A Fundraiser’s Journey: Saying Thanks

Kelly picKelly Updike for PCNRC, A Fundraiser’s Journey series

I have a confession to make.

Once upon a time I did not say thank-you to a donor. It’s a complicated story that I won’t bore you with here but the summary is that the donor was extremely angry, I was mortified and my organization nearly lost the gift.


I learned, the hard way, the first rule of fundraising: No matter what, first, always, simply, say thanks.

Here’s the low-down on the highlights of thanking each person who makes a gift of any sort to your organization.

  • Be quick about it. You should aim to send a thank-you notification within 48 hours.
  • Be formal at least once. Donors who make tax-deductible gifts should receive a letter that can be used for tax reporting purposes.
  • Rinse and repeat. Say thank-you more than once and you will stand out from the crowd. I once received three different thank-you communications for the same gift – wow, I gave again the next year, happily and eagerly.
  • Mean it. Be personal and personable, be sincere and specific. Briefly describe how the gift makes a difference to your organization.
  • Give it some flair. Hey, share some of your nonprofit passion and creativity. Use email, video, photos, text messages and handwritten notes.
  • Make it a party. Involve others in saying thank-you, including volunteers and board members. Have a thank-you-letter signing party. Give a two-sentence telephone script to board members and ask them to thank a few donors. Simone Joyaux writing in the Dec. 6, 2014, issue of Nonprofit Quarterly, suggests that making a call is currently an under-used method and thus a pleasant surprise to donors.

So, take a cue from Elvis and say, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

The Nonprofit Quarterly article mentioned above can be found at this link.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

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Job Opportunity: Grants/Proposal Writer for Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne is “to inspire all young people, especially those who need us, to reach their Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”

Today the Club operates three sites, the Fairfield location and Club sites at two Public Housing properties: Brookmill Court and McCormick Place. The organization serves approximately 1,400 registered members annually.

Reports to:

Chief Professional Officer


The Grants/Proposal Writer develops resources, researches funding sources, and writes proposals to a variety of organizations. Stays apprised of community needs and issues. Recommends potential opportunities/partnerships to CPO help develop strategic partners, particularly as they relate to grant-funded programs


  • Develops and coordinates grant-funded and other special programs through governmental agencies, private foundations and community organizations.
  • Determines the feasibility of developing programs to match funding objectives.
  • In conjunction with CPO establishes community partners to enhance funding potential.
  • Writes grants and maintain all supporting documentation, reports and databases.
  • Monitors all correspondence & activities connected with grant funded programs.

See further information below



New Book: Connecting to Change the World

Click on the book to go to the ACPL catalog and place a hold.

Understanding how social networks – not simply social media – impact your mission effectiveness can shift how you approach your mission.

If you’re not already actively engaged in building and understanding networks, you might simply be curious as to what’s possible.

Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact by Peter Plastrik, Madeleine Taylor, and John Cleveland, demonstrates the possibilities – and outlines designing, weaving, and managing networks.

 “This book sheds light on why some organizations today feel like heavy bricks, whereas others defy gravity.”

Richard McCarthy, Executive Director for Slow Food USA

With a healthy variety of useful appendices, you’re empowered to begin building, assessing, and, in general, applying lessons learned throughout the text.

Online Resources  (more…)

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Improve Your Communications with Smart Chart 3.0

Have you heard about Smart Chart 3.0 yet?

Are you starting, evaluating, or reviewing a communications effort or process? Are you looking to tell an effective story? Align your messaging? Check your alignment?

Smart Chart guides you through the necessary steps to make effective communications choices.

The Smart Chart features six major strategic decision sections:
1. Program Decisions (Broad Goal, Objective, Decision Maker)
2. Context (Internal and External Scans and Position)
3. Strategic Choices (Audience, Readiness, Core Concerns, Theme, Message and Messenger)
4. Communications Activities (Tactics, Timeline, Assignments and Budget)
5. Measurements of Success
6. Final Reality Check

And, it’s simple, free, and easy to access. And, it’s not just for planning. Use it for assessing the effectiveness of your current communications work.

We like it most because it takes you through the complete communications planning process – without getting into the tools. No jumping ahead without doing your necessary and useful homework. (more…)

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Job Opportunity: Director of Development at Turnstone

Turnstone, a Fort Wayne organization that serves people with physical disabilities, is seeking a high energy, experienced Turnstonedevelopment professional with major gift experience to plan, implement and direct a comprehensive fund development program that generates several million dollars in annual program revenue.

