This says everything about the Annual Fund that I love.  There’s a lot of emphasis in the industry on Major Gifts and top-of-the-pyramid donors – appropriately so!  But it sometimes means that the low and mid-range donors don’t get the attention they need or deserve.

Or if they do, it’s as a means to a different end – how to move them up the pipeline, how to get them to give more, how to get them to make a planned gift.  And that’s all right and good and true, but an investment in a strong base-of-support not only provides those opportunities but is an end, in and of itself.  A pyramid topples without a strong base.

In the context of this blog, then, “Annual Fund” refers to any strategic, ongoing cultivation, acquisition, solicitation and stewardship of entry-level donors below a major gift threshold.  See?  “Annual Fund” can mean a lot of different things to t lot of different contexts.

So, this is a place to talk about all matters related to the Annual Fund – acquisition, direct response, digital/online, social media, renewal rates, upgrading, stewarding, donor relations, cultivation, recurring giving and, yes, data!  Annual Fund folks very often have the largest portfolios and most diverse responsibilities; here we celebrate multi-tasking, split-brain focus and all things Annual Fund.

And why is it a Lab?

The definition of a laboratory is:


noun lab·o·ra·to·ry \ˈla-b(ə-)rə-ˌtȯr-ē sometimes ˈla-bə(r)-ˌ or lə-ˈbȯr-ə-ˌ,British usually lə-ˈbär-ə-t(ə-)rē\
a :  a place equipped for experimental study in a science or for testing and analysis; broadly:  a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study
b :  a place like a laboratory for testing, experimentation, or practice
(“Laboratory.” Merriam-Webster.com. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laboratory)
 This, then, is a place for observing, practicing and experimentation on all things Annual Fund.

Well, that, and I have three Labrador Retrievers (The Buck-White Boys) and my non-fundraising life is pretty much lab-centric.


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