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LIGHTHOUSE COUNSEL BLOG

5 tips for establishing and working through committees

June 13, 2024
Howard Cohen

A Dialogue Lisa [chair of a 15-person volunteer board of a nonprofit social service organization]: Good morning, Jean. I’m glad you had time to meet this morning. I’ve been struggling with our board member attendance at our monthly meetings. Slipping attendance is starting to become a real issue. It is occasionally hard to get a […]

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 [...]

Chaos in the Nonprofit Organization – Part 2: 6 things CEOs should not do

June 10, 2024
Len Romano

In Part 1 of “Chaos in the Nonprofit Organization,” we listed six things nonprofit boards or board members must avoid. Here is a quick summary: Now we turn the focus to six things that CEOs should avoid doing – and believe me, as a former CEO I was guilty of a few of these! My […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Len Romano

Len Romano has 40 years of experience as a leader, helping nonprofits achieve their potential. He has held leadership roles including vice president of operations at YMCA of Greater St. Louis, chief operating officer at YMCA of Greater Boston, and chief executive officer at the Denver Metropolitan YMCA, YMCA of Greater Omaha and Christian City in Union City, Georgia. Most recently, Len has provided advisory services to nonprofit executives and boards in education, community service, the ar [...]

Chaos in the organization – Part 1: 6 things nonprofit boards should not do

June 5, 2024
Len Romano

As a former nonprofit CEO and with personal experience as a board member, there are things that boards (and, yes, CEOs) could do to cause chaos in the organization.  Part one of this two-part series is focused on boards; part 2 will focus on CEOs. Here are the top six things boards (and board members) […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Len Romano

Len Romano has 40 years of experience as a leader, helping nonprofits achieve their potential. He has held leadership roles including vice president of operations at YMCA of Greater St. Louis, chief operating officer at YMCA of Greater Boston, and chief executive officer at the Denver Metropolitan YMCA, YMCA of Greater Omaha and Christian City in Union City, Georgia. Most recently, Len has provided advisory services to nonprofit executives and boards in education, community service, the ar [...]

Those darn phones: Are you competing with mobile devices for your board members’ attention?

May 28, 2024
Howard Cohen

A Dialogue Paul [chair of a 15-person volunteer board of a not-for-profit organization]: Good afternoon, Harriett. Thanks for taking my call. As you know, our board meeting is next week, and I’m struggling with an issue that is very frustrating to me. I hope we can think it out together. Harriett [vice-chair of the board]: […]

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 [...]

6 tips for handling a conversation around poor performance, demotion 

May 23, 2024
Howard Cohen

A Dialogue Sharon (executive director of a medium-size nonprofit, conducting the annual evaluation of a struggling associate director): Good morning, Lydia. As you know, we are here to conduct the in-person portion of your annual evaluation. I have read your self-assessment and the questionnaires from your 360 reviews. I would like to go over some […]

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 [...]

Leadership level giving for board members – who gets a pass?

May 20, 2024
Len Romano

Here is a question I often get (and one I had to deal with during my time as a nonprofit CEO): “Is it OK if my board members don’t give at a leadership level for annual campaigns?”  The answer is “no” unless there is an unusual exception. For capital campaigns, it is a bit more […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Len Romano

Len Romano has 40 years of experience as a leader, helping nonprofits achieve their potential. He has held leadership roles including vice president of operations at YMCA of Greater St. Louis, chief operating officer at YMCA of Greater Boston, and chief executive officer at the Denver Metropolitan YMCA, YMCA of Greater Omaha and Christian City in Union City, Georgia. Most recently, Len has provided advisory services to nonprofit executives and boards in education, community service, the ar [...]

Ask the Expert: Tips to Help You Take on 2 Nonprofit Technology Challenges

May 16, 2024
Mark Becker

When it comes to nonprofit technology challenges, two items often make it to the top of the list: limited budget and system integration. That’s not too surprising when you think about it.  After all, there are many nonprofit software options available today – for everything from customer/constituent relationship management, fundraising and marketing to volunteer management, […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Becker

Mark Becker founded Cathexis Partners in 2008, providing technical and consultative services to nonprofits of all sizes and types. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits. For more than 20 years, Mark has supported hundreds of nonprofit online fundraising efforts. [...]

11 tips for creating direct-response copywriting that works

May 15, 2024
Pamela Barden

The fundraising letter that doesn’t get read (or at least scanned) or the e-appeal that is deleted before it’s opened is unlikely to raise much income.  So, how do we write a direct mail letter or e-appeal that screams, “Read me!”? Here are some tips … In summary

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 [...]