Reports to:  CEO and Board of Directors


  • Solicitation, cultivation and stewardship of donors
  • Prospecting for new donors
  • Managing the development team
  • Build the agency’s annual fund and planned giving programs

See further information below



Women Give 2014 | The Women’s Philanthropy Institute

New Research on Women, Religion and Giving

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy recently released Women Give 2014.

The report details a meaningful shift in religious-based giving, specifically in regards to young, single women who are religiously unaffiliated.

The religiosity-giving relationship, which has been assumed to be the same regardless of gender and age, is a more complex relationship than previously thought. For the first time, this research examines the intersection of religiosity, gender, and age in a single analysis and finds a significant change in patterns of giving. In an important shift from the standard religiosity-giving story found in most previous research, young single women who are religiously unaffiliated – the ”Nones” – give roughly two times larger amounts to charitable organizations than women who are affiliated but infrequently attend religious services.

Why the Shifting Landscape Matters (more…)

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Northeast Indiana Consultant List

MD. Hasibul Haque Sakib via flickr

Need a hand? Let us guide you to area consultants who have provided various types of support for nonprofits locally.

Two things first:
1. Carefully define the scope of work for your consultant needs.
2. Ask for and call references before you hire someone.

Check out these fine resources:

  • Download our Consultant list.updated 9.25.14 including:  areas of service, specialties, and contact information. Please note: our consultant list is not vetted and updated only for information accurate. You must ask for and check references when hiring a consultant.
  • Review the GrantSpace Knowledge Base question: “Where can I learn more about hiring a consultant?
  • Does your 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization provide services in Allen County?
    Review the terms of the Transform grant opportunity available from the Foellinger Foundation.
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“2014 Form 990″ from DWD’s Mission-Minded Blog

Carrie Minnich, CPA, MAcct

Our own Get on Board co-chair, Carrie Minnich, CPA, MAcct posted about the “2014 Form 990″ today for Mission Minded, Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc.’s nonprofit blog.

Her post outlines new clarifications in the instructions which are still in draft form.

Here’s a snippet, a link to her post, and additional useful links:

“The IRS recently posted the 2014 Form 990 to its website. There are no changes to the form itself; however, there are a few changes to the instructions which are still in draft form.

Part VII, Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees and Independent Contractors

Instructions clarify that reportable compensation should not be treated as deferred if deferred from the calendar year ending with or within the tax year to a date that is not more than 2 ½ months after the end of the calendar year ending with or within the tax year.”

Read more at Mission Minded.

Useful related links:

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Job Opportunity: Grants Manager at Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth

POSITION: Grants Manager

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of America is a leading national nonprofit organization providing a full continuum of services for youth in the child welfare, behavioral health, and juvenile justice systems.

The Grants Manager is responsible for the strategic preparation and submission of assigned requests for proposals (RFP) and purchase of service bids for SAFY along with assisting in the development of core proposal elements that can be utilized as templates for future proposals and bids.

This position is Full Time, Regular, with Benefits. It can be located in the various divisional areas which include: Fort Wayne, IN; Indianapolis, IN; Delphos, OH; Lexington, KY; or Louisville, KY.

See below for further details and application information.



Job Opportunity: Executive Director at Kosciusko Community Senior Services

Kosciusko Community CFKosciusko Community Senior Services (KCSS, aka Kosciusko Council on the Aged and Aging) is seeking an Executive Director. The Director will uphold the mission of the KCSS to provide services for seniors so they may still enjoy the quality of life in their own home.

The primary programs of the KCSS include: Home Meal Delivery, Transportation, and operations of the Senior Activity Center.

Reports to: Board of Directors


  • Be responsible for the supervision, guidance and direction of the daily operation of the agency.
  • Understand and administer the budget of the agency while exercising fiscal restraint in expenditures. Know and understand the existing grants and contracts and their appropriate expenditures.
  • Be knowledgeable in compliance standards for Medicaid and Medicare as they relate to serving the elderly population and funding for the agency.
  • Be responsible to inform the Board of Directors about any fiscal, programmatic, personnel and operational circumstance that may result in difficulties for the agency through the use of Word, Excel, email and other computer programs.
  • Be responsible for writing grants, soliciting gifts and contributions and otherwise keeping the fiscal affairs of the agency in stable and developing condition.
  • Know, understand and execute the Board of Director’s policies and administrative rules according to the KCSS Handbook. Be responsible for updating and recommending changes to policy and rules of the Board of Directors.

A full list of responsibilities may be found at following PDF: Executive Director Job Opportunity KCSS

Application Deadline: 11/21/2014

To apply please submit your cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Jack Felger via email at or fax to 574-269-9788.


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