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Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud Canada

Do you know what you're raising money for? Seems like a simple question, but if you ask different people at your organization, you might not get the same answer. How can you raise money if you don't know which projects or programs you're raising money for? Getting yourself a set of APPROVED funding priorities at your shop will help you  - the busy not-for-profit professional - prioritize your work. Watch this video to learn how to avoid "Puttin' on the tutu." Learn how you can raise more money by having clear commitment on what you're raising money for.
Find out more about my Fundraising Fundamentals course.

julie beckettAh, the life of a jet-setting Major gifts officer.  Calgary one week, Cornwall the next! Working with donors from across the country has its perks, but it certainly also has its challenges. I reached out to Julie Beckett, CFRE, who is Manager, Fundraising at Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada to ask her what her top 5 pieces of advice would be to Major Gifts Officers with national portfolios.  She’s been at the Co-operative Foundation for over 5 years, and many of these tips have become second nature to her. For context, Julie manages approximately 1500 donors across Canada, and she’s travelling approximately once a month. And boy, does she pack in a lot of things on those visits! 1 Know the issues going on at the local level

  1. Happiness w iPodBuild a fundraising plan – review your plan weekly and quarterly.
  2. Use Monday as your launch day for the week – build a weekly to-do list and block off time to complete your tasks.
  3. Drink more water – you’ll have to go to the bathroom and take a break from your computer.
  4. Leave 20% of your weekly calendar free. You’ll have time to fight the fires when they happen.
  5. Talk to your boss – meeting formally or informally once a week will make sure you’re on the same page with priorities.
  6. Focus your time on activities that are directly related to bringing money in – donors, grant applications, major gift conversations, appeal letters are great examples.
  7. Break large tasks (like build communications plan for appeal letters) into smaller, achievable tasks.
  8. Job shadow a programming staff person each quarter – You’ll not only build trust with your team, you’ll also be able to gather your own stories to share with donors.
  9. Book holidays. And take them.

Case for SupportIt’s the cornerstone of any (and I mean ANY) Fundraising Campaign. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Dictionary defines a case for support as:

 “The reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support, usually by outlining the organization’s programs, current needs, and plans.”

What does a case for support do? It collects in one place all the materials you will need to raise money for your organization:
  • Why your organization exists and how you make a unique difference in this world;
  • Your mission and vision statements;
  • Challenges identified by the community that you serve, and how your programs/solutions solve this problem;
  • Areas of greatest need and their associated fundraising goals;
  • The people on your Fundraising Team;
  • What will be different when your fundraising goals are met;
  • Different ways that a donor can support your organization;

This post was originally prepared for as session at Ottawa Festivals 2015 PitchFest sandboxRemember your days in elementary school? You learned those all-important life lessons like: raise your hand when you have something to say, always put the lid on your glue stick, and remember to give everyone in your class a valentine? Great collaboration starts from the basic rules of elementary school.  We need to play nicely in the sandbox with others. "Play nice in the sandbox" Gone are the days that not-for-profits can hide their heads in the sand and declare that they don’t need partners because “no one is playing in their space.”

ticketsTales of a Not-for-profit Gala You know the drill: rule number one of the “big annual fundraiser” is to SELL SELL SELL. Tickets, that is. And that sure is what it feels like: your volunteers are selling tickets to get bums in seats, to make sure the room is full, to get those tickets out to the “general public” who will definitely be interested in your gala – I mean they’ve never heard of you before, but hey: now’s as good a time as any to get to know your organization, right? Wrong. Are you selling tickets, or engaging people to BUY tickets? If selling tickets feels like a chore have you really thought about who you are selling tickets to? It’s time to switch gears.