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LIGHTHOUSE COUNSEL BLOG

Building a Career in the Nonprofit Sector, Part 1 (or why I stayed in nonprofit work for 44 years)

January 12, 2023
Pamela Barden

Did you deliberately choose to work in the nonprofit sector? Or was it an accident/chance/last best hope/another unintentional move? For me, it was totally unplanned. I graduated from college at the ripe old age of 20 at a time when inflation was in double digits and unemployment was high. Finding a job was difficult, so […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Barden

Pamela has amassed more than 40 years of non-profit experience. As president of PJ Barden Inc., she counsels non-profits, helping them develop their fundraising strategies and writing copy to achieve their goals. She previously taught fundraising courses in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California, and the Fundraising Certification Program at UCLA Extension. Pamela is a former vice president at Russ Reid. Before that, she led fundraising [...]

Lessons from Giving Institute Fall Meeting

November 22, 2022
Ryan Woroniecki

Earlier this month, Lighthouse Counsel President Jeff Jowdy and I spoke at the Giving Institute fall meeting. The Giving Institute is the professional association of top ethical for-profits that help nonprofits fundraise. It is the sister organization of The Giving USA Foundation.   The meeting included great educational sessions, many from the Mentor Series designed to […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Woroniecki

Ryan Woroniecki has more than a decade of experience in fundraising. He previously was the vice president of strategic partnerships at DonorSearch, where he oversaw the build of integrated products into leading nonprofit CRMs and advised more than 100 fundraising consultants on how to better use wealth screening and analytics with their clients. He has helped hundreds of nonprofits with various prospect development efforts.  Ryan sits on the board of The Giving Institute, where he has served a [...]

Don’t get spooked by scary fundraising missteps. Turn those tricks into treats

October 28, 2022
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

It’s Halloween! Let’s knock on some doors and see what tricks befall us. Maybe we can conjure up a few treats, as well.  Scary door #1: The “Stop Direct-Mail Acquisition” Trick  This door, decorated for the holiday with dollar bills, is tempting — but knock at your own risk. If this disaster dressed up for Halloween, […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

Key Steps to Avoiding a Fundraising Fumble

October 18, 2022
Kathy Gaston

Fall is synonymous with football! But in the nonprofit world, fall is end-of-year giving time. How you approach your donors will mean the difference between a touchdown and a fumble. I recently received an email solicitation from an institution I have been very involved with; it was emailed to my address, but the letter itself […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation. Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association, has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Associ [...]

Giving USA 2022 Report Briefing: 2021 Giving Flat But Still Well Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

September 16, 2022
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Once again, the charitable sector in the United States is looking healthy. That was the big-picture message to come out of Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2021. In a briefing on the report hosted this summer by Lighthouse Counsel, Dr. Anna Pruitt, a Giving USA lead researcher, talked about […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

Deepening engagement with donors means knowing when not to ask

August 19, 2022
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Does your organization hold out its hand, asking for donations? Or does it reach out, seeking connections? The difference is vital. The former speaks of imbalance; of a taker who seems to be looking for one-way transactions and saying, “Trust me, I know better than you how to make a difference in the world.”  But […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

Donors are heroes. Let’s make sure they know it!

April 12, 2022
Yolanda Darville

Every memorable story has a hero. The hero is always the main character who sees a problem, overcomes adversity and selflessly saves the day. Who is the hero of your nonprofit’s story? If your organization’s storytelling is crafted around the narrative that your nonprofit is making an impact all by itself, then you are missing […]

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. [...]

Treat Employees Like Volunteers

January 13, 2022
Howard Cohen

Most organizations expect more from their professional employees than the employees are contractually obligated to perform. For example, universities need faculty members to serve on committees; social service agencies need employees to attend community events; businesses use employees to staff job fairs. Much of this work is necessary for the well-being of the organization, and […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Howard Cohen

Howard is chancellor emeritus at Purdue University Northwest. His career in higher education has spanned more than 50 years. His areas of practice include strategic and academic planning, department chair leadership, leadership team development and organization structural transformation. Howard has held academic appointments as a professor of philosophy and administrative appointments as department chair, program director, dean, provost and chancellor, serving at the University of Massachuset [...]

