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.

Why?

Why are we holding that special event? Why are we sending that specific direct mail piece? Why did we request that particular list of donors? Why are we reaching out to our donors via phone? Why do we want to meet with that donor couple next month? Why are we highlighting that alumnus in our…

Seeking Feedback

Most everyone will say feedback is good – helpful and productive. But, some folks really don’t want it. Their decision feels good to them.  Their choice makes sense to them.  Their motivations are pure from their perspective.  Their actions are the best they can do. When others, then, have a different viewpoint or experience with…

The Complex Old World

With each passing day, the roles we play grow more complex.  No matter how we might define ourselves, our lot in life, our specific roles, or our individualistic views and perspectives, what we do becomes more complex over time. If you are a parent, for instance, your children aging and developing by the day makes…

5 Advancement Basics

Annual Giving – consistently invite donors to give in support of your cause/mission comprehensively; Constituent Relations – consistently engage volunteers to get others more involved with your cause/mission; Advancement Services – consistently produce standing reports that have clear and important purposes; Major Giving – consistently send creative and compelling messages that encourage donors to visit…

The Question of Fear

Fear in the workplace is a corrosive, anti-productive emotion. It prompts us to assume bad motivations in others without evidence. It prompts us to tell others about our value/experience instead of listening for ways we can learn from them. It prompts us to remove ourselves when we should lean in and be heard. It prompts…

The Agenda Or Bust!

Employing a well-planned, written meeting agenda is critical to making progress, staying focused, and, making people feel valued enough not to waste their time. However, in some circumstances, deviating from a well-planned agenda is warranted. If a governing board is discussing the potential of moving forward with a major fundraising campaign, that topic is probably…

Our Donors Don’t. . .

. . . give to the annual fund. . . . care about giving levels or giving societies. . . . attend events. . . . respond to phone calls. . . . agree to face-to-face visits. It may, indeed, be true that, “our donors don’t,” do this or that.  The data may support our…

Mission, Vision, and Values

The words of our mission statement are less important than how consistently we use our mission to make budgetary decisions. The directions described in our vision statement are less important than how enthusiastically we use our vision to invite donors to give. The specific virtues expressed in our values statement are less important than how…

The Decision-Making Process

Leaders have 3 types of decision-making approaches from which they can choose.  They can be: Leaders who allow others to make the decision. Leaders who make the decision without listening to the perspectives of others. Leaders who make the decision after listening to the perspectives of others. Let’s use the hiring of a gift officer as a decision-making example.…

The Un-Asked Question About Campaign Readiness Studies

Our firm regularly helps institutions prepare for major, multi-year fundraising campaigns.  One of the most requested services we provide is what we call our Campaign Readiness Study. These studies are comprehensive, thorough, and typically include anywhere from 50-75 confidential interviews with the client’s most capable and engaged donors.  In addition, we review all kinds of…