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18 Great Resources Every Fundraiser Should Know About

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By Helen E. Brown, President, Helen Brown Group

Here at the Helen Brown Group, we get lots of questions from clients that aren’t just about prospect research, relationship management or analytics…and finding the answers to non-traditional questions is a lot of fun for me and the team!

So I thought you might like to see the answers to some of the questions we’ve gotten lately from clients asking “where would you recommend that I look for…?”

Everything on the list is free (or worth every penny). Enjoy!

Campaign planning tool: the gift range calculator

This is the site you head to when your board chair says “Welcome aboard. What will we need to do to raise $10 million?” No need to panic, just use this handy little gift pyramid calculation tool.

Free conference calling

There really is no need to spend money on expensive conference calling services. really and truly is free and the quality is just as good as you get with fee-based services. You can even record calls or open up a webinar and share your screen.

Need expert advice on technology?

Many of us are tech-savvy, but few of us are tech gurus. Robert Weiner is one of them, and his list of fundraising technology resources is terrific. Among the articles on his site you will find info on the 10 most common mistakes people make in buying donor databases (and how to avoid them). Want to figure out why your team won’t use the new database you just spent $$ to buy? The answer is there.

Have you seen the fantastic Supporting Advancement site?

This omnibus resource is one of the most extensive resource sites available on the web. Whether you’re looking for ideas, information, templates to borrow, or how-to guides, it’s all here and free. Major gifts, annual fund, research, stewardship, donor retention…I could go on and on. New resources are being added all the time.

The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration (SOFII) is awesome, too

The Sofii site is full of ideas for you to crib, methods and experts to emulate, and fundraising success stories to inspire. They’ve got a great newsletter, too. My favorite SOFII offering is a TED-style afternoon idea-slam called IWITOT (“I wish I’d thought of that!”) where admirers of great ideas get 7 minutes to talk about the pinnacles of fundraising creativity. Unlike the SOFII site this is not a free event, but past entries are available to view on the site for free.

Great places to help you innovate

Many wealth screening vendors offer valuable training videos and white papers in exchange for adding you to their mailing list. Check out these pages to see just some of the variety available.

Blackbaud Fundraising white papers
DonorSearch white papers
WealthEngine white papers

If you’re a fundraiser wondering how prospect research can help your organization raise more money, Prospect Research for Fundraisers; the essential handbook (AFP/Wiley) was written just for you. It’s especially good for new managers overseeing the process – it’s hard to manage a group if you don’t understand what their potential is. This book lays it out clearly.

Another highly acclaimed handbook for chief fundraisers (or others aspiring to the top of the ladder) is The Chief Development Officer: Beyond Fundraising. Its clear writing and common sense advice from senior nonprofit leaders across the US is essential to help guide your career.

Free training

If you haven’t checked out the offerings lately, the free web seminars and podcasts on the
Foundation Center website are a real boon for nonprofits of all sizes seeking grants from companies and foundations.

Why reinvent the wheel? Prospect Research Links page

Don’t miss our frequently-updated page, filled with links to many of the resources that the HBG team uses every day to research prospects in the US and around the world.

Global Wealth lists: HBG Wealth Links page

One of the pages that gets the biggest workout on our website, the ever-expanding HBG wealth links page provides you with direct access to rich lists around the globe.

I know you travel a lot…

As a fundraiser, you’ve probably found yourself at least once in a new city with a few spare hours to kill. What shouldn’t you miss? Start with these free podcasts.

• Global: Travel in 10 – video and audio podcasts bringing you information about cities and countries in ten minutes or less
• In Europe? (yes, color me jealous!): Rick Steves is your man for free podcasts and travel ideas.
• A whole list of podcasts, brought to you by Positive World Travel. Cities, countries…even if you’re not traveling, they’re fun to listen to.
• And you know about Yelp, right? When you’re traveling, Yelp can’t be beat for finding great restaurants near where you’re staying or to take a donor. Reviews by real people help you avoid making a bad reservation.

Travel in comfort

Have you ever paid money to upgrade to a slightly better seat on a plane, only to discover it wasn’t really worth it? SeatGuru takes away that pain. This essential flight-advice site powered by TripAdvisor has seat maps, advice from travelers who have rated each flight, each plane, each seat and tell you all about it. Before you pay for 1D, find out if 5D is just as good…or better.

What not-to-be-missed resources would you like to share?


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Helen:
    Thank you for this information, it is a great list of resources! I noticed that there was no link to this information, “Why reinvent the wheel? Prospect Research Links page”. Should there be?

    January 5, 2015
  2. Hey Helen, we have lots of free resources on – free downloadables, a free educational webinar every week, our daily blog and weekly video podcast!

    January 6, 2015

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