The Stewardship of Giving in Christian Organizations

November 18, 2021
David Key

Many times, we think of stewardship as fundraising to pay off the church building and cover the pastor’s salary. But the stewardship of giving is more than a response to the generosity of God. The foundational principle of stewardship is that God is the owner of all, and we are simply passing on a portion […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Key

David brings more than 30 years of experience as a pastor, teacher, trainer and recognized leader to the Lighthouse Counsel team. David serves on the faculty at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, where he teaches leadership and organizational development to state and governmental officials throughout Georgia. David also serves as the founding pastor of the multidenominational Lake Oconee Community Church in Greensboro, Georgia. For seventeen years, David was [...]

Five steps for improving racial diversity, equity and inclusion on nonprofit boards

October 18, 2021
Jennifer Gamble

The Black Lives Matter movement may have raised awareness of racial injustice in America and inspired an increase in charitable gifts to communities of color, but it doesn’t seem to have had a significant effect on increasing racial diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on governing boards, particularly for nonprofits. According to a 2021 BoardSource report, […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Gamble

Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Nelson PR & Communications, a public relations consulting and services agency. Her career in public relations and communications spans more than 25 years. Previously, she was president and CEO of Prevent Blindness Tennessee and led public relations efforts for the Tennessee Bankers Association and Tennessee Higher Education Commission. In 2019, Jennifer was elected to the Metro Council of Nashville and Davidson County, representing District 3. Current [...]

Giving USA 2021 Report Briefing

September 30, 2021
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Panel: U.S. nonprofits can adopt lessons learned during pandemic for 2021 and beyond Lighthouse Counsel is honored to be a member firm of The Giving Institute. In June 2021, we presented the findings of the institute’s Giving USA 2020 report during a virtual gathering titled “Giving USA 2021 Briefing.” The briefing started with Dr. Una […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

Giving USA 2021 Report: Giving set all-time high in 2020

September 20, 2021
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

The news is good. Very good. While it’s hard to believe a statement like that — coming off a year and a half marked by an unprecedented-in-our-lifetime health crisis, political and economic turmoil, and a global movement around racial and social justice — it’s true when it comes to overall charitable giving. During Lighthouse Counsel’s […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

Donor Recognition

August 31, 2021
David Snow

The proper recognition of donors by an organization is both a responsibility and a privilege. A donor who has invested in the work of the charity deserves to be recognized. Stewardship requires the organization to acknowledge a donor’s contribution for their partnership in advancing the cause of the nonprofit. While there are other benefits from […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Snow

David brings more than four decades of experience in executive and development leadership in healthcare, education and social services. He is an expert in annual support campaigns and endowment development strategy, with the unique perspective of a staff member, a volunteer and a major donor. Most recently, David served as chief development officer of the YMCA of Greater Houston for 10 years, doubling its annual campaign to nearly $8 million, significantly growing the endowment and leading $5 [...]

10 Ways to Encourage Estate Planning

June 15, 2021
Gail Glasser

If your organization accepts estate or planned gifts — and it should! — there’s never a wrong time to cue your donors’ thoughts and actions toward their estate plans. That means the perfect time … is now. Remind your donors that if they are fortunate to have an estate plan already, they should work with […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Glasser

Gail possesses 30 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, major gifts, capital campaigns, annual campaigns, planned giving, integrated communication and board development. She serves as the director of philanthropic outreach for a national nonprofit. She is also a past president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Central Kentucky, and she was the chief advancement officer for the YMCA of Greater Houston, YMCA of Greater St. Louis (now the Gateway YMCA) and Capital Distr [...]

Direct Mail: Yesterday’s News or Today’s Fundraising Story?

May 21, 2021
Pamela Barden

In my years as a fundraiser, one ongoing debate has been, “Is direct mail dead?” Judging by my mailbox (not to mention the results I see from nonprofits), direct mail remains alive and strong. From weekly grocery store ads and letters reminding me it’s time to review my insurance options, to feeding hungry children, to […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Barden

Pamela has amassed more than 40 years of non-profit experience. As president of PJ Barden Inc., she counsels non-profits, helping them develop their fundraising strategies and writing copy to achieve their goals. She previously taught fundraising courses in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California, and the Fundraising Certification Program at UCLA Extension. Pamela is a former vice president at Russ Reid. Before that, she led fundraising [...]

