The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

The Closely Held Secret to Communicating with Your Donors

Communicating with donors consists of just three basic activities, as I explain in my new book What Your Donors Want ... and Why!


Four Thoughts in the Mind of Every Prospective Donor: What Every Volunteer Solicitor Needs to Know

Before you speak even a word, the prospective donor you’re visiting is already sizing you up. She’s judging your appearance, reading your body language, and, perhaps most important, wondering just how well you’ll address her pressing concerns about your forthcoming request.

In my book, The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks, I take pains to prepare fundraisers for the full gamut of inquiries they can expect from donors. Here, I’ll drill down to the four thoughts occupying your prospect’s mind the minute you walk through the door.


Five Simple Tactics to Attract New Donations Right Away

If your organization needs some quick ways to increase donations this month, here are five relatively simple tactics that we’ve seen deliver fast results for many of the nonprofit organizations we work with. 


Three Things to Consider in Mid-Level Donor Communications

Imagine giving $1,000 or more to an organization you faithfully support, but you stop hearing from them one month after you give. Worse yet, what if you never heard from them at all? This scarce communication provides no incentive for you to give again, yet many organizations are neglecting mid-level donors in this exact way. Stuck in donor purgatory between the communication strategies for small and major donors, mid-level givers like you fall into a communications black hole.


The Perfect Storm for Online Fundraising

So you want to be successful in online fundraising? Ready to take 2017 by the reins and make an exponential impact? Well, the first thing you need to know is, you’re gonna have to learn to dance. To juggle the yin and the yang. To bring balance to your Force.

Or perhaps just to cook. Successful fundraising is really about the recipe—that collection of ingredients which creates the perfect storm.


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?!


Five Things to Do within a Day of the Solicitation Meeting

The meeting’s over and you’ve got the gift, a commitment to think about it, or maybe even a “not now but later.” So what do you do next? How do you further cultivate your donor throughout the year?


The Right Way to Prepare for a Donor Conversation

Nick Fellers’ first rule of fundraising is “Just Ask!”


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.


Holiday Fundraising Special: Using Technology to Change the Way We Thank Our Donors

It’s the holidays, and that means nonprofits everywhere will be thanking their donors. Since we all understand that expressing gratitude is essential for connecting and building relationships with donors, saying "thank you" is paramount. Traditionally, we send blast emails or write hand-written notes. However, blast emails rarely get opened, and hand-written thank you letters take time and resources. Let’s change that.