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.

Confusing Brand With Effectiveness

You may work at a prestigious and nationally (or even internationally) known educational, healthcare, or social service nonprofit. Or, you may work at a local, small organization without a lot of general brand recognition. Neither of those settings help predict the effectiveness or sophistication of your advancement program. Institutions with strong brand recognition, larger teams…

The Test Invitation

Scenario:  A major gift officer has set up a Discovery visit with a prospective major gift donor.  This prospect either has never given to your institution or she has given infrequently and modestly to annual appeals or giving days (i.e. all gifts well under $1,000). During the Discovery visit, the gift officer realizes that the…

The 3 Questions Major Gift Officers Confuse

“What amount could this donor give if she was enthusiastic about this request and our institution was her number 1 charitable giving priority?” “What amount am I going to invite her to give?” “What amount do I think she will give?” Far too often, major gift officers either do not know or are vague in their answers to the first 2…

A Broker for Hope

The very best, most successful advancement folk never confuse what they do with how they do it. You aren’t a fundraiser. You aren’t a gift officer. You aren’t a relationship-builder. You aren’t even a development professional (whatever that might mean!). Those are all examples of how you do your work. When you work exceptionally well,…

The Delusion of the In-Person Visit

If we’ve learned anything over the last 6 months its that development officers and performance metrics’ systems myopically focused on meeting in-person donor visit goals have struggled to adapt. That’s because the real work has never been about the in-person donor visit. The real work has always been about creating learning opportunities and experiences so that others become better…

Out of Order

The phrase, “out of order,” is used to describe when something is broken or not working or when someone is behaving in a way that is unacceptable or not customary. The reverse assumption would be that “being in order,” is synonymous with being correct or acceptable, or working properly. Words matter, of course.  For instance,…

Happy Byproducts

If you still believe “raising money” is the goal, you’ve missed the point. The point is to educate people regarding a meaningful need, share with them the benefits and the joys of acting generously, and invite them into partnership to help address the need.  The money is just a happy byproduct of that work. If…