Avoiding the Operational Black Hole 

by Richard Tollefson 

“There is not enough time in the day to get my job done.” It’s a complaint echoed by a majority of fundraising leaders. For many who have risen through the ranks as chief development officers — or even CEOs — it often boils down to an excess of time spent on operations. Unused to managing… [More]

Cultivating Mobile Philanthropists

by Richard Tollefson 

Don Budinger, chairman and founding director of The Rodel Foundation of Arizona, supports Arizona’s public K-12 schools through a variety of programs. His philanthropic endeavors extend nationally to the communities where his business, Rodel Inc. — now part of Dow — grew its manufacturing facilities and, more broadly, to national public education issues. Budinger is… [More]

Life After a Campaign

by Richard Tollefson 

Life after a successful campaign is filled with rewards and benefits. New buildings, improved facilities, innovative programming, expanded services, research and scholarships, and working capital infuse nonprofits with a sense of momentum. Campaigns also bring enhanced visibility, strengthened reputation and increased community impact that makes future fundraising less challenging. What’s more, leadership and staff —… [More]

Quiet Does Not Mean Silent

by Richard Tollefson 

Today’s comprehensive fundraising campaigns often include a quiet phase before going public. But what does quiet really mean to executives who sit on nonprofit boards? “The quiet phase is really about growing your circle of influence every quarter and progressively amplifying what you are doing to achieve your strategic plan,” says Lori Bachand, Sacramento State’s… [More]

The Art and Science of Fundraising Campaigns

by Richard Tollefson 

Successful fundraising campaigns don’t happen without planning. In the early stages, they draw heavily upon discipline, rigor, organizational tools and processes — the science of good campaigns. Art also plays a crucial role — the art of adaptation and fluidity. No one knows that more than San Diego State University’s Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president… [More]

Transforming the Nonprofit

by Richard Tollefson 

When Darlene Newsom, CEO of Phoenix-based UMOM, the largest shelter for homeless families in Arizona, tackled a $25 million campaign in 2006, she — along with her board — aimed to reach more families and expand services through the creation of a new facility. What she didn’t expect were the myriad additional benefits a successful… [More]

Usher Gratitude into the New Year

by Cassandra Larsen and Deborah Whitehurst

The year is drawing to a close — a time of reflection for individuals and organizations alike. With that reflection often come resolutions: to focus on health, to raise more fundraising dollars, to make a greater impact on the lives of others. But what about “to be more grateful”? It’s not generally at the top… [More]

Donor Stewardship Done Right

by Jan Halpin and Julie Iacobelli 

Stewardship: (noun) stew·ard·ship \ˈstü-ərd-ˌship\ — the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something. What exactly does stewardship mean to a nonprofit and its donors — and to the corporate executives sitting on the nonprofit boards they serve? Aside from assuming custody of gifts, managing them and applying those resources responsibly toward the… [More]

Discovering Great Donors

by Richard Tollefson 

Narrow and arbitrary. These terms are best reserved for the Southwest’s meandering streams and deep-cut canyons — not a nonprofit’s donor prospect strategy. And yet many organizations think in narrow and arbitrary terms when it comes to prospect research, screening and qualification. Some nonprofits incorrectly assume wealthy donors are the only donors. They also limit… [More]

Storytelling as a Tool 

by Jan Halpin and Julie Iacobelli 

Good storytelling isn’t reserved simply for books and movies and campfires. “For board members uncomfortable with fundraising, stories are one of the easiest ways to share the power of the work the nonprofit does,” says Phoenix-based Andrea Beaulieu, who offers speaking, story performance, and presentation skills coaching and training. “Story sharing is less intimidating than… [More]