For Fundraising Volunteers: Time to Study


Have you studied your organization’s IRS 990? Have you even seen it?

As a fundraising volunteer, you have to be familiar with the organization or project you represent and be able to explain the mission, organizational goals and objectives, benefits of giving, ways to give, and anything else that a prospect or donor might ask about. Just as your enthusiasm will be enhanced by having made your own gift, your understanding of the project will be enhanced by studying the available information. And donors will appreciate it. Make sure to ask for and study (don’t just skim) the following from the organization:

  • Case statement
  • Budgets and most recent financial statements
  • Audit reports
  • Annual reports
  • IRS 990 (great info here)
  • Business plans
  • Fundraising and marketing plans
  • White papers they may have authored
  • Clippings and articles
  • Board and volunteer lists
  • Brochures and flyers
  • Videos
  • Social media plans and activities

The more you know, the better advocate you’ll be and the more success you’ll have.

Pro Tip: Do a Google search on your organization. Then do one on your competitors to see what they’re up to. It can be a fascinating learning experience.

Up on the roof: Lightning

I got up on the roof last evening to see if I could capture a storm cell that had barely missed us, but was producing tons of thunder and lightning. It was winding down (and heading over the horizon) but I got a few interesting shots. All done with my Nikon D5100 and an old-school 70-210 Nikkor zoom lens. I played around with the shutter speed a little, but settled on 5 seconds at 1000 ISO. Thoughts? Tips? Tricks you’ve used to shoot lightning?

How to Get Noticed by Foundations…

Check out the first author!

Check out the first author!

Last fall I was invited to submit an article for an e-book by the fundraising software giant Blackbaud. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I obliged and was surprised when they chose what I wrote for their book. It’s now available free (if you give them your name and email address) on their website.

Here’s a brief overview of A Decent Proposal: Finding Success in the Competitive World of Grants.

Getting Noticed
Clay Myers-Bowman, Producer and Fundraising Consultant 

The Importance of Being Organized and Strategic in Pursuing Federal Grant Opportunities
Spencer O. Perlman, President, Washington Strategic Consulting 

Ethical Considerations in Grant Seeking and Writing
Diane H. Leonard, GPC, Owner, DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC 

DATA Act to Transform Federal Grant Reporting
Adam Roth, President and CEO, StreamLink® Software 

A snippet from my article:

Getting noticed amid the ever-increasing number of worthy causes is harder than ever before. But the tools you have available are cheap, easy to use, and at your fingertips. It’s not a matter of whether you can or can’t do it; it’s whether you will or you won’t. The choice is up to you.

I’m proud to have been included with such a great group of people. I also think it’s a pretty good book. Download it today and let me know what you think.

Photo Monday: Düsseldorf, Germany

Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The common practice of pollarding trees makes for a different image in the winter. I assume it’s done here to allow unobstructed views of the river (from the upper floors) while still allowing shade for the walking/biking path.

Along the Rhein River in Düsseldorf. Photo by Clay Myers-Bowman.

Along the Rhein River in Düsseldorf. Photo by Clay Myers-Bowman.

Photo Monday: Freia Clock, Oslo, Norway

If you look in the distance you’ll see a huge Freia clock in Oslo. While Freia is now owned by the mega-international conglomerate Kraft, it’s still really, really good chocolate. I’m standing in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo looking down a main street. Do you suppose the Royal family looks out the window and sees this sign?

The first snow of the season in Oslo, Norway. Photo by Clay Myers-Bowman.

The first snow of the season in Oslo, Norway. Photo by Clay Myers-Bowman.