The Leaky Bucket Nonprofit Blog

Why We Need a Fundraising Revolution

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 @ 11:06 AM

The data are in: nonprofits need better fundraising performance. AFP's Fundraising Effectiveness Project 2013 reveals that gains of $769 million from new, upgraded current and previously lapsed donors were offset by losses of $735 million through reduced gifts and lapsed donors. Even worse, gains of 866,000 new and previously lapsed donors were offset by losses of 909,000 in lapsed donors, for a loss of 44,000 donors. That statistic really hurts; retaining donors is not nearly as tough as bringing in new ones, and the new ones cost you about six times more.


Fundraising and the Russian Revolution

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Fri, Oct 11, 2013 @ 11:45 AM


To Find Donors, Stop Looking

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Fri, Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:43 AM

Have you ever asked yourself "where can I find donors?" Many nonprofit executives tell me they don’t know how to “find” donors. The "finding" problem keeps them awake at night. They worry about it, their boards worry about it, their staff worries about it. Eventually, all that worrying can produce desperation moves such as foregoing the executive director's salary or health benefits, sending out un-researched grant applications in bulk, or throwing yet another event.


Getting Fundraising Right: Part 2

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Tue, Sep 04, 2012 @ 02:24 PM

If you want to get fundraising right and not backwards, then the first step toward doing so is to get the Five Components of Successful Fundraising clear in your mind.  Do this stuff before you start planning your next gala or sending out a bunch of (unqualified) grant applications.


Getting Fundraising Right - and Not Backwards

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Tue, Sep 04, 2012 @ 02:24 PM

“Cut it near the end,” says Owl.

“Which end?” says Pooh, “the beginning end or the ending end?”


Fundraising the SMART Way: Using Social Media Right, Part 2

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

This is the second in our series of three posts on how nonprofit organizations can use Social Media Right, with thanks to Ken Okel.  In Part 2, Ken explores some of the ways your nonprofit's strategic use of Social Media helps to manage successful fundraising performance.


Fundraising War Stories: Three Lessons on Choosing Prospects

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Wed, May 09, 2012 @ 04:35 PM

"You've got to help us out," they said, "we really need you!"  And so, with the ink still wet on my incorporation documents, I agreed to conduct my very first fundraising retreat for the board of The Commodores, not their real name.  I even drafted my friend Rebecca, with her PhD in organizational psychology, to share the project with me! We expected to enlighten these folks, dazzle them with our brilliance, and then give them fundraising strategies that would reinvigorate them and give them a brilliant future.


Fundraising for People Who Don't Fundraise: Call for Scenarios!

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Thu, May 03, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

Quick, boys and girls!! What's the least understood function in the nonprofit world?  One, two, three - it's fundraising!  Dan Pallotta calls it "the black sheep of the fundraising sector."  Nonprofits brag about how little they spend on it. Executive directors complain about it (or at least their lack of results).  And boards of directors make demands and expect miracles from the fundraising department, always with the best of intentions, but not necessarily with awareness of costs or other constraints.


Who's In Charge of Fundraising, You or the Donor?

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 @ 05:47 PM

When you're fundraising, are you in charge or is your prospect?  It might surprise you to know that lots of people who raise money (or are supposed to, anyway) are crippled by "Ask Reluctance." And one reason is that they let their prospective funders be in charge of the process. 


Jumpstart Your Fundraising in 2012!

Posted by Ellen Bristol on Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 10:30 AM

Quick, the fundraising year's half over!  Well, not really, but before things get too crazy again for you professional fundraisers out there, think about adopting sustainable fund development practices.  If you do your fund developmet planning early, everything else falls into place.


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