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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

Posts Tagged 'development planning'

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Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

Raising Money To Raise Money


It sounds a little nutty, but you really can interest some donors in supporting a plan to fund your fundraising efforts.  These moneys can be used to do basic donor research or to produce videos, brochures, web sites and other collateral material to better tell your story.  And, let's be honest, these funds can be used to secure the services of professional fundraising counsel. (Gee, what a great idea!) In the non-profit world, activities that help you raise more money generally fall under the category of "capacity building."  Grant makers will often fund capacity building because they like helping non-profit organizations grow.  You might be familiar with the old saying: "Feed a man to fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a life time."   That's the idea. Some donors like the idea of giving you money that will raise more money because its as if their gifts are being multiplied making a donation a lot more like an investment.   Raising money to raise ...

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The Impotence Of Being Earnest


Boredom is the number one killer of great fundraising campaigns. Our job as development professionals is to excite, interest and inspire prospective donors with our message, but far too often we obfuscate the essence of our message with data and drivel, leaving glazed eyes and blank expressions in our wake.  When it comes to sharing about your ministry, you should know everything you tell but you don't have to tell everything you know. To you, it may be essential for every prospect and donor you meet to hear "our whole story."   You may be a linear thinker who feels most comfortable presenting ideas in an A to Z format.  But your audience is driven by visual stimuli.  They find your sequential line up of the facts boring and tedious to listen to.  You want to give them A to Z so they'll really "get " who you are.  But they probably would be better motivated by hearing just about L, M, N, O and P.  The essence, the good part...The real passion about who you are. Good case p ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

Leaky Data Could Really Cost You


None of us sit around thinking about how the plumbing in our house works...until it doesn't. In order for the plumbing to work, all the pipes have to be connected.  It's really like a network, moving water where it is used in your home and then out into the sewer system.  As you may know all too well, one leaky pipe can cost you thousands of dollars in damaged ceilings and floors.   Similarly, you might not think much about the flow of data in your ministry until something stops working.  That something could very well be the growth of your donor database.  A healthy non-profit has a continual influx of prospective donors in the form of data going into your donor software system.  From there, prospects are solicited appropriately and hopefully, a decent percentage of them become donors.  The flow continues so that through effective donor communications, donors grow in their passion for your mission and commitment to helping you achieve it.  Small gift annual fund donor ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

4 Things Your Board Must Do


We fully expect board members to be engaged in the process of planning, budgeting and setting the future direction of the non-profit. Why wouldn’t it also make sense for the board to be actively engaged in fundraising, the life blood of any philanthropic endeavor?  To relegate this crucial aspect to staff is to deny the organization of a very powerful force that can make all the difference in its ability to achieve financial stability.   Board engagement is a signal to others who want to significantly give to the organization financially (and also with their time) that the organization is indeed worthy and responsible in a fiduciary sense.  Board participation in giving is the seal of approval many people are looking for when they ask that oft repeated question: “Do all of your board members also give?”   The internationally regarded Indiana University Center for Philanthropy, as well as the Foundation Center and the American Fundraising Professionals organization have ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

Your Direct Mail Check List


Great direct mail will still get great results.  But before you bang out a letter and get the printer on the phone, consider a few essentials that could mean the difference between success and failure. Put A Stamp On It The more personalized your direct mail piece, the better. No matter what some people may have told you, most donors are turned off by a pre-printed non-profit mailing or bulk permit "indicia" in the upper right hand corner of the envelope.  It's an instant clue that the mail was mass produced and therefore probably will be of little relevance to them.  Many non-profits can't afford first class postage for everything they send, so I recommend the second best thing: The Non-Profit Live Stamp.  Ask your printer or even the local post office about these stamps that cost 5 cents each.  Most non-profits mail at a rate of 17.5 cents. You or your printer purchases the live stamps, affixes them and then when the mail project is delivered to the post office, the rate is calcul ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

Use 5/15 Reports For Accountability & Tracking Fundraising


Fundraising is a team sport! And leadership is always required to keep a team moving toward its next goal for an annual fund drive, fundraiser or campaign.  Communication is often the key to success, especially since fundraising is likely to be only part of what you are responsible for.  A "5/15 Report" is a great tool for keeping you in touch with your team and to track progress.   What is a 5/15 Report?   The name comes from the style of document we are after here.  We want each report to take its writer no more than 15 minutes to compose and no more than 5 minutes for you to read.  These reports are usually done weekly, but could be done daily in certain circumstances.  This is regular, fast, "hot off the presses" information.  Sort of a snapshot of one area of your organization or one aspect of your fundraising project. What goes into a 5/15 Report? No two 5/15 Reports will be the same. And that's because no two jobs are exactly the same.  The requireme ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

