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.

2 Mistakes With 1 Specific Thing

What’s the 1 specific thing you want a prospective donor to do based on receiving your direct mail? What’s the 1 specific thing you want an alum to do based on their interaction with your social media campaign? What’s the 1 specific thing you want to accomplish with the prospective major donor during your visit?…

Giving As Good Governance

There are at least 3 reasons why giving should be a key aspect of a governing board’s work: Board member giving signifies to employees, donors, and the broader community that they believe in and fully support the CEO.  If the board desires the CEO to be successful, then personal giving of some amount from each…

All We Know

First, the printing press made knowledge and information distributable to those who could read. Then, terrestrial radio and television broadcast knowledge and information to anyone with the hardware to receive the signals. Next came the searchable internet which connected hardware so that the whole planet (mostly) could share knowledge and information. Now, we are experiencing…

Beyond the Donor’s Legacy

We focus a good bit on inviting donors to “leave a legacy.”  Or, talking with donors about their giving legacy. But what about your legacy in this work? Will you be known as a person who encouraged others on the team?  Will you be viewed as the individual who put the mission or the cause…

Create or Magnify?

Whether we have 5,000 or 500,000+ constituent records in our database, the percentage of “engaged constituents,” is far less. For example, if we define “engaged” as giving recently, or showing up at an event, or interacting via social media, or opening an email, or receiving a direct mail piece, etc., it is not uncommon for…

Engaging Our Community

Advancement leaders talk a lot about “engaging our community.” It could be engaging our alumni community.  Or, even more specifically, engaging our young alumni community.  It could be engaging our town, city, or region.  It could be engaging our campus community.  Or, engaging our school community. But, we talk about “engaging our community” a lot. We make…

A Race To Indistinguishable

“How do we compare to other institutions like us?” “How are other institutions responding to this situation?” “Have you tried ChatGPT to create the letter?” Regardless of the work or metrics, it seems we are being encouraged from all sides to become more identical, more indistinct, less original, and less inspired. And, in an increasingly…

What Are We Afraid Of?

If we are afraid of failing, we won’t try new things. If we are afraid of looking stupid in front of others, we won’t take the lead. If we are afraid the donor will say, “no,” we won’t invite the gift. If we are afraid of confrontation, we won’t speak plainly to each other. If…

Allowing Others To Care

The best advancement leaders and development folk understand that inviting others to give is important, but allowing others to care is essential. As leaders, we allow others on our team to care when we encourage them to try something new and, simultaneously, eliminate the anxiety of potential failure. If the new thing doesn’t work, ask,…