General fundraising: September 2010 Archives

September 20, 2010

Seminar Recap: Fundraising for Startup Groups

Thanks to all the enthusiastic participants in last week's seminar at the Foundation Center in San Francisco, discussing where to start with one's fundraising efforts. My focus was on considering what assets your group already has to work with -- in other words, instead of starting out by saying, "We need to write a grant," look at what skills, knowledge, and connections your staff, volunteers, and other members have, then decide how to best match those up to likely fundraising methods.

The best part for me was hearing the audience share ideas and brainstorm. Social media was definitely big on people's minds -- one participant said her group currently does ALL of its fundraising via social media, and is now facing the challenge of expanding to other fundraising methods! It's the very opposite of the position some groups are in, wondering how and whether to move into the social media realm. (I wonder which crossover is easier to make?)

Another participant was concerned about the issue of how to start charging people for information that they'd always given away for free -- a sensitive issue, but not insurmountable. Sometimes, asking for donations to cover costs is the first way in which a group actually makes the public aware that it's a nonprofit!

You can also see what one of the Foundation Center's incredibly helpful librarians posted about the event, here.

September 13, 2010

Fundraising for Startup Nonprofits: Free Seminar

I'll be speaking this Thursday, September 16th, at the Foundation Center in San Francisco, on fundraising strategies for the new or startup nonprofit.

This is partly to celebrate the third edition of my book, Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits, having just hit the shelves.

Get details on the seminar and register at

See you there!
September 6, 2010

Catch the Magic of a Live Auction on A Prairie Home Companion

Silent auctions seem to have become every nonprofit's default -- they can be tucked away in a side room during a gala dinner, and you don't have to pay an auctioneer.

But, for, a reminder of the energy that a live auction can create, check out the September 4, 2010 edition of A Prairie Home Companion. Host Garrison Keillor interviews auctioneer Bill Berg (ever wondered how someone becomes an auctioneer?) and they auction off two stuffed chickens (as in the fuzzy, toy kind) for charity -- and bring in a whopping $220. (After clicking the link, scroll down to "Segment 3," and move the little bar to "78:25.")

As Keillor says, Berg is "capable of taking charge of a large crowd of people and extorting more money from them than they ever thought they had to spend." And he does it in such a happy voice, almost as if he's singing. If you end up wanting to hire him, however, get ready to pay his plane fare from Minnesota.