On MacKenzie Scott and the Impact of Giving

MacKenzie Scott has given away approximately $14 billion over the last 3 years. During her most recent giving cycle, Scott gave almost $2 billion to 343 organizations, and made the following statement: “I needn’t ask those I care about what to say to them, or what to do for them. I can share what I have with…

A Smaller Group Of Donors

At its core, the difference between annual giving and major giving is the size of the potential donor pool.  While all constituents are invited to make annual or sustaining gifts, we only engage with a smaller subset of donors who have the prosperity, propensity, passion to make major gifts. This one difference drives all other…

But, Why Are You Raising Money?

Not, why should donors give? Instead, why are you raising money? This is a question about your personal motivations for doing this work. The least motivating answer:  “To build a building (or “start a program,” or “meet the budget,” etc.). The moderately motivating answer:  “To better serve our mission – our students, participants, patients, community, etc..” The most motivating…

“I have raised over $50 million. . .”

“I have raised over $50 million. . .” No one ever raises charitable gifts by themselves.  Ever. There was a professor decades before who showed interest in that donor as a student.  There was a nurse who showed compassion to a family while caring for their loved one.  There was a volunteer whose winsome words…

The Point of Saturation

“At what point during our campaign should our Quiet Phase end and our Public Phase begin?” The universal answer to this common question is some percentage of the total campaign fundraising goal.  For instance, “you should never go public before hitting 60 or 70% of your goal.” But, this type of cookie-cutter response isn’t a…

The 6 Advancement Responsibilities of the Board

Be an advocate for the institution. Be a ratifier of the institution’s mission, vision, and strategic plans. Be an advisor regarding the capacities, interests, and opportunities to more deeply involve current donors. Be a door opening influencer for institutional leaders to engage new donor prospects. Be a resource guarantor so the advancement program has the…

What Do I Want To Learn?

This is the most important question a gift officer can (and should!) ask themselves before a visit with a donor or prospective donor. It brings into quick focus the fundamental purpose of the visit. It requires a plan (and, usually, additional questions) to have prepared prior to the visit. And, it is a reminder that…

Philanthropic Timing

Sometimes, the prospective major donor is not ready to be invited to give. She needs to learn more about the initiative.  She has questions.  She hasn’t made a major gift previously.  There could be any number of different reasons. Other times, the relationship between you and the prospective major donor is not ready for the invitation to give. There…

The Annual Giving Bomb Set Is Coming

Surfers live for the “bomb set.” This is the series of the largest, most rideable waves that come along only every so often.  The surfers in the lineup wait for the bomb set to arrive and then frenziedly work to position themselves for the best rides of the day. In the annual giving world, we…