Defining Board Work

“Our Board is very dedicated, but we are more of a working Board.” When this type of statement is made – by an institutional leader, an advancement leader, or a Board member – there are two unhelpful assumptions being made: First, this definition of “working Board,” almost always is limited to one in which Board members plan…

Acceptably Ambitious

When setting a dollar goal for a significant, multi-year campaign, it can be tempting to reduce the process to some mathematical formula or calculus.  For instance, Average amount raised over the last few years X number of years of the campaign X some campaign multiplier effect = campaign goal. Another, more subtle and intuitive approach,…

Applying Fresh Starts

Katy Milkman at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania suggests that Mondays, first days of the month, New Year’s Day, birthdays, many holidays, and other “temporal landmarks” are a great times for humans to make changes. Dr. Milkman’s “Fresh Start” theory posits that moments in culture that we all celebrate (such as New Year’s…

Renting vs. Owning

When everyone worked from an office location 5 days per week, employers owned the results and employees rented out their services to their employers.  “You have purchased my attention, energy, and work product for these hours on these days,” was the message from employee to employer. Of course, employees stayed late and came in on…

Speed vs. Direction

When it comes to fundraising results, the first, easiest, and most misguided focus is on speed: “How quickly can the money be raised for the new building?” “I needed more unrestricted gifts yesterday!” “When will we reach the campaign goal?” Instead, the healthier, more accommodative focus should always be on direction: “In our community, who…

The 5 Beliefs of the Best Annual Giving Leaders

Inviting gifts via direct mail is “not dead.”  In fact, it is a vital, effective channel to invite gifts from all prospective donors, including younger prospects. Like direct mail, using the phone to effectively invite gifts is “not dead.”  In fact, when we create a fun, engaging, high-energy event, we can gather groups of people…

Integration or Assimilation

The best advancement teams are an integration of role-specific professionals.  From advancement services, to development, to constituent relations, to communications, high-functioning teams recognize both the specific functional roles of each team member as well as the integration among all those roles and members. On the other hand, focusing all team members, regardless of role, on…