Archive for the 'Resource Roundup' Category

Wanna Sound Really Smart? Read these articles!

Greetings!  I hope you and your families are having a great holiday season so far.

I also hope you’ve enjoyed the selection of articles on TopSchoolFundraisers. com this month.  There have been some very interesting fundraising-related news items in the last few weeks that I’ve written about.  I’d love to read your comments, so please feel free to drop us a line!

As always, if you are looking for fundraising ideas or great products to raise money for your school, please head on over to!  They have an amazing selection of products with proven results.

As I’m sure you know by now, we also have a sister blog,  That site has a broader non-profit focus, but there are some terrific articles that would be helpful to anyone looking to learn more about raising money.  Below, I have posted some links to articles that appreared on StepByStepFundraising this month.  I hope you take a few minutes to check them out!

Thanks, and we’ll see you right back here in December!


5 Sure-Fire Ways to Increase Revenue in Your Product Sale Fundraiser

Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sale, by Marc A. Pitman

Getting your Charity Auction Volunteers to Buy-in and Work, by Sherry Truhlar

Got problems getting event volunteers energized to do what is needed to be done?

Here’s one tip: Give volunteers something new and creative to learn which simultaneously solves a problem your charity auction is experiencing.

Volunteers will remain engaged if they believe the solution you are sharing is 1) fun and 2) will solve the problem. When it’s fun to solve the problem, your volunteers will do it…

The Main Difference Between Facebook and Twitter, by John Haydon

How Simple Development Systems Will Create Sustainable Funding, by Pamela Grow

Building a ‘Level Four’ Vision, by Kirsten Bullock

Blogs vs. Facebook for Nonprofits, by Gayle Thorsen

Over the past few months, I’ve helped a couple nonprofit clients who are ready to move into social media decide whether to go with a blog or Facebook. (I’ll talk about Twitter strategies in a future post. It’s kind of a different animal.)

Most approach it as an either/or decision because of their limited staff resources. That’s a real concern. If you truly don’t have the staff time to blog at least once a week or make a Facebook update twice a week, you shouldn’t be considering either medium.

If you do have adequate staff resources, go back to your strategic communications plan to make this decision. You have to start there—with what you want to happen as a result of your communications efforts. (If you need help with strategic communications planning, here’s the first part of my four-part DIY series.)

Want Better Meetings? Know when NOT to meet, by Maureen Carruthers

How Often Should a Board Meet? by Gayle Gifford

The Grant Writing Hall of Shame by Betsy Baker

4 Rock-Solid Ways to Raise More Year-End Money, by Amy Eisenstein

1. Make a list of your top 10 to 50 donors.

Determine whether or not they have given yet this year and at what level.

2. Call them.

If they have not given yet this year, ask for a meeting. In a real time crunch, skip the meeting and talk to them by phone. Thank them for their prior support and tell them how their money was used. Remind them they haven’t given yet this year and ask for a gift in excess of what they gave last year. Have materials to justify your ask, such as you’re serving more clients or you want to start a new program, etc.

If they have already given this year, at prior years’ levels or higher, call and thank them. Let them know how their donation was used. If appropriate (which it sometimes is), ask for more.

Six Critical Things to Look For in a Foundation’s 990 For Successful Grant Funding, by Pamela Grow

Wanna Sound Really Smart? Read These Articles!

While most people associate the end of October with Halloween, we at TopSchoolFundraisers know that if it’s the end of the month, it’s time for the monthly check in with our sister site, StepByStepFundraising.

As usual, we have a great mix of fundraising advice that is beneficial to all non-profit organizations, including schools.  So, even if you are only involved in your child’s elementary school fundraisers, you should still check out StepByStep.  There’s something for everyone.  And with so many different authors contributing, you’re sure to find a style and perspective that you identify with.

So, here is a list of article links and I’ve included a short excerpt on and few of them.  Enjoy and see you in November!

Insurance for your benefit auction ain’t a bad idea, by Sherry Truhlar

 Last year, a 2010 Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle was stolen. The bike was painted pink and signed by a number of country music stars, such as Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, and Taylor Swift.

Here’s the kicker: It had been donated to be sold in a benefit auction to benefit the Lexington affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The bike had been stored inside a trailer secured by chains in the organization’s parking lot. When employees returned to the office after the weekend, they noticed it was gone.


The bike sounds irreplaceable, but I hope at least they had some insurance.

From my event management days, here are some types of event-specific insurance you can consider as you plan your benefit auction.

Recession-proof Fundraising, by Marc A. Pitman

12 ways Facebook users can like your nonprofit Facebook Page, by John Haydon

Why Don’t They Care? By Kirsten Bullock

Nonprofits: Create “customer pathways” to build loyalty, by Gayle Thorseon

Seven Secrets to Great Nonprofit Leadership, by Pamela Grow

 1. The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. RALPH NADER

In other words, let your leaders lead.

I worked as part of a five-person development team for a large organization for twelve long months. During that time period three development directors came and went, not to mention program staff, membership staff, the CFO and more.

The problem? A CEO with a brilliant knack for finding and hiring talent … coupled with an utter inability to let loose of the reins and let her people do their jobs.

