NUS @ASUGSVSummit: The Power of Cause Selling: How Fundraisers Can Stand Out from the Competition and Thrive in Any Economy


Education nonprofits attending ASU GSV had the chance to learn more about how to extend their community impact using the unique Cause Selling approach, which was envisioned by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and is being expanded by the nonprofit National University System.

During the session: The Power of Cause Selling: How to Solve the Nonprofit Dilemma, Stand Out from the Competition, and Thrive in Any Economy, Dr. David Lill and Jennifer Lill-Brown, both major contributors to best practices in the nonprofit industry, led a discussion on Cause Selling. They shared basics of the approach, which integrates proven business strategies with relationship-building principles to support nonprofit professionals establish donor relationships that increase charitable giving and their positive impact on society.

The core principles of Cause Selling are based on the personal experiences of Mr. Sanford, who has given more than 1.6 billion dollars to causes for education, health and children worldwide. In 2014, Mr. Sanford founded the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy in collaboration with the National University System, a network of nonprofit education institutions, to advance his vision of making training and resources more accessible to fundraising professionals.

“We are pleased to support emerging and seasoned fundraisers through the nationwide expansion of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy,” said Krista Berry Ortega, Director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy. “Through professional development resources such as our Fundraising Academies, webinars and the latest edition Cause Selling guidebook, we’re thrilled to help nonprofit professionals navigate strategic relationship-based activities that encourage donor engagement and increase their cause’s positive impact on society.”

This spring marks the release of a second edition publication of the Institute’s industry-leading book, Cause Selling: The Sanford Way, authored by panelists Dr. Lill and Ms. Lill-Brown. Offered for the first time in hard copy and digital format, the text elevates the foundation set in the original Cause Selling guidebook with new case studies found in chapters such as “A New Era of Fundraising,” “How to Find Qualified Donors,” and “How to Confirm the Gift.”

The fundamentals of the cause-selling approach covered in the new book, are disseminated through practical applications taught in workshops and fundraising academies by best in class faculty and world-renowned philanthropists at the growing network of Sanford Institute of Philanthropy affiliates including: City University of Seattle and John F. Kennedy, both part of the National University System, as well as Augustana University in South Dakota, Long Island University in New York, Howard University in District of Columbia, Xavier University in Louisiana, and Texas A&M Central and Laredo.

The National University System is driving the nationwide expansion of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, which to date has impacted more than 200,000 fundraising professionals through affiliates and community partners.

Sessions attendees received the first chapter of Cause Selling: The Sanford Way second edition. Visit to get an exclusive free preview of the book.

About The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy
Sanford Institute of Philanthropy offers educational and training programs to help nonprofits significantly increase their fundraising capabilities and their positive impacts on society.  Based on the vision of philanthropist and entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford, the first Sanford Institute of Philanthropy launched at San Diego-based nonprofit National University in 2014 with the development of proven contemporary curricula presented by recognized nonprofit leaders, faculty and renowned philanthropists. The National University System is leading the expansion of the Institute, in coordination with colleges and universities around the country to launch affiliate Institutes serving regions nationwide. A common cornerstone among each Institute is the Cause Selling approach toward fundraising and donor relationships that blends the passion of philanthropy with an emphasis on proven business principles.