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Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson is a trainer and consultant based in Vermont. Learn more at www.andyrobinsononline.com and www.trainyourboard.com. A brand-new video series, focused on effective board training, is available at www.boardtrainingvideos.com.

Recent Posts by Andy Robinson:

Six Things Your Board Needs to Know about Fundraising

If your board struggles with fundraising, you’re not alone.

In my work supporting nonprofit organizations, the number one request—by far—is board fundraising training. The demand seems endless.

The following tips, adapted from my book How to Raise $500 to $5000 from Almost Anyone, provide a quick introduction to the whys and hows of boards and fundraising. Perhaps you’ll want to share with your leadership and committees.


Hospice Care for Nonprofits, Part 2: The Board’s Role

Because not every group is designed to last forever, I recently shared a post about end-of-life care for nonprofit organizations.


Hospice Care for Nonprofits: Diagnosis and Treatment

How healthy is your organization?

What’s your trajectory? Are you growing, shrinking, or treading water? What’s the energy level among staff and board? Is your mission still relevant and inspiring?

More than a decade ago, I participated in volunteer training at our local hospice agency. As the Great Recession rolled through the economy, I found myself applying the lessons of hospice to my work with nonprofits.

Not every organization is meant to live forever—and that’s OK. In this post, we’ll discuss how to determine if your organization is dying and what to do about it. A future post will cover the board’s role in end-of-life decisions.


Succession Planning: Leading by Sharing Power

In 1986, I killed my first nonprofit organization.

That wasn’t my plan. In fact, there wasn’t any plan.


What Are “Major Gifts”—and Where Do I Find Them?

When talking with potential clients, I often ask the following questions: “What do you consider a major gift? How many donors contribute at that level?”

The phrase “major gift” perplexes some people. If needed, I might rephrase as follows:

  • What do you consider a big gift from an individual donor?

  • If you skimmed off the top 10 percent of your donors, based on the size of their contributions, what amounts are they giving?

  • When you open the mail (or review your list of online donations), what size gift inspires you to do your happy dance?


Work Wonders by Redefining the Word “Fundraising” for Your Board

Novices equate the word “fundraising” with “the ask”—the moment when the gift is requested in person, at an event, online, through the mail, or by phone.

Taken holistically, as I make clear in my book What Every Board Member Needs to Know, Do, and Avoid, fundraising is really a cycle of activities that includes identifying prospective donors, educating and cultivating them, asking for their support, recognizing their contribution, and deepening their commitment by engaging them in the organization’s mission.

Given this framework, we need to redefine the word “fundraising.”


Your Group Isn’t Unique—and That’s a Good Thing

From time to time, my phone rings. A nonprofit staff or board member begins to talk.

“We’re in a unique situation,” this person says.

Silently, I roll my eyes.

Or maybe, “We have a unique problem.”

Actually, you don’t.


The Three Most Powerful Words in Fundraising

What gets in the way of you and your board raising more money?

For a fundraising trainer like me, this is a key question. Any sort of fundraising education must address the barriers that make it difficult for people to participate.

This list of common barriers won’t surprise you. Perhaps you’ve experienced them yourself.


The Unspoken Truth about Boards and Fundraising

Does everyone on your board raise money?

If the answer is “No!”—perhaps the question makes you laugh or groan or grind your teeth—you’re not alone.

How do I know? By far, the most popular service I offer is board fundraising training. Because so many boards struggle to raise money, demand is endless. (Note to consultants: if you want to build your business, improve your skills as a fundraising trainer.)


The Crucial Role of Silence When Asking for a Gift

In my book, How to Raise $500 to $5000 from Almost Anyone, I offer a multitude of fundraising how-tos, from identifying prospects to setting a goal to offering meaningful thank-yous. But perhaps the most difficult aspect of soliciting a donor is what I want to focus on here.

By now, we all know the importance of asking a donor for a specific amount—“I’m hoping you’ll be able to join us with a gift of $500.” That’s challenging enough for most of us, but here’s something even harder: asking for a contribution and then remaining silent.