Ask the Expert: Major gift solicitation – timing and rejection 

April 24, 2024
John O'Kane, CFRE

When soliciting a major gift, the critical question is whether the donor is primed to respond favorably. The conundrum arises when the major gift donor says “no” and the development professional is left pondering the next step.  Too often it seems like solicitation to the major gift prospect is driven by the need or timetable […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John O'Kane, CFRE

John O’Kane, principal of John O’Kane Consulting, retired after 31 years as a Professor of Practice in the Nonprofit Studies Program, Department of Public Management and Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. In 2019 he celebrated 50 years of work in the nonprofit sector, where he has gained experience with personnel management, organizational development, training, consulting and fundraising. After more than 25 years, John retired from the Atlanta fund [...]

Taking Criticism

April 23, 2024
Howard Cohen

A Dialogue Board chair (James): Good morning, Crystal. Thank you for meeting with me today. As you know, I like to meet individually with board members to get a sense of how things are going. I hope you are enjoying your experience on the board. Board member (Crystal): Thank you for this opportunity, James. I […]

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 [...]

Don’t Just Say ‘No’

April 23, 2024
Howard Cohen

A Dialogue Board chair [Susan, four years in position]:   Good morning, Dan. Thanks for rearranging your schedule to meet me this morning. I’ll try to keep to our regularly scheduled time in the future, but I know you want to get started planning the year ahead. Executive director [Dan, new to the organization (a […]

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 [...]

Technology for connection: Boost donor engagement and event outcomes using tech and AI  

April 17, 2024
Leya Simmons

In the ever-evolving landscape of nonprofit fundraising, the integration of technology into our strategies is not just an advantage; it’s become a cornerstone of success.   The rise of digital tools and artificial intelligence for nonprofit technology marks a pivotal shift, offering both a challenge and a promise to organizations looking to deepen donor engagement and […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leya Simmons

Leya Simmons is co-founder and CEO of BetterUnite. She has worked with nonprofits for her entire professional career, both on staff in fundraising and executive director capacities, as well as serving on many boards.  [...]

5 questions to help you assess your AI readiness

April 17, 2024
Ryan Woroniecki

“Artificial intelligence is a machine’s ability to perform some cognitive functions we usually associate with human minds.” (Mckinsey)  Want a better understanding of AI? Imagine talking with a toddler. They sometimes say silly and confusing things that reflect how they perceive the world with their limited experience. The same could be said for early adoption […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Woroniecki

Ryan Woroniecki spent over a decade at DonorSearch, most recently as the VP of Strategic Partnerships. His team built an ecosystem of the top fundraising consultants and technology companies including Lighthouse Counsel. He helped shape The DonorSearch product, authored the company's first corporate giving program, and designed the integration of wealth screening data in CRMs used by thousands of nonprofits today. He advised hundreds of nonprofits on their use of prospect research, wealth screen [...]

3 enduring ‘making the ask’ lessons learned from a high school candy drive

March 28, 2024
Alphonce Brown

Asking for money is an essential part of what most nonprofit organizations must do to survive, especially for major gifts as total giving increases from fewer overall donors. Without proper organization and planning, it can be challenging for both new and seasoned professionals. Almost 50 years ago, I learned the rudiments of making the ask […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alphonce Brown

Alphonce J. Brown, Jr. is the principal consultant for Docere Consulting, which he founded in 2003 to help clients achieve sustainability using new technology and proven fundraising methods. Alphonce has worked with large established nonprofits, as well as small grassroots organizations and has consulted with local, state and federal governmental agencies and international NGOs.  He was the director of development for the National Minority AIDS Council in Washington, DC; vice president o [...]

Earning The Right To Make The Ask

March 23, 2024
Kathy Gaston

Have you ever stopped to think about what gives you the right to ask someone for a gift to your organization? Having a personal relationship with the individual is a great beginning. Or sharing an inspiring story about how the organization has helped you or someone close to you is the perfect opening to a […]

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 [...]

Making the ask — and getting it right

March 15, 2024
Karen Baldwin

My favorite fundraising mentor was Jerald Panas. He has written several easy to read and, more importantly, easy to follow books on how to be successful at fundraising. My two favorite quotes form him are, in my opinion, the foundation for truly successful fundraising: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” and “No one ever […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Baldwin

Dr. Karen Meshad Baldwin has 19 years of experience in all aspects of fundraising. She was previously vice president for advancement at The University of Alabama, where she led the development division, which included major giving, planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, the annual fund, alumni relations, integrated marketing and communications and advancement services.  As a member of UA’s President’s Executive Council, Karen was a trusted advisor to senior leadership on issues [...]

