Tom and I view our role somewhat as hunting dogs … ranging out and chasing the scent in search of the helpful, innovative, and provocative.

But even for us older dogs (that’s me in the foreground), it’s good to pause and revisit the essentials — those basic skills that every competent fundraiser must hone and continually keep sharp.

We’ve long suspected that the reason for plummeting retention rates lies in the fact that many of the basics of our craft are either not understood or are simply being ignored.

So, here’s a ‘Basics Mini-Tour’ courtesy of the wise and witty UK fundraising consultant Ken Burnett, author of the classic Relationship Fundraising, and among other important contributions, the founder of The Show Case of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration (SOFII).

Bookmark this practical and inspirational piece by Ken titled “A reminder about making rice and similar fundamentals” that ran in the 101 Fundraising Crowdblog. Then take some weekend time and read it carefully and share with everyone in your office.

Ken reminds us that you don’t get to be a martial arts black belt by practicing 14,000 different moves. You get it by practicing just 14 moves one thousand times each. Good advice for those in our trade with a tendency to rush off in multiple directions based what interests them, rather than focus on what really matters.

He provides links to free and copyable materials on the SOFII website that set forth what Ken considers the “main foundations of fundraising”.

[By the way, if you’re not familiar with SOFII, do yourself a favor and spend some time on the site. This is the world’s largest — and I think most valuable — “Swipe File”, not to mention the most jam-packed museum/attic of fundraising goodies on Earth.]

Here are four links you’ll also want to bookmark, read and re-read:

What’s your level of commitment to mastering – and revisiting – the basics?

Roger

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