2. You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF

Learn from bad leadership (see above). But don’t forget the lessons learned by observing a genuinely good leader either.

We’ve all heard the horrible board stories, yet how many “good board” stories have you heard?

I had the good fortune to work with one Executive Director who was nothing short of brilliant at putting together a remarkably cohesive board (and this for a tiny nonprofit agency with a yearly budget of $500,000) of remarkably diverse individuals. Every member of that board brought their own unique gifts to the table, whether it was in terms of connections, education, creative thinking or – let’s be blunt here – plenty of money.

4 Poor Excuses for Avoiding Social Media, by Maureen Carruthers

What does your Board Treasurer do? by Gayle Gifford

4 Simple Steps to Asking Individuals for Donations, by Amy Eisenstein

The #1 Thing Keeping You From What You Want

This is one of my favorite photos of my son Rhodes as he is finishing his first race – which just happened to be at Disney World.  The clay track at the ESPN field where the race took place was packed with excited kids; most holding hands with even more excited parents.  The atmosphere was festive with a live band, balloons, favorite Disney characters and a race director tasked with herding the cats, I mean the children, onto the track for the race to begin.

Anticipation for this day had been building as my husband Norm and I both have participated in several races and were eager for Rhodes’ first.  We explained to Rhodes before the race that while he was to run as fast as he could, what was really important was to just have fun and finish the race.  Rhodes had another idea.

As the starter pistol shot rang out, I was holding hands with Rhodes because he was only three at the time and I didn’t want him to get lost in a sea of strangers.  But as we ran, Rhodes began pulling away from me and trying to wriggle out of my grasp.  It was obvious – his eye was on the prize and he was there to win that race.

Leverage Your Alumni for Organizational Development

Wanna Sound Really Smart? Read these articles!

Each month, at the end of the month, I like to take this one blog post to share with you all of the other articles either a handful of excellent guest authors or I have written for the FastTrack Fundraising family of blogs.

Some people may just check out one or two of these three sites on a regular basis, but we think all three have sound advice to share.  Hopefully, you’ll take a few minutes to check these other blogs out.

Thank you all for spending your time with us.  As always, if you are ever in search of great ideas for your fundraising needs, please visit  They have a wide selection of proven fundraising products.  You are sure to find just the perfect item (or items!) for your non-profit organization.

Thanks for reading!

Jim Berigan continue reading

Wanna Sound Really Smart? Read these articles!

Here it is, the end of the month once again.  As is my custom, I am posting links to all of the articles I have written for FundraisingIdeas and Step by Step Fundraising.

I hope you take a few minutes to check out these posts and don’t forget to visit our friends over at FastTrackFundraising for all your fundraising needs!

See you in May!

– Jim Berigan

10 Fundraising Clichés That You Should Avoid

Would You Do Something Absolutely Crazy for Your Non-profit?

Sound Fundraising Advice from 1970s Television

A Creative Way to Get Your Non-profit’s Competitive Juices Flowing

The Value of Non-Board Board Members

The Pressure of Coming up with a Catchy Fundraiser Name

What Do You Have to Think About When Choosing a For-Profit Fundraising Partner

What If You Didn’t Throw a Fundraiser and Everybody Still Came?

Make More of What You’ve Already Got

Two Unusual and Profitable Fundraising Events You May Never Have Heard Of

An Excellent Example of a Non-profit Partnership in Action

4 reasons your staff should donate money to your non-profit first

5 Things You Can Do to Avoid being the Non-profit that Gets Cut from the Family’s Donation Budget

The Advantages of Working for a Non-Profit over a For-Profit

Step By Step Fundraising

A Quiz for Perspective Board Members

6 Ways to Increase Optimism about Fundraising at Your Non-profit

Shrink those floral centerpieces at your benefit auction, by Sherry Truhlar

10 Reasons to Contact Donors Other Than to Ask for Money

Mobile giving: 4 trends nonprofits should consider, by Gayle Thorsen

Is Your Organization Grant Ready? by Betsy Baker

Your nonprofit doesn’t need a blog, by Joanna Miles

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Nonprofit Leadership, by Amy Eisenstein

Surprise! Are You Ready to Fundraise?

Are you overwhelming board members with hidden expectations? By Gayle Gifford

Online Fundraising for Tiny Nonprofits: A Case Study, by Maureen Carruthers

Resource Round-Up April 2011

Each month, I read dozens of news articles and blog posts about non-profit fundraising.  I am able to write about a few of them, but not nearly everything that catches my eye.

Here are a few links to the articles I liked, but wasn’t able to get to this month.


– Jim Berigan

Sooner Jr. reopens tonight with free mini golf

Teen club is collecting donations for nonprofit

Players Tournament seeks to double fundraising

Wine, women and shoes are a perfect fit at this kickin’ event on May 5

Raising Money to Build a Better Mousetrap

5 Ways to Make Sure Board Members Aren’t Bored by Amy Eisenstein

Add Some Polish to an Existing Grant Proposal by Betsy Baker

The Wisdom of the Old Spice Man by Joanna Miles

Social Media Success Series: 7 Tips for Creating Viral Content by Maureen Carruthers

Three ways to pamper the 40+ crowd at your silent auction by Sherry Truhlar