Kent Huyser, senior consultant at Gonser Gerber, has more than 14 years of experience in non-profit and advancement leadership. Prior to joining Gonser Gerber, he was Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement at Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City (MCC) where he led a successful advancement program and launched the first comprehensive campaign for $20 million and reaching record fundraising levels.

On Comfy Pants and Building Loyalty

True confession: I have become obsessed with comfy pants. What does this revelation have to do with our work in Advancement? For me, it yielded an “aha” moment about offering thanks and building loyalty. Let me elaborate. As virtual meetings became a more necessary form of communication one year ago this week, and with webcams…

6 Creative Approaches for Your Day of Giving

If the last 11 months have taught us anything, it’s that: a) donors are resilient, b) they recognize the challenge you face in funding your mission during a pandemic, and c) they’re ready to be the hero of the moment. Despite a global pandemic and high unemployment, giving increased! To keep the momentum going, there’s no…

Addressing Your First World Problem

We’ve faced our share of adversity these last 10 months – some have faced more challenges than others. But usually, when adversity surfaces, a silver lining does as well. What’s the silver lining in our work this year? I submit annual gift support. For those continuing to invite annual support regularly and unapologetically, the response…

Meaningful Involvement

Yesterday we celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through the observance of a national holiday – the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. You may have observed this holiday by participating in some form of service that was meaningful to you and/or to the…

Read the Thin Ones

January is the month of new beginnings and new resolutions. As you implement your New Year’s resolutions, let me pass on some quirky advice I received years ago. Before I discovered this awesome field of Advancement, I worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. I was a member of their Management Development Program,…

Are You Ready?

The great hope for a return to the “old normal” arrived this month in the form of the first COVID-19 vaccines. Frontline medical workers, assisted-living residents, and individuals age 75+ appear to be the first recipients. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the now well-known infectious disease expert, has predicted that enough doses of vaccine will be available for…

The Truth About Milking Cows

I don’t know much about milking cows, but I do know this: You can’t milk a cow by sending it a letter. If this seems preposterously elementary and painfully obvious, you’re right! But to how many prospective donors have you invited philanthropic support by letter (or email) only? The annual fund is reliant upon direct…

Now More Than Ever

The contentious political season is (almost?) officially behind us. And with it, the uncertainty of who might prevail as our President for the next four years has, at the very least, gained clarity. Now, more than ever, our divided nation needs to be brought together to accomplish common and important ideals. Now, more than ever,…

Next-Level Stewardship: Illustrating Impact

You and your Advancement colleagues are likely good at thanking donors. Experience suggests you send thank you letters within 24-48 hours of receiving gifts, make targeted personal phone calls to offer thanks, send handwritten notes, recognize donors in annual reports, and maybe even gather annually to thank donors in person. But experience also shows you…

Going Beyond Gratitude

What comes to mind when you think of the word stewardship? Thanking? Recognizing? Expressