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Nonprofits learn donor conversations are magic

Posted on May 9, 2019, by

More than 115 nonprofit leaders gather for a forum at Fox Valley Technical College to increase their knowledge on how to steward their donors and strengthen their organizations’ financial future.


By Annette Look, Program Manager, Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (NPLI)

On May 8, the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region partnered to conduct a two-part Leadership Forum on building long-term donor relationships.

Kathryn Miree of Kathryn Miree & Associates meets with more than 100 local nonprofits.

The topics: “The Importance of Stewardship and Recognition” and “How to Become an Expert in the Conversation of Endowment.”

Kathryn Miree, a nationally recognized speaker and author, led the forum and shared her expertise on donor stewardship and major and planned gifts. Her message to nonprofits – conversations with donors are magic.

Listening – a lot of listening – and asking, what Kathryn calls “magic questions” are critical to creating the space to have donor-centric magical conversations. Kathryn also taught us magic conversations can’t take place without nonprofits first having strong databases, gift policies and recognition plans.

(L to R) Kathy Rechner, Goodwill Industries; Kathryn Miree, Diane Putzer and Mary Parsons, LEAVEN.

We also learned that 89 percent of households give to charity and everyone is capable of making a planned gift. Contrary to what many of us thought, the best time to ask a donor to consider a planned gift is when the donor is in their 40s and not during their retirement years.

Nikki Hessel, Future Neenah executive director, shared her thoughts on the Leadership Forum: “I just wanted to send a quick note to say how incredibly valuable, engaging and inspiring the event was. Kathryn was so well spoken and had a wealth of knowledge to share. I could have listened to her all day,” Hessel says.

Fox Valley nonprofit leaders are already doing wonderful work. This Leadership Forum gave them one more tool on how to incorporate donor stewardship into their organization’s culture.

(Kathryn Miree also spoke to local professional financial advisors. Read more here.)


The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative is a partnership of Fox Valley-area nonprofits, funders, educational institutions and businesses dedicated to providing resources needed by effective nonprofit boards and executive leaders. NPLI offers a wide range of leadership, management and technical skill-building programs, as well as peer learning circles, to the entire nonprofit sector in the Fox Valley.

We support  NPLI with a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, one among many community partners supporting NPLI. Click here to learn more.

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