The Catholic Fundraiser

John Jensen, CFP

John Jensen, CFP

John Jensen is SVP & Senior Consultant for Sharpe Group, based in Washington D.C. With over 35 years of fundraising experience, John works with charitable organizations in Washington and across the country to design and implement effective charitable gift planning programs. He has a particular specialty working with national and direct mail based charities. A frequent speaker at local and national gatherings of gift planning professionals, he has served as a columnist and member of the editorial advisory boards of a number of planned giving publications. He was formerly the Development VP at The Nature Conservancy and the National Wildlife Federation. In those roles, he was responsible for major expansions of both planned giving and direct marketing. A Certified Financial Planner, John was also the Development Director of the Maine Audubon Society and the Executive Director of the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. He was the founding chairman of Earth Share and a 2 term member of the Maine House of Representatives.
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Recent Posts

Writing for Seniors: Help Them Understand What You Are Trying to Say

Posted by John Jensen, CFP on 2/6/19 8:37 AM

Most donors to our organizations come through the mail. Direct mail donors are older. Simply put, direct mail is inherently a medium that attracts older donors. In my experience, the typical Catholic direct mail donor is in their mid-70s, with few under 60.

Older donors have issues that younger donors may not. As fundraisers, we need to write in a way that will be easily understood. It needs to be easy to digest and read. Read on to learn how you can quickly (and easily) do this.

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Topics: Donor engagement

Planned Giving: Understanding the Basics, the Data, and How to Augment Your Marketing Strategy

Posted by John Jensen, CFP on 8/8/18 1:42 PM

For most NCDC members, planned giving is (or should be) both a key revenue source and a source with lots of revenue growth potential. To do this, we need to approach it the right way. We also need to know who makes these decisions, when they make them, and what to look for.

There are several types of donors who are excellent planned giving prospects. Older, long-term donors are well established as great prospects. However, older one- and two-gift donors can also have potential for planned giving — particularly if they are the right type of donors.

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Topics: Planned Giving, Annual Conference

Dos and Don’ts for the Planned Giving Fundraiser

Posted by John Jensen, CFP on 5/3/16 8:30 AM

Fundraising success is made up of many things. Once you have identified a donor who finds your mission compelling, you have someone you can cultivate for future gifts of all sorts — or someone you can alienate and potentially lose as a donor. The difference is often, to a large extent, within your control.

Most of the basics of general fundraising apply also to planned giving fundraising, but a greater attention to the donor lifecycle is required. And (sometimes more complicated) noncash gifts can be especially important. Because the basics are so critical to fundraising success, it is a good idea to periodically step back and examine the details of how you are interacting with your donors.

Don’t let concerns about your lack of technical expertise be an obstacle to having conversations about noncash gifts. 

In most cases, you will be talking to a donor about making a gift that is simple to understand, such as a bequest or a gift from what may remain in a retirement plan. For more complicated gifts, your role is to generally describe the possible benefits and to interest the person in discussing it with a colleague or advisor.

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Topics: Donor Development, Nonprofit Galas, Planned Giving