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.

Loving The Idea

Loving the idea we are implementing is important. Without our enthusiasm, the donor may not stretch his giving nearly as much. Without our energy, phonathon callers won’t be nearly as productive. Without our creative initiative, the special event won’t be nearly as captivating. But we should love our ideas only up to a point.  And…

The Nineteen Hundreds

As teenager coming of age in the late 1980s, my music of choice was the burgeoning rap sound coming out of New York and later, California.  The soundtrack to those formative years of my life were filled with Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim, MC Lyte, EPMD, L.L. Cool J, Run-DMC, Special Ed, 3rd Bass, Salt-N-Pepa, Public Enemy, and so many others. Of course,…

What’s A Campaign For?

A major, multi-year fundraising campaign’s primary purpose is not to raise more money. It’s not even to build the building.  Or grow the endowment.  Or, add the new program or equipment. A campaign’s primary purpose is to strengthen the perception among all involved with our institution that charitable giving is a robust, healthy, and needed…

A Leadership Choice

It’s easy to get consumed by the workplace drama of the moment. A teammate is upset because a colleague hasn’t yet responded to an email request. A supervisor is frustrated because expectations weren’t met during a meeting. A vice president is irritated because team members consistently arrive late for work. A common response in these…

Charitable Giving Capacity

It’s not equal to a donor’s lifetime total giving to your institution. It’s not equal to how much a donor has been giving more recently. It’s not equal to how much you may decide to invite a donor to give next. It’s not equal to how much a donor tells you they will give. It’s…

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…