer I had to address the anxiety of these workers as many felt that due to the economy and such, perhaps they should "hold off inviting" people to make a major gift. My response to that question was -- Does the Salvation Army need the money or not? If so, the best time to raise money is when you need it. Besides, won't postponing your invitation to these prospects to give also postpone the services the homeless need?

Phil also gave each campaign worker a Talking Points Card that contained the main points for making the case based on my book, but customized to the client's campaign. It is a laminated card and it can be put in a coat pocket, writing pad or a purse. He also gave everyone a brochure he developed: A Word About Successful Campaigning. Finally, each worker was offered, courtesy of Carlton & Company, a free copy of my book and my contact info so they could contact me for telephone or online coaching if they felt the need.

In 1972 right out of college, my first fund raising job was with the United Way of Utica, New York. In reflecting on how I was trained back then to run community based campaigns, I am reminded that the old fashioned methods that Phil Warner used in Ohio, are time tested and proven. You can't beat being prepared, organized, attending to details, getting those workers (with packets in-hand) out the door, meeting with prospects and inviting them to give to a noble cause.

To paraphrase the Lowes Home Improvement ad:

"Let's do something together, the old fashioned way."

Jim Donovan, President/CEO Donovan Management, Inc.

To order: "Take The Fear Out of Asking for Major Gifts," click below:

or just visit our website, and click on Publications

You can reach Carlton & Company at:

Please provide your comments about this Blog as well.