The days of last-minute, reactive fundraising are over.

It's time to get serious about your individual fundraising.

Throwing together a last-minute fundraising appeal, scrambling to find stories for your donor newsletter, not knowing exactly who your most important current and lapsed donors are -- it just doesn't work.

With so many worthwhile organizations asking for your donors' financial support, you can't afford to send boring, one-size-fits-all communications.  You have to stand out from all the others.

How do you stand out? 

By knowing who your donors are, and providing relevant, inspiring communications... powered by an organized system to manage and track donor engagement.  You need to know who they are, what motivates them to give, and provide a compelling, memorable response.


The 2021 Annual Giving Academy:
A 3-course, in-depth, step-by-step guide to help you systematically and intentionally grow your annual, individual giving.

As an Academy Member, you'll have access to a series of multi-media online courses, that walk you through a simple, step-by-step system to retain, engage, and grow your individual donors.  Specifically, you'll...

  • Customize and implement the Donor Segmentation System to organize and manage a complex web of donor information.
  • Craft a series of highly-effective donor communications for your most important donor segments.
  • Build a simple, repeatable process that nurtures prospects into donors, new donors into loyal partners, and mid-level donors into major donors.
  • Understand exactly what to say, what to send, when to send it, and who to send it to.
  • Learn to ask for just the right amount, from just the right people, at just the right time.
  • Produce clear reports on the status of your donors that your board and staff can understand.
  • Get the most out of your existing donor database and use it to raise more money!

Here's What's Included:

  • Course 1: The Donor Management Blueprint

    Get the "back-end" of your fundraising in order! You'll implement the donor segmentation system (customized for your organization), apply that system within your donor database, then inventory and assess your donor base using our template for an easy-to-understand donor report.

  • Course 2: The Donor Cultivation System

    In this in-depth 6-module course, you'll develop a repeatable system of donor outreach (based on your donor segmentation system), and craft each communications piece relevant to each individual donor segment. Perfect and systemize your donor-facing fundraising elements!

  • BONUS COURSE 3:: The Smarter Year-end Campaigns Course

    (Included through Aug 31st) This 10-module course will shape up your year-end campaign to make it your best year-end ever.

  • Supplementary Course Workbook and Guides

    For each course, you'll get a text-based PDF supplementary guide and workbook to help you easily review and apply the materials.

  • Live Office Hours (Exclusive to Academy Members)

    Get your individual questions answered one-on-one. We can also walk through how to cusomize your specific CRM system to fit your specific needs.

  • Downloadable, customizable, pre-designed templates and reports

    Pre-designed templates ready to customize for your organization. Including Donor Segmentation Plan, Annual Communications Calendar, Segmented Communications Plan, and an Annual Donor Inventory Report and more!

  • Hands-on Workshops

    We won't just tell you what to do and leave you to figure it out on your own. We'll walk you through each step, with video demos, worksheets & templates. You'll take action and get results.

  • 15-day, 100% Money-back Guarantee

    Not what you expected? No problem!

Here's what others have said about our courses...

Word-for-word comments straight from our post-course evaluations:

  • I liked the practical examples and easy to understand method. I also appreciated that we are shown practically how things are done. It's not just preaching and is showing and teaching :)
  • This course was incredibly helpful to me as someone brand new to year end campaigns. I am one of 2 staff for a small nonprofit with very big goals. Not only was this course an awesome guide, with great templates and how to's to work from, the instructor, Donna, was nearly always available to answer any and all questions.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It enabled me to create a segmentation system for our donor database and have a foundational plan based on the information gleaned. It was so well done, I was able to follow and segment with a completely different database than used as the demo in the workshops.
  • It was extremely helpful! I learned a lot and I appreciated how in depth in went. I often find that trainings don't provide enough concrete examples, which are what help me learn. This course had a great deal of examples and case studies which were helpful.

Course Syllabi:

The Donor Management Blueprint Course Syllabus

Module 1: Fundamental Concepts of Donor Management

Class 1: Course Overview Just like the first day of school, we'll talk about exactly what to expect and get ready to start.

Class 2: Fundamentals of Donor Management & Segmentation We'll make sure you've got all the basic concepts under your belt before we get down to business.

