#GivingTuesday– a good idea? A great idea? Another idea??


We are one month away from Giving Tuesday, defined on its website as:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Now, in Seattle we are incorporating GiveBIG in the spring, our own annual giving appeals, events/galas, and more to create a balanced strategy for funding each year.  I admit to feeling a bit forced to participate in all these great campaigns.  I sure need to pay attention to them.
But when I stop, and take a breath, is #GivingTuesday that bad?  I think if we did a campaign that just asked for money, it would be too much.  Folks just spent money at our Gala and we are going to be sending direct mail at the end of the year.  So this year, we are going to focus on the volunteer aspect of #GivingTuesday and ask folks to give their time that day.  The time of year to say THANKS to our community.  And thanks to our volunteers.
I welcome any discussion on this.  Good? Bad? Gimmick?  Regardless, I am thankful for our donors and thankful for the work of all non-profits.

AFP- Martini Monday in Seattle- tonight. We’ll be talking the pros/cons of crowdfunding

Tonight at 5pm, if you are in the Seattle area, come have a martini tonight and discuss the good and bad sides of Crowdfunding. This talk is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


How many of you have been asked by a boss or board member to come up with a crowd-funding campaign like the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS? I have been part of a very successful crowd-funding campaign and I am still in the same camp as most Development Directors. I can’t come up with a trending campaign by waiving a magic wand. That said, I am always ready for the perfect storm to come together.
1. Trending hash-tag- already newsworthy.
2. Something that pulls a community together or appeals to social media narcissistic tendencies.
3. A genuine reason to need that money right now.

Tonight I will talk about an online campaign vs. a crowd-funding whirlwind. See you there.. Hook and Plow, Downtown Seattle at 5pm.


Camping trip success

Back from the Elwha River and I do want to share the successes and challenges of the donor camping trip, for any of you crazy enough to try this.

photo 1

1. Everyone had a great time.
2. The most challenging donors grew on me and it was worth it.  Remember to take a day off afterward to relax.  Try not to get pink eye like I did and end up out of work for a week…
3. Even if they do read everything you send them, they may just ignore it, since they donated and may feel entitled.  Not everyone, but be ready.


photo 4

So, basically, we had a donor show up really early and ask more than they should have of our host. I arrived just after they did to set up– and while everything was okaaaaay– it was not great manners on their part. They had lots of demands of the host who was letting us camp on his private property. I did ask they help with their requests. They did.

I brought extra everything. Only needed a few things. Most folks came prepared. On both mornings our guests did want breakfast earlier than what was on the schedule.  Plus several donors stayed an extra night and then were at breakfast the next day. So, if you do multiple nights, expect some may stay longer than you expect.  Just add to the breakfast headcount in advance.

I can say it was one of the BEST ways to make friends with donors and make long-lasting relationships. On both nights we were lucky enough to watch a film outside called Damnation. Then the next day we rafted the very river where the dams came out last year. It was magic.

photo 3

If you want to raft the Elwha– here are the folks to contact. Olympic Raft & Kayak.  They are terrific!

photo 2

Oh– and best quote of the whole trip. I called home to talk to my three year old daughter and ask if she was being good for dad. Her response? “Well, Mom, Dad is drinking a lot.”  Oh, boy.

Donor camping trips

This weekend I am in charge of a handful of major donors who will be camping on the shores of one of the wildest and most beautiful rivers in Washington State. We’ll be rafting on the newly freed Elwha River, whose dams were removed last year and the salmon are returning.


Donors. Camping. Upfront we let folks know it’s casual. Breakfast will be provided and dinner is around the campfire. But I am wondering about expectations. This is not my family going out for the weekend. These are folks, in some cases, that I have never met. I’ll bring extra tents, sleeping bags and bug spray.

And a whole lot of patience.

Grapes grow best in bunches

I just came from an non-profit summit, hosted by an local chamber of commerce.  And while at first, we might think, “Hey, we are all after the same corporate, individual and institutional dollars.  I compete with all the groups here…”  I think that instead…

Grapes grow best in bunches.


I think non-profits who network together and build on their strengths are in the end stronger, healthier and able to still reach their funders.  Many years ago, I started a theatre alliance.  Sure, we were in a small town and “competed” for ticket sales, but we learned that we could actually reach more audience members together AND they attended all of our shows. Well, not all of them.  But we did see cross-over in our sales reports.

We were in competition with our audience member’s remote control at home. Not each other. 

PLUS, it made for much needed monthly get lunches or happy hours (or both?! Wait, no…) where we could really share what we were going through together.

Here’s to reaching out to the best varietals out there and making friends.




It’s Wednesday and I have to admit… I LOVE running reports.  I am not a numbers person.  I don’t like paying bills.  I am no accountant. I would rather be out playing in the sun, riding my bike, scuba diving, getting a root canal.  But by Wednesday I just have to run reports, as many as possible, and stare for long hours at our donor statistics.

Yes, all good fundraisers use metrics to make decisions.  But I am starting to think I would rather stare at my numbers than pick up the phone.  I mean, it’s time.  Major donor cultivation, set up visits, get on the phone with board members time.

Reminds me of cleaning my room when I should be doing homework.

I write about this:

  • to let other fundraisers know they are not alone if they feel this way.
  • to put off picking up the phone, or running more reports. I really love the SYBNTY.  And I am a real sucker for % of attrition over a three year period.


Report Photo


Okay, whining complete.  I am now going to do that incredibly important major donor stuff.  I’ll report back how it goes.  I’ll even run you a report.