Creating A Helpful Distinctive Advantage

When most marketing professionals, academic leaders, presidents, board members, and others think about marketing institutional distinctive advantages, they focus almost exclusively on programs and quantitative data.  For instance, 88% of our pre-med graduates go on to medical school, or; 93% of of our education graduates pass the state teaching licensure exam, or; 100% of our…

Purpose

We can hold one of two divergent beliefs about the purpose of our lives: First, we can order our lives with the belief that our purpose is to seek comfort, ease, luxury, or convenience for ourselves.  Or, second, we can order our lives with the belief that our purpose is to seek meaning, significance, and consequence…

Change

Few people will disagree with the notion that their advancement team could be more productive in some way(s). “I know we need to, and could, raise more money,” they will say.  Or, “I agree that our donor communications and stewardship could be more consistent,” they will acquiesce. But, most people resoundingly disagree with the notion…

Generosity Lag

For many folks in North America, we are now entering the coldest days and weeks of the year. Yet, we know that the shortest day of the year – the day with the least amount of sunlight hitting North America – was December 21, the Winter Solstice, just over a month ago. Why, then, when…

“You Doing Too Much”

My son’s high school basketball team regularly finds themselves at our house.  They come over after practice.  They come over to watch film.  They come over between school ending and their game that night.  They are around a lot. We enjoy having the them in our home – even with the noise, the mess, and…

The Past, The Others, The Future, And Today

If we want to be less productive, achieve fewer meaningful results, and invite frustration, anxiety, and fear into our work as advancement leaders, we can simply allow one of the following perceptions to captivate us: The Past – the perception of our advancement program’s past is rarely accurate, but is almost always presented as unquestionable truth.…

The Best Idea Fairytale

Raising more money isn’t a function of “finding the next, best new idea.” Creating more trust with your alumni base won’t occur because you spent a half day in a brainstorming session to identify how best to communicate with them. Your next campaign won’t be successful because you came up with the most imaginative, viral…

Caring Before Calling

It’s helpful to know why we are reaching out to a donor or prospective donor prior to the call, email, letter, or note. Are we calling to secure a gift commitment?  Calling to set up a visit?  Calling to invite them to an event?  Calling as a follow-up to a past visit? Or, are we…

“How Much Money Did You Raise?”

Easily, one of the most unhelpful questions to ask someone in development, especially during a position interview. In many instances: The money received today was actually raised months, years, even decades ago; Even if the money received today was raised today, there were, most likely, other people and diverse motivations encouraging the donor to give; Simply because gifts were…