Reading A Volunteer’s Mind

It may come as a surprise to some of you that we encourage everyone to learn how to read a volunteer’s mind as soon as they walk in the door and volunteer to help.   Some of our clients are more successful than others.  Here are some recommendations for “the others.” If you are an organization … [Read more...]

10 Year-End Fundraising Tips

Identify the 10-15 major donors who have yet to give in 2011, assign them to board members for solicitation. Identify 50-100 donors who have yet to give in 2011 and make face-to-face visits to ask them for increased year-end gifts. Don't let reluctant volunteers hold you back. Warm up your … [Read more...]

Nonprofit Finance Committee 101

In many nonprofits, the few people who specialize in finance review the budget and the rest of the board nods – without any real understanding either of the information, let alone the specific role of the finance committee.  Here is a brief overview of what ought to be expected: The finance … [Read more...]

Ways For Nonprofit Staff To Use Committees

Utilizing a committee in a useful but not over-reaching manner is not always easy.  Here are a few reminders about what is and is not an appropriate path. A committee should have a clear, written charge. The committee leader can speak for his or her role in the committee – but not the … [Read more...]

What I Did Before Writing This Article

This morning, I made two phone calls, spent forty-five minutes on email, changed the laundry (I do work at home), and drank 1½ cups of coffee.  Why am I telling you this?  And more importantly, why do you care? Because one of the biggest complaints Mersky, Jaffe & Associates hears from … [Read more...]

Leadership – The Risk And The Reward

Every day, there are opportunities to “lead.”  It could be in the work place, at home, or while volunteering in the community.  The chance to make a difference, chart new territory and galvanize a team beckons us to the front of the line.  However, for all the excitement and promise, passion and … [Read more...]

Development vs. Fundraising – What Are You Practicing?

Are you in development or fundraising? Do you know the difference? Well, it’s the difference between being the president of a Parent-Teachers Council and the president of the board of a nonprofit. PTCs, in general, are good fundraisers. In the current state of schools – they have to be good in order … [Read more...]

Hiring a Volunteer

The concept of “hiring” a volunteer has become increasingly relevant. A wide variety of organizations have “employed” volunteers for years in obvious ways – working at a hospital gift shop or helping with lunch duty at a school (I do this once a month). But pushing the concept a bit further, … [Read more...]

A Perfect Example

For anyone in the Boston area who is even mildly interested in philanthropy, you know that the Museum of Fine Arts’ recently concluded capital campaign exceeded any fundraising efforts by a cultural institution by three times the highest previous amount. It was a huge victory for the community in so … [Read more...]

Q. How can I get lay leaders to participate in training for both governance and solicitation?

A. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink?” Unfortunately, I am only half kidding. Getting lay leaders to participate is a matter of changing the culture of the organization. And without letting the lay leaders off of the hook – there must be … [Read more...]