Beyond the Donor’s Legacy

We focus a good bit on inviting donors to “leave a legacy.”  Or, talking with donors about their giving legacy. But what about your legacy in this work? Will you be known as a person who encouraged others on the team?  Will you be viewed as the individual who put the mission or the cause…

Create or Magnify?

Whether we have 5,000 or 500,000+ constituent records in our database, the percentage of “engaged constituents,” is far less. For example, if we define “engaged” as giving recently, or showing up at an event, or interacting via social media, or opening an email, or receiving a direct mail piece, etc., it is not uncommon for…

Engaging Our Community

Advancement leaders talk a lot about “engaging our community.” It could be engaging our alumni community.  Or, even more specifically, engaging our young alumni community.  It could be engaging our town, city, or region.  It could be engaging our campus community.  Or, engaging our school community. But, we talk about “engaging our community” a lot. We make…

A Race To Indistinguishable

“How do we compare to other institutions like us?” “How are other institutions responding to this situation?” “Have you tried ChatGPT to create the letter?” Regardless of the work or metrics, it seems we are being encouraged from all sides to become more identical, more indistinct, less original, and less inspired. And, in an increasingly…

What Are We Afraid Of?

If we are afraid of failing, we won’t try new things. If we are afraid of looking stupid in front of others, we won’t take the lead. If we are afraid the donor will say, “no,” we won’t invite the gift. If we are afraid of confrontation, we won’t speak plainly to each other. If…

Allowing Others To Care

The best advancement leaders and development folk understand that inviting others to give is important, but allowing others to care is essential. As leaders, we allow others on our team to care when we encourage them to try something new and, simultaneously, eliminate the anxiety of potential failure. If the new thing doesn’t work, ask,…

Working Historically

Fifty years from now, someone may write a history of your institution and it likely will include observations about today’s advancement program successes. For instance, the history might note that, during this period, your year-over-year total giving increased significantly. It might report on the fact that your comprehensive campaign went over goal by some significant…

Peer Screens: A Most Helpful Donor Research Tool

When advancement leaders consider conducting current donor and prospective donor research, two primary methodologies come to mind. First, an electronic wealth screen is the choice most advancement leaders make when attempting to find currently unknown (to them) prospective major donors.  A wealth screen uses publicly available databases and information to provide a rating of an…

“We Don’t Make Enough To Give”

Recently, I provided a keynote address to a gathering of high school presidents.  During our time together, we discussed faculty and staff giving at their high schools and multiple presidents said, “We had tremendous pushback during our faculty and staff annual giving campaign, so we don’t do that anymore.” “What was the primary objection from…