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A Seat at the Table

Several years ago, I worked with one of our clients to raise about 50 million dollars. As a part of this campaign, we helped them launch an Executive Campaign Committee, or ECC. For those of you who don’t know what an ECC is, it is a group of major donors who commit to giving lead gifts to the campaign. They …

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A Leadership Crisis

If you knew more than half of the people you work with were planning to leave their jobs, would you be concerned? That sort of news would definitely give me pause. Currently, we face that very crisis in the field of fundraising – a crisis of leadership. A recent article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy states that 51% of people involved in fundraising say …

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Say Yes

Several years ago, a close friend of mine, Ronnie, made a leap of faith. He decided to leave his position in law enforcement and go on staff with a ministry that helps train people how to share their faith. Going into full-time ministry where you have to raise your own support can be daunting, and Ronnie was also making this …

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Chased By Lions

Got your attention yet? Okay, so I didn’t actually get chased by lions this summer, but I did get to run in Kenya, in the hardest marathon of my life: the Safarithon Marathon. Running 26.2 miles in the Lewa Animal Conservancy was amazing. My finishing time was much, much slower than my best, but I finished the race. I also …

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Do It Anyway

Recently I got the chance to take a tour of Pacific Rim Christian University, in Honolulu, and to meet their president, Kent M. Keith. While visiting this small Christian college, I learned that President Keith was the person who wrote the ‘Do It Anyway’ Paradoxical Commandments that many of us have heard came from Mother Theresa. It was the late …

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Finding New Donors Who Believe in You

I would say that one of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Can you help me find new donors?” This question seems to weigh on every fundraiser’s mind, and some people even try to hire The FOCUS Group to help them answer it. Unfortunately, we can’t do that. The truth is, you don’t need us for that. In …

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Go to the Moon

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy stood before Congress and announced that before the end of the decade, America would successfully land a man on the moon. At the time America had fallen far behind in the Space Race with communist Russia. When President Kennedy made this brazen speech, even the greatest scientists in the United States were amazed. This …

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Running Out of Salad Dressing

When we interact with donors, we are often quick to offer up stories about the work our organization is doing. We want to share stories of the people we are impacting or talk about how amazing our new program is. But in our eagerness to share, we often forget to ask questions and learn the stories of the person who …

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The Unexpected Mercedes

In St. Augustine, where I live, there is an amazing organization called St. John’s Council on Aging (SJCOA). The SJCOA mainly serves the older population in our county, people 65 years and older. In Florida, this represents about 25% of our local population. The organization has a huge budget and provides vital services like Meals on Wheels, a countywide bus …

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Building a Better Vacuum

When I was growing up, we had a Hoover vacuum cleaner. It was big, it was heavy, and it didn’t work very well – that’s what I remember. In the early 1990s, in the midst of rapid technological innovation and the rise of the global internet, a teacher from the United Kingdom named Jim Dyson got frustrated with his vacuum …