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.

3 Questions To Ask Before Visiting A Donor

What do I know about this donor? What do I want to learn about this donor? What is the preferred outcome from this visit? The first and second questions should be focused on what we know and want to learn about the donor based on their their professional life, their personal life, our institution’s priority…

Hope and Indifference

Two socially transmitted doctrines. In one, we invite an authentic, joyful, heartening belief to overtake us:  “Tomorrow will be better than today.” In the other, we give in to a cynical, misanthropic, resigning frame of mind and heart: “I’m not concerned about tomorrow.” There is no question that advancing our institutions is done best when…

From “How” To “Why?”

Yesterday, I used OpenAI’s artificial-intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT,  for the first time. I asked ChatGPT the following question:  “How can I raise more money as a university development officer?” Here, in full, is the response I received in less than 10 seconds: “As a university development officer, your primary responsibility is to raise funds for your university.…

Are We Getting Better?

We are busier than ever before. We are working harder than ever before. We feel more harried than ever before. We have more tasks on our to-do list than ever before. We feel more pressure than ever before. But, are we getting better? Better at communicating.  Better technically.  Better at engaging donors. Better at inviting…

Advancement Consulting for Colleges & Univeristies

Raising More Money

What if that isn’t the goal? What if the goal is to invite more people to care? Or to educate more people on why your institution’s mission matters? Or to generate more understanding about the lived experiences of others? Or to encourage more people to experience the joy of giving? Or to connect more people…

Believing What We Say

“We don’t believe what we hear.  We believe what we say.” Social scientists have proved this old saying over and over again in a multitude of studies.  For instance, and as Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long report in their book, “The Molecule of More,” if we talk with someone about the importance of honesty and…

Letting The Outside In

I visit with many college and university presidents, nonprofit executives, and other leaders. When I ask, “so, how are things right now?” I often get one of two types of answers: A reflective, introspective response focused on what is happening within the institution. How things are progressing with the leadership team, for instance.  Or, how…

I Need Better Data

“I need better data,” is the response we often hear (and sometimes give ourselves) when we are uncomfortable with a next step. Consider: “I need more data before I know how much to invite him to give. . .” “I need better data before we can run an accurate list of donors who gave at…

Goals and Strategies

What are you trying to accomplish? Increase your donor base OR Increase your dollars raised? Enhance the number of people you serve from your community OR Enhance the sense of community among the people you serve? Raise more annual fund money OR Raise more money through annual giving? Get more people to respond to your appeal OR Get more people to experience the…

3 Campaign Decisions Only Leaders Can Make

Multi-year, comprehensive campaigns have lots of moving parts and many engaged parties.  There are many ways that campaigns can be successful (and, also, many ways they can fail).  But, as with most things on which human cooperation depends, successful campaigns require effective leadership. Specifically, there are 3 campaign decisions only leaders can (and should) make. …