LIGHTHOUSE COUNSEL BLOG

Four Myths that Drive the Fear of Fundraising (and How to Overcome Them)

July 26, 2018 by
Karen Kemp

I am one of those people who would do just about anything to avoid having to participate in fundraising activities such as selling raffle tickets, magazine subscriptions, boxes of cookies, tickets to an event and so on. You get the idea. When my daughters were in elementary school I chaired the PTA, which made for […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a results-driven fundraising and nonprofit professional, serving as CEO of several South Georgia nonprofits where she built strong relationships across Georgia and under the gold dome in Atlanta. She served for ten years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign.

A Thank You Makes a Difference

July 3, 2018 by
Lauren Zook

Every nonprofit organization has a vision, a mission, a goal. Every one of them has a story to tell (about itself), and every one of them has stories to tell (about the people it serves and about impact, about how bad situations got better, how problems got solved and about the help of passionate donors). […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Zook

Lauren rejoins Lighthouse Counsel with more than 16 years of experience in creating and implementing nonprofit fundraising campaigns. As consultant and client support director, she consults with clients in fundraising, strategic planning and board development, as well as coordinate client support services. Most recently, Lauren was director of development and alumni relations at St. Paul Christian Academy in Nashville where she led the annual giving campaign to exceed its goals. Prior to that, she was a development director for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, a client support team member with Lighthouse Counsel and the annual fund coordinator and planned giving assistant at WGBH, a PBS member television station in Boston.

Three Irrefutable Truths about Successful Donor Communications

May 25, 2018 by
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

While recently having dinner with a friend, she told me about her experience with a well-known nonprofit where she volunteers. After completing her volunteer responsibility, she returned her supplies to the organization along with a financial contribution. Knowing my friend, I am sure her check was not insignificant. She received her obligatory computer-generated thank you […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is a Lighthouse Counsel writer and editor. Most recently, Margaret was the chief scribe and content manager for The Resource Alliance, a London based nonprofit that curates the International Fundraising Congress in Holland, IFC Asia in Bangkok and IFC Pop-Up events in South Africa. Prior to that, she was the editor-in-chief of the US-based FundRaising Success (now NonProfit Pro) for 13 years. Margaret has been an editor for America Online and held chief editor positions with a number of newspapers and magazines in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas. Margaret is a tireless advocate for the nonprofit sector, a collector and teller of stories, and a starry-eyed champion of people who want to make the world a better place.

Four Tips for Engaging and Developing New Donors

March 14, 2018 by
Kathy Gaston

A football team blows the big game. A promising business venture struggles and sputters. In the days that follow, more often than not, you will hear these words: “Let’s go back to the basics and learn what we’re doing wrong.” In professional fundraising, there is often benefit in “going back to the basics” with renewed […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Davidson County, Tenn., where she led two capital campaigns that raised more than $9 million, directed all volunteer activities, and shepherded the annual fund. Kathy is a regular presenter at national conferences of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Independent Schools. She received the Circle of Excellence Award from CASE for overall improvement in educational fundraising and is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association.

Getting Back to the Basics with Your Annual Fund

February 8, 2017 by
Tom Landrum

Being the executive director of a not-for-profit organization is one of the most rewarding opportunities in the world.  In the same breath I will tell you it is also a complicated challenge.  You must manage multiple bottom lines – mission, financial, and a group of bosses (rather than one). It’s not easy. How do you […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Landrum

Tom S. Landrum has more than 40 years experience in institutional advancement, including work in communications, fund raising and alumni relations. He has been involved in four comprehensive capital campaigns, and led a fund raising team at the University of Georgia that set records by raising more than $100 million a year. Tom serves as a senior consultant for the Lighthouse Counsel team.

