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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

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Do The Math & Raise More Money

Knowing your data can increase income for your non-profit.  Find out which three areas to focus on so you can raise more money in the next 6-12 months.

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Build a Better Banquet

Raise more cash with your next fundraising banquet by learning these three simple but important keys.

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Asking too much or not enough?

If you ask the same donors over and over again, you run the risk of offending and losing them.  But if you don't solicit enough, these same donors might lapse and you could lose them forever. How do you know if you are asking enough, but not too much?

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Ten Direct Mail Success Factors

Direct mail.  A lot of ministry leaders are ready to send it up to the attic with the typewriter and the fax machine, but doggone it...Direct mail still gets the best results! If you can't live without it, how then shall we live with it? Here are ten factors that will determine your success (or failure) with direct mail. 

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Find and fix the development problem holding you back

Problems can be tough to isolate and solve in the development world because they are usually hiding deep within an organization. Learn how uncover the one, core issue that could be holding you back from reaching further and doing more as a ministry.

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Your Secret Weapon: Applying Best Practices

You are not alone.  No matter what you are facing in raising money for your ministry, somewhere, someone is sitting at their desk just like you are staring at many of the same problems and opportunities.  The problem is, you don't know who they are and if they come up with any new ideas on how to solve the challenges you are facing right now, you will never know about it.  Unless, of course, you decide to change. "Best Practices" are the habits, systems, programs and ideas in use elsewhere that you can apply to the work you do.  The first challenge for many ministry leaders in applying best practices is that they work in a silo.   The truth is, no matter how specialized your ministry is, you can find someone who does something similar or who faces many of the same challenges you do in development.  There are three main reasons why it's worth the time to create a system that lets you stay "in the know" about the best practices of ministries like yours across the USA and even arou ...

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Three Steps To Take When Fundraising Flops

Not every donor says "yes," and not every banquet is a smashing success. Do enough fundraising and eventually you will face failure of some kind. It's what you do about it that matters.  Learn the three critical steps to take when faced with a fundraising flop.

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5 Ways To Irritate Donors

Are you irritating your donors? Find out the five things most organizations are doing every day that could be driving donors away.  Learn what donors really think about you and how you communicate with them.  Pick up some great, easy tips for keeping more donors longer and growing income.

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Five Critical Questions For Leaders

Jesus asks great questions.  To the woman about to be stoned, he asked "Where are your accusers?"  To Simon Peter, a noted questioner in his own right, Jesus asked "Who do you say that I am?"  and to His disciples,  in a number of ways, "Do you not yet understand?"  

Good leaders also ask great questions because questions can make people think.  They can bring clarity to almost any issue. They can isolate the truth or a gap in knowledge faster than just about anything else.   That's why a good leader asks himself plenty of questions, especially before deciding what to do about anything truly important.  

By my count, there are five critical questions a leader must ask himself or herself, pretty much on an on-going basis:

#1 What Is My Vision?

Famously, scripture says "Where there is no vision, the people perish," Proverbs 29:18.  Mission, vision and values are all easily confused.  For clarity, values are who you are, a mission is what you do and a vision is why you do it.  Your organization is headed somewhere, even if you aren't sure of the destination.  As a leader, your job is to steer the ship in a particular direction, toward a certain shore, in favor of a given destination.  Without this, people lose sight of why they do what they do.  When that happens they become disillusioned, unmotivated and hopeless.  Your vision is the only thing that will attract new followers, like volunteers and donors, to your cause. For that reason you should always be trying to hone your vision, to learn how to more clearly articulate it and how to keep make it as bold and inspiring as possible.  Its been said that people give to people, but based on experience, I would say people give to people...with vision. 

#2 Is My Organization Sustainable?

Competent managers are often promoted to lead organizations.  They often fail because management and leadership are very different.  Leaders should not be focused on the day-to-day running of their organizations.  If they are, that is all they will get done.  Leaders must have an advancement agenda. They must be about promoting their vision, as well as the relationships and strategies that will advance their organization by attracting more followers, more volunteers, more friends in the community and of course, more donors.  This presupposes that the organization is stable and that the leader's daily output is not needed to keep it going.  If that is the case, the leader's first task it to replace himself in the structure of the organization so he is free to lead.  Sadly, many leaders never get out of survival mode to a place where sustainability is a given, and true leadership can take the organization to a new level.

#3 How Can I Make Others Successful?

God's economy is very different.  Jesus made it clear, to lead in a Christian organization, one must serve.  For leaders, this translates to developing those around them, helping them grow and become more and more successful at what they do.  Leaders do this by defining outcomes, setting goals, and making sure the organization has the resources it needs to grow.  Great leaders develop more great leaders. Sharing knowledge, giving opportunity, taking risks with people and allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes.  They model servant leadership causing its pragmatic ideals to be replicated both inside the organization and all around its sphere of influence.

#4 What Must Change?

It's trite, but so true..."Change is the only thing you can ever count on."  Leaders cannot fear change, they must thrive on it. Leadership built on faith in God as provider gives us boldness and assurance to make the most radical changes confidently.  Leaders do not bend the mission and certainly not the vision of the organization around obstacles, even if they come in human form.  There is balance between compassion, patience and long suffering with individuals and taking an organization where you know it should go as a leader.  Some people believe you can never fire anyone in ministry.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  "Hire slowly and fire swiftly" is the best advice a leader can heed.  There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3).  Leaders often have to winnow through their resources, separating wheat from the chaff.  It is also in the leaders calling to separate the sheep from the goats. Never be afraid to change something, as long as it contributes to your mission, is in line with your values and helps propel you toward your vision.  

#5 Am I Listening To God?

"Never let them see you sweat" is a motto best suited for antiperspirant commercials; it has no real place in leadership.  Far from it, sometimes the best thing a leader can do is let people see how totally dependent on God they really are.  This dependence must include a daily walk that is fueled by prayer and time in the scriptures.  Jesus modeled this while on earth, often withdrawing from crowds and even his own disciples to commune with the Father.  Look how many leaders in the Old Testament failed because they stopped listening to God.  Saul comes to mind.  Ground yourself in the word and let God show you the next steps to take.  You will never be disappointed, and more importantly, you will never be disappointing to those in your organization.

What do you think? Are there other critical questions a leader should ask? Email me at Jerry.Grimes@Advocace.com and let me know your thoughts. 

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Storytelling: Your Secret Weapon

Great stories can make great things happen for your ministry.  But you can't wait for them to happen or for the stories you need to advance your work with donors, volunteers and the community to just come to you.  You must build a storytelling culture within your organization.  Find out how to take the first right steps to making that happen.

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  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,