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.

Extending Conversations

Invite the gift when the prospect poses a question like, “What do you all need to make this happen?” Turn the conversation toward your campaign priorities when the prospect asks, “What are you all working on today?” “Could you see yourself providing a leadership gift for this project?” is a fantastic response when a major…

2 Types of Meetings

Collaborative Meetings.  These meetings are designed to brainstorm together, to collectively create, to “bounce ideas off of each other.”  The purpose of these meetings is to involve others in the idea formation process. Responsive Meetings.  These meetings are designed to react to a proposal, to refine an idea, to improve a plan.  The purpose of…

Leading Volunteers

What’s the reason our institution utilizes volunteers?  What’s the point?  The purpose? If we expect our volunteers to provide the definitive answers to these questions, we may want to re-think our role. As advancement professionals who engage volunteers, our first duty is to understand clearly why they are being asked to volunteer.  Our second duty…

Tribes or Ecosystems

Brand tribes have been a buzz concept in marketing circles for a few years now. From a marketing perspective, tribes – or customer communities made up of like-minded people who gather together based on shared interests and brands and the values those brands project – represent an opportunity to efficiently engage and motivate a large group…

The Big Gift vs. The Best Gifts

We can be convinced that the solution to our problems must be in receiving the “big gift” from our wealthiest donor prospect. Maybe for your institution that’s $25 million. Maybe it’s $10 million. Maybe its $1 million. For a time about 20 years ago, the idea of the “mega gift” and the people with the…

The Agenda and The Work

“We can’t get our Board/Advisory Council/Volunteer Group to focus on consistently helping us with fundraising and giving.” I hear this complaint regularly from advancement leaders. And, then, I review the previous meeting agendas for the group and find: Too much reporting from institutional leaders, instead of time for question-asking and discussion; Too much quantitative data…

More and Less

Everyone expects “more.” Each year, our annual fund goal increases.  Our new campaign will be the biggest ever.  The goal for the number of donors next year will be more than this year’s goal. Getting to “more,” though, often means focusing on less. If our annual fund goal is increasing, who are the small subset of current…

3 Ways We Make Decisions

Why are we reducing our direct mail solicitations from 4 per year to 3? Why are we no long conducting a phonathon to interactively engage donors and invite their gifts? Why are we continuing to plan for the next gala? Why are we no longer printing our magazine and only creating a digital version? Why…

Asking The Right Questions

This past week Jason’s Blog broke. The specifics don’t matter much (mostly because, while I’m comfortable with technology,  I’m definitely not a techie and I still don’t fully understand what happened).  Just that the site went down, it was not a simple issue, and I didn’t know how to fix it.  So, it was time to do everyone’s favorite…