Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now, you can determine your nonprofit's Fundraising Threshold (FT)

Your nonprofit's Fundraising Threshold (FT) is your most important benchmark. The key to successful fundraising is the energy, commitment, and generosity of your board members. They set the pace for others to become involved--and give.

Now, you can actually determine your nonprofit's Fundraising Threshold using a powerful, numerical formula. It tells you where you are and where you need to be in fundraising. Start by going to Then, download the Fundraiser's and Board Member's Self-Assessments.

Once you benchmark your FT, you'll know precisely what you need to do to increase your fundraising success.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Successful fundraisers have discovered the Law of Completion

Apply the Law of Completion--Day 8
Successful fundraisers tap into a donor's micro-emotional level
from 30 Days to Successful Fundraising
by Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein

Note: Be sure to complete "Applying this principle to my fundraising success" at the end of Day 8

The little-known "law of completion" may be the most powerful piece of information in your arsenal of successful fundraising strategies. Pay particular attention to the nuances that it reveals about every donor--actual or potential.

No matter how reasonable your proposal for funds may be or how rational you are in making the case for giving to support your effort, never lose sight of the fact that a determining factor in successful fundraising is emotion or irrationality. Ultimately, people give not because you have convinced them to but because you have awakened an emotional connection to something about which they feel strongly.

You can have all the facts and figures you need and the most convincing arguments, but unless you touch upon the deep seeded motivators--the emotional well-spring--of your potential donors, you will never reach them with your message.

Despite the defenses of sophistication, skepticism, and hesitancy, deep down everyone wants to make a positive difference in the world. At the broadest level, they want to see physical suffering mitigated, poverty reduced or eliminated, illiteracy overcome; in short, they want the world to be a place in which the lives of people of all ages can be fulfilling. This macro-emotional appeal may move them; however, it is not the most important or motivating part of a person's emotional make-up.

The micro-emotional level is where passion originates. Everyone on planet earth has some positive or negative, incomplete or unfulfilled experience in their personal history that motivates them to act. For example, a young man who suffered from polio in his youth becomes obsessed with physical achievement in order to compensate for it and becomes an Olympic gold medalist. An illiterate parent works as a maid so she can educate her children, and they can enjoy a better life. The ugly duckling, wallflower, or female nerd in high school becomes Miss America. Some people spend their lives trying to become what they think and feel they are not, and others want to abate some type of suffering.

As you might suspect, the law of completion not only applies in fundraising, it rules. People give to compensate for what they feel is incomplete in their lives. The successful entrepreneur who could not go to college because he couldn't afford to may be just the person to donate money to provide scholarships for needy students. A woman who was not able to bear children of her own may be the perfect donor to contribute to adoption or fertility programs. Having unexpectedly lost a daughter who was a teacher, a husband and wife might find comfort from contributing a fellowship in her name to memorialize her and help perpetuate her professional efforts.

Ignore the hot-button issues at your own peril. They are truly the ones that will open philanthropic doors and pockets for you. Of course, one reason people give money is because they can save money on taxes. But ultimately, people give money so they will feel better about themselves and about the world in which they live. Set out to reach them at their emotional, as well as their rational, level.

To ask Dr. Goldstein more about "The Law of Completion" or any other fundraising matter, go to
To find out more about 30 Days to Successful Fundraising," go to

"Applying this principle to your fundraising success"
List 5 current and/or potential donors to your nonprofit and (what you suspect may be) their hot-button issues, the ones you can help them "complete" by supporting your cause.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fighting Charity Fraud

from the Miami Herald
National effort fights charity fraud

Do your homework before donating money to a charity claiming to collect money to help police, firefighters or military veterans, the Florida attorney general's office warned Wednesday.
Florida joined a national effort to fight fraud committed by groups claiming to collect money on behalf of protection agencies and veterans, but they give misleading information about how much of the money would actually be given to those groups.

''Operation False Charity'' includes 76 actions against 32 fundraising companies, 31 individuals and 22 nonprofits -- or groups claiming to be nonprofits. The effort is led by the Federal Trade Commission, 61 attorneys general, secretaries of state and other law enforcers in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

The FTC says the money collected was used overwhelmingly to support the charity administration, not the causes they said they were collecting for. Among the organizations targeted: American Veterans Relief Foundation Inc., Coalition of Police and Sheriffs Inc. and Disabled Firefighters Fund. Another target of the effort is on its way to making amends.

Florida and other states filed a lawsuit against Community Support Inc., a company that solicited funds on behalf of 35 charitable clients but generally kept more than 80 percent of donations, or in some cases, 90 percent of money collected.

The lawsuit also alleges Community Support harassed people who were called, sometimes falsely claimed to be members of law enforcement or veterans, or claimed someone had made a pledge when they had not.

The company has agreed to cease all improper or illegal contact, the attorney general's office said, and has agreed to regularly report information to states about its actions and improve employee training. They will reimburse $200,000 to states for the cost of the investigations.
Some tips from the FTC before you donate to any charity:

• Check out an organization before donating. Some phony charities use names, seals and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
• The words veterans or military in a charity group's literature or sales pitch doesn't necessarily mean veterans or members of the military or their families will benefit from a donation.
• Donate to charities with a track record. Charities that spring up overnight may disappear just as quickly.
• Don't make cash donations. For security and tax record purchases, pay by check -- making the payment in the name of the charity -- and get a receipt.