Volunteerism: A value-added experience

April 16, 2021
Harry Chapman

National Volunteer Week is a great time not only to recognize those who serve but to talk about the qualities of a successful volunteer. To paraphrase spiritual leader and author Elizabeth Andrew, volunteers don’t always have the time; they just have the heart! Volunteers reflect unselfish caring and patience. Giving back is a way of […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harry Chapman

Harry provides more than 35 years’ experience in development and communications. Harry formerly served as director of special projects and major gifts at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Before that, he worked at WTVF-TV as a news anchor, reporter, documentary producer, entertainment reporter and host of the top-rated show Talk of the Town. After retiring from WTVF, Harry continued to host the program Words & Music, produced in partnership with the Nashville Songwriters Asso [...]

Patience: A Fundraising Virtue?

January 24, 2021
David Snow

Is patience a fundraising virtue? Absolutely!  Patience, however, is not the lackadaisical approach of cultivation meeting after cultivation meeting with a donor while not moving the relationship deeper. It is not timidness or reluctance to make an appropriate ask for the appropriate amount at the appropriate time. Patience is not standing still or treading water. […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Snow

David brings more than four decades of experience in executive and development leadership in healthcare, education and social services. He is an expert in annual support campaigns and endowment development strategy, with the unique perspective of a staff member, a volunteer and a major donor. Most recently, David served as chief development officer of the YMCA of Greater Houston for 10 years, doubling its annual campaign to nearly $8 million, significantly growing the endowment and leading $5 [...]

Stewardship in the time of COVID-19

December 23, 2020
Gail Glasser

Creating lifelong donors requires a special kind of love. With a pandemic in the mix, a nonprofit’s ability to navigate donor relationships requires additional creativity, intention and rigor.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Glasser

Gail possesses 30 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, major gifts, capital campaigns, annual campaigns, planned giving, integrated communication and board development. She serves as the director of philanthropic outreach for a national nonprofit. She is also a past president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Central Kentucky, and she was the chief advancement officer for the YMCA of Greater Houston, YMCA of Greater St. Louis (now the Gateway YMCA) and Capital Distr [...]

Seven Keys To Effective Nonprofit Communications During COVID-19

August 14, 2020
Karen Kemp

What a different world we must navigate during the current pandemic. There is so much uncertainty right now.  Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed the lives of all Americans. We see it every time we turn on the news. Twitter and other social media sites are full of stories, sometimes uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking. Families […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising and nonprofit professional. She served for 10 years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign. She has also served as executive director of four nonprofits in the health, arts and human services fields; in these roles, she managed annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, board development, special events and communications. Karen is [...]

Change your Perspective: Look in from the Outside

June 23, 2020
Pamela Barden

Ah, the perfect world: a world where we have plenty of money to do research and make decisions based on well-documented findings that provide a deep level of confidence in decision making. Sadly, most of us don’t live in the perfect world. In our world, we may only have money for the very basics — […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Barden

Pamela has amassed more than 40 years of non-profit experience. As president of PJ Barden Inc., she counsels non-profits, helping them develop their fundraising strategies and writing copy to achieve their goals. She previously taught fundraising courses in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California, and the Fundraising Certification Program at UCLA Extension. Pamela is a former vice president at Russ Reid. Before that, she led fundraising [...]

Strategic Planning Keeps You Out Of The Weeds

April 28, 2020
Kathy Gaston

Several weeks ago, while watching one of the earlier presidential press briefings detailing the COVID-19 crisis, I had an epiphany.   The speakers were giving an overall view of the pandemic and explaining what was being done to put all the necessary procedures in place. When it came time for the press to ask questions, I […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation. Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association, has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Associ [...]

Don’t Disconnect During Challenging Times

March 21, 2020
Jeff Jowdy

“As uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic continued to rattle markets and our psyches, a group of America’s foremost experts on giving and fundraising happened to be gathered for a regular board meeting of Giving USA – and ended up shaping recommendations for how all nonprofits can respond. Their main advice: Don’t stop talking to big […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Jowdy

A veteran of nonprofit leadership and fundraising, Jeff has been the guiding force behind Lighthouse Counsel since founding it in 1999. As senior vice president of development for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, Jeff led one of the nation’s most successful YMCA fundraising programs. He also was senior managing director at Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners. Prior to that, he served as advancement director at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia. He began his fundraising career as executiv [...]

A New Year, a New Decade, a New Outlook

February 18, 2020
Kathy Gaston

You know the old saying, “Hindsight is 20|20!” Well, I am proposing a new saying for this new decade: “20|20 vision is staying focused on the future.” Where do you want your nonprofit to be at the end of this decade? Do you have the board to get you there? How are your financial resources […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation. Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association, has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Associ [...]

