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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

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Volunteers: You Have Not Because You Ask Not

The Missing Ingredient Ever forget to mix just one ingredient into a recipe only to experience disastrous results? Bread won't rise without yeast, cakes go flat without a little baking powder and eggs just don't taste right without salt.  Leaving out just one, small ingredient can make all the difference.   That's true for your ministry, too, especially if the missing ingredient is a volunteer program.  I am amazed that ministry people we talk to all around the country are so overworked and hampered financially, yet they almost refuse to seek out volunteers who can help them.  Volunteers can breathe new life into your ministry, help you do more with less, and interestingly, dramatically improve your development program. Ask, Seek, Knock Volunteers can come from a variety of sources.  Christian radio stations need only advertise their need for volunteers to help out in the office, make donor calls, handle the mail, run events and more just by running a few spots or "liner ...

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The Lapsed, Declined & The Disengaged

They said they'd give, but never did! They gave you a credit card, but it was declined!  They used to give to you, but you haven't heard from them lately...or for a long time! What will you do you with lapsed, declined and disengaged donors?  They can be frustrating, but they can also be the most rewarding segment in your donor file.  Find out why and how to deal with them effectively.

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Painful Truth: You Aren't Serious About Major Gifts

Get real about your major gifts fundraising effort by developing a plan, tracking it and reporting results.  Get tips on doing those three things as you learn about major gifts fundraising best practices that set successful Christian organizations apart. 

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Writing the Perfect Fundraising Letter

Writing fundraising letters that really work and raise money isn't easy, but a dedicated writer can find success by applying a few tricks of the trade carefully.

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Development Consultants: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The last thing I ever wanted to be was a development consultant.  I hated fundraising. I hated consultants even more.  And now look at me, sitting here, writing this as a development consultant! Maybe that gives me some room to address the topic of hiring people like me.  In the next few minutes, I want to tell you what I have learned about development and why consultants, if they are the right ones, can actually help your organization grow.  When it comes to consultants, you really have the good, the bad and the ugly.   The Good Consultants who are worth hiring not only offer you experience, they are teachers. They love to impart knowledge and help people grow in their understanding of development.  They impart truth, like best practices, proven techniques, and researched results.  They also confront bad habits and speak the truth firmly, but in love.  In short, a good consultant will not only fish for you, they will teach you how to fish.  At the end of ...

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Ready, Set, Get Ready! Success With Capital Campaigns

Are capital campaign feasibility studies always necessary? Are they worth the dollars invested, and should you consider one before undertaking your big building project or expansion?  Find out why when it comes to capital campaigns, a "read, aim, aim" approach can really pay off. 

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The Election Is Over. Now What?

From a fundraising standpoint, you might be wondering what your next few steps should be, and how the re-election of Barack Obama for a second term might impact Christian organizations like yours. Many economists worry that divided government and inaction on some of the country's most pressing economic issues could trigger a second recession. Others fear specific actions that this government might take, including higher taxes or increased regulation, both of which could strangle job growth. Yet, there are things your organization can do to prepare for this tumultuous climate. Get Your Fiscal House In Order Major donors will still be giving to Christian causes, even if there is another recession or other bad economic news. However, if the last few years have taught us anything it is the importance of trust between donors and the organizations they support. Demonstrate you are responsible and trustworthy with donated funds by submitting to an audit, publishing an annual report and providing yo ...

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Asking Naturally: Replacing Fear With Faith

Don't Second That Emotion! This whole business of asking for money conjures up a whole host of emotions.  I've seen men and women with titles like "Executive Director" and "President" quake with fear when they are told that the only way their ministries will survive is to take up the regular practice of looking other people in the eye and asking for help. I've seen board members and volunteers get red-faced angry with veins sticking out of their necks when I tell them the best way to fulfill their obligation of service is to go ask their friends to support the ministry.  Anger and fear like this have caused some people to make some pretty bad decisions...Things like firing development directors for poor performance when the real problem is a lack of participation by the board and top leadership in the development process. Or, hiring a consulting firm or agency to "fix" a fundraising problem that is essentially a lack of focus on major gifts. Replace Fear With Faith Anger and fear have n ...

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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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Bore No More: Writing Fundraising Letters That Work

Friendly Is Best Fundraising writing doesn't have to be boring. It's time to ditch that high and mighty tone so many of your letters have and start treating your donors like friends, because that's what they are. Come on. It's not like you are writing some formal letter to someone you don't know very well. Think about it. You and your donors have a fairly close relationship going on, even if you've never met face-to-face. They've given you some of their hard-earned money because they connected with you around your mission, vision and values.  Intimacy has already been established and it can only be broken by stiff, cold communication that keeps your donors at arm's length. Stir The Emotions: Compliment a warm, friendly family tone to your letters with high emotional impact.  Drop empty terms like "under served," "programs and services" and "projects." from your vocabulary for appeals, acknowledgements and updates. Sometimes technical jargon that has to do with the kind of ministry you ar ...

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Comments
  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,

Jerry