Weekly Ideas

Each week we email a Philanthropy Counts® Series idea (it takes less than a minute to read) about fundraising, something we think will be important to you in your fundraising efforts. Some issues in fundraising arise time and again— they may be unique to your situation, but not necessarily to development. We can help guide you through the pit-falls of asking for the gift or how to motivate a volunteer. We'll give you an edge.

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Published December 11, 2013

Weekly Idea - Reminder for Dreamers

Dr. Ed Huckeby is president of Southwestern Christian University (Oklahoma). He tells me that every morning, as soon as he arrives on campus, he reads this little piece he wrote.

I am the campus dreamer.
I see the exciting possibilities.
I am an eternal optimist.
I understand that ALL things are possible.
I also know that SOME things are not probable.
However, that does not keep me from being the campus dreamer.

It occurs to me that we are not all college presidents . . . but we can all use a daily reminder that we are our organization’s dreamer. We make magic happen. We are the spark that ignites the blaze. Through our efforts, we change lives. We save lives.

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Published December 4, 2013

Weekly Idea - Donor Giving Levels


The Susan B. Anthony organization is a 501 c(4). What intrigued me is the manner in which they display their benefits to investors at various giving levels.

You don’t have to be in alignment with their mission in order to appreciate the outstanding job they’ve done in offering increments as the giving increases.

We are often asked how to effectively showcase the dividends to an organization’s investor.  Here’s an excellent example.

By the way, to my taste, I would not have started with anything lower than $1,000. But Susan B. Anthony is a Direct Mail machine. They get gifts by the thousands at lower levels—and they want to applaud them.

This will give you an idea of what the giving grid looks like. If you want to see a larger readable version, click here.

The Susan B. Anthony organization's grid with benefits to investors at various giving levels.

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Published November 27, 2013

Weekly Idea - Our Cup is Filled to the BrimMessage from Jerold Panas, Blessings overflow and are unceasing


Several years ago, we prepared a Thanksgiving message.

We couldn’t possibly anticipate what happened. We had hundreds who asked for permission to copy and use it (permission granted, of course).

We have used the piece the last several years. We continue to get letters and e-mails. They come by the dozens. The message has obviously touched the heart and spirit.

We repeat it this year once more. Click here to see your pdf copy of the message.

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Published November 20, 2013

Weekly Idea - The Call to Get the Appointment

Our Partner, Jay Frost, writes in his weekly Fundraising Digest: "Not long ago, I met with a terrific young fundraiser at a major university. She was having a problem with her phone.  And it wasn't mechanical."

"I have no trouble meeting with people," she said. "But I just freeze when I have to make a call. I just don't know what to say."

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Published November 13, 2013

Weekly Idea - The Story of Farmer Fleming

This story comes to me from Jim Miller. He is Vice President of Children's Hospital of Central California.

It's an excellent illustration for all of us in the field. You don't always know or recognize the impact you make on a person's life. It is well to remember that you are in the business of changing lives and saving lives. In your institution, you make this happen. You are the spark that ignites a blaze.

Here is Jim's story.

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Published November 6, 2013

Weekly Idea - A Gift of Pearls What Would You Do?

This actually happened. The Vice President of a well-known and prestigious private university had been calling on a very wealthy widow, a major donor, for a number of years.

There were always several visits a year. And regular telephone calls and letters. The relationship was very close. On one occasion, the donor said to the Vice President, “I love these visits. You know in some way, I think of you as being a daughter of mine.”

A month or so ago, they are meeting in the donor’s living room.After an hour or so, the donor asks to be excused.She goes to her bedroom.She comes out holding a small box.

(After you read the rest of the article E-mail me your response
by November 15th, 2013. Be sure to include a mailing address so we can send you a copy of the Little Gold Book.)

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Posted October 30, 2013

Weekly Idea - A Very Special Ketubah

Perhaps you do not know what a Ketubah is.  I didn’t.It is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage. It outlines the responsibilities of the groom in relation to the bride. It is a sacred vow. A commitment.

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Posted October 23, 2013

Weekly Idea - Must I Give Again?

The other day, I came across this poem in an old file. I first discovered it thirty years ago. Feel free to use it any way you wish— a brochure, a direct mail piece, a letter to donors, your quarterly newsletter, whatever.