5 Things Leaders Must Know About Development


There is a lot more to this fundraising thing than just asking for money.  Development is a continual process of intentionally deepening relationships with an ever-expanding pool of people who move from potential supporters to champions for your organization.   To say the least, the development process demands leadership.  And when it's done right, it will test your mettle as a leader like nothing else. That's a good thing!  Though much maligned, fundraising is actually FUN for leaders because it engages your team, volunteers, the community and donors all at the same time. There are five things you must know about development in order to succeed as a leader:  1. It's up to you to set the pace for your organization's development.  The commitment and passion of your entire team rests on you.  Perhaps like no other aspect of your job, you can only achieve success in development if you are willing to lead by example. The team needs to feel your passion for engaging prospect ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

The End or A New Beginning? Funding The Future of Radio


Radio is not doomed, but it's also not going to be radio anymore, at least in the traditional sense.  As I see it, there are three big changes: 1. Listeners used to find the station, now the station has to go out and find the listeners.  People scanned, hit upon a station they liked and set a pre-set in the good old days.  Now stations are having to go out on the web, social networking sites put apps on phones and more to go to where the listeners have migrated. 2. Listeners used to just want to listen, now they want to talk as well.  Radio was a one-way conversation. Stations programmed music, news, talk or whatever, and except for the occasional call-in show, people listened to whatever was being broadcast.  Now listeners want more. They want to be part of the broadcast, not just calling in, but posting comments on the web, downloading excerpts and posting them in the social media, Twittering about what they hear, etc.  Smart stations are making listeners part of the show. 3 ...

Jerry Grimes, CFRE's avatar

Going Postal: The Demise of Direct Mail Is Greatly Exaggerated!


I could not believe what I was hearing!  A fundraising consultant had just said the most shocking thing to an audience of ministry leaders that I've ever heard. Surely he had mis-spoken or at least would qualify his brash statement: "Direct mail is dead.  No one is raising money that way anymore, so don't waste your time or money on it." Not only did his words shock me, they sent me into a full-on panic because I would be taking the podium next at the conference, and my topic was "Using Direct Mail More Effectively."  What on earth would I say?  Just as I was asking myself that question, the friend who had invited me to speak at the conference sent a text to me from across the room: "I can see you are upset.  Don't worry, he's said lots of shocking things like this.  U can correct when its your turn." A few minutes and a glass of cold water later, my faculties were beginning to return to me.  After a break I took the podium and I told that audience about what I am goi ...

  1. Re: 7 Ways to Retain More Donors

    Great stuff! So good to see you link donors with the work. Remember how Paul linked the supporting folks...

    -- Jamie

  2. Re: Fundraising's Duh Factor: Keep more donors, raise more money

    Great read, I can appreciate the small things that keep the donor engaged.

    -- LaTanya

  3. Re: The Lapsed, Declined & The Disengaged

    Thanks Jerry. Organizations can also engage a credit card processing provider who enables donors to make...

    -- MKordic

  4. Re: Asking Naturally: Replacing Fear With Faith

    Thanks for the great post, Jerry--full of biblical truth! We join the Lord in His work through ministry...

    -- Will Stevens

The Development Evangelist
by Jerry Grimes
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About Jerry

I’ve been involved in the media for over 30 years with experience that spans television, radio and print. But my growing passion over the past decade has become development for non-profit organizations.

I love being a special friend and advisor to dozens of ministry leaders and radio station managers across the country. (I believe Christian radio has only just begun to reach its full potential.)Many non-profit organizations are functioning at a level far below what they could achieve if development were given its proper place in the management process.

My skill set includes development, marketing, strategic planning and leadership development as a certified Ministry Coach..

Before joining Advocace, I served as a development consultant for another firm, and as General Manager for one of the top Christian music stations in the country, and as Donor Marketing Director for WAY-FM Media Group. I also enjoyed raising funds as Director of Development for the University Of South Carolina School Of Law, as well as an active speaker, writer and facilitator.

You can find out more about how I help non-profit organizations and how to contact me here.

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog,