Ben Madonia

Director of Gift Planning
Hamilton College

In a sector with a reputation for high turnover, Ben Madonia breaks the mold. Ben was happily engaged at Hamilton College in central New York for more than four decades until his retirement this month.

  • Your Voice: “Listen Up”
  • Ask the Expert! (Real Estate to Fund a CGA?)
  • But My Prospect are Smart!
  • Misconceptions About Gift Planning
  • Nostalgia Marketing
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Jennifer Green

Founder & Director of Training Alpha Bravo Canine

Through her experience as a military wife and mother, Jennifer Green discovered that for some vets, even after they’re safe at home, a new battle is just beginning.

  • Your Voice: “Turnover”
  • Ask the Expert! (A Workplace Ethical Dilemma)
  • Survival of the Safest?
  • Is Your Fundraising Like Ford in 1965?
  • Cryptocurrency: The Next Gifting Frontier?
  • Call to Action
  • And more…




Cover Story: Scott Janney

Director of Gift Planning, The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory

A tragedy early in life taught Scott that life is short and time is precious. He’s spent the rest of his life helping people find meaning and purpose – and even immortality.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: “Legacy Conversation Questions”
  • Ask the Expert! (New Laws Encouraging Retirement Plans)
  • Buy Yourself More Time
  • Why Gift Planners Feel Isolated
  • Mobile Apps for Nonprofits
  • Call to Action
  • And more…



Cover Story: Cam Kelly

Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts, Duke University

In three decades of working in development, Cam Kelly has cultivated her skills in diplomacy and collaboration. Today, she needs all those skills in her position at Duke, which she calls “The Switzerland Role.”

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: “Calling It Quits”
  • Ask the Expert! (Dear President Biden)
  • What We Can Learn from Yelp
  • 6 Ways Technology Can Add Hours Back Into Your Week
  • Wabi-Sabi Fundraising: Embracing Imperfection for Success
  • Call to Action
  • And more…


Cover Story: Dwayne Walton

Executive Director, The Parkesburg Point

Dwayne’s childhood years in Brooklyn forecast nothing but trouble. But mentors and coaches helped guide his path to success – and now he does the same for hundreds of at-risk youth in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: “Saying Thank You”
  • Ask the Expert! (It’s Hard Talking about Death and Taxes )
  • The Client Does Not Come First. The Employees Do.
  • What Your Boss Really Needs to Know about Gift Planning
  • Your Fundraising Should Be More Vulnerable
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Rhett Wilson

Vice President and Chief Development Officer, The White House Historical Association

Like most professional fundraisers, Rhett prefers not to discuss politics with his donors-a challenge since he represents a place synonymous with politics: The White House.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: “Social Media and Planned Giving”
  • Ask the Expert! (Best Practices for Virtual Fundraising)
  • What’s Hot – What’s Not
  • The Why is More Important Than the How
  • How We Went Virtual and Doubled Our Attendance
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Sam Samuels

Director of Gift Planning, Smith College

After a short career in acting, he got another bug – the planned giving bug. Today, nearly two decades later, he’s still as hooked as he was on day one.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: “Volunteers: Backbone of Nonprofits”
  • Ask the Expert! (The Future of Planned Giving)
  • Seven Marketing Trends to Move Beyond
  • Covid and Planned Giving: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
  • No Boundaries
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Marlo Schalesky

Founder and Executive Director, Wonder Wood Ranch

This Stanford-trained chemist, award-winning author, wife, and mother of six entertains gang members at her home.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: “Advice for Newbies”
  • Ask the Expert! (Funding a Gift Annuity)
  • Edgy Marketing
  • Going On Vacation? Put Your Email to Work
  • 5 Reasons the Myth of Donor Fatigue Persists
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Gary Bukowski

Associate Vice President for Development, Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center

Gary Bukowski studied history, was drawn into politics, and eventually landed in fundraising — all driven by the same passion for improving the lives of others.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: What a Year!
  • Ask the Expert! (On Blended Gifts)
  • Naming Your Legacy Society
  • No More Crappy Thank You Letters
  • 5 Mini Plans You Need to Thrive
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Michelle Gollapalli

Vice President of Development, ECRI

As a young girl in India in the 1970s, Michelle faced limited options for her future. But she listened to her grandfather, who told her, “Get an education and you can conquer the world.”

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Unusual Gifts
  • Ask the Expert! (On Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act)
  • Fluctuating Annuity Rates
  • Legacy Conversations During COVID-19
  • Patience in Fundraising Always Wins
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Lynn Malzone Ierardi

Director of Gift Planning, University of Pennsylvania

Lynn’s recent book on storytelling was named one of BookAuthority’s best 100 Fundraising Books of All Time. Here’s how she came to view storytelling as the most effective way to communicate, the most powerful way to teach and learn, and the best way to change behavior.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Bonuses for Fundraisers?
  • Ask the Expert! (Who owns the relationship with the donor?)
  • What’s in a Logo?
  • What Makes a Good Donor Story?
  • Most Important Things in Fundraising
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Jory Barrad

Director of Development, The Pathway School in Greater Philadelphia

Typically an economic downturn implies negative consequences. But for those with the courage and foresight to act despite uncertainty, it can create incredible opportunities. For Jory Barrad, Director of Development at The Pathway School in Greater Philadelphia, when the 2008 recession derailed his 30-year career, he embraced the opportunity to pursue a more meaningful journey. 

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Maximum Productivity
  • Ask the Expert (What will planned giving look like after social distancing?)
  • Optimizing Prospect Engagements
  • Q&A With Leadership Coach Marc A. Pitman
  • 21 Irritating Jargon Phrases
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Meg DeBrito

Executive Director: Greensgrow

As the executive director of Greensgrow, an urban farm in Philadelphia, Meg DeBrito finds herself leading both a nonprofit and a business, facing the challenges  common to each type of leader, as well as challenges unique to their hybrid model.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Next Level Giving
  • Ask the Expert (CARES Act)
  • Pick Up the Phone and Get to Work
  • How to Run a Remote Team
  • Philanthropy’s Landscape Is Changing. Donors’ Hearts Aren’t.
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Sue Harpole

Deputy Chief Development Officer: ALSAC

Sue Harpole is Deputy Chief Development Officer for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Looking back, she can see how fundraising was part of her life–even from childhood.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Donor Fatigue
  • Ask the Expert (Are Your Money Beliefs Sabotaging Your Fundraising Success?)
  • Donor-centric or Egocentric? It’s Not Just About You.
  • Q&A with “Realtor of the Year” Kellie Jo Maher
  • Mr Rogers and The Power of Deep Listening
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Mark Seeley

Senior Director of Gift Planning:University of South Carolina

Mark Seeley had been in the nonprofit sector for decades, but always from the side of an organization doing some type of good work. But when a crisis struck his family and threatened the life of his two-year-old grandson Jennings, Mark suddenly found himself in a very different seat–this time as a recipient of the good work.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: In what ways is planned giving both a solo and a team effort?
  • Ask the Expert (Donor story privacy)
  • Training Board Members to Be Your Best Sales People
  • Turning Mistakes into Marketing Opportunities
  • Q&A with Graham-Pelton CEO Elizabeth Zeigler (Part II)
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Arlene D. Schiff

National Director: Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Arlene D. Schiff has a varied professional career. But whether she was working in urban planning, running her father-in-law’s clothing store, or working in development, the common thread is her one true passion: building community.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: We talk to donors about leaving a legacy. But how do you want to be remembered?
  • Ask the Expert (We Are Not Beggars)
  • 6 Ways to Use Stories in Your Planned Giving Marketing
  • All You Need is Love (And an Estate Plan)
  • Q&A with Graham-Pelton CEO Elizabeth Zeigler (Part I)
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Nancy Gianni

Founder and Chief Belief Officer: GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers

It all started when her third child was born with Down syndrome, and Nancy set out to create a community for families like hers. Today GiGi’s Playhouse is a $14MM nonprofit with 44 locations in the U.S. and Mexico. And Nancy is just getting warmed up!

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: How do you guide donors about parting with their money?
  • Ask the Expert (Ways to improve collaboration within your organization)
  • Stop Trying to Wow Donors Into Philanthropic Submission
  • Confessions of a Former Development Director
  • The Spousal Defensive Initiative: When One Says Yes and One Says No
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Justin DeMoss

Chief Philanthropy Officer: Hough Ear Institute

Justin Demoss took a long and bumpy road to end up where he is today: a successful fundraiser, loving husband and father, and committed member of his church. The painful mistakes along the way gave him his recipe for a successful and meaning life: Be honest. Be curious. Be humble.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: What are the most important questions you ask when you first meet a donor?
  • Ask the Expert (Recent changes to tax laws and how they affect donors)
  • Setting Goals Saves Time
  • Encouraging Donors to Give from Retirement Funds
  • Stewarding Donors Through Crisis
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Thad Austin

Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Congregational Engagement: Duke University

Thad Austin, PhD, believes that understanding religion and religious motivations for giving is critical for understanding the nonprofit sector itself.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: What positive change have you seen take place in fundraising?
  • Ask the Expert (Donor advised funds are more popular, what it means for the development team)
  • Stewardship Done Right: My Donor Journey
  • Formalizing a Letter of Intent
  • Reflections on Giving in 2018
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Lauren Winkelman-Smith

Vice President of Advancement: United Way of Greenville County

When you ask kids the classic question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” they usually say something like teacher or doctor or astronaut. But Lauren actually dreamed of a career in fundraising. And she made it happen.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Let’s hear about a time when you were proud to be working for a nonprofit.
  • Ask the Expert (Is it worth my time to do fundraising on social media?)
  • The End of an Error: How to Write an Email That Gets Read
  • I’m an Introvert – and a Great Fundraiser
  • A Nonprofit-Themed Haunted House
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Eileen Heisman

President and CEO: National Philanthropic Trust

Eileen doesn’t subscribe to today’s trendy aspiration of excessive leisure time, early retirement, or even the “work-life balance” we hear so much about. Eileen does not consider herself a workaholic, nor does she resent taking work calls on a Sunday afternoon. She just really, really, really loves her job. And she loves her life. For Eileen, it’s more of a work-life blend.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Besides age, what hints do you look for to indicate a person is a good planned giving prospect?
  • Ask the Expert (How the new tax laws affect you and your donors)
  • “Ditch the Pitch”
  • 7 Numbers Every Nonprofit Marketer Should Know
  • Positive Outcomes Through Productive Communication
  • Call to Action
  • And more..

Cover Story: Nigel Allen

President and Chief Advancement: Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare

Nigel Allen learned sales and people skills while working at a job that would terrify most of us – selling expensive advertising for big-name magazines. Now, after 15 years in nonprofit development, Nigel finds himself tapping into those skills every single day.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Are events still an effective fundraising method or are they a thing of the past?
  • Ask the Expert (What does it mean to “follow best practices” in nonprofit?)
  • The Donor Decision Journey
  • What I Learned from Rose in the School of Life
  • Combining Two Split Interest Gifts
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Jessica Chapman

Director of Planned Giving: The ALS Association

Jessica landed at The ALS Association a few years after the ice bucket challenge educated the world about this nervous system disease – and drenched the organization with new money to manage.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: What is the most surprising reaction you ever got from a donor when you made an ask?
  • Ask the Expert (How do we find donors who might be interested in a Charitable Gift Annuity?)
  • My First Authentic Ask
  • The Closer: How to Ace the Deal
  • What Are Your Board Members Going Through?
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: André Gorgenyi

Donor Relations: The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division

In André Gorgenyi’s first career, he built relationships with the purpose of putting people in jail. Today he builds relationships to help people stay out of jail.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: When have you used a volunteer or board member to close a significant gift?
  • Ask the Expert (How do we navigate and advise giving with DAFs in mind?)
  • Engaging Younger Donors
  • Leave Your Assumptions at the Door
  • Risks of CGAs
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Father David Convertino

Executive Director: Franciscan Missionary Union

For Father David Convertino, “nonprofit development” is not just a job title, nor is it a separate category of his life. It’s part of who he is. This is his story, including his path to the priesthood, what it’s like to be a friar, and the most shocking donor phone call he ever received.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Do you “sell” your mission to donors using statistics to appeal to their reason, or with stories to appeal to emotions?
  • Ask the Expert (I have been promoted to management how can I stay successful in fundraising?)
  • Do You Sound Like Someone They Want to Say Yes To?
  • The Planned Giving Conspiracy
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go?
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Jeff Comfort

Vice President of Principal Gifts and Planned Giving: Oregon State University

Jeff Comfort’s journey from not even knowing what “development” meant to being recruited by planned giving departments at the nation’s top universities.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: What’s your elevator speech when meet someone for the first time and they ask what you do?
  • Ask the Expert (With an IRA is it possible to for the donor to make a tax deduction off the top of their income?)
  • The Horrid Ten
  • Four Conversations to Launch a Planned Giving Program
  • Know the Gift Influencers in Your Donor’s Life
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Tricia Bruning

Chief Development Officer: Abramson Cancer Center

Tricia Bruning landed her first-ever development job at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center. When she started, she was the sole gift officer on staff, and giving was at around $2MM a year. Today, 17 years later, the Abramson Cancer Center routinely raises between $30-50MM a year under Tricia’s leadership.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Agree or disagree: Every board member should also make a significant donation to the nonprofit they represent.
  • Ask the Expert (How can I do data mining for planned giving prospects without paying thousands of dollars?)
  • After a Donor Passes
  • 5 Tips for Naming Your Legacy Society
  • Talking to Donors About Lead Trusts
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Rachel Loeper

Founder: Mighty Writers

Rachel wanted to help kids learn to love reading and writing. Eight years later her Philadelphia-based nonprofit has seven sites – and they’re not stopping anytime soon.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Monthly Giving vs. Major Giving
  • Ask the Expert (Using a CRUT or a CFRAT to leave my house to my college)
  • Why Your Nonprofit Needs Social Media
  • Five Reasons You Need a Planned Giving Marketing Plan
  • Which Gift Plan?
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Bob Madonna

President and CEO: Surrey Services for Seniors

Businessman Bob Madonna was itching for a chance to take what he had learned about sales and marketing and try it in the nonprofit sector.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Are Fundraisers Salespeople?
  • Ask the Expert (Estate attorneys suggesting a CRUT or a CRAT so I receive the interest.)
  • Yes Virginia, There is a National Estate Planning Awareness Week.
  • The Planned Giving Newsletter: Can You Make It Work?
  • The Goldilocks Rule
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Jeff and Susan McSwain

Founders: Reality Ministries

They had a staff, a building, volunteers, and even board members. They just needed to figure out what they were supposed to be doing.

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: A Thankless Job – Have you ever had to fire a donor?
  • Ask the Expert (How does using the IRA rollover help my donor with their taxes?)
  • Guidelines to Engage Your Board
  • Sticky Donor Situations
  • The True Measure of Wealth
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

Cover Story: Sharon Kelly Hake

President and CEO: Great Dames

Sharon left a 30-year career as a leader in a Fortune 500 company to start a nonprofit with her daughters. Why?

Other Articles:

  • Your Voice: Tell us about the failures that have contributed to your professional success.
  • Ask the Expert (Do you know if the 529 College Fund has been affected by the new tax laws?)
  • The Double Ask: A Blended Gift Solution
  • The Gala Gambit: How Much Did Your Donor Event Really Cost?
  • Are You Asking Your Donors About IRD?
  • Call to Action
  • And more…

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