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.

Trust

People, businesses, and foundations make charitable gifts to your institution every day.  Comprehensive (unrestricted) gifts, restricted gifts, and, gifts of all amounts.  The motivations behind each of these gifts are almost as numerous as the number of gifts themselves. Important to keep in mind, though, that donors are motivated to make major gifts to your institution when…

Volunteer Courage

Advancement leaders consistently talk about the need for volunteer leaders to be enthusiastic advocates for the institution. However, Advancement leaders rarely help their volunteer leaders develop the courage to advocate on behalf of the institution when faced with concerns, critiques, criticisms, and disapprovals from donors and other constitutes. For instance: A major donor shares privately with a…

What Are We Going To Do?

When it comes to fundraising, we regularly plan our actions and activities. Maybe we’re going to: finalize the Run of Show for our upcoming giving day create the next direct mail solicitation package plan the next special event design the annual impact report ask the donor to make a gift Or maybe it’s a hundred…

“I need to think about it.”

You’ve invited one of your best prospective major donors to make a significant gift to help construct an exciting new facility. You know that the donor is generous and has made other significant gifts in the past. You know that the donor values your mission. You know that the donor agrees that constructing this facility…

A Day And A Half

If I asked, “Do you have a day and a half you can use simply for yourself?  To disconnect.  To focus on yourself with no other responsibilities for family or work, etc.  For self-care, for feeling better, for getting healthier.” Most likely, the typical response would be something between laughter and suspicion regarding my sanity. …

Spreading Ideas

The essence of fundraising (i.e., development) is often analogized with “asking for the gift,” or “engaging the giver,” or “cultivating the prospect,” or even “stewarding the donor.” But almost never is fundraising viewed as “spreading ideas.” Spreading ideas, though, is exactly what the best development and advancement leaders and teams do exceptionally well. They effectively…

The Dribble or Taking The Shot

Too often we think of the donor’s next gift as if it is their final gift. “Don’t leave money on the table.” “I asked for too little.” “We could have gotten more.” These are familiar statements we use nonchalantly but they deeply shape how we think about a donor’s current gift.  It’s as if we…

How Others Feel

Perhaps one of Maya Angelou’s most well-known quotes is her wise sentence on interpersonal influence: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” During our firm’s Annual Conference this past weekend, our Gonser Gerber family recognized and thanked Doug Mason for his 31 years…

Open or Closed

“Open” people are the ones you should be spending the bulk of your time engaging as an advancement professional. People who are open are learners. They are interested in ways to make tomorrow better than today. They are willing to charitably invest in others who are working to make tomorrow better than today. “Closed” people…

How To Decide

The most important part of leadership is deciding. Deciding which direction to go.  Deciding which choice to make.  Deciding what project not to put resources behind.  Deciding what idea not to pursue. But making decisions isn’t the most difficult part of deciding.  Each of us make decisions every day.  We have preferences.  We have interests.  We make…