Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers

Talk Your Way to Success with Donors and Funders



ISBN: 978-0-9904988-0-3

Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers: Talk Your Way to Success with Donors and Funders zooms in on the all important one-to-one conversations with your prospects and donors to help you make the connections that result in new and increasing contributions for your organization.

Whether you are new to fundraising or a seasoned pro, in a one-person development office or a large university advancement department, Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers provides conversation guidance and helpful tips for the many types of donor interactions you will face. Written by two fundraising professionals with track records of success in development offices large and small— in universities, religious and performing arts schools, public media and community organizations—Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers reviews the essentials for meeting prospects and talking your way to success.

Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers gives you the tools to really learn
about your donors through personal interaction and includes conversation
guides to:

  • Turn a social conversation to one about the mission of your group
  • Refresh and deepen your conversations with donors.
  • Create more a more positive fundraising experience for your
    donors and yourself.

Preparing for compelling conversations with your donors will inspire thoughtful replies that will provide context for you—the listener and relationship-builder—to ask follow-up questions, to relate to your donor’s answers and to truly interact with the person in front of you. Whether you are working in the advancement department of a large university or a one-person development office for a small non-profit, we think you’ll find by creating real conversations, your donors will feel heard and appreciated. You’ll find greater satisfaction in your work. And your organization will build a list of loyal donors who contribute and feel part of your community.

Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers’ chapters include advice, examples and conversation starters for each stage in donor cultivation: Acquiring New Donors, Re-Engaging Donors, Renewing Donors and Upgrading Donors. Are you working on planned gifts? We also include a chapter on this important area that may yield your largest gifts. Foundation program officers are people too—so we’ve included a chapter on how you can get to know them better and share news about your organization.

Chapter 1: Values and the Case Statement

Chapter 2: Acquiring New Donors

Chapter 3: Renewing Donors

Chapter 4: Re-Engaging Donors

Chapter 5: Upgrading Donors

Chapter 6: Planned Gifts, Endowments and Bequests

Chapter 7: The Integrated Ask

Chapter 8: Foundations and Conversations

We hope you find in these pages the sparks for a new approach and the confidence to truly engage your donors. After all isn’t a good conversation one of life’s great pleasures?

Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers: Talk Your Way to Success with Donors and Funders
Authors: Janet Levine and Laurie A. Selik
ISBN: 978-0-9904988-0-3
Price: $24.95


Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers is now available on Amazon!


What people are saying about Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers:

The authors, who each have great experience working for diverse major nonprofits, introduce the reader to many types of campaigns, from approaching current major donors (e.g. board members) to engaging new and re-engaging past donors. Currently, the trend for annual campaigns is to seek ongoing (e.g. monthly, automatic debits) “sustaining” gifts. “Compelling Conversations” also moves ahead with opportunities for upgrading (i.e. increasing the regular amount) contributions and the need on occasion to seek support for special campaigns (e.g. capital building funds). The authors also discuss the sources of funds, such as planned giving of appreciated property (e.g. stocks, bonds real estate, etc.), endowments and bequests. There’s also a section on working with foundation boards and staff (vs. soliciting the donor who set up the fund/foundation).”

– Lauren Deutsch,


To make the ask, you need this book, whether you are a new fundraiser or an old hand. Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers provided me, a development professional with 20+ years experience, many fresh ways to approach donors and effectively make the ask.”

Liz Leshin, Director of Development, Los Angeles Conservancy


Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers reminds us that human interests drive philanthropy and encourages fundraisers to weave authenticity through their conversations.”

Natalie Rodriguez Jansorn, Director, College Excellence Program, The Aspen Institute


Janet and Laurie take the mystery out of asking for money by breaking conversations down to a very easy-to-understand and applicable level.”

Gregory Bradbard, President & CEO, Inland Empire United Way


  1. Ann Shaw

    When will Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers be available?

  2. Thank you, Ann, for your question a few years ago! I just located it. Here’s the link to Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers on Amazon: We’re embarassed at our overlooking your question and pleased to say the book is finding a small, loyal audience of fundraising professionals.

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