The Latest from TW&B: Blog


7 Characteristics of Successful Campaign Volunteers

You will never achieve a 100% success rate in recruiting successful volunteers, despite everyone’s best intentions. However, you can increase the likelihood of your success by carefully considering and assessing your candidates before you ask them to serve.

When seeking volunteers to help you solicit gifts to your campaign, look for individuals who have as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  1. Direct Experience: They have done this before, working on other campaigns, so they know how to solicit, have proven they can do it successfully, and will accept the assignment confident in the knowledge of what it calls for.
  2. Related Experience: They have done annual fund solicitations or other, less challenging fundraising, in which they have demonstrated their ability to solicit successfully.
  3. Relevant Experience: They have professional experience in a role that calls for the same kind of activity and accomplishment – focusing on a prospect, getting an appointment, making a proposal, and closing a sale.
  4. Outgoing Personality: They are active in the community, are known to many people, are good communicators, and are well-regarded generally.
  5. Commitment: They have demonstrated a real commitment, not only to your institution, but to the project(s) for which the campaign has been organized.
  6. Direct Knowledge: They are familiar with your institution and its mission, history, programs, and constituency.
  7. Philanthropic: They contribute to worthy causes (including, most especially, your institution) and understand the field. Also, they are prepared to make a campaign gift themselves, in the range in which they will be asking others to give.

soliciting-major-gifts-RGB-COVERSoliciting Major Campaign Gifts

For first-timers, soliciting major gifts can be a daunting task. This guide was developed to help volunteers learn the planning processes and strategies that help to make a successful ask.

Download Now >


How Conducting Your Own Benchmarking Study Can Transform Your Fundraising

A lot of organizations make some pretty big assumptions about their development programs.  These assumptions might sound like: “We need to increase our corporate gifts,” or “Planned giving just doesn’t work for us.”

Nonprofits frequently look at their own previous fundraising results to plan and strategize.  But the truth is, it can be a challenge to see what’s working, or what you’re not doing so well, until you have an understanding of how you stack up against your peers. Continue reading


Campaign Readiness Checklist

Perhaps you need a new building, some new technology, or a new program. You want to grow and expand, so you’d like to start a campaign. But do you have everything in place to begin? Ensuring campaign readiness will help you to prevent any setbacks during your campaign.

Before you spend the time and effort of performing a careful internal assessment or putting together a campaign planning task force, you need to make sure you meet some basic criteria. Continue reading

planned giving banner

The Elusive “Super Savers” of Planned Giving

Who did you include in your last planned giving mailing? If you just mailed to the usual list of donors, chances are you’re missing out.

Our clients North Park University recently completed the most successful campaign in its history. While performing our post-campaign assessment, we examined all of the bequests they’d received during the campaign. We wanted to see to what degree past giving is an indicator of future likelihood of receiving a planned gift, and if there was a relationship between the amount of historical giving and the size of the planned gift. Continue reading


4 Things Great Fundraising Candidates Do in a Job Search

I’ve worked with several organizations in the past year to help them find chief development officers. When I review candidates for fundraising positions, I look to see how the characteristics they exhibit during a job search will transfer to their work in fundraising. In every search, there are always a handful of candidates that stand out from the pack.

So what do these great candidates do? Continue reading


Four Ways You Can Start Your Fundraising Year Off Strong

As June winds down and summer kicks into high gear, many nonprofits are also closing in on the end of their fiscal year. Whether your year ends June 30, December 31, or on a more creative date, many fundraisers put most of their focus on getting to that finish line.

Chances are you’ll have a lot to be proud of, especially since giving reached an all-time high in 2014. While it’s important to celebrate your accomplishments, it’s equally important to not let the celebration last too long into the new year.

Momentum is your friend. It’s understandable to want to catch your breath after sprinting to the finish line. But your new year will be much less stressful if you follow these four tips to help you get a good start at the beginning of the year. Continue reading


Positioning Your Organization for Growth Post-Recession

By Jon Heintzelman and Dean Rein

When the Great Recession hit in 2007, many financial advisors were telling investors to stay in the market in order to, eventually, benefit from an anticipated rebound. But that’s the world of investing. In the nonprofit world, this advice would prove to be nearly impossible to follow.

With a decline in the economy, giving also declined. Reduced funding meant that we had to take a hard look at our budgets and make some tough decisions.  Many nonprofits were forced to reduce staffing and resources for development operations.

According to the Giving USA report released last week, giving has finally surpassed the high from before the recession. When we’re working with clients, we’re seeing a renewed sense of optimism, and that’s exciting. But how can we make the most of this upward trend to strengthen our development programs and, ultimately, our organizations?

Continue reading

Analytics Banner

Infographic: A Basic Analytics Road Map

Is your fundraising team using analytics to enhance its strategy? It’s an increasingly popular buzzword these days, but it might not always be clear what goes into it or how it can improve your program.

In the world of fundraising, analytics encompasses a variety techniques that use data to analyze donor engagement, research prospects, predict donor behavior, evaluate your development program, and project future fundraising performance. Continue reading


Five Identifiers of a High Quality Fundraising Prospect

This is a guest post written by Kim Becker Cooper of DonorSearch. DonorSearch is a strategic partner of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt.

The National Basketball Association has long griped over how to decide the league’s best player. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is supposed to go to the league’s top player, but there’s argument over what the word ‘valuable’ means.

Is the MVP the best player on the best team? Is he the most irreplaceable player on a team that would be much worse without him? Is he the player who has the most memorable games and moments, despite lagging behind others in certain metrics?

As with crowning the NBA’s MVP, discovering your best fundraising prospects does not boil down to a single piece of criteria.

There are several qualities that can help identify the potential donors who can give the major gifts that will lead to your organization’s success.

Continue reading

Leadership Strategy

Creating a Leadership Strategy and a Roadmap for Personal Success

A Three Step Guide for New Nonprofit Leaders in a Competitive Environment

You’ve just overcome the competition and were offered the leadership position at your nonprofit organization of choice. But, if you believe that you’ll walk in to find a  smooth running development operation, a culture of stewardship, a pristine database and technology system, absolute financial transparency and a Board that is fully engaged in the philanthropic process — you should re-think that assessment. Continue reading