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GuideStar Blog

Claire Axelrad

Recent Posts by Claire Axelrad:

Fundraising in the Era of the New Tax Law

Tax benefits are icing on the philanthropy cake. What to do when the icing is melting?

First, the good news.

The sky is not falling.


Key Strategies for Fundraising by Telephone

Should you ask for gifts by telephone?

Indeed, you should!

Why? Because the number one reason people don’t give is because they aren’t asked.


Guaranteed Nonprofit Recipe for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Results

You’re likely hearing a lot these days about peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising.

It’s not new, having been around quite some time. Katrina VanHuss and Otis Fulton talk about the origins of P2P in their new book, Dollar Dash. They note:

Any time a person uses his or her personal leverage—a relationship—to gain a donation of something of value, P2P is at work."

It works because of one of the most fundamental psychological principles of persuasion (aka “social proof”). We trust our peers more than strangers. Not only do we trust our peers, we also want to fit in with them. To be accepted as someone who does the right thing.


Three Key Strategies Needed to Become a Major Philanthropic Gifts Wizard

While this might sound scary at first, put on your rose green-colored glasses and just imagine what it will be like once you venture through the forest and come out the other side.


Five Guaranteed Ways to Raise Money Through Storytelling

Storytelling today is “hot.”

And why not? It’s the fundamental human activity—we even talk to ourselves!

We tell ourselves stories all the time to inspire, goad, cheerlead, and persuade.


Eight Ways to Use Giving Psychology to Raise More Money, Part 2

In part 1 we looked at the first four of eight principles of influence borrowed from psychology and science that will help you to better incline prospective donors to say “yes” to your calls to action. Today we’ll examine four more.


Eight Ways to Use Giving Psychology to Raise More Money, Part 1

I love to borrow from psychology and science to inform my fundraising strategies. Here are some of my favorite “tricks,” and they really work. [BTW: They’re not manipulations; they’re just smart, research-based tools you should be using]


Nine Mistakes Nonprofits Make Thanking Donors

Thanking donors is the one thing most nonprofits do not spend enough time thinking about. Too often I find that staff spend 95 percent of their time crafting the fundraising appeal and getting embroiled in project management—design; layout; printing, postage, etc. Finally, the letter (or e-appeal) is ready to launch. The mailing is dropped/the button is punched and ... voila! Gifts start to arrive! But then what?!


What Millennial Marketing Strategies Can Teach Nonprofits about Motivating Donors

Do you ever worry you’re not doing enough to attract the donors of the future?

Does thinking about how to market to Millennials (who will make up 36% of the U.S. workforce by next year and nearly half by 2020) fill you with anxiety, because it’s just one more thing to add to your overflowing list?

Fear no more!

Today I’m going to tell you how you can have it all – and with very little extra work.


Embrace Relationship Fundraising to Stop Losing Donors


Do you regularly break your donors’ hearts?

If you’re like the average nonprofit, sadly, you do.

It’s not conscious, of course.

But that doesn’t make it any better.  You’re not excused for being asleep at the wheel.

Remember the old adage: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Now think about what you’re doing to your donors -- most of the time – when you’re not asking for money. What, you say?  You’re not doing anything?