When You Care Enough: The Secret of Asking for Help

You probably know that I've spent the past three decades giving people advice about fundraising. I guess my advice is reasonably good, because people keep coming back for more. But really, I don't think I have ever given people the biggest and most important piece of advice. It's quite simple, but it provides the underpinning for all great fundraising. Here's the REAL Secret of Asking You've got to care enough. When you do, asking gets easy! If you don't really care … [Read more...]

We Are All Sparrows

My friend Maria Hoehn, a professor at Vassar, helped organize an event last night to get the Vassar community to think about how they might help with the Syrian refugee crisis. Every day for some time now, the Syrians who are fleeing their country have been on my mind too. But what I might do seems paltry when compared to the vast need. And frankly, when the need is so great and my means and energy so minuscule, it's easy to do nothing! But this morning, when I spoke … [Read more...]

Using Inside Information Strategically as a Force for Good

You feel special when you're an insider. Knowing information before it’s made public or being in on a secret makes you feel like you belong to a select group. When you're “in the know” you feel important. But that sense of importance and pride isn't all that being an insider entails. Being Part of a Special Club When a small group of people have privileged information they are all drawn together into a group. Each of them has been selected to be part of the "in … [Read more...]

Lessons in Leadership from Alison Kear

For the past two years, I’ve coached Alison Kear on a large fundraising campaign she worked on at Covenant House Alaska. As I post this, I am on my way to Anchorage to celebrate their success. The campaign has raised more than $24,000,000 and the new building for homeless teens is now open. I'm excited to share with you three lessons about leadership I've learned from Alison during my work with her on this remarkable project. 3 Lessons on Leadership Lesson 1: A … [Read more...]

Is Getting What You Want Being Manipulative or Finding Common Ground?

When my husband, Tyko, read my post on how to get your partner to take you out for dinner, he said to me “So that’s how you manipulate me...” He said it with a chuckle. But it got me thinking... Manipulating or Collaborating? What, if anything, is the difference between being manipulative and being a great partner? In the getting your husband to take you out to dinner model (hereafter dubbed the "Steak Dinner" approach), you come into the conversation with a … [Read more...]

“NO” – The First Step Toward a Win-Win

I've asked you for a favor and you have said “no.” Sounds like the end of the conversation, right? Wrong! -- it’s just the beginning! My job is to find out what exactly you said "No” to.  What aspect of my request triggered your response? Four Reasons for a "No" In most circumstances there are only four reasons that someone says "No" to a request: 1. Timing We might be able and willing -- just not right now. 2. Amount We might be happy to help but not at that … [Read more...]

Getting to “Yes” with Intentional Conversation

Imagine this... You've come home after a long, wearying day at work. You know there’s not much in the fridge, you don’t have the time or energy to stop at the store, and you really don’t much feel like cooking. Your partner’s not home yet, but you know she’s expecting a meal because it’s your night to cook. What’s the best way to get your partner to agree to go out to dinner with you instead of eating at home? Here are two approaches you might use when you speak with … [Read more...]

The Power of Being Remembered Over Time

You don't have to be in the fundraising business long before you hear about the importance of — no, the critical importance of — thanking people for their gifts immediately. The gold standard for thank you notes is a 24-hour turn around. While I like to be thanked promptly, being thanked again, long after the gift has a special power. A Surprise in My Mail Two years ago, I sent some money to a Kickstarter project involving a group of kids in my South … [Read more...]