Countryside Road


When I started working in the nonprofit sector, I quickly realized there is a lot to learn and not a lot of time to learn it. That is why I created this blog, to help small shop fundraisers make the most out of their limited time and resources. I am passionate about ensuring that small shop nonprofits, and all of their quirks, can grow their programs and raise more money!

  • Shelby Moore

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

When I think back over the last five years, one of the best things that I have ever done for my career was to find and solidify a mentorship relationship. And, for me, this meant three.

My first job in my fundraising career was as an assistant to a development director with a wealth of knowledge. I made it very clear that I wanted to learn from her, and she took a chance and taught me. I virtually knew very little about fundraising or development, and I credit much of what I know to her. Now, this job is the definition of a small shop. There was 1.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions dedicated to raising $750,000. This mentorship taught me the basis of my future career. Every day, we discussed annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, grant writing. She went above and beyond to teach me everything she knew.

When I think about the second mentor that I had, I am not even entirely sure that she even knows that I consider her to be a mentor. She is everything that I have ever aspired to be in a fundraiser. Her career highlights include hundreds of multi-million dollar major gift requests. She was born to be a teacher, and she happens to be an even better manager and fundraiser. We would meet, before work started for the day, and she would teach me how to ask for a major gift, board relations, and so much more.

For my third mentor story, as you may know from my other blog posts, I am a first-time executive director and when I was asked to take this position, I made sure that I had an executive mentor on board to help me. My executive mentor taught me how to be tough and taught me what it means to be a manager. It is invaluable to have a mentor who has a career and/or life that is complementary to your own. Your mentor must be personally invested in your success, and it is this professional mentor relationship that has helped grow my career. She has given me brutal honesty since day one, and has never let me stop pushing.

I consider myself lucky to have known three amazing women, dedicated to teaching me. I understand that many people do not get this lucky. But, I want to empower you to reach out to those that can help you grow. Did a certain person come to mind, as you read through this post? Maybe, someone that you have always wanted to learn from? Someone who has the job or career that you aspire to obtain? Schedule a meeting, and start asking them questions. But first, mentorship is all about sincerity. Make sure you are sincere in your intention to learn. Because, sincere mentorship means that you do not have to go into anything alone again.

Shelby Moore - MPA, CFRE

  • Shelby Moore

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Year-end is my favorite time of the year, and not just because I love #GivingTuesday. Year-end giving is a perfect time to share your nonprofits message with an audience that is in a mood to give. Therefore, I am excited to share ten steps to make your year-end giving campaign perfect for your small shop nonprofit.

  1. First, start by reviewing the previous years’ totals and goals. What was your goal last year? How much was raised? Who contributed? What strategies did you use?

  2. Take some time with your board and/or your finance committee and review your current financial position. How are you doing on your budget? How close are you to your fundraising goal for the year?

  3. Use this information to set some serious goals.

  4. Identify your resources. Do you have a board that is active in fundraising? Are you able to rally the support of volunteers? How much time do you have? What materials do you have at your disposal?

  5. Set your scope. Start by segmenting your audience. Audience segmentation means to divide your donors into groups based on their interests, behaviors, and communication preferences. This will allow you to then identify donors that can be instrumental in hitting your year-end giving goals.

  6. Find your anecdote, decide on a theme, and figure out your messaging.

  7. Identify your timeline. In most cases, I suggest starting on #GivingTuesday, if you can. Your social media push on #GivingTuesday can be used as a soft launch for your year-end giving campaign. Make sure your timeline works for your organization.

  8. Make the ask(s). Use every appropriate communication channel to make your year-end giving requests. That means you should be using social media, direct mail, e-mail, one-on-one meetings, newsletters, website, and/or phone.

  9. Develop a follow-up plan. Remind each of the segmented donors that have not yet given about your year-end campaign, and vary your follow-up appeals across multiple channels. Many donations come in on the last day of the year!