Delivering Unwelcome News

March 14, 2024
Howard Cohen

A Dialogue Board Chair (Richard):  Good afternoon, Cheryl.  How are you today? [Two to three minutes of personal talk here] Thanks for making time to meet with me for our board member’s annual check-in.  I appreciate your very busy schedule. Before we get into the work of the board over the past year and your […]

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 Challenge of a Difficult Board or Committee Member on a Volunteer Board

March 1, 2024
Howard Cohen

Committee or board members who are volunteers can’t be treated as if they are employees. The chair is not their employer and does not have the usual tools of compliance that are available to an employer.  Some board or committee members have seats on the group because they are major donors to the organization or […]

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 [...]

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy in Challenging Times

February 26, 2024
Karen Kemp

We live in uncertain times.  Americans have suffered through years of a pandemic, inflation and recession.  This has created financial challenges for many families, and our country seems as polarized as it has ever been in our lifetime.   Likewise, many nonprofits, schools and universities find themselves struggling to remain engaged with donors in this […]

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 [...]

Developing as a Team

February 20, 2024
Howard Cohen

Good teamwork requires coordination, communication and cooperation among teammates. Unfortunately, too often “teams” are little more than collections of individuals who happen to report to the same leader and who meet together on a regular basis at the leader’s direction.  Members of the group may lead or manage different parts of an organization and thus […]

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 Agenda: A Leader’s Power Tool

February 1, 2024
Howard Cohen

Week in and week out, one of the most valuable tools available to a leader is the meeting agenda. The agenda should structure and give direction to a team’s work; it can signal priorities and lay the groundwork for building common understandings about the work ahead. Constructing an agenda deserves careful, consideration. Agendas should be […]

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 [...]

Helping clients navigate rough seas and reach their destination for 25 years

January 18, 2024
Jeff Jowdy

Tempus fugit.  It seems like yesterday when, at the recommendation of a mentor, I started Lighthouse Counsel. That mentor – the development director at a school – has been a close friend ever since and a client on multiple occasions. I was blessed with parents who modeled philanthropy. They gave their time, treasures and talents […]

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 [...]

The Board Chair and Executive Director Relationship

December 29, 2023
Howard Cohen

Organizations in general and small to medium nonprofit organizations in particular typically have two leaders: an executive director and a board chair. To be sure, the leaders in this duality have different roles to play.  In theory, a board chair leads the work of setting policy, approving the organization’s strategic and operational plans, reviewing finances […]

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 [...]

Lessons from the 2023 Giving Institute Fall Meeting and Mentor Series By Ryan Woroniecki 

December 20, 2023
Ryan Woroniecki

Lighthouse Counsel is proud to be a member of The Giving Institute; the professional association of ethical and successful service providers to nonprofit organizations. Many people are familiar with The Giving Institute’s sister organization, The Giving USA Foundation, and the annual Giving USA Report.   At our board meetings we discuss some of the trends we’re […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Woroniecki

Ryan Woroniecki spent over a decade at DonorSearch, most recently as the VP of Strategic Partnerships. His team built an ecosystem of the top fundraising consultants and technology companies including Lighthouse Counsel. He helped shape The DonorSearch product, authored the company's first corporate giving program, and designed the integration of wealth screening data in CRMs used by thousands of nonprofits today. He advised hundreds of nonprofits on their use of prospect research, wealth screen [...]

Leader and Manager Relationships

November 30, 2023
Howard Cohen

In any but the smallest organizations, leader and manager roles are occupied by different individuals. In effective organizations, the work of leaders and managers is strongly choreographed. Leaders and managers must learn to dance together lest they trip over each other’s feet.  Not only must leaders lead and managers manage, but managers must take direction […]

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 [...]

Managing Volunteers Part 5: Leaders and Managers – What’s the Difference?

October 28, 2023
Howard Cohen

Any organization of more than a small handful of people that has goals to achieve has a need for both leadership and management. This is perhaps most apparent in larger organizations, many of which have multiple leaders and multiple managers.  Setting aside the complexity of organizations that have multiple leaders (say an executive director 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 [...]

Giving USA panel: Ride the waves by sticking to the basics

October 17, 2023
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

The unfortunate news in the nonprofit world is that the donor pool is shrinking and those donors who are still on board are paring down the lists of organization to which they donate. But the good news is that focusing heavily on the tenets of good fundraising and relationship development can help organizations stem the […]

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. [...]

