December 12, 2016

Read research. Learn stuff. Help your NGO.

How frightening if you and your staff colleagues don’t read research. Really frightening.

I’m not just talking about fundraising research. It’s all research. Any research that might be relevant.

Read these articles. What are the implications for your nonprofit organization? How will you introduce this information to your boss and your board and your staff colleagues? How will you apply this research to your NGO?

Human Service Agencies’ Contributions Soar But Retention Rates Plummet for All Nonprofits. (Retention rates – loyalty – are the primary measure for effective fundraising – and any other business!)

Harvard Sciences and Sugar Industry Hook Up to Lead Public Down Dangerous Path.

Public Losing Faith in Higher Education as a Jumpstart to Work Lives

Fundraising Effectiveness Project

Are you reading any of the research at the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy or at the Lilly School?

I read neuroscience marketing research about consumers. Written in a user-friendly way!

Read research! Explore implications of research! Apply research to your work!!!

Any research you suggest? I’ll post it!

Filed under: Research, Resources

November 29, 2016

If “they” fail the 20 questions….

Maybe you should find a better place to work.

Visit Tom Ahern’s new website. Pretty cool. I’m impressed.

Check out “The TEST Your Boss MUST Take!” 

Click here. Take it yourself first, of course. (I’m taking it shortly. Not sharing what I score but making darn sure that I learn the right answers if I fail questions!!!)

Share with your staff colleagues. (Maybe do it as a group in secret somewhere?)

Make sure your fundraising boss (and CEO) take it and learn this stuff and expect you to know the answers and make sure you know the answers. And teach the questions and the answers to your fundraising colleagues and your fundraising boss and your executive director / CEO person.

It’s kinda okay if your boss fails the test, but only if your boss is the ED/CEO. It’s only okay if your ED/CEO boss fails the test if that person says: “Well, of course I don’t know all the answers. But I expect you to know the answers and explain to me. And when you tell me to do stuff, I do it. Including that letter that I thought was kinda icky. But I sign it because you know the answers to these 20 questions. Thank you thank you. I was so smart to hire you!”

And if your ED/CEO doesn’t say what’s above…And continues fighting. You fight back. FIGHT BACK!!!!! No more whiny fundraisers. Your job is to fight back and explain and pass on your learnings. And if you fight for a couple years (yes…it can take that long) — and still no change in behavior from the bossies… THEN FIND ANOTHER JOB. YOU DESERVE BETTER!!!!

August 29, 2016

Social status and generosity

An interesting piece of research from Michigan State University, my alma mater…

“Does Social Status Affect Generosity?” Nicholas Hays, assistant professor of management at MSU – and Steven Blader at NYU – conducted a series of six scientific studies. And here’s the finding:

  • “Prominent people who don’t feel their status is fair and equitable become more generous with others to alleviate that sense of inequity.”

Check out the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for more.

August 15, 2016

Your grit score

Do you know that there’s a 12-item GRIT SCALE?

I didn’t know that. But I know now, thanks to some colleagues in Cohort 25 at SMU. Was it you, Jordan, who mentioned the grit scale?

Here’s another version of a Grit Scale. Check out Dr. Angela Duckworth’s info about grit scales.

There’s even a grit scale for kids, too. True grit: check your kid’s resilience…

Do you have grit? Am I gritty? Hmmmm…… What is grit anyway? 

All about remaining committed to goals – so you can actually achieve those goals. In one article, grit is defined as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” And Woody Allen kinda defined grit when he said, “80% of success is showing up.”

Check out this article in Frontiers in Psychology… “The grit effect: predicting retention in the military, the workplace, school and marriage.”

Filed under: Leadership, Research

August 8, 2016

A most remarkable book

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution.

By journalist Jonathan Eig.

Wow. So very very very good. This book tells “the extraordinary story of one of the most far-reaching scientific breakthroughs known to mankind…. This is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes.”

Other books by Eig:

  • Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season
  • Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster
  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

Filed under: Research, Social Commentary

July 26, 2016

Resources and research and stuff

WOW! Some good stuff…….

Check out MarketSmart. That’s Gregory Warner. Greg talks with Dr. Russell James III! And – for free – you can hear the webinar that MarketSmart offered with planned giving research guru Dr. James.

Spend some time on Dr. James’ website to learn more. Visit the resources. Read an ebook and some research and…

Check out the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy in the U.K. Research that is critical to fundraisers everywhere…to nonprofits who aspire to better fundraising in order to raise more money.

What’s your job? What’s my job? What’s the fundraiser’s job? To learn. To change. To facilitate learning and change in NGOs. And that can raise more money.

