Jason McNeal, Ph.D., Gonser Gerber partner, has provided advancement leadership to non-profit organizations for more than 20 years. Having served as the chief advancement officer at East Georgia College and Maryville College (TN), he also has consulted with institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Dr. McNeal has written extensively on key issues in non-profit fundraising and leadership including his blog that you can find at http://www.jasonmcneal.com.

What We Know

The most knowledgeable mechanical engineer may have very little to say about the complex dynamics of intimate human relationships. The most advanced scholar in the humanities may have very little to offer when the topic of agriculture technology comes up. The most gifted and successful surgeon may be of very little help when it comes…

Scaling Results

When most advancement leaders are asked what they need to raise more money or engage more alumni, or do more of anything, the answer usually has something to do with hiring more people. But, when presidents, Board members, engaged donors, and other non-advancement leaders are asked the same question, they usually start by assessing if…

The Advancement Errors We Love

Our institution needs more money . . . “we need to hold a gala!” Our major donors aren’t giving as generously as they could . . . “we need more donor relations staff!” Our Board members don’t engage meaningfully with fundraising . . . “we are a working Board!” The fundamental problem with the most ineffective solutions…

Pieces and Purposes

When we think about our work, it’s easy to get caught up in the pieces.  For instance: the specific steps we have to complete to get the next direct mail package to the printer; or, the tasks we agreed to implement to plan our next special event; or, the visits we need to confirm to…

“It would be interesting to know. . .”

This seemingly helpful set-up to a question (usually posed by a well-meaning volunteer or an ally to your institution’s mission or cause), is actually one of the more strategically-derailing phrases that can be uttered. “It would be interesting to know how many of our donors are under 35.” “It would be interesting to know how…

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…

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.…