Flight of the Fundraiser turns two!

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Two years ago, I decided to further my personal development and start blogging about fundraising. Since then, I’ve met so many wonderful fundraisers who’ve encouraged and supported me. Thank you!

I’ve written over 100 articles and had several guest bloggers contribute. It’s so wonderful to see how much this personal project has grown and I am thrilled that you all keep reading my stuff.

Here are your top 5 most-read articles from the last 2 years!

How Thank You letters can make a difference

How close is too close? Keeping it professional with donors

Cultivation pays

I don’t have time to hand write thank you letters

Why you should be friends with other fundraisers

Have you had a favourite article? Or would you like to write a guest post? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!


No room for me here – A guest blog by John Lepp!

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Week after week, as I look through my mother-in-law’s mail box of direct mail, wading through the commercialized, overly-branded, perfectly-typeset in Gotham, full of boasting and praise for itself, “charitable” appeals, I shake my head and think, there’s no room for me here. There’s no room for me, the donor.

I read tweet after tweet about the next big SCORE of a major gift for your new wing at your hospital, with a giant, perfectly-lit photograph of another old white guy, beaming ear to ear holding a big cheque with your major gifts officer, handshakes all around, and I get a crease in my brow and think, there’s no room for me here. There’s no room for me, the donor.

I see website after website, talking about this new campaign, this new problem, this latest thing we totally fixed, or the latest anniversary and celebration, with beautiful stock photos, reversed out type and oh! hey! look! a tiny “donate” button… ruining another otherwise gorgeous wordpress template, and you know, I stretch my hand off my mouse and I think, there’s no room for me here. There’s no room for me, the donor.

I wonder what your donor did to make parts of your team loathe them so much. I wonder why I never hear about a fundraiser getting to approve all the “churn” that comes out of the marketing department. I wonder why people find it so hard to be emotive in their language, and loving in their actions with their donors. I wonder what makes YOU so much more important than THEM?

I look at you and think there’s no room for me here.

And I don’t stop giving.

I just stop giving to you.

And you still don’t accept the blame.


Agent John is a long time marketer, designer and ranter. Agent Jen calls him “authentic”. Others may not be so kind. The truth is, John wears his heart on his sleeve and when provoked will wave his hands and raise his voice an octave as he voices his frustration and opinions. And a blog post may even come of it.

Find him on Twitter @johnlepp

And check out Agents of Good here

Why you should be friends with other fundraisers!


So you’ve nailed a wonderful fundraising position in a fantastic org! Amazing! In an ideal world, you’ll be surrounded by other inspirational and driven fundraisers from whom you can garner all kinds of nuggets of fundraising wisdom! But what if you work in a tiny team? Or even in a solo team? Who is there to bounce an idea around with? Who can you turn to to complain about how your colleagues just don’t get fundraising?

Being friends with other fundraisers is one of the most valuable things you can do as a fundraiser. They relate to your struggles and wins in ways your colleagues sometimes just can’t. Fundraisers tread similar paths within their organisations and overcome many of the same obstacles you will face along the way. Having a group of fundraising friends provides a unique support network of like-minded individuals who are more than likely going to be thrilled to spend an evening chatting with you about what’s going on in your fundraising department.

Over the years I’ve met up with fundraisers to discuss how to tackle Trustee relationships, to proof read my latest Direct Mail appeal, to have a moan about that one colleague that seems to have a chip on their shoulder especially just for me. But I’ve also met with them to celebrate their wins, launch their newly founded charities, give them advice on things I have experience in and be the listening ear that they need too.

Fundraisers are some of the most generous people I’ve ever come across, giving up their time to freely offer advice and support to others. So if you’re feeling lost, alone or like you just want to chat to someone who might give you a second opinion on your latest project, ask a fundraiser to meet you for drinks!

I’ve met some of my favourite people through fundraiser socials, connecting on twitter or just chatting at fundraising training days. And they have led to some incredible friendships, opportunities for development and introductions to even more incredible charity folk! (I have several exciting projects happening this year all down to being friends with these fabulous people! Keep your eyes peeled!)

If you don’t know where to start, have a look on facebook for ‘fundraising chat’ the closed group specifically for advice and support for fundraisers, by fundraisers. Then do a search on twitter for #fundraiser on the people section and just start following!

This blog post is a tribute to my fundraiser friends and all of the support, advice and love they have given and continue to give! I couldn’t do what I do without you and I certainly wouldn’t be blogging or speaking at conferences without you! Thank you x

Who are your favourite fundraising friends?

Corporate Fundraising – How To!

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Ever wanted to know more about Corporate Fundraising? Do you have a low budget but a drive to be the best fundraiser you can be? Well, today is your lucky day! My fundraising pal Simon Scriver has put together an affordable online training course around corporate fundraising AND as a small New Year present to my loyal subscribers, you get a discount when you use the voucher code ‘FLIGHTFUNDRAISER’.

Simon is one of the most knowledgeable fundraisers I know and this course is guaranteed to be full of information and helpful hints on maximising your corporate income now! Follow this link straight to the course!

Why you can’t fake #donorlove

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Donor love is simple. It’s a genuine quest to demonstrate to your donors how much you appreciate them. If you want to see higher retention rates and have a more engaged group of donors, practice donor love.

Phone your donors, write them a love letter, send them a delighter. Make them feel worthy and show them that you mean it when you say that they are important to you.

I’ve drawn on the similarities between dating and fundraising before…

This time though, I’ll be clear that you can’t pretend to love your donors. In the same way that you shouldn’t tell someone you love them if you don’t mean it, you shouldn’t treat your donors that way either.

If you are going to practice donor love, be genuine, be real, make it emotional, live it.

Getting someone’s name wrong, mixing up appointments, messaging the wrong person or heaven forbid being a fundraising cheat and giving donor love to someone else digitally while ignoring another donor in front of you… this is not donor love. This is fake, and donors see through it and tire quickly.

Practice donor love well and you will have the hearts and minds of your donors. Don’t and you will leave a bitter taste in their mouth.

What’s your favourite way to show a donor you care?