Class 3: Introducing the Donor Segmentation System The big reveal! We'll walk through the Donor Segmentation System and demonstrate what your end result will look like.

Module 2: Implementing The Donor Segmentation System

Class 1: The Four Components of Segmentation We'll take a closer look at each component of the Donor Segmentation System and prepare to implement.

Class 2: Defining Your Parameters Workshop How do you define when a donor is lapsed? What is a mid-range gift? How long do we keep trying to recruit a prospect? You'll establish firm, data-driven parameters that make sense for your organization.

Class 3: Setting up Your Database to Use the Donor Segmentation System Using several popular database software systems, we'll walk through setting up your database following the Donor Segmentation System.

Module 3: Inventorying and Analyzing Your Donor Database

Class 1: Understanding Your Donorbase Before we dig in to the donor inventory process, this class summarizes what information you'll need from your database and what to do with it.

Class 2: Donor Inventory Workshop This is meat and potatoes of the course. Here we'll determine who falls into each segment, get actual counts, and assign segments to each donor record within your database.

Class 3: Key Donor Metrics Workshop You'll define exactly what you should measure each year, set up a reporting system, and calculate your current metrics. We've gathered all the math and formulas you'll need and we'll walk you through all the calculations.

Module 4: Managing and Communicating by Segment

Class 1: Overview of The Donor Communications Plan Once you've segmented your donors, you need a plan to nurture them. Here, we'll introduce the Donor Communications Plan that aligns with the Donor Segmentation System. We'll share our recommendations for exactly what segments should get what communications and when.

Class 2: Communications Assessment Workshop In this hands-on workshop, you'll think through your current communication strategy. What are you already doing well? What do you need to add? You'll decide what your budget will allow right now now and what gets put on hold.

Class 3: Developing Your Segmented Communications Plan In this workshop, you'll finalize your plan and put it on paper using our handy template to make it easier.

The Donor Cultivation System Syllabus

Module 1: Introduction to the Donor Cultivation Formula

Class 1: Course Overview
Just like the first day of school, we'll talk about exactly what to expect and get ready to start.

Class 2: Introduction to the Donor Cultivation Formula
In this class, we'll share the "vision" of how a well-crafted donor communication plan can transform your nonprofit. We'll talk about where we're going and how we'll get there.

Module 2: Recruiting New Donors to Your Nonprofit

Class 1: Finding a steady-stream of potential donors
We'll discuss several specific strategies you can use to provide a constant inflow of potential donors to recruit and inspire.

Class 2: Donor acquisition campaigns
We'll walk you through the pros, cons, and logistics of implementing a one-time (or periodical) donor acquisition campaign for a boost of donor prospects.

Class 3: Crafting an effective Donor Recruitment Package
Once you have a solid list of potential new donors, how do you best inspire a first gift? In this hands-on workshop, we'll build an effective evergreen package that converts your prospects into donors!

Module 3: Turning New Donors into Repeat Donors

Class 1: Why new donors need a unique approach
After their very first gift, new donors need a special approach to inspire them to give again and "convert" to a repeat donor. We'll talk about how first-time donors are different from your other supporters and how you can inspire them to become an engaged, annual donor.

Class 2: Creating a Donor Conversion Package
In this workshop, we'll talk about what actually works to inspire a second gift -- one that "converts" a first-time time donor to a repeat donor. We'll walk you through writing and assembling your own high-response donor conversion package that you can use from year-to-year for every first-time donor.

Module 4: Repeat Donor Retention and Engagement Strategies

Class 1: Informing Your Donors
The ins-and-outs of newsletters and donor progress updates. How do you balance print vs. e-news vs. live events? What makes a good donor-centered newsletter? How often should you produce them and what do you say? We'll share several case studies, evaluate your current informational strategies, and craft a new, revised plan to share your message.

Class 2: Thanking Your Donors
It's no secret that thanking donors means so much more than sending a standard gift-receipt letter. In this class we'll share the most effective meaningful, heartfelt ways to express your gratitude and keep your donors coming back.

Class 3: Asking Donors to Give
In this overview of annual campaigns, appeals, and ask events, we'll answer questions on everyone's mind... like how often should I ask for a gift? In what format? Do I ask for a specific amount? How much should I request? Again, we'll look at case studies, evaluate, and craft a manageable plan.

