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.

The Future of Stewardship

In today’s advancement world, the function of “stewardship” is constrained (typically and artificially) to those activities and responses the institution makes once a gift has been made.  For instance, we steward a donor through our public recognition programs and how we extend thanks based on their giving level, etc. But this constrained view of stewardship…

Becoming Expert vs. Becoming An Expert

Becoming expert (adjective) is different than becoming an expert (noun). The former implies a willingness to embrace a developmental journey focused on enhancing one’s experience, knowledge, skill, adroitness.  The latter evokes a desire to seek a position or standing among others. Becoming an expert is an end result in which one is viewed as a…

Translations

The primary role of your case statement is to translate the funding priorities of your institution into messages prospective donors will embrace with enthusiasm. This translation occurs in two fundamental ways: First, your case needs to do the practical work of translating all of your “institutional speak” into everyday language that regular folk understand.  Acronyms, jargon, and…

Taking Notice

It’s easy to take notice of the mass happenings. The red news banner on the bottom scroll of your television visibly blaring the phrase, “Breaking News.” The homerun in the 9th inning of a tied world series game that has everyone in the stadium on the edge of their seats. The Netflix show that everyone…

Working Large

All advancement programs have finite resources, both human and financial. The idea that you can spend whatever you wish to accomplish your goals and aims is not reality.  Sure, advancement budgets at some institutions are larger than at others, but there is always a limit.  And, over the last few years – regardless of the…

Blah, Better, Best

Ineffective gift officers will (perhaps) spend time with prospective donors; Better gift officers will spend time with prospective donors.  And they, also, will invite the gift; The best gift officers will spend time with prospective donors.  They, also, will invite the gift.  And they will utilize the influence of others to increase the chances that…

Time and Money

Most every institutional and advancement leader will say they want to raise more money in the future.  In fact, most will say adamantly that they need to raise more money in the future. However, many leaders will also say in the very next breath, “but we don’t have money to add a new gift officer position.” Or,…

Fear, Anger, and Hate

You can raise a lot of money very quickly appealing to negative emotions. Humans are hard-wired to respond physically to negativity.  When we are fearful, or angered, or bitter, our bodies release stress hormones that prepare us to fight or flight. Our physical and psychological responses to negativity are powerful motivators.  In the short term, we will act when scared…

5 Lessons Dogs Teach Us About Fundraising

Pay more attention to others, less to yourself.  Dogs don’t care about what they are doing.  They care about what you are doing.  And that makes us feel good. Don’t let a “no” derail your efforts.  Sure, your dog might pout or cower if told “no” forcefully.  But dogs don’t stay in that negative emotional…

The Donor Awareness Matrix

A key aim of our advancement work should be to gain deeper awareness of our donors (and prospective donors). What do they believe about our institution?  What is their motivation to volunteer?  To give?  What are their specific reasons for engaging with us?  How would they describe their values? What other organizations do they support…