Time to Get Serious About Individual Fundraising

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


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 Annual Giving Academy:
A step-by-step guide that helps 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 You'll Get:

  • Course 1: The Donor Management Blueprint

    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.

  • Supplementary Guide & Workbook

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

  • Live Weekly Office Hours (exclusive to course participants)

    Get your individual questions answered one-on-one. For two hours most weeks, our phone lines and email will be dedicated solely to course participants so that you can get YOUR questions answered.

  • 15-day, 100% Money-back Guarantee

    Not what you were expecting? No problem.

  • Course 2: The Donor Cultivation System

    In this 7-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.

  • Customizable Reports and Templates

    Download 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.

  • Private Member Community Forum

    Share with others your questions, examples, and progress. Get feedback and advice from other course members.

  • 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.

Here's what others have said about Smart Annual Giving courses:

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

  • Growing Your Mid-Level Donors Workshop Participant
    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 teaching....it is showing and teaching :)
    Growing Your Mid-Level Donors Workshop Participant
  • 2016 Smarter Year-end Campaigns Course
    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.
    2016 Smarter Year-end Campaigns Course
  • 2016 Donor Management Blueprint Participant
    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.
    2016 Donor Management Blueprint Participant
  • 2016 Smarter Year-end Campaigns Participant
    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.
    2016 Smarter Year-end Campaigns Participant

Annual Giving Academy Registration

Our next enrollment windows in the Premium Academy opens in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. Meanwhile, register for our free introductory membership and get on the notification list for our next enrollment period.

The Annual Giving Academy (Premium Membership)
Coming Soon!

The Donor Management Blueprint Online Course

The Donor Cultivation System Online Course

The Smart Guide to Smarter Annual Appeals

Growing Your Mid-Level Donors Workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the format of the courses?

The two primary courses included in the Academy consist of 5-7 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. New modules are released weekly and you'll receive an email notification to let you know when it is ready.

What if I'm unavailable when a 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.

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

If within the first 15 days (after the course launches) 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.

Course Instructor

  • For over 17 years, Donna Mehr has managed individual fundraising for nonprofits.  In 2012, she founded Toccata Development, LLC and smartannualgiving.com to help nonprofits build strong, systematic annual fundraising programs. 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 17 years, Donna Mehr has managed individual fundraising for nonprofits. In 2012, she founded Toccata Development, LLC and smartannualgiving.com to help nonprofits build strong, systematic annual fundraising programs. 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.