Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Column Every Monday: "The Fundraising Guru"--September 24, 2007

“Freebies Galore”: Jesse Carter’s Web site
by Stephen L. Goldstein

You already know Jesse Carter and his Web site,, if you listen to my radio program, “Fundraising Success,” on WXEL, National Public Radio member station (Sundays, 7 to 8 p.m., 90.7 FM; available on the Internet at any time from anywhere at

You can hear Jesse on almost every program in recent weeks. (It’s really a treat. Listen to at least one.) He’s from central Louisiana--an unassuming, genuine, down-to-earth, sincere person, whose accent and commitment to nonprofits add immeasurably to our broadcasts—and will make you want to hear more. I look forward to talking with him as much as our listeners benefit from hearing from him. Jesse Carter embodies the true spirit of nonprofit philanthropy: He has created a Web site that gives and gives and gives.

I dubbed Jesse’s ongoing segment “Freebies Galore” after about three interviews. He is the world’s greatest sharer of valuable information. (There are products and services for sale, of course; but no one has to pay a single solitary cent to access the endless amount of useful tools he lists to help nonprofits succeed—from running a capital campaign to collecting coupons.) Small, medium, or large—every nonprofit can find something useful at It’s filled with recipes for success. And as long as the site is up-and-running, no nonprofit can say it can’t afford to get the expertise it needs.

Here’s a brief walk-through the site:
1. On the home page, look to the left, where you’ll see that you can sign up for a free eNewsletter. (Right off the bat, you see the “free” theme that runs through the site.) Then, take a quick glance down the long list of categories and topics—from “fundraising ideas” and “fundraising articles” to “volunteerism” that lead to more specific topics and in-depth discussions.

2. For example, for the activity-minded, here are some of the 131 topics you’ll find if you click on “fundraising ideas”: affinity programs (credit cards, phone cards, etc.), balloon ride and dinner, camping cookbook, father-daughter dance, final exam care packages, singing messages, starving artists show, wedding fair. Many have links that show you to the nuts-and-bolts of how to do them. Be sure to click on “celebrity lunch or dinner auction.” Jesse spoke about that idea on air. It’s an exciting way that nonprofits can turn breaking bread with a local celeb (elected official, media personality, sports notable) into cold, hard funds. You can’t go wrong. You get the point: from the “down home” to the more sophisticated, there’s a fundraising idea for everyone.

3. Click on “Fundraising Articles” and at the top of the 25-item list you’ll find three parts of a forward-looking discussion: “A New Trend in Fundraising.” Farther down: “Fundraising Responsibilities of a Board Member” and “Giving Campaigns—Federal.” Jesse discussed both of those topics on “Fundraising Success.” The one about federal giving campaigns was an eye-opener. He even provides a four-part series on “Your Very Own Capital Campaign.”

4. Under “Fundraising Resources,” you’ll find everything from annual campaigns, direct mail, foundation and grants helps, fundraising associations and federations, nonprofit networks, and online giving gift donation sites to telemarketing.

5. I mentioned that you can sign up for Jesse’s free eNewsletter. You can get a feel for what’s in it from the six volumes of archives online.

Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein is also the author of 30 Days to Successful Fundraising, now in its second printing. Send your comments, questions, and suggestions for future topics to him at

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