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Lessons I Learned From Jane Goodall

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

I had the privilege of meeting Jane Goodall in person.  She was the featured speaker at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) conference in San Diego.  At the time I didn’t know why Jane Goodall would be invited to a fundraising conference—after all she has spent her entire career in jungles with chimpanzees—but I was delighted at the thought of hearing what she might say.  After a few anecdotes Jane revealed that she fell in love with Tarzan as a child and she thought he married the wrong Jane.  “He married the wimpy Jane,” she said.  “I would have been a better match for Tarzan.”  Everyone in the audience agreed.

Jane told us that she’d never forget that her career started because of a philanthropic donation.  If it weren’t for that first grant award she never would have been able to pursue her dream of living among wild animals.  She remarked that in 1960 she had no degree, no formal training, no organization backing her, no permission from the African government, and no money.  But she had the chutzpah to pursue her dream anyway.  She went off to Gombe, Africa—with her mother, because British policy did not allow a woman to move to the jungle alone—and began the adventure of a lifetime.  That first grant got her started and more grants kept her research going.  Now 50 years later, Jane continues sharing her knowledge of chimpanzees, as well as awareness of the urgent threat facing wild chimps.

Jane and Freud

Here’s what else I learned:

1. Jane’s passion and dedication for her cause comes through when she speaks, in her mailings to donors, the JGI website, and in her books.  Her mission and purpose is on everything!

2. The Jane Goodall Institute relies on more than grants these days; they use direct mail campaigns, social media campaigns, sales of products, sponsorships, and other methods.  The JGI diversifies it’s fundraising.  I concur diversification in raising donations and raising awareness is key to sustainability.

3. The one thing all these above vehicles have in common is Jane’s belief that we can make a difference.  And look at all she has accomplished in fifty years by making us believe we can make a difference, too. That’s what I think grantwriters should learn from Jane—we must show others how their grant will make a significant impact.  Make the reader believe that their support will change lives, or change the world. (That’s the Grant Whisperer’s mantra)!

4. A single grant launched Jane’s career and the important work she set out to do.  NEVER underestimate the power of a single grant.

5. I totally agree—Tarzan hooked up with the wrong Jane!

Is a Fundraising House Party Right For Your Organization?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Fundraising house parties can be an exciting way to earn funds for your cause. How do you know if house parties are right for your organization? How do you organize one? The Grant Whisperer answers the age-old question ‘should you bring a llama to a house party’ and more over at BlogTalkRadio. The episode gives you tips to have a successful event that puts the fun back in fundraising!

A common question is how many staff should attend the fundraising house party. My recommendation is, as few as needed. The host counts as one, add a board member, and then the staff person making the presentation. Three is good for a small house party; add more as needed for a larger crowd.

The host and staff/board member coordinate the event to ensure the project or program is highlighted in the best possible way, all the elements of the event harmonizes with your organization, and that an ask is made.

Click on the arrow below to hear more useful tips in the 16-minute episode.

Listen to internet radio with GrantWhisperer on Blog Talk Radio

Special Guest – Karen Kwan “Grant Writing For The Arts”

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Listen in as Karen Kwan shares her secret tips for arts organizations seeking grants. She also discusses how storytelling can make a powerful difference.

Karen Kwan specializes in institutional giving and grants management, having served as an independent grant writing consultant and development staff at various non-profit arts organizations in Silicon Valley, including San Jose Repertory Theatre, Bay Area Glass Institute, Palo Alto Art Center, Dimension Performing Arts and California Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and raised over $5.5 million in the past six years. Karen joined Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) in May of 2010 as its Institutional Gifts Officer.

Click on the black circle/ white arrow below to hear the 16 minute episode.

Listen to internet radio with GrantWhisperer on Blog Talk Radio

What I Learned Today About Fundraising

Friday, February 18th, 2011

I attended my local Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) meeting to hear Rebecca Tseng Smith talk about donor-centered fundraising. She offered many amazing tips from her many years of experience in fundraising for major universities. Rebecca currently works at Stanford University. The most interesting thing she pointed out were the top reasons people give to charitable organizations:

1.     To give back to society

2.     A strong belief in the cause

3.     To make a difference in the world or to change the world

4.     Their religious beliefs

5.     Tax considerations

6.     To continue their family’s tradition of giving

Rebecca Tseng Smith

The above motives are in the order of the most popular with giving back to society at 88%. Rebecca mentioned that the majority of these top motives have nothing to do with us. However it was our jobs as fundraisers of our organizations to tie our requests for support from individuals to these top motivators. In other words tie our requests to the donors interests. Now that’s something I’ve been saying in the arena of grant writing. Let’s continue this discussion in my next post.