Give and Take

Three people show love heart shape
For Donors
Patrick O'Donnell

31 Quality Questions to Ask Planned Giving and Major Gifts donors and Prospects

Do you struggle to generate exceptional questions for donor interviews? Then struggle no more: This post will show you a guaranteed way to generate thought-provoking interview questions that generate comprehensive, high-quality answers. And the best part is, whether it’s an interview for a donor story, annual report, board report, newsletter story — even a job or candidate interview — all of these skills will translate. Plus, we’ve included 31 sample questions that you can adapt for your next donor interview.

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Eagle Flying Depicting Major Gifts
Fundraising Strategy
Viken Mikaelian

How To Excel in Major Gifts

Major Gifts Officer (MGO) careers are a hot pick for anyone looking to actively work with non-profits. This role allows you to make an impact, connect with people, and aid in the financial longevity of a cause that you believe in. This is an exceptionally hands-on, people-facing career that can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time. And yes, most jobs pay well, too.

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Image Depicting a Tribe
Career Change
Viken Mikaelian

Are we Tribalistic in Nature?

Throughout my years of study in marketing, sociology and anthropology, I‘ve come to conclude that as a species we are basically tribal in nature.  It can take the form of political, religious, racial, sexual, economic, nationalistic, educational and many other forms of tribalism and can either divide us or connect us.

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You have heard the lesson before, “It’s not just what you say, it is how you say it.” This lesson was reinforced for me twice in the last two weeks: 1. I was making a presentation, and I emphatically made a point to be sure everyone in the room understood its importance. As soon as I did so, I could hear how I sounded angry and immediately lightened my tone, while still stressing the point. 2. On another occasion, a colleague responded to an observation I made, stating I sounded angry. I did not think I was angry, but again, I lightened my tone while stressing a critical point. Below are some essential lessons to immediately put to practice when considering your tone: 1. Understand tone can be “heard” in your words delivered verbally and in writing: Pay attention to tone in all communication, including your written avenues, such as your emails, website, and publications. 2. Knowing this, consider tone as crucial as your words: When speaking, experts encourage a stronger, deeper tone, with less breath when you want to stress a point. In music, tone can also be heard in duration and intensity. Knowing this, I frequently slow down my speech, and am more deliberate in delivering my words to stress important points. This gives the signal that I mean what I say. Your audience will listen because this tone says—you should listen. In general, a more friendly tone is usually pitched higher. It’s not loud or assertive, but breathier, more relaxed, and at ease. The vocal cords are not as pressed (tightly closing), which allows the breath to flow more. My female readers take note: Research says that women’s voices are judged more harshly than men’s voices. The natural higher pitch and breathiness in a woman’s voice can make her sound less certain in a business environment. Thus, you may need to pay particular attention to this. On the other hand, the lightness and warmth of many female voices may be a reason why women are so successful in fundraising and relationship building. Men may need to learn from this. 3. Be aware of attitudes and potential tensions present within yourself: When others respond to you negatively or in ways other than what you want or expect (such as happened to me in my conversation with my colleague), rather than criticizing or attacking them, pause to reflect on how your tone (and therefore your underlying feelings at the moment) may have caused the reaction we received. I am a strong advocate of “emotional intelligence.” The importance of self-awareness is more significant when considering and using the right tone. 4. When planning a presentation or an important conversation, ask others for their thoughts on the appropriate tone for you to use: Practice achieving and maintaining that tone. In the past, I have recorded myself to evaluate my tone. You should consider doing the same. What do you notice? Highly successful fundraisers communicate with the right tone—verbally and in written communications. They have a tone in all communications that is appropriate to the message and impact they desire to make. Their mindset is one of wanting to connect and influence with their words and tone. They understand their tone matters as much as their words.
Benjamin Case

Your Tone Matters: It’s How You Say It

“The word is mightier than the sword.” And often, the tone can be mightier than the word. You have heard the lesson before, “It’s not just what you say, it is how you say it.” Highly successful fundraisers communicate with the right tone—verbally and in written communications.

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Nostalgia Marketing Old TV and Microphone
Fundraising Strategy
Patrick O'Donnell

Nostalgia Marketing

Nostalgia marketing is effective, hot, and here to stay. Learn how non-profits can use this type of marketing to promote their giving programs.

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Female Fundraiser With Donor Discussing Stock Investments
Camilyn Leone

Kitchen Drawer Philanthropists

I visited Frank many times while I worked for the Children’s’ Museum. Each time I saw him, we sat in the kitchen, talked about the museum. Then, he would reach over and open that kitchen drawer and pull out a beautifully engraved stock certificate. I would carefully carry this gift back to the museum and turn it into a charitable gift annuity.

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eBook Cover - 25 Ways to Influence Others

25 Ways to Influence Others

Influencing others is a skill that can be learned and developed into an art form. Here are some easy techniques to help you to develop your influence.