Ready. Set. Go.


Filed under: Research, Resources

May 2, 2016

Where can you get money?

Step #1: Read this issue of The Agitator about giving across generations. Read my response, posted at the Agitator.

Step #2: Study the infographic.

Step #3: Review the original report from Blackbaud.

Step #4: Share the infographic with your boss, the program staff, and the board. Explain the implications. Offer insights. And, of course, make sure your development staff understands, acknowledges, accepts, and performs accordingly!!!

Step #5: Stop the crap. (“Oh my gosh, we need to focus on millennials and get gifts from them.”)

Step #6: Pay attention to research. You know: FACTS. SCIENCE. Destroy ill-informed personal opinion as soon as it rears its silly, ugly head.

Step #7: Please please please. Could we please build a profession? Could we please behave like professionals?

Thank you.


April 28, 2016

Interesting readings…research and resources

Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report, 2016. From Concord Leadership Group, Marc Pitman

How do you and your organization compare? Leadership isn’t so good with findings like these: Insecure CEOs. Confused boards. Decreased donor trust. Regulatory threats. Compare your organization to this report.

Beyond Fundraising: What Does It Mean to Build a Culture of Philanthropy. From Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund

Make sure you read the original UnderDeveloped Report from CompassPoint. And my response. Check out my handout about the culture of philanthropy. I first wrote about this back in 1997, in the first edition of my book Strategic Fund Development. You’ll find the same topic in the 3rd edition of Strategic Fund Development.

Visit Pamela Grow and the Grow Report. Check out her newest course, an A – Z step-by-step stewardship plan. And start out with “The Power of Thank-You” with Pam and Claire Axelrad.

Filed under: Research, Resources

March 21, 2016

Read and share – and fight for these!

Three really great blog reads.

Read. Learn. Share with staff colleagues, bosses, and boards.

Explain why. Help staff, bosses, and boards understand and accept and own and focus on the right stuff.

That’s your job. To use the right stuff from the right people. Explain the why. Help all those others accept and own and focus on the right stuff, not the wrong stuff.

This takes time. And I’m not talking weeks or months!


And if you can’t get this done… Look in the mirror first. Maybe you’re the problem. But maybe you’re not the problem. Maybe they’re the problem.

Find an ally (or two) to help you help them get it.

And if that doesn’t work…. Look for another job. You deserve better.

Filed under: Research, Resources

March 7, 2016

Two great fundraising and management items!!!


  • About diversity. But about much more than diversity. About the complexities of building a better organization (for-profit or nonprofit) for creativity and change and success.
  • About the dominant people and the non-dominant people. About power and position… gender and sexual orientation and race and so much more than diversity. And unearned privilege.
  • All managers should read this book. All employees should read this book. Anyone who wants to be a leader and to be productive and successful and and and …. should read this book.
  • Yes. I really like this book. I’m going to assign it to some class of mine. Go to Amazon right now!
  • And you can hear Laura Liswood present in the very special track of Rebels, Renegades, and Pioneers at the AFP International Conference in Boston, March 2016.


And check out this information from the wonderful Melissa Brown.

  • 60% of Americans give to charity in a year, and voter turnout is not likely to be much higher than that, based on prior year’s experience (it was 62% in 2008, the highest in a presidential election year since 1960). Further, of registered voters, 43% are independent of a party, so are not likely giving to the party coffers. 
  • More telling, according to, just 0.4% of the US population gave more than $200 to a political campaign in 2012. That includes contributions to parties, PACS, or campaigns. An average donor household in 2008 gave about $2,300 to charity.
  • Charitable giving total is $360Billion + or minus.  ALL campaigns in a presidential year total somewhere south of $10 billion (The Federal Elections Commission reports $7B spent in 2012).
  • $10 billion is 3% of of $360 billion, and following the OpenSecrets report, almost all of that $10B is from a very small number of donors, most of whom are engaged at a high level in the political process. (Think Koch brothers, George Soros, the Bass family, Michael Bloomberg, etc.).
  • It is possible that some subsectors where legislative activity is important – such as environment, civil rights, or movements such as for charter schools — will feel the pain more than arts, higher education, health care, etc.  It is possible that communities where highly politically engaged donors live will feel the pinch – Fort Worth or parts of New York, for example.
  • But for the rest of us, it is not likely that politics will siphon dollars away from charity.
  • And a survey of donors just released also supports this: Dunham+Company Survey Indicates Charitable Giving Won’t Be Affected By Presidential Election Year | Dunham+Company | fundraising research


Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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