GuideStar Blog

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:

Fundraising Therapy, Part 2—It’s Not About You

If you’re a fundraiser, it’s often helpful to think like a donor.

When leading workshops, I encourage people to flip this mental switch. “How many of you have ever given away money to anybody for any reason at all?” Of course, all the hands go up.

Then I ask people to pair off and talk about why they give. These small groups generate a long list of reasons; here’s one of the most popular. Giving feels good.

I test this with the participants. “How many of you have ever made a charitable gift and felt good about it?” Again, everyone raises their hands.

This leads to another challenging question: Why are we so uncomfortable asking people to do something that makes them feel good when they do it?


Five Options for Nonprofit Board Orientation

Joining a board without a proper welcome and relevant education is like landing in a foreign country without a map or any knowledge of the local language and customs.


My Big Fundraising Failure—and What You Can Learn from It

In October, I rolled out a fundraising appeal for our new Training, Facilitation, and Consulting Certificate Program with Marlboro College.


Hiring a Consultant? How to Be an Even More Savvy Consumer

In October, I published a post about hiring consultants.

This piece was passed around, re-posted, and featured on other blogs, including GuideStar. If you read it and shared it—thank you!

Because there’s lots more to say (and learn) about this subject, here are five more tips you can use to build productive relationships with consultants.


Hiring a Consultant? How to Be a Savvy Consumer

Do you need help?

Silly question ... who doesn’t?

As the gig economy expands, many nonprofits and businesses are turning to consultants and contractors to help with a variety of tasks, and to supplement staff capacity.


Who Is Your Board Fundraising Spark Plug?

Imagine the following scene.

The lonely staff fundraiser—let’s call this person Executive Director or Development Director—sits alone in a very small room, thinking about a very large fundraising goal.

“Hello, board!” the fundraiser cries out. “Are you there?”

A long pause. Nobody answers.


Four Board Behaviors Requiring Mr. Fix-it

In my book, What Every Board Needs to Know, Do, and Avoid, I make clear that the success of a board is determined in part by its collective ambition. It is easier to create a great board if you strive to be great.


How to Avoid an Overstuffed Agenda

What follows is a confession. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s true.


Three Ways to Hire a Fundraiser

Do your plans for the New Year include hiring a development director?


An Exercise That Raises Money While You Do It

A version of this article originally appeared in Grassroots Fundraising Journal

Is your board afraid of fundraising? You're not alone. Most boards find the whole subject taboo.

Here's a real-world example. Imagine that your nonprofit faced the following challenges:

  • Most of your board members are both unskilled at fundraising and anxious about doing it. (Sounds familiar, right?)
  • You board gathers only twice per year—it's an international organization—so there aren't many board training opportunities.
  • As a grassroots nonprofit, you don't have the money to fly around North America to coach the trustees or meet with donors.

How would you turn these barriers into assets?


  Your Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar has a new Demographics section.