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Richard Freedlund's blog

Speak in a Language They Can Understand

Back in the late 1990’s, I worked for a major movie rental company based in Oregon.  Many of the people I worked with were moviephiles, and they would recommend movies that they thought I would like.  Some of the more pretentious coworkers would suggest a foreign title, and on occasion, I would check out some of those movies.

What Development Departments (and Boards) Can Learn from “How I Met Your Mother”

I was a late comer when it comes to “How I Met Your Mother”, but now I watch it in syndication.  If you don’t watch the show, it is about a group of five friends in New York City.  The protagonist, Ted Moseby, is telling his children about how he met their mother, but the story goes on and on, much to the children’s chagrin.

Giving Credit to those who Influenced Me the Most

As I write this, my parents are celebrating their 55th anniversary.  Five years ago, I was back home celebrating their 50th with family and friends at a big event, and I wish I were back to help them celebrate this momentous and rare occasion.  I owe so much to my parents for making me who I am, and I can’t thank them enough.

Make Planned Giving a Family Affair

Planned giving is an important aspect of a development plan for both the donor and the organization seeking the gift.  For the donor, it is a meaningful way to make a difference for an organization that the donor has passion, and for the organization, it means a substantial gift that can be used to support a program or can be used to enhance its ability to serve its constituency in a more effective manner.

Six Random Things Nonprofits Can Learn from the Grateful Dead

When my brother came home for the holidays my freshman year in high school, he brought his load of dirty laundry for my mom to do, a backgammon board, and box of Grateful Dead tapes.  Over the weeks he was home, we played a lot of backgammon and I listened to a lot of his tapes, although not necessarily by choice.  When he returned to MIT, he took his music with him, and I realized that I missed listening to the tapes everyday. 

I went to my first show at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin in 1980, and eventually saw seventy-five shows in over thirty states over a fifteen year period.  While my friends were banging their heads to AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Van Halen, I was wearing tie dyed shirts and planning my next road trip. 

Development is a Team Sport, er, Effort

Being born and raised ninety miles west of Chicago, I am a Chicago Cubs fan.  Each year I have high hopes of seeing my team appear and, yes, win a World Series, but by this time of year I start hoping for miracles.  In a couple months I will say, as my fellow Cubs fanatics, “Maybe next year.”

Reverse Sponsorships: The Cost of Entrepreneurship

I have noticed a trend recently.  I have learned about some very creative businesses that are partnering with nonprofit groups to increase participation in their events in various cities across the country.  I am not so sure it is entirely altruistic, but it certainly seems to be effective.

Walks, Runs, Rides: There’s Much You Should Know

Back in the 70s, when I was a kid, or as my daughter would say, back in the olden days, I started my fundraising for causes by participating in walk-a-thons and ride-a-thons.   I got a sponsor sheet from the fundraising organization, hit up my friends, family and neighbors to pay me for each mile I completed, and then walked or rode the route with hundreds, sometimes thousands of other participants.  There would be stops along the way for food and water, and volunteers would certify that I had gone so far.  At the end of the route, there would be a party with a band and refreshments, and everyone celebrated.  The following week, I would have to track down my sponsors, show them my sheet, and collect the money they had to pay me.  I probably raised somewhere

Don’t Treat Your Donors like Old Friends, Treat Them like Children

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I created many friendships with hundreds of people.  I have friends that go back to childhood, school, and college.  Eventually, we went our own ways.  People moved to other towns and other states, and even other countries.  We tried to keep in touch with letters, postcards, and phone calls, but eventually we lost touch.  Addresses and phone numbers would change, and people stopped making time to write a letter or send a Christmas card.  Long distance phone calls got expensive.

Procurement for Auction Events: My Thoughts and Experience

Many nonprofit organizations, if not most, have fundraising events that have an auction included.  If you read my first blog, “If It is Spring, It must be Event Season”, you will note how many were held on a single day.  They are a popular way to bring in money for your organization, and they are an opportunity to share your mission and programs with new donors.  They are also time consuming, expensive, and take a lot of effort to pull them off successfully.  If your organization is going to have an auction element as part of its event, let me share some guidance that I hope will make it more successful.