Category: Dear Kim

Accepting “No” & Moving On

Dear Kim, I am the executive director of a small environmental justice organization focused on organizing a community to stand up to a large and highly polluting CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.) We have recently had some victories but need to keep pushing. One of our board members comes from quite a wealthy family and […]

Useful Donor Information

Dear Kim, We have 500 donors, of whom 50 give over $1,000 and another 50 give between $500-999. We do a decent job of keeping in touch with these 100 donors, usually talking to them by phone or visiting the top 20 largest donors at least once a year. I keep all the information on […]

Ask for What You Want

Dear Kim, I have a donor who gives $250 a year but always makes noises like he is going to give more sometime. We have coffee and sometimes lunch two to three times a year and I always pick up the tab. He never gives more. What should I do? When I factor in my […]

The Life Cycle of Special Events

Dear Kim, We are a 50-year-old social service agency and we have done a gala wine tasting event for the past 20 years. For many years, it was really fun and was the place to “see and be seen” in our community. About 300 people always came and we netted more every year. Our highest […]

Individual Giving & Structural Inequities

Dear Kim, I have just heard that the USA is not the most generous country in the world. Is this true? Who is? I am really disappointed because I thought this was something to be proud of. ~Flag is drooping Dear Flag, There are several indices of generosity and Charities Aid Foundation, which publishes one […]

The Case for Building a Broad Base of Donors

Dear Kim, We are being advised by a consultant to stop trying to build a broad base of donors and instead to focus on high net worth individuals and seek six figure gifts from them.  The consultant says it will be faster and more lucrative which makes sense to me.  Why do you advise focusing […]

The Importance of Having Honest Conversations

Dear Kim, I am the sole staff for a small literacy program in a suburb of Chicago.  We have a wonderful board except for one member who is new and is proving to be quite difficult.  We invited her on at the suggestion of our biggest donor. She is very critical, bossy, and constantly saying, […]

Collecting Donor Phone Numbers

Dear Kim, I have a multipart question.  We want to start doing thank-you calls but often don’t have donor phone numbers. Is it creepy to get their phone number from the white pages? Should we require a phone number on our donation page so we can capture phone numbers going forward? ~ Death by detail […]

Acknowledging Donors Online

Dear Readers: I have chosen two questions this week that concern, at least in part, issues about privacy.  I suggest that all of you take a brief break from the chaotic speed of fall fundraising to read Wikipedia’s description of privacy:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy.   For many Americans, privacy has become intertwined with security, which arguably is […]

How Often Should We Be Asking?

Dear Kim, How often should you try to get someone who gave your organization money once to give again? ~Persistence and Pestering: Where is the Line? Dear Persistence, The sad fact that has to be taken into account when building a donor program is that most people who give once will not give again. The […]