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!

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The One Action Needed to be a Successful Fundraiser

Markita Andrews was thirteen when she was interviewed on NBC morning television. At the time, she was the all-time champion seller of Girl Scout cookies—eleven thousand boxes in a year. 


Is Your Year-End Fundraising a Sprint or Part of the Long Game?

As a fundraiser, I’m keenly sensitive to how I act and am treated as a donor. I’ve shared before how last December, I joined the 60 percent of donors who become former donors to the charities they had been supporting. 


5 Best Practices to Strengthen Your Fundraising Cycle

Fundraising is one of the most important tasks that your nonprofit team undertakes year after year. Without the donations of your generous supporters, you wouldn’t be able to fund your projects and act as a champion for your cause.

Every nonprofit professional should know the fundraising cycle: identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. These five steps lay out the groundwork for building and maintaining strong donor relationships and achieving your fundraising goals.

But how can you make sure you’re optimizing each step of the process to ensure that you’re giving donors and members what they want?


The Expert’s Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising Events

Raising funds for a nonprofit can be a challenge. Even with the right advisers, team, plan, and dedication, pulling off a successful fundraising event can be quite difficult. Many organizations have adapted their fundraising efforts to new technology and trends; using mobile technology and donor management software has become common. Whether you choose to remain traditional or switch to more tech-savvy methods, here are some lessons that can help you increase your donations and grow your fundraising community.


5 Strategies to Determine If Your Nonprofit Is Keeping Up

Part 1 of this two-part series, “How to Sustain Nonprofit Relevancy and Fundraising Effectiveness,” suggested five questions to ask in order to determine whether your nonprofit is simply resting on its laurels when it comes to your fundraising strategies. If this is the case, you’ll have trouble moving forward and pushing beyond the status quo to achieve excellence.


How to Sustain Nonprofit Relevancy and Fundraising Effectiveness

The late Jerold Panas*, fundraising guru and author of a bunch of books (two of which, Asking and The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, I frequently use with boards to inspire philanthropy), left us with a gem of a final article published in the GuideStar Blog: Nurturing Your Potential as a Fundraiser.


Stop Looking Forward. Start Looking Back.

Nonprofits need money. Always. Every day. Every minute. So, how are you going to get it? Another campaign? More major donor calls? Regional galas?? That crowdfunding thing? Hit up local businesses?

Man, I’m tired already. It can be really hard to avoid jumping right into the next thing immediately after you finish that other thing, especially when funding is tight. But I’m here to tell you. There’s something else.


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]


How to Build (and Follow!) a Fundraising Roadmap


I came of age when getting a driver’s license came with a congratulatory book of road maps.  I was an early adopter of the GPS mounted to my dashboard and now rarely leave my house without programing my destination into an app on my phone.  I was the guy at Disney World this summer walking around with the map in my hand with my pre-determined routes sketched out. I like to know where I’m going, and my dependence on maps and technology ensures I always get there.  To accomplish the goal of fully funding their important missions, nonprofit leaders need to take this same care in setting a course and following it.