Class 4: Lapsed Donor Re-engagement
Who are your lapsed donors? What can you do to get them back? How much effort should you give them? We'll look at several case studies and create a simple process to continually re-engage this important segment.

Module 5: Identifying and Nurturing Your Loyal and Mid-Level Donors

Class 1: Defining and Identifying Your Transitional Donors
Before you can reach out to your transitional donors with the special attention they deserve, you have to know who they are. We'll define loyal and mid-level donor thresholds for your organization in this class.

Class 2: Upgrade and Outreach Strategies
What are your goals for your most important donors and how do you effectively connect with them? This lesson shares specific, effective activities to develop, nurture and cultivate a loyal and mid-level donor portfolio.

Class 3: Simple Prospect Research
After you've defined your transitional donors, here are some simple, cost-effective ways to learn more about them and identify your best major-gift prospects without budget-draining ,wealth-screening software.

Module 6: Building a Major Donor Cultivation System

Class 1: Know Your Major Donors and Major Donor Prospects
Although Major Donors generally get more attention than other segments, many nonprofits don't have a structured system to define, identify, and track current and potential major donors. In this lesson, we'll make sure you are up-to-speed.

Class 2: Building a Major Donor Pipeline
In this workshop, we'll share our detailed process for coordinating and organizing your major donors and help you apply the structure to your major donor outreach activities.

The Annual Giving Academy

Course 1: The Donor Management Blueprint

Course 2: The Donor Cultivation System

About the Instructor:

  • For over 20 years, Donna Mehr has managed individual fundraising for nonprofits.  In 2012, she founded Toccata Development, LLC and to help nonprofits build strong, systematic annual fundraising programs. In 2018, Donna started Toccata Data Solutions (, a consulting firm that works one-on-one with nonprofits to help them select, configure and optimize their CRM, Donor Management Software, and other fundraising technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University, a Master of Arts from Duke University, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management also from Duke. For over 20 years, Donna Mehr has managed individual fundraising for nonprofits. In 2012, she founded Toccata Development, LLC and to help nonprofits build strong, systematic annual fundraising programs. In 2018, Donna started Toccata Data Solutions (, a consulting firm that works one-on-one with nonprofits to help them select, configure and optimize their CRM, Donor Management Software, and other fundraising technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University, a Master of Arts from Duke University, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management also from Duke.

Course FAQs:

Let us know what other questions you have as well...

What is the format of the courses?

The two primary courses included in the Academy consist of 4-6 modules, each containing 2-4 video-based classes and workshops that run between 6-20 minutes each. The classes are in-depth, "everything-you-need-to-know" content, but intentionally broken into smaller chunks so that they can be easily digested.

The courses are self-paced so that you can work at your convenience, on your schedule. You'll have ongoing access to the material.  

Implementing this system doesn't happen overnight. Because there is no expiration on your access, you can take your time and add new components to the system as your time and budget permits.  You'll also get free access to upgrades whenever we add new material down the road.

How is the course delivered?

The courses are delivered through Smart Annual Giving's Learning Management System, with online video-based presentations, downloadable worksheets, and report templates (PDF and Excel) that you'll follow as we move throughout the course exercises.

What if I'm unavailable when a new module is released?

Because the courses are self-paced, you can start and work through the course material on your own schedule.

Who is this program for?

The Annual Giving Academy is designed for development directors, executive directors, major gift officers, database managers, annual fundraising staff, and development teams within small to medium-sized nonprofits who are ready to grow their individual fundraising program into a manageable system. This course will be most helpful for groups with an established list of donors - even a small list.

Do I have to take The Donor Management Blueprint course before The Donor Cultivation Formula?

No. Although the two courses are designed to complement each other (and you'll get the best results by implementing the material in both courses) they were designed to be independently beneficial.  You can also purchase each course individually.

What if I find out that the program isn't for me?

If within the first 15 days you find it just isn't what you expected, simply send us an email with your feedback. We'll refund 100% of your purchase price right away.  We are 100% committed to your satisfaction and if you don't feel you received more value than you paid for, we absolutely do not want your money.