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Paul Jolly

Recent Posts by Paul Jolly:

Walking the Tightrope between Sympathy and Advocacy

  • The clients of a culinary arts training program are all formerly incarcerated. It promotes itself as a “job training” program without mentioning that its clients have criminal records.
  • A legal services provider for women caught in sex trafficking helps prostitutes, without any biases about the choices they have made, but has a hard time explaining its non-judgmental stance to donors.
  • A retirement community has a foundation that raises money from residents to allow fellow residents to stay even if they have exhausted their savings. Their fundraising literature emphasizes that the fund is for people who have run into financial difficulty “through no fault of their own.

Step Into Your Power

Successful fundraising often requires assuming more confidence than you actually feel. I got a new insight into that while leading a workshop last year. The workshop, on how fundraisers can build a major gifts program, was one that I had presented many times before. It focused on six elements of success: a willing board, a charismatic executive director, a compelling mission, individual donors, prospects, and a plan for low-pressure donor cultivation.


Mind Reading Is NOT in a Fundraiser’s Job Description

The master fundraiser Steve Haddad once said to a development novice, “Your job as a fundraiser is to ask for the gift. The donor’s job is to decide how to respond. Don’t try to do the donor’s job.” That simple distinction, if taken to heart, is very liberating.


Fundraisers: Ambassadors or Back Office Support Staff?

A young fundraiser in a new job recently told me that he has been calling donors to introduce himself. “They don’t want to talk to me,” he said sadly. “They want to talk to program staff or the executive director.”

I wanted to encourage him, but there was a sliver of truth in his discouragement. It is more gratifying for a donor to get the attention of a frontline worker or a leader than the development staff. On the other hand, throughout my fundraising career I have solicited many five- and six-figure gifts as the sole representative for the organization.


Six Steps for Hiring—and Keeping—a Top-Notch Fundraiser

Successful fundraisers are in high demand. And stories abound of fundraisers who look good on paper, interview well, and turn out to be flaming fiascos. How can you find, and retain, a fundraiser who will take your organization’s donated income to the next level?


Asking Your Volunteers to Contribute Money

Many organizations that have a corps of volunteers are reluctant to invite them to donate.  The rationale is usually a variation on “we don’t want to ask them to do more, since they give so much.”  Or “we don’t want them to think we are ungrateful for their volunteer work.”  In some organizations, these attitudes get baked into a Great Wall that divides the volunteer program from the development office. 


What It Means to Listen to a Donor

It has been said over and over that listening to donors is essential. When people feel heard, they feel connected. And when they feel connected, they give. Here are some of the elements of good listening.


90-Day Checklist for New Fundraisers


I have worked as a fundraising consultant for the past eight years.  So in March when I took a part time job as major gift officer for one of my long-time clients, stepping out of the “tell ‘em how it’s done” role and into the “do it myself” role has been humbling, exciting, and very informative.

Maybe you are a fundraiser who stepped into a situation where donors have been well treated.  Where the board has resonant relationships with supporters.  Where the organization’s story is well crafted.  If so, count yourself among the lucky few. 


Become a better fundraiser by liberating your creative side

 

Fundraising is a creative business.  Dashboards, metrics, and SMART outcomes are all important, but essentially we are in the business of transforming relationships, one donor at a time.  Here are a few tips about keeping the creative juices flowing.


Multi tasking with your eyes on the prize

 

Chief cook and bottle washer is a dated phrase that means a person with many jobs. I have been thinking about the phrase recently because I run into so many fundraisers in small organizations are frustrated by the variety of different jobs they have.  Fundraising involves five very different skill sets.