Fundraising Skills

How to make your fundraising results compound…

I was recently told an illuminating story about the legendary basketball coach, Pat Riley, widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches of all time. (Attention, if you’re more interested in growing your fundraising success than basketball, I promise the basketball bit of this will be both brief and relevant.) Apparently, in one exhausting... Read more

Fame vs technique – Who won?

The TV presenter spoke passionately. Her charisma is well-known. We listened. And then the fundraiser stood up to speak… I was recently at an event where we heard these two presentations. Both were intelligent and articulately argued, but one of them made a far bigger impact on the audience. Question: Which one? Answer: The presentation... Read more

The Dufresne Jolt – a fundraising lesson from the Shawshank Redemption

My favourite moment in the Shawshank Redemption is the look on the evil warden’s face when he finally discovers the tunnel that Andy Dufresne has been digging under his nose. I love it because finding the tunnel jolts my understanding of the entire plot up to this point, in which the nasty warden had seemed... Read more

Does your ethical policy empower or distract?

‘Should we accept money from the arms manufacturer?’ I was recently coaching the fundraising director of a small charity with a connection to the armed services. She said one of her biggest time-wasters was internal arguments about whether to accept support from a particular military supplier. I asked if she had an ethical policy which... Read more

The Theory of Desirable Difficulty

Can you find advantage in your biggest disadvantage? Many people are aware that Richard Branson is dyslexic. Until recently I had not been aware of research that shows that he shares this characteristic with many other entrepreneurs. Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a... Read more

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

My five year old son is not bad at hand writing. But to be honest I think he does find it more boring and harder work than some of his more sedentary class-mates. And yet during half term week, he voluntarily spent nearly two hours researching and writing a six page ‘book’. And he really... Read more

Two techniques I learned from a professional story-teller

In 2002 I noticed that the fundraisers around me with outstanding results, used more specific stories when they chatted to supporters, than people who got merely ‘average’ or ‘good’ results.     My problem was I was not good at this. It was harder than it looked. So in order to get more confident, I... Read more

Evidence – Do stories really increase fundraising income?

Mother Theresa once said, ‘if I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will’. So stories are very useful if you’re in the business of helping people want to give. Actually I’ve found that the big news is not that telling stories is an essential ingredient of... Read more

But wait there's more: Three essential fundraising lessons from the self-proclaimed Salesman of the Century

I read the amazing life story of the ultimate ‘board-walk pitchman’ Ron Pompeil, in The Pitchman, an article by Malcolm Gladwell. I was intrigued by the influencing power of this extraordinary entrepreneur. If you sense you could be more successful when talking to your supporters, then Ron’s techniques will help. Over the last ten years... Read more

Treating Trusts as Major Donors

Would you like your trust fundraising results to grow? I wanted to share some ideas from one of the outstanding sessions at this year’s IOF Convention.   Lucy Sargent and James Holland of Marie Curie Cancer Care told the story of how trust income has increased from £1m / year four years ago, to £3.5m... Read more