Great leaders recognize the importance of process in decision making

September 26, 2023
Howard Cohen

When it comes to leading volunteers, process is your friend. Establishing or clarifying (and following) a decision-making process in advance of making that decision offers the best chance of reaching agreement or, at least, investing the decision with legitimacy in the face of those who might not agree with the outcome. Using a well-established process […]

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 [...]

3 essential elements of good leadership

September 12, 2023
Harry Chapman

I recently was going through some of my books and came across one written by John C. Maxwell, an expert on leadership. The book is titled “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.” A quote in the chapter on generosity caught my eye. It says: “Your candle does not lose its light when it lights […]

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 [...]

Becoming An Influential Leader

September 1, 2023
Howard Cohen

Leading volunteers is more about “asking” and “thanking” than “ordering.”  As we noted in earlier posts, volunteers are not your employees. They are free to decline assignments.  A leader of volunteers cannot simply issue commands that must be carried out. Rather, a leader needs to use his or her influence to secure the personal commitment […]

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 [...]

2023 Giving USA Report: Giving levels high but down overall by 3.4%

August 28, 2023
Margaret Battistelli Gardner

According to the 2023 Giving USA Report, the longest running and most comprehensive report on the sources and uses of charitable giving in America, charitable giving levels reached $499.33 billion in 2022 – a decline of 3.4%. But that number requires some explanation. “To place these numbers in context, 2022 did represent a decline given […]

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. [...]

How to Keep Good Gifts From Going Bad – And What to Do if they Do

August 14, 2023
Pamela Barden

Over the years, I have heard horror stories of donations that ended up being a headache for the nonprofit. While these donations can be significant, the unexpected cost to the organization can negate the value of a gift. My own experience was with a retained life estate. This is when a person deeds a piece […]

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 [...]

Managing volunteers Part 2: To keep board members engaged, put them to work!

July 31, 2023
Howard Cohen

Managing volunteers requires treating them, well, like volunteers. What does that mean exactly? First, it means recognizing that their involvement on a board or committee is freely chosen and can be withdrawn at any time for any reason without penalty or formal (as opposed to social) consequences.  Volunteers are not the chair’s direct reports 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 [...]

A Tale of Two Teams

July 13, 2023
Howard Cohen

When it comes to team management, one size does not fit all. Not all teams are alike, and we should not expect that all team management will require the same approach. Let’s consider two quite different types of teams to understand how they lead us to very different management approaches.  Team 1 is a leadership […]

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 [...]

Is an association right for you?

June 27, 2023
Cathy Williams

What compels people to form associations?  Associations are groups of like-minded individuals brought together for a common purpose.  We have adages for that: “Birds of a feather flock together,” “Many hands make light work,” etc.  Those of us who are part of associations find value and joy in being with, learning from and aiding others […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cathy Williams

Cathlene Williams is a published writer/researcher and educator with more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit world. She is the former vice president for education and research for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Prior to working for AFP she was a project director and director of information services for the National Association of State Boards of Education. [...]

Faith and generosity – a marriage made in heaven??

May 24, 2023
Lilya Wagner

Is there a correlation between a person’s religion or faith experience and giving? Certainly, we know it’s commonplace to give to the church of choice.  In some religions giving is mandated or expected; in others it’s a personal matter.   But what about giving beyond this level? Does faith or one’s religion have a major […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lilya Wagner

Dr. Lilya Wagner has been instrumental in the nonprofit sector for more than three decades. She has served as vice president for institutional advancement at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska; vice president for development at the National Association for Community Leadership; and vice president for philanthropy at Counterpart International, a global development organization. She was associate director for public service and director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana Univer [...]

Cultivating donor prospects post-covid

May 16, 2023
John O'Kane, CFRE

COVID-19 did a number on the cultivation of major gifts. Primarily, it ended or greatly scaled back personal cultivation, which gave way to Zoom calls, phone calls, texts and computer chats. Some creative gift officers did arrange meetings outside with social distancing for those prospects who were willing to engage in this way. This did […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John O'Kane, CFRE

John O’Kane, principal of John O’Kane Consulting, retired after 31 years as a Professor of Practice in the Nonprofit Studies Program, Department of Public Management and Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. In 2019 he celebrated 50 years of work in the nonprofit sector, where he has gained experience with personnel management, organizational development, training, consulting and fundraising. After more than 25 years, John retired from the Atlanta fund [...]

How decision science changed my mind about fundraising

May 5, 2023
Karen Kemp

I recently had an opportunity to spend the day with leaders from nonprofits across the eastern United States at Lighthouse Counsel’s masterclass with Bernard Ross.   Bernard is an expert and thought leader in the field of decision science as it relates to nonprofit fundraising. The author of “Change for Good,”Bernard has spent his impressive […]

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 [...]