Celebrating 20 Years Of Relationship Building And Client Success

January 20, 2020
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

As Lighthouse Counsel concludes its celebration of 20 years in service to the nonprofit sector, President Jeff Jowdy can’t help but feel great gratitude for the blessings he and his team have received over the past two decades. Since founding Lighthouse in 1999, Jowdy has built a team dedicated to professional excellence and fueled by […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

The Ask

August 25, 2019
David Snow

The “ask” is at the core of our work as development professionals. It is the critical moment of transforming a prospect into a donor. The ask is actual shorthand for the respectful invitation to a cultivated prospect to invest in the mission of the organization. It is the mid-point in our relationship cycle: identification, cultivation, […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Snow

David brings more than four decades of experience in executive and development leadership in healthcare, education and social services. He is an expert in annual support campaigns and endowment development strategy, with the unique perspective of a staff member, a volunteer and a major donor. Most recently, David served as chief development officer of the YMCA of Greater Houston for 10 years, doubling its annual campaign to nearly $8 million, significantly growing the endowment and leading $5 [...]

10 Tips for Creating Authentic Donor Relationships

August 22, 2019
Karen Kemp

A family friend shared a story with me about a colleague who was the chief development officer for a national health nonprofit. The development officer wanted to get to know a local philanthropist who gave a small annual fund donation to his nonprofit each year. The CDO was aware of the donor’s generosity and her capacity to make large donations to causes she cared about. Their first contact…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising and nonprofit professional. She served for 10 years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign. She has also served as executive director of four nonprofits in the health, arts and human services fields; in these roles, she managed annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, board development, special events and communications. Karen is [...]

Faces Like Mine: A Journey of Blacks and Philanthropy

July 27, 2019
Joan Bahner

For over 20 years I have served “faces like mine” in advancement, particularly in alumni fundraising. For many of those years, I thought my constituents were just recipients of charitable giving, which seemed to be the consensus. But African Americans have always been philanthropic. It took the 2012 Kellogg Foundation study Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joan Bahner

Joan joins Lighthouse Counsel as a senior consultant. Joan has more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, policymaking, problem solving, fundraising, special projects and communication. She previously held several leadership positions at Fisk University in Nashville, including executive director of alumni affairs and development, executive director of the general alumni association, dean of student affairs and vice president for institutional advancement. As vice president for i [...]

Meet our interns!

April 4, 2019
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

The staff at Lighthouse Counsel is a close-knit family– a mixed bag of backgrounds, personalities, skill sets and interests. We range in age from quite young to not quite so. But one thing we have in common is a genuine dedication to making the world a better place. One invaluable part of our team is our interns. We love their enthusiasm, their fresh insights and their hunger to learn…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

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

July 26, 2018
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 some awkward moments when they didn’t meet their individual and

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising and nonprofit professional. She served for 10 years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign. She has also served as executive director of four nonprofits in the health, arts and human services fields; in these roles, she managed annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, board development, special events and communications. Karen is [...]

A Thank You Makes a Difference

July 3, 2018
Lauren Zook

THANK YOU! It is so easy to say, yet often forgotten. We teach this simple phrase to children when they are little, and we often correct them if they forget to say it. So, what happens as we get older, get busier, have less time and add more on our plate? We forget to say thank you. Yet, these two words make a world of difference and make an individual feel valued and appreciated.

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, s [...]

Three Irrefutable Truths about Successful Donor Communications

May 25, 2018
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

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).Your vision, your mission, your stories… they’re fabulous. Noble. Life-changing. Life-saving. Certainly enriching, and a step toward making the world a safer, saner, more hospitable, or just more beautiful and better, place to hang out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner is the podcast coordinator for Lighthouse Counsel and also has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse clients since 2008. She has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. From 2003 to 2015, Margaret was editor-in-chief of FundRaising Success magazine and currently is a communications specialist for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. [...]

Four Tips For Engaging And Developing New Donors

March 14, 2018
Kathy Gaston

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

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation. Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association, has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Associ [...]

Getting Back to the Basics with Your Annual Fund

February 8, 2017
Tom Landrum

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.”

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
Doug Kohl

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 make sure the job you’re interested in is right for you?

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 h [...]

Know How And When To Make The Ask

September 21, 2016
Guy Mallabone

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

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.” [...]

