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'How-to' Library • Featuring articles from past issues of Contributions Magazine

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Scroll down for a complete list of articles from our How-to Library. New articles are added frequently, so check back often.

Communications, Public Relations & Branding

Crafting the Language of Vision (NEW!)
by Jeff McLinden

Attracting Resources in Today's Complex Marketplace
by Sarah Lange

Telling Tales in Tight Spaces
by Andy Goodman

A Bank that Always Builds Interest
by Andy Goodman

Stories or Data: Which Makes the Stronger Case?
by Andy Goodman

What a Dentist Can Teach You about Protecting Your Brand
by Larry Checco

Is Yours a “Deserving Charity?”
by Tom Ahern

Adjusting to the New Faces of Need
by Larry Checco

Bosses: Stop Rewriting Your Staff!
by Tom Ahern

Forget Finding Time to Write

by Joseph Barbato

Myths and Reality about Branding
by Larry Checco

Ring-fence the Jargon-seeking Impulse
Let’s start communicating instead
by Ken Burnett

The Overlooked Audience
Communicating effectively with volunteers
by Joseph Barbato

Watch Your Language
Why not craft a message worth communicating?
by Joseph Barbato

Direct Mail

Capitalizing on Why People Respond to Fundraising Letters
by Stephen Hitchcock

Should Your Mailings Always Ask for a Specific Gift?
by Stephen Hitchcock

The Timing of Your Mailings
by Stephen Hitchcock

Fewer Mailings, the Same Amount of Gift Income?
by Stephen Hitchcock

Are There Easy Ways to Reduce Donor Attrition Rates?
by Stephen Hitchcock

Keeping Your Donor File Clean
by Stephen Hitchcock

Appealing for Gifts with Your Annual Report
Is it a good idea?
by Stephen Hitchcock

Fundraising

Adopting a Donor-Centered Approach to Fundraising (NEW!)
by Sarah Lange

Staffing for Fundraising Success
by Jonathan Spinner

The Tough Get Going!
by Brydon DeWitt

Capital Campaign: Ready or Not?
by Jeri Alcock

Getting Your Board to Give...And Give Big
by Jerold Panas

Tenets to Raise Money By
by Jerold Panas

Which is More Persuasive to Donors: Numbers or Stories?
by Harvey McKinnon

Do You Really Mean It or Are You After Something?
When we say thank you, are today’s donors interpreting it as manipulative?
by Andrea Kihlstedt

Asking Your Insiders to Give
by Andrea Kihlstedt

Which is Worse: A Financial Deficit or a Mission Deficit?
by Jerold Panas

Spending Time with Your Donors
by Andrea Kihlstedt

The Future Isn't What it Used to Be
by Jerold Panas

Choosing a Theme for Your Fundraising Campaign
by Tom Ahern

The Annual Board Appeal
by Linda Lysakowski

Two Fundraising Mistakes to Avoid
by Kay Sprinkel Grace

Especially Now - It's Not About Fundraising
by James Gelatt

Fundraising's Four Riddles
by Jerold Panas

Hope for a Miracle
Put your faith in good stewardship
by Jerold Panas


Donor Burnout
Is there a crisis of confidence in fundraising?
by Penelope Burk

Involving Volunteers in the Capital Campaign
by Linda Lysakowski

The Word You Hear Most Often
Innoculating yourself to ‘No’
by Andy Robinson

The CEO's Role in a Capital Campaign
by Kay Sprinkel Grace

The Fundraiser’s Credo
The more things change, the more they stay the same
by Jerold Panas

Keep Driving Toward the Light
Rather than make resolutions, be resolute this year
by Kay Sprinkel Grace

Coming Soon to a Mall Near You
New fundraising technique taking hold
by Ken Burnett


Overcoming Your Donors’ Psychic Poverty
Downturn demands new strategies
by Kay Sprinkel Grace

Ten Things You Should Know About Transformational Gifts
More and more, they are front page news
by Kay Sprinkel Grace

The Marvel of the Gingham Dress
Don't be deceived by your donor's appearance
by Jerold Panas

Grantseeking

An Insider’s Take: Are Today’s Charitable Foundations Fulfilling Their Obligation?
by Martin Teitel

An Insider’s Take: Are Today’s Charitable Foundations Fulfilling Their Obligation? (Part Two)
by Martin Teitel

An Insider’s Take: Are Today’s Charitable Foundations Fulfilling Their Obligation? (Part Three)
by Martin Teitel

Overcoming the Perfectionist Demon
Dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” but don’t obsess over your next grant proposal
by Jane Hexter

The Lowdown on Program Officers
by Martin Teitel

“How Will You Sustain Your Funding?”
Is the killer question from funders misplaced?
by Gayle Gifford

Tales from the Dark Side
The eye-opening experience of judging others’ grant proposals
by Martin John Brown

Small is Beautiful
Especially when it comes to Letters of Inquiry
by Martin Teitel

From the Inside Out
How to improve the first contact between your cause and potential funders
by Martin Teitel

Nonprofit Management

Cultivating a More Productive Staff (NEW!)
by Sarah Lange

Dare You to Define Leadership
by James Gelatt

Why Do We Make Such Lousy Decisions?
by James Gelatt

Trends to Watch in 2010
by James Gelatt

How Many Stars Does Your Organization Rate?
by Gayle Gifford

The Rewards of Bouncing Back
by James Gelatt

If I Knew Then...
The difference between leadership and management is overrated
by James Gelatt

Worst Workplace Habits
See if these bug you as much as they do me
by James Gelatt

Does Your Organization Have What it Takes?
by James Gelatt

Scanning for Megatrends in the Nonprofit World
by James Gelatt

Planned Giving

Charming? No. Useful? Yes.
Data shows the surprising appeal of planned giving messages that are simple and straightforwar
by Bev Hutney

Survey Shows Many Planned Giving Prospects Clueless
by Larry Stelter

Annual Donations and Charitable Bequests: What's the Connection?
Our new national study looks at Americans aged 40 and older who name charities in their wills and dissects when and why they choose to give.
by Larry Stelter  

Planning, Patience, and Prize!
10 steps to a better gift-planning program
by Larry Stelter

Discovering the Secret Giver
by Larry Stelter

Special Events

Crash Course on Auctions
by Robert Baird

Avoiding Special Event Overload
by Linda Lysakowski

Prospect Research

Plumbing Your Donors and Prospects
by Elizabeth Crabtree

Working with Boards & Volunteers

The Day We First Met
by Becky Lunders

Board Members are Not Hypothetical Constructs
by Kelly Kleiman

Don't Always Second that Motion
by Andy Robinson

Matchmaker Make Me a Match
Identifying your best board candidates spares a lot of headaches later on
by Maureen Robinson

None of Our Business
How your board can avoid the trap of micro-management
by Maureen Robinson

Recruiting’s Red Flags
by John Carver

Good Habits Underpin Great Fundraising Boards
An interview with Jerold Panas

Building an Effective Board
by Linda Lysakowski

Ensuring Your Incoming Board Chair Does the Best Job Possible
by John Carver

Maybe Fundraising Isn’t the Board’s Job After All
Rethinking a fervently held belief
by Maureen Robinson

Get Rid of Your Nominating Committee
by Linda Lysakowski

Working with Consultants

Hiring a Consultant
by Linda Lysakowski

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