9 questions to ask when getting to know your donors

March 22, 2023
David Snow

Relationship building is the foundational work needed for successful financial development.  The key to relationship building with a donor is to know the donor’s story. You’ll want to find out who they are, what motivates them, why they give to your organization and what their philanthropic goals are.  In the early stages of your relationship […]

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 [...]

Securing that major gift in economically challenging times

March 14, 2023
Martha Ross

The yes is all about the ask: the passion and the personal relationship. I love Syracuse University, where I spent my undergraduate years at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the Newhouse School of Communications. The winters were long and snowy, and the spring was short and sweet. That seemed normal to […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Ross

Martha has held a variety of positions in the nonprofit sector since 1985, including executive director at Y-CAP of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee; head of school at St. Paul Christian Academy in Nashville; executive vice president of Family & Children’s Services of Nashville; and executive vice president at the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. During her 10 years at St. Paul Christian Academy, Martha helped increase enrollment by 63% and build a new Music and Arts Center, library [...]

Building a Career in the Nonprofit Sector (Or Why I Stayed in Nonprofit Work for 44 years), Part 4

March 7, 2023
Pamela Barden

As I wrap up this series, I hope some of you are thinking differently about making the nonprofit sector your career path of choice. If you need just a little more convincing, here’s what Alex Walton, a person in her mid-20s and the client support coordinator at Lighthouse Counsel, says: “Young adults are constantly asking, […]

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 [...]

African American Philanthropy: An Unexpected Story of Abundance

February 27, 2023
Yolanda Darville

“If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance, even as it receives.” Biddy Mason, entrepreneur and philanthropist Celebrated as “the great melting pot,” our country is a proud nation of immigrants. While many Americans are descended from those who came here seeking […]

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. [...]

Jubilee! A Story of Fisk University’s Splendor 

February 23, 2023
Joan Bahner

Located on 40 acres in the city of Nashville, Tennessee, is the majestic Fisk University, home of renowned choral ensemble The Fisk Jubilee Singers. Not only did the group introduce Negro spirituals to the world, but it also was an early pioneer in fundraising with its global efforts to raise money to support the university.  […]

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 [...]

6 Ways to Earn Donor Love and Loyalty

February 22, 2023
Shay Lessman

Attracting new donors to your nonprofit is great. But retaining those donors is even more important. Did you know that the average nonprofit retains only 45% of its donors each year? That’s less than half of the new supporters who give to your nonprofit organization!  How can you make more of your donors stay? You […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shay Lessman

Shay Lessman is a content writer and editor at Qgiv with a passion for helping nonprofit organizations succeed. He has experience in fundraising communications and has written several successful grants. He is also a proud pet parent of two very naughty dogs. When he’s not working at Qgiv, he can usually be found writing poetry, playing games or listening to podcasts. [...]

Building a Career in the Nonprofit Sector (Or Why I Stayed in Nonprofit Work for 44 years), Part 3

February 15, 2023
Pamela Barden

By the time you have been working in the nonprofit sector for 25 or 30 years, you are hopefully pleased with your career choices and proud of what you have accomplished over the years. But that’s no reason to coast through the rest of your work lifetime. For one thing, your colleagues deserve the best […]

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 [...]

Building a Career in the Nonprofit Sector (Or Why I Stayed in Nonprofit Work for 44 years), Part 2

January 27, 2023
Pamela Barden

Looking back over a 44-year career in and/or for the nonprofit sector, I am amazed at some of the things that worked out perfectly – and admit that there were other things that could have taken me screaming and running away from the sector. For this second article, I considered primarily what helped me grow […]

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 [...]

Building a Career in the Nonprofit Sector (Or Why I Stayed in Nonprofit Work for 44 years), Part 1

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 spent over a decade at DonorSearch, most recently as the VP of Strategic Partnerships. His team built an ecosystem of the top fundraising consultants and technology companies including Lighthouse Counsel. He helped shape The DonorSearch product, authored the company's first corporate giving program, and designed the integration of wealth screening data in CRMs used by thousands of nonprofits today. He advised hundreds of nonprofits on their use of prospect research, wealth screen [...]

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 […]

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 [...]

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 […]

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 [...]

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.)

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 [...]

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, […]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Corey Haynes

[...]

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Asher Orr

[...]

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”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meredith Stiff

[...]

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:

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
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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lighthouse Counsel

[...]

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. [...]