Exchange Matters / January 2, 2014

Clear and Bold: Fundraising Tips from Lori Jacobwith

Energetic. Empowering. Thought-provoking. Educational. Innovative.

These are just a few words that members used to describe Lori Jacobwith’s session: Fundraising: Imagine What’s Possible. Lori Jacobwith, a successful coach and storyteller who has helped organizations raise over $200 million, “believe[s] that support of all kinds (time, talent, stuff, and money) will indeed move toward your organization when you are clear and bold.” In a fast-paced three and half hours, members learned the value and impact of messaging to develop a culture of giving within their organizations.

Two key takeaways from the workshop were:

Inspire the donor and show them the correlation between their gift and an outcome.


Develop clear and bold messages. Organizations are more effective when they communicate the impact of a gift and when a donor understands what they’re making possible. In an easy 10-minute exercise, Lori asked participants to develop their own clear and bold statements. Many of the participants talked about building a better and more peaceful world through exchanges, while others talked about building relationships with nations. Whatever the message was, participants drew on the value of international education programs and how they impact and inspire local communities, nations, and the world.

Conveying the impact of a gift is an important and vital step in fundraising. In order to be effective, people giving to an organization should understand the impact their money is having. Organizations can accomplish this by weaving together three areas: budget gap, program, and story. Be clear on what the budget gap is. By conveying how much money is needed to accomplish a particular project, donors will have a better sense that their money is going somewhere. What program is the money being used for? Tell your donors where the money goes. For example, with a gift of $100, you help bring different cultures together. Then tell them a story. Inspire the donor and show them the correlation between their gift and an outcome.

Lori’s simple and common sense reminders motivated participants to engage their members in philanthropy. Many of the participants left the session with an understanding of what is needed to be effective fundraisers. Alan Brody wrote that “this workshop… [was] for me the… most relevant and practical event I participated in during the National Meeting. Lori’s main message was: ‘When you choose language that’s clear AND bold you’ll inspire action that will exceed your goals.'”

Interested in Learning More?

Join master storyteller and fundraiser Lori L. Jacobwith on Tuesday, March 18 at 2 p.m. ET for “Grow Your Annual Giving,” a dynamic follow-up webinar to our National Meeting workshop, “Fundraising: Imagine What’s Possible.” Lori will work with Global Ties U.S. members in real time to assess their plans to build membership to grow their annual funds. Even if you missed the workshop, this webinar will be a terrific opportunity to learn from an expert and your colleagues in order to grow your donor base and increase donor engagement.

If you attended Lori’s National Meeting workshop, bring the plans you made at the workshop, along with what you identified as “impossible.”

Contact Jason Terry at for details on how to sign up.

By: Manuel Valverde, Global Ties U.S.