Fundraising Revolution…

Holly Hall Jimmy LaRose

Holly Hall – INSIDE PHILANTHROPY

Consultant Jimmy LaRose is trying to start a fundraising revolution—one donor at a time. In more than two decades of reporting and writing about fundraising, I can’t recall ever getting as many phone calls and comments, both pro and con—either spitting mad or full of praise—as I  did back in March, when I wrote a story about Jimmy’s forthcoming book.

At the time, all I had was a single chapter of Re-Imagining Philanthropy, in which Jimmy likened campaign feasibility studies to crack cocaine for consultants. (My phone didn’t stop ringing for days.)

Now, I’ve read the whole book, and it’s quite a manifesto. I’m convinced that, once again, Jimmy LaRose is going to rub more than a few fundraisers the wrong way.

He’s punching holes in some long-held attitudes and practices of both fundraising consultants and nonprofit officials—and begging donors to take the lead in getting charities out of what he says is a terrible mess.

I was so intrigued by Jimmy’s ideas and the reaction he provoked that I paid good money to travel down to Melbourne, Florida, where he was holding a two-day conference for local charities along with a few of his colleagues. I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about.

On the one hand, I found myself asking whether Jimmy planted certain people in the audience to rave about his fundraising approach in order to sell more products and services.

On the other hand, I can’t disagree with a single thing Jimmy said at the conference or in his new book, available in bookstores on December 1. Some advance copies are available online at jimmylarose.com at a cost of $29.95 for hardback; $19.95 for digital or audio versions. Packages of five or 10 books may be ordered at reduced prices.

I hope you will join me for a series of posts about Jimmy LaRose’s against-the-grain fundraising prescriptions, including his argument that donors—not university students, hospital patients or needy families—must be a nonprofit’s No. 1 priority.

That will be my focus here tomorrow.

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