When In Doubt: Reboot!

September 8, 2016
Tom Landrum

Let’s face it.  The non-profit advancement officer is mightily challenged these days.  Especially in a small staffing situation often challenged with constant distractions and new opportunities.  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.  This is a common reality for the small shop, and unless addressed in a responsible way, it can paralyze progress and […]

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. [...]

The Power Of Giving

August 25, 2016
Kelly Smith

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 […]

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 Chapte [...]

Tell Me Your Story

August 3, 2016
Doug Kohl

“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.”These words, penned by Mark Twain, begin a story that has lasted the test of time. They begin the story of Huckleberry Finn and pull the reader into caring about a moment in time that only exists in our imagination.

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 h [...]

Developing A Culture Of Fundraising And Philanthropy On Your Board

June 15, 2016
Dave Fulscher

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

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 fun [...]

Great Results Begin with Good Governance

May 27, 2016
Karen Kemp

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising and nonprofit professional. She served for 10 years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign. She has also served as executive director of four nonprofits in the health, arts and human services fields; in these roles, she managed annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, board development, special events and communications. Karen is [...]

Martha Berry’s Fundraising Know-How Made Education A Reality For Low-Income Children

March 23, 2016
Karen Kemp

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

Karen Kemp

Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising and nonprofit professional. She served for 10 years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign. She has also served as executive director of four nonprofits in the health, arts and human services fields; in these roles, she managed annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, board development, special events and communications. Karen is [...]

When Was The Last Time We Talked?

March 11, 2016
Lou Anne Dulaney

When was the last time you talked to your best friend? When was the last time you talked with your parents or a family member? And I mean actually talked — not an electronic exchange? Or talked with a co-worker — in person, not by text or email? When was the last time you had […]

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Lou Anne Dulaney

Lou Anne brings more than 30 years experience in higher education and chambers work to Lighthouse Counsel, where she leads our development and campaign planning areas. She was previously the director of development for the Siloam Family Health Center and has worked with the Tennessee Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. Before that, she held development positions at Western Kentucky University and Auburn University, and was a campaign director at the University of Central Florida. She has als [...]

Change Is Hard

February 26, 2016
Doug Kohl

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 […]

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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 h [...]

Get Ready. Get Set. Plan!

January 14, 2016
Kathy Gaston

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.)

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Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation. Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association, has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Associ [...]

Donor Retention Made Easy

November 30, 2015
Dave Fulscher

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 our

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 fun [...]

The Importance Of “The Cause” For Millennials

November 13, 2015
Corey Haynes

At the ripe old age of 24, I consider myself a certified “Millennial,” qualified to make a few observations about what makes members of my generation different from everyone else. I am aware that my cohort has been the topic of countless studies with regard to what motivates us to give to worthwhile non-profit causes, […]

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Corey Haynes

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4 Keys to Millennial Giving

August 21, 2015
Asher Orr

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 X, Baby Boomers, and other age groups that often fill leadership roles in

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Asher Orr

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Magnets for Money for Mission

June 19, 2015
Meredith Stiff

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”.

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Meredith Stiff

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Apply “Smart Style” to Fundraising

January 27, 2015
Larry Griffin

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:

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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
Tom Landrum

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 follow-up with a carefully

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
Dave Fulscher

In more than 15 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

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 fun [...]

Is Your Board Bored?

June 4, 2014
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. [...]

The Fight for Talent – Is Your Nonprofit Winning?

June 4, 2014
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.Experts in the nonprofit recruiting field often cite these tips for recruiting the best nonprofit staff leaders:

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. [...]

Donor Commitments Are Not An Overnight Romance!

May 2, 2014
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
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.

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Lighthouse Counsel

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Donor Engagement: Do Your Homework!

January 10, 2014
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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lou Anne Dulaney

Lou Anne brings more than 30 years experience in higher education and chambers work to Lighthouse Counsel, where she leads our development and campaign planning areas. She was previously the director of development for the Siloam Family Health Center and has worked with the Tennessee Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. Before that, she held development positions at Western Kentucky University and Auburn University, and was a campaign director at the University of Central Florida. She has als [...]

Laying The Foundation For Your “Friend” Raisers

November 15, 2013
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 […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Gaston

Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation. Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association, has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Associ [...]

Paint A Picture To Get Results: Creating A Compelling Story

September 2, 2013
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. [...]