Open or Closed

“Open” people are the ones you should be spending the bulk of your time engaging as an advancement professional. People who are open are learners. They are interested in ways to make tomorrow better than today. They are willing to charitably invest in others who are working to make tomorrow better than today. “Closed” people…

Chasing Income

The business minded folks in our institutions view gifts as income. Sometimes they don’t like to make concrete decisions with budgets based on potential gifts (i.e., the annual fund) because they view gifts as “soft income.”  “Perhaps,” the thinking goes, “that income won’t materialize so it’s safer not to make plans with it in mind.”…

“The hardest money to raise.”

The story is that “unrestricted” or “where needed most” or “comprehensive giving” is the most difficult money to raise. It’s the story we tell ourselves in meetings. It’s the story we tell our colleagues and bosses and Board members.  It’s the story we hear at professional development conferences. But, why is this the story? The most common…

How To Decide

The most important part of leadership is deciding. Deciding which direction to go.  Deciding which choice to make.  Deciding what project not to put resources behind.  Deciding what idea not to pursue. But making decisions isn’t the most difficult part of deciding.  Each of us make decisions every day.  We have preferences.  We have interests.  We make…

Diffusion of Responsibility and Inviting a Gift

In the sociopsychology world, the concept of diffusion of responsibility is well studied and researched.  Basically, diffusion of responsibility suggests that when individuals are confronted with an emergency, they are less likely to help when there are more people around.  This diminution of helping behavior occurs because each of us believes others in the group will or…

Marketing Your Annual Fund

Development leaders often make the case that donors aren’t eager to give to the annual fund because its not compelling to support “keeping the lights on.” But, donors aren’t ceasing their giving to your annual fund because they want to, “give to something specific” instead.  Or, because your annual fund, “is a black hole.”  Or,…