FUNdraising Good Times – A weekly column for nonprofit leaders

Welcome to FUNdraising Good Times, your place for how-to information on the often mysterious topic of fundraising. We write this column for people who manage, work for, or volunteer with nonprofit organizations and institutions. This column is designed to help you and the organizations you believe in attract and retain resources, funding and leadership needed for success.

The column is written by us – Mel and Pearl Shaw, a husband and wife team with over 50 years combined experience in the fields of fundraising and marketing. We work with nonprofit organizations and institutions across the country. Our clients include colleges, universities, churches, local grassroots organizations, hospitals and professional associations.

We see firsthand how nonprofits play a key role in communities across the country. They provide emergency services, educational and recreational programs, healthcare, legal services, job training and mentors to diverse members of our communities. Senior centers, food banks, museums, dance collectives, after-school programs are but a few examples of the types of nonprofits who play an important role in creating healthy families, communities and a vibrant economy. These organizations are staffed by employees and volunteers who are knowledgeable, skilled, committed and passionate about making a difference. We write this column for you.

Our experience has shown that a nonprofit’s financial health usually lies in the hands of its top leadership – the executive director, president or CEO, fundraising personnel, and the board members, trustees and volunteer fundraisers. This is true for small local programs as well as larger institutions such as colleges and universities.

Board members are committed and skilled, and provide oversight, policy and direction — often after the end of a long day at work. Executive directors, presidents, and CEOs are visionary, talented, and often over-worked. Volunteers at all levels look for ways they can make a difference. We know the vital role you play. We write this column for you.

Here’s what we have learned: fundraising is all about preparation, people, and resources. These are the keys to a nonprofit’s success. Be prepared so your interactions with people yield the resources you needIn this column you will find tips for successful fundraising including easy-to-use, how-to information on topics such as:

    1. Prerequisites for fundraising success
    2. Creating your fundraising plan
    3. How to write a proposal
    4. Building your board of directors – the key to fundraising success
    5. The thrills and perils of special events

We will also feature interviews with funders, donors, executive directors, presidents, board members, and fundraising professionals. We will offer free checklists and other tools for you to use as you put the column’s ideas to work.

We call the column FUNdraising Good Times because we believe fundraising doesn’t have to be drudgery – in fact it can be fun!


© Copyright Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at

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