The Weekend Briefing

"Winning: The Five Truths of Fundraising" is available now on in print, Ebook and audiobook. Here's the link:
You can subscribe to the Briefing at
Randy Holgate served the University of Chicago with distinction for 30 years, 12 as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and the last four as Senior Vice President for University Resources.
We traded emails last week; my friend was kind enough to share a story about listening:
“I once took my Alumni Relations Director on a call with me because she wanted to learn more about ‘how to fundraise.’ After the visit, we debriefed and I asked her what struck her about the meeting and conversation. She said, ‘You didn’t talk!’ She was amazed at my comfort in the silences and everything the donor filled them with.”
Brilliant. A teachable moment for fundraisers everywhere.
I found this yesterday in the battered old manila folder and it’s a perfect time to share it. Something I wrote a number of months ago:
  Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is entering the race for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. We can just hear the experts now: “Governor Hickenlooper is a good person who brings a lot to the table. But he enters the race in a crowded field, with other fine candidates.
  “For him to compete effectively and attract donors, delegates and voters he will have to work incredibly hard to get his message out and let people know who he is.
  “He will have to create a buzz.”
Nonprofit organizations are competing in a crowded field, too, especially at this time of year. Before we ask for the gift (or at least, at the same time), let’s share great news about our organization.
What’s your heartfelt story? Something that tells the prospective donor “Wow, look at them. That’s exactly the kind of cause I want to support.”
Newspapers and television stations are starving for “good news stories” at year-end. Give it your best shot! If not now, you’ve got the beginning of a relationship you can nurture for next December.
We’re all asking the same question: “Who can I ask for a gift? Am I asking in the most effective way?”
There’s a question we need to ask ourselves first: “Am I telling our story in the very best way I can? I know there are donors who care about what we do. We need to make them proud of what we do!”
Ask someone why they make a gift to a favorite charity and you’ll get the response, “I love what they do.” It assumes this: “I KNOW what they do.”
Some of the most effective fundraising right now can be making sure your donors and prospective donors know what you do, love what you do, and are proud of what you do.
I’m getting hooked on “The David Rubinstein Show” on the Bloomberg Channel. Earlier today he interviewed Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta Airlines. The oldest of nine kids, Bastian’s first trip on a plane was when he was 25. A fascinating story.
But what’s with the purple ties? Both gentlemen were wearing purple ties. They’re everywhere!
One other interesting note: the water on the table between them was in two glasses. Not plastic bottles. Little things that are a sign of the times.
We’ll have two new posts later this week on The Weekday Blog that you might like to see.
Have a good week, my friends.
Rob Cummings helps nonprofit organizations raise major gifts and build strong, sustainable fundraising programs. You can reach him at

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp