Light Your Board on Fire About Fundraising
June 2019

Fundraising Masters with Susan Howlett

recording now available at Asking Matters!

Susan Howlett joined us for Fundraising Masters in May, and she shot up to the top of my presenter list. What an amazing webinar!

There was so much to take away from her session, and you can now watch the recording at Asking Matters. Here are my key takeaways:

  • Ask your board to tell you where they are on the Tarnside Curve of Involvement. What an amazing tool – you can download it here.
  • Start every board meeting with community building. Socialize. Have food. Do a check-in so everyone around the table speaks early in the meeting.
  • Engage board members in gratitude – thank them profusely and use them to thank your best donors profusely.
  • Move to consent agendas (I feel like a broken record on this – please do it!!)

Susan also shared an excellent tool, The Beyond Cash Fundraising Management Dashboard. You can download it here. See how this transforms the way your board approaches fundraising.

This recording definitely deserves a watch if you missed the live session! 

And for more incredible advice from Susan, go to her website ( and check out her book.

A Fundraising Story for the Ages: Boozing It Up in Ski Country

new post on the Asking Matters blog

As I reflect back on 35 years of fundraising there are, of course, countless stories. This one always gives me a chuckle.

Back when I was in charge of fundraising for Brandeis University in the Midwest, there was a very dear, loyal donor to the university to whom I had presented a six-figure proposal. However, the donor, who was getting on in years, had relinquished much of her philanthropic decision making to her son and told me he would make the final decision.

The challenge was geographic, as her son lived in the mountains of Colorado and wasn’t expected to visit his mother anytime soon. I could have waited for his visit, but I sensed it was important to close this gift sooner.

Join me for my Upcoming CharityHowTo Webinars

two sessions available in June and July!


Amazingly Successful Face-To-Face Solicitations: a Step-By-Step Guide to Asking in Person

Almost 90% of all charitable gifts come from individuals, and virtually no one gives their biggest gift without being asked face-to-face. If you’re not out there asking, you’re leaving most of the charitable money on the table.

Join me as I drill deep into the solicitation meeting itself. This “Awesome Ask” webinar is a perennial favorite, and I've now taken one segment and expanded it into a powerful 90 minutes. Sessions available on Wednesday, June 12th at 1:00pm ET (almost sold out!), or Tuesday, June 18th at 3:00pm ET.

The Awesome Ask: How to Approach Your Donors for Gifts in a Way That's Comfortable and Effective!

Asking for charitable gifts in person is the most effective fundraising you can do. Research of non-profits shows that 75% of all in-person asks of individuals result in a gift. Those are incredible odds.

Join me as I show you how to use your personal Asking Style every step of the way from identifying the best prospects for you to soliciting them for quality gifts. Sessions available on Thursday, July 11th at 3:00pm ET, or Tuesday, July 16th at 3:00pm ET.

On the Road

June 2019

I've been a patron of The Town Hall in New York City forever, but never knew much of its history. Thanks to my peer and good friend Katherine DeFoyd, I led a board training for them and learned so much about this extraordinary organization. They are about to celebrate their 100th anniversary, and were founded in 1921 by a group of suffragists fighting for the 19th amendment and looking for a place to meet! If you're a history buff you'll love learning more about the countless illustrious people and events who have graced its stage. And if you find yourself in NYC, Board Chair Tom Wirtshafter gives a dynamite tour of Town Hall most Friday mornings. 

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation invited me back to lead workshops for another of their incredible programs: Life & Legacy. This program is designed to encourage Jewish-based organizations to reach out to their dearest supporters to discuss "legacy gifts" – bequests and other planned gifts. As of the conference, the Foundation's work with 600 partnering organizations has led to an estimated $878 million in commitments, $96 million of which has already been realized. What an impact!


Here's to another great month of fundraising,


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