  10. Always remember to thank your donors, and if you can, thank them at least twice. Regardless of gift size, try to send each donor a personalized thank you. Whether that means, a personalized thank you by phone, email, or note – always make sure to tell that donor about the impact of their donation and express your sincere gratitude.

I want to hear about your year-end giving successes and challenges! Drop a comment below and let other small shops know what has or has not worked for your year-end fundraising.

I am also very excited to announce that I have launched the ‘Work With Me’ portion of this website to help mentor 2 – 3 small shop nonprofits with topics such as this one. It is my privilege to share my knowledge with small development shops, so if you want to discuss your own unique situation, free of charge, just fill out the ‘Contact’ portion of this website!

Shelby Moore - MPA, CFRE

  • Shelby Moore

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

It has been a while since I have last worked on this blog, so I thought I would come back and write about something that every small shop fundraiser should care about – annual giving! An annual giving program establishes and nurtures donor support to ensure the fulfillment of your organization’s mission. It is the backbone of small shop fundraising.

For this blog post, I wanted to share with you a real-life example. This is about the organization I work for, and how we have grown our annual giving program from 320 gifts totaling $42,041 in 2015 to 302 gifts totaling $84,587 in 2019. Yes, you read that right. A well-functioning annual giving program does not happen overnight. So, I want to share with you what we did to make this happen…

  1. I came to my organization in October of 2016. At the time, there were over 750 names in our donor database, with no gift history attached to them. So, I decided that I was going to start with direct mail. I wrote a letter explaining who I was, a brief overview of my work history, and why I cared enough about my cause to write them. And, I sent it to every name in that database, with a donation response envelope attached. Over 250 envelopes came back, and I was disheartened by the amount of postage that I had just wasted, but on the bright side, 29 people had sent back donations of all shapes and sizes totaling $7,500. That meant that 29 people cared enough about our cause enough to respond, and I made sure to mark each one of these people in my database. With these 29 people, I decided that I was going to write each one of them a personalized “thank you” note and I told them that I would call them the next week – and so I did.

  2. Next, I turned my attention to #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, driven primarily through digital media. That first year, I did not spend a lot of time crafting strong messaging or branding, instead, I focused on educating our Facebook audience and e-mail audience on what #GivingTuesday is, and how the modest goal of $1,500 would help our patients and their families. 11 donors made this goal a reality, and helped set the stage for the next years to come.

  3. As the year came to a close, I looked at how much we have raised and it totaled $9,000. I had not set any specific goals for that first year, so I thought to myself, you know what, I think we can raise $1,000 more and finish our year strong. Although it is important to segment your donors (I will discuss this in a later blog post), it is even more important to pay attention to the donors that come through when you need them most. This is definitely one of those times. So, I decided that, again, I was going to call and send a “thank you” note to each donor.

  4. The last thing I looked at for the end of that first year, was our monthly giving program. At the time, it was nonexistent. I was determined to get to that $10,000 mark, so I set my sights smaller. I felt that I may have already exhausted our small base of support with the direct mail campaign and #GivingTuesday campaign. So, I thought, I needed 10 people to pledge $25 a quarter for the next year. I happened to have small coffee cups leftover from an event, so I offered this small little trinket as an incentive. For the monthly giving program, I looked specifically at the special events that we have had in the past. I segmented out the donors who have been to any of our events more than two years in a row, and I mailed them a special letter and stated that I would call them to follow-up in two weeks. This method helped bring on two monthly donors, and as I promised, I followed up with a call asking for a monthly pledge, and we were able to bring on three more monthly donors. These total pledges surpassed our original goal of $1,000.

This is just one story, and only one year of work. I said it before, and I will say it again: your annual giving program will be the backbone of your small shop nonprofit. If you would like to discuss your annual giving program further, I would be more than happy to discuss any ideas you may have. Leave me a comment!

Shelby Moore - MPA, CFRE