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 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…

The “Move” Metric Makes A Comeback

“Donor visits” have been a cornerstone performance metric for most all gift officer evaluations.  But, instead of advancement leaders communicating clearly that donor visits were only a proxy for donor engagement – that the visit only represented potential evidence of donor engagement – the donor visit itself became donor engagement. Sure, many performance metrics systems for gift officers also included…

Territoriality And Raising Money While You Sleep

There is a characteristic that most financially successful people share: They make money while they sleep. This characteristic refers to the fact that financially successful folks have figured out a way to extend their ability to make money beyond their own efforts. They have saved and invested their capital in ways that earns them interest…

When Being “Efficient” Is Not The Primary Goal

Supermarkets price milk and eggs (and turkeys during Thanksgiving) below, at, or just above their cost. These items (and others) are called “loss leaders” or “leader priced items.” Every time you buy milk or eggs, your local supermarket is, most likely, losing money on that transaction. If one were to analyze a supermarket’s value by…

Backward and Forward

Our culture is laced with references to both going backward and forward in time. “Monday-morning quarterbacking,” and “hindsight is 20/20,” are two examples of spending time looking backward. Similarly, “looking into my crystal ball,” or “just around the corner” are idiomatic phrases of focusing on looking forward in time. While we can’t physically go backward…

Being The Proposer

It’s easy to critique. It’s more difficult to create. It can feel less burdensome to evaluate. And far more arduous to produce. It can seem safer to be the respondent. And more vulnerable to be the proposer. But being the creator, the producer, the proposer, is a role the very best advancement leaders are willing…

The Real Change That’s Coming Post-COVID-19

We should all be imagining how advancement work will be rearranged, adjusted, and altered post-COVID-19. It’s easy to think of remote-work or work-from-home norms as becoming commonplace policy, especially for gift officers.  The integration of video conferencing and digital technologies with in-person, human-to-human donor engagement is another aspect of our work which, most likely, will…