5 Critical Questions To Ask Before Taking That Executive Director Position

October 7, 2016 by
Doug Kohl

Relationships are vital, but ultimately you have to know how and when to make the ask For many of us, the journey to becoming a fundraising professional is unplanned. Guided by a strong inner philanthropic compass, we direct our energies toward raising money for causes and missions close to us. The reality, though, is that […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Kohl

Doug brings more than four decades of experience working within the YMCA of the USA. He began his Y career in camping services at the Honolulu Y in 1971 and since then has worked at branches in Cleveland and Chicago. He was executive director of the Arthur Jordan Branch in Indianapolis from 1985 to 1991 and was CEO of the Akron Area Y. Under Doug’s leadership, the Akron Y raised more than $2.4 million in annual support and $40 million for capital improvements, and its annual operating budget has grown from $3.7 million to $19 million. He is currently the Chief Development Officer of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

Know How and When to Make the Ask

September 21, 2016 by
Guy Mallabone

I had a very rewarding and challenging fundraising position when I was with a large academic medical center. We had a rich history spanning well over 100 years, including founders who were some of the country’s most storied industrialists. Even many of our present day benefactors were well-to-do. The institution was known for being rich so when I met with donors in our pipeline to encourage additional giving, I was often met with their self-deduced logic of, “They don’t need my money.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Mallabone

Guy Mallabone is president and CEO at Global Philanthropic Canada Inc. In October, you’ll find him at the International Fundraising Congress (IFC) where he’ll present a masterclass, “A deep dive into donor-centered, major gift fundraising,” and a session on “Exercising your ask muscle.”

Tell Me Your Story

August 3, 2016 by
Doug Kohl

On a recent trip to Rome, Ga., I had the opportunity to visit Berry College. Berry is a beautiful place nestled on 30,000 acres in Northwest Georgia, making it the largest college campus in America. The school was founded in 1902 by Martha Berry to serve rural boys when few public schools existed in Georgia. […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Kohl

Doug brings more than four decades of experience working within the YMCA of the USA. He began his Y career in camping services at the Honolulu Y in 1971 and since then has worked at branches in Cleveland and Chicago. He was executive director of the Arthur Jordan Branch in Indianapolis from 1985 to 1991 and was CEO of the Akron Area Y. Under Doug’s leadership, the Akron Y raised more than $2.4 million in annual support and $40 million for capital improvements, and its annual operating budget has grown from $3.7 million to $19 million. He is currently the Chief Development Officer of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

The Power of Giving

August 25, 2016 by
Kelly Smith

I’ve had the privilege of working with many nonprofits during my career, from the smallest human services agencies to large colleges and universities. It has been a great pleasure to watch a number of them start as fledgling nonprofits and grow into highly successful organizations that meet important needs in the communities they serve. Some […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Smith

Kelly comes to Lighthouse Counsel from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she held a number of development positions including assistant director of development, stewardship manager and annual giving manager. Prior to her work with the medical center, Kelly was a client services analyst and human resources training coordinator at The Affinion Group and an account representative at The Berry Co. Kelly was formerly president of the Nashville chapter of the UGA Alumni Association, a Chapter of the Year during her tenure. She also was a UGA Alumni Association board member.

When in Doubt: Reboot!

September 8, 2016 by
Tom Landrum

In the nonprofit business, we hear it over and over—“our board is not committed to fundraising.” Unfortunately, many nonprofit executives complain about this dilemma and have no idea how to solve it. Luckily, the steps to developing a culture of fundraising and philanthropy are very simple and can be accomplished over a period of time. […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Landrum

Tom S. Landrum has more than 40 years experience in institutional advancement, including work in communications, fund raising and alumni relations. He has been involved in four comprehensive capital campaigns, and led a fund raising team at the University of Georgia that set records by raising more than $100 million a year. Tom serves as a senior consultant for the Lighthouse Counsel team.

Developing a Culture of Fundraising and Philanthropy on Your Board

June 15, 2016 by
Dave Fulscher

If change is so great, why is it so hard?  It’s hard because it’s partly about creation and partly about blowing up the past.  Change challenges our present state by allowing a new vision to rush in.  If we are open to change new possibilities flow in to our lives.  If we are not open […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Fulscher

In his more than 36 years in fundraising, Dave has overseen more than 20 successful annual and capital campaigns, raising millions of dollars for YMCAs in Ohio, Texas and Florida.

Dave has a wealth of experience in endowment campaigns, membership development, project management, facility operations, board recruitment and public relations. His work with volunteers to elevate the mission of the YMCA earned him the prestigious 2005 North American YMCA Development Organization Eagle Award for fundraising excellence.

Great Results Begin with Good Governance

May 27, 2016 by
Karen Kemp

I have become a huge advocate for the planning process. But it wasn’t always that way. In my previous job as a development director, I felt that I knew our constituency better than any consultant coming in to help with a campaign. (This seems to be a common theme with many development directors.) Our organization […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a results-driven fundraising and nonprofit professional, serving as CEO of several South Georgia nonprofits where she built strong relationships across Georgia and under the gold dome in Atlanta. She served for ten years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign.

Martha Berry’s Fundraising Know-How Made Education a Reality for Low-Income Children

March 23, 2016 by
Karen Kemp

Most of us in the fundraising field have heard over the past few years that a major concern for nonprofits is the alarming rate of declining retention among their donors. This probably grew out of the Great Recession where we were so concerned about raising money in very tight times that the emphasis on relating to […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a results-driven fundraising and nonprofit professional, serving as CEO of several South Georgia nonprofits where she built strong relationships across Georgia and under the gold dome in Atlanta. She served for ten years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign.

When Was The Last Time We Talked?

March 11, 2016 by
Lou Anne Dulaney

In the very near future, millennial engagement will be essential for nonprofits to continue cultivating a pipeline of support for years to come. However, for many nonprofits, garnering support from my generation is a major challenge. Millennials, also called “The Global Generation” or “Generation Connect,” have grown up in an entirely different environment from Generation […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lou Anne Dulaney

Lou Anne brings extensive experience in nonprofit development and strategic planning to the Lighthouse Counsel team. She is former director of development for the Siloam Family Health Center and has worked with the Tennessee Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, as well as in a variety of development positions at Western Kentucky University, University of Central Florida and Auburn University.

Change Is Hard

February 26, 2016 by
Doug Kohl

There are basic, learned by kindergarten, principles that apply to fundraising. We often overcomplicate the path to successful fundraising. Here are a few tips that are guaranteed to help you leverage dollars: ASK: If you don’t ask, you are guaranteed a “No”. Money and pledges rarely find you or the cause you represent; you must […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Kohl

Doug brings more than four decades of experience working within the YMCA of the USA. He began his Y career in camping services at the Honolulu Y in 1971 and since then has worked at branches in Cleveland and Chicago. He was executive director of the Arthur Jordan Branch in Indianapolis from 1985 to 1991 and was CEO of the Akron Area Y. Under Doug’s leadership, the Akron Y raised more than $2.4 million in annual support and $40 million for capital improvements, and its annual operating budget has grown from $3.7 million to $19 million. He is currently the Chief Development Officer of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

Get Ready. Get Set. Plan!

January 14, 2016 by
Kathy Gaston

As a snowboard instructor, I’m familiar with the “Smart Style” guidelines created by the National Ski Areas Association to help snowboarders and skiers be safe and have fun in freestyle terrain parks. And as a fundraiser, I see the value in Smart Style’s points and how they can apply to fundraising. Those points include: 1. […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Davidson County, Tenn., where she led two capital campaigns that raised more than $9 million, directed all volunteer activities, and shepherded the annual fund. Kathy is a regular presenter at national conferences of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Independent Schools. She received the Circle of Excellence Award from CASE for overall improvement in educational fundraising and is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association.

Donor Retention Made Easy

November 30, 2015 by
Dave Fulscher

A great deal of effort is often expended in securing a major gift. The early identification of a prospect, careful research into interests and capacity, and systematic cultivation efforts that precede the ask may involve a process of many months, even years. When a high-end, major gift is made, it should be a “no-brainer” to […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Fulscher

In his more than 36 years in fundraising, Dave has overseen more than 20 successful annual and capital campaigns, raising millions of dollars for YMCAs in Ohio, Texas and Florida.

Dave has a wealth of experience in endowment campaigns, membership development, project management, facility operations, board recruitment and public relations. His work with volunteers to elevate the mission of the YMCA earned him the prestigious 2005 North American YMCA Development Organization Eagle Award for fundraising excellence.

The Importance of “the Cause” for Millennials

November 13, 2015 by
Corey Haynes

In more than 30 years of working with nonprofits, the Lighthouse Counsel team has been able to increase financial security for its clients in part through the solicitation of free product, service and equipment from community businesses—what is commonly known as in-kind contributions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Corey Haynes

4 Keys to Millennial Giving

August 21, 2015 by
Asher Orr

Talented staff members are your organization’s greatest resource. In a world where the best and the brightest are often wooed by large organizations offering high salaries and endless perks, nonprofits often find themselves fighting to recruit the best and the brightest for their organizations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Asher Orr

Magnets for Money for Mission

June 19, 2015 by
Meredith Stiff

In this inspiring video, Cal Turner, Jr. shares his insight on philanthropy. He also discusses his experience through Dollar General and recounts a time when his father, Cal Turner, Sr. helped him understand the meaning of philanthropy and the importance of serving others.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meredith Stiff

Apply “Smart Style” to Fundraising

January 27, 2015 by
Larry Griffin

Our team works diligently to provide vital counsel and direction to nonprofits, shining as a fixed point of light as they focus on transforming lives for the better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Larry Griffin

Larry brings a strong background in nonprofit leadership and fundraising to Lighthouse Counsel. His 35-year career culminated in leadership as the senior vice president and COO of the Akron Area YMCA. He is an avid snowboarder and shares that passion as a certified snowboard instructor at a small resort in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

Personal Donor Relations and Stewardship: An Essential Practice for High End Major Gifts

December 31, 2014 by
Tom Landrum

How many times have you had someone from a non-profit say “this is a friend raiser not a fund raiser”? While I agree that every organization needs “friends” the tricky part is turning those friends into donors. Every young organization needs to build their donor base with “friends” but it is crucial to know how to turn that base into the foundation of your organization.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Landrum

Tom S. Landrum has more than 40 years experience in institutional advancement, including work in communications, fund raising and alumni relations. He has been involved in four comprehensive capital campaigns, and led a fund raising team at the University of Georgia that set records by raising more than $100 million a year. Tom serves as a senior consultant for the Lighthouse Counsel team.

Serve Your Nonprofit’s Purpose with In-Kind Donations

July 16, 2014 by
Dave Fulscher

I quickly glanced at the appeal letter before tossing it aside. More sobering statistics about starving children in a war torn country. My mind knew that I should be touched (who doesn’t want to help starving children, right?), but my heart was not moved. Chances are your heart isn’t moved either by the dozens of appeal letters that cross your desk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Fulscher

In his more than 36 years in fundraising, Dave has overseen more than 20 successful annual and capital campaigns, raising millions of dollars for YMCAs in Ohio, Texas and Florida.

Dave has a wealth of experience in endowment campaigns, membership development, project management, facility operations, board recruitment and public relations. His work with volunteers to elevate the mission of the YMCA earned him the prestigious 2005 North American YMCA Development Organization Eagle Award for fundraising excellence.

The Fight for Talent – Is Your Nonprofit Winning?

June 4, 2014 by
Yolanda Darville

Talented staff members are your organization’s greatest resource. In a world where the best and the brightest are often wooed by large organizations offering high salaries and endless perks, nonprofits often find themselves fighting to recruit the best and the brightest for their organizations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yolanda Darville

Yolanda brings international experience to Lighthouse Counsel where she served as the Development Director of Queen’s College, and most recently as the Executive Director for Hands For Hunger in Nassau, Bahamas. She is active with her church, Bahamas Harvest Church, and co-leads an organization focused on teaching leadership, providing mentors and promoting high self-esteem in girls of color.

Is Your Board Bored?

June 4, 2014 by
Yolanda Darville

No one wants to admit it, but it’s happened to all of us. We’ve found ourselves looking at a room full of talented, dedicated volunteers with their eyes glazed over and yawning. You try to ignore the elephant standing there in the nonprofit meeting room, but let’s face it – your board members are finding your board meetings boring!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yolanda Darville

Yolanda brings international experience to Lighthouse Counsel where she served as the Development Director of Queen’s College, and most recently as the Executive Director for Hands For Hunger in Nassau, Bahamas. She is active with her church, Bahamas Harvest Church, and co-leads an organization focused on teaching leadership, providing mentors and promoting high self-esteem in girls of color.

Conversation with a Philanthropist: Cal Turner, Jr.

May 16, 2014 by
Lighthouse Counsel

In this inspiring video, Cal Turner, Jr. shares his insight on philanthropy. He also discusses his experience through Dollar General and recounts a time when his father, Cal Turner, Sr. helped him understand the meaning of philanthropy and the importance of serving others.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lighthouse Counsel

Lighthouse Counsel partners with respected nonprofits to develop and implement strategies that increase mission awareness, organizational effectiveness and philanthropic support.

Donor Commitments Are Not An Overnight Romance!

May 2, 2014 by
Yolanda Darville

Imagine that your dearest friend announces that he is engaged to someone that he just met yesterday. How would you react? You’d probably chastise him by calling him foolish and reckless. You’d tell him that he just didn’t know enough about this person and that it was too soon for such a big commitment!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yolanda Darville

Yolanda brings international experience to Lighthouse Counsel where she served as the Development Director of Queen’s College, and most recently as the Executive Director for Hands For Hunger in Nassau, Bahamas. She is active with her church, Bahamas Harvest Church, and co-leads an organization focused on teaching leadership, providing mentors and promoting high self-esteem in girls of color.

Lighthouse Counsel’s 15th Anniversary Nonprofit Tips for 2014!

January 28, 2014 by
Lighthouse Counsel

Our team works diligently to provide vital counsel and direction to nonprofits, shining as a fixed point of light as they focus on transforming lives for the better. As we commemorate our 15th anniversary of service this year, we wanted to share some tips for nonprofits in 2014.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lighthouse Counsel

Lighthouse Counsel partners with respected nonprofits to develop and implement strategies that increase mission awareness, organizational effectiveness and philanthropic support.

Donor Engagement: Do Your Homework!

January 10, 2014 by
Lou Anne Dulaney

Recently my husband and I attended a volunteer appreciation event for an agency where I volunteer weekly, 2 -3 hours. Actually, I was to receive an award for volunteer service, my name and picture were in the program and on the table tents. We have been consistent annual fund supporters via a donor directed gift through United Way, which can be hard to track, I know. To my utter amazement, not one member of the agency development team or leadership spoke to us. The board chair finally took it upon himself to come over to congratulate us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lou Anne Dulaney

Lou Anne brings extensive experience in nonprofit development and strategic planning to the Lighthouse Counsel team. She is former director of development for the Siloam Family Health Center and has worked with the Tennessee Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, as well as in a variety of development positions at Western Kentucky University, University of Central Florida and Auburn University.

Laying the Foundation for Your “Friend” Raisers

November 15, 2013 by
Kathy Gaston

How many times have you had someone from a non-profit say “this is a friend raiser not a fund raiser”? While I agree that every organization needs “friends” the tricky part is turning those friends into donors. Every young organization needs to build their donor base with “friends” but it is crucial to know how to turn that base into the foundation of your organization.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Davidson County, Tenn., where she led two capital campaigns that raised more than $9 million, directed all volunteer activities, and shepherded the annual fund. Kathy is a regular presenter at national conferences of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Independent Schools. She received the Circle of Excellence Award from CASE for overall improvement in educational fundraising and is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association.

Paint A Picture To Get Results: Creating A Compelling Story

September 2, 2013 by
Yolanda Darville

I quickly glanced at the appeal letter before tossing it aside. More sobering statistics about starving children in a war torn country. My mind knew that I should be touched (who doesn’t want to help starving children, right?), but my heart was not moved. Chances are your heart isn’t moved either by the dozens of appeal letters that cross your desk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yolanda Darville

Yolanda brings international experience to Lighthouse Counsel where she served as the Development Director of Queen’s College, and most recently as the Executive Director for Hands For Hunger in Nassau, Bahamas. She is active with her church, Bahamas Harvest Church, and co-leads an organization focused on teaching leadership, providing mentors and promoting high self-esteem in girls of color.