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GuideStar Blog

Paul Jolly

Recent Posts by Paul Jolly:

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.

Just Hear No: Dealing with Rejection

The stakes are high. Emotions are exposed. And anything can happen.

Asking for the gift your donors want to give

Let’s break fundraising down to the bio-chemical level: your donors give because they want the endorphin rush. All the catch phrases that donors use to describe the satisfaction of giving, like “changing the world,” “having an impact,” “making a difference,” giving back,” are all ways of describing the fire-hose that blasts their brains with happy-juice.

Founder’s Syndrome and Fundraising

If you are the founder of a nonprofit organization, work for a founder, or followed a founder into the executive director's chair, I don't need to tell you what Founder’s Syndrome is.You have your own stories.

Fundraising: handshake or hot potato?

If you boil it down to basics, fundraising is a solicitor asking a prospect for a gift.But usually there is a coordinator involved.The coordinator equips the solicitor to ask the prospect for a gift.This could be upward delegation, downward delegation, or sideways delegation.And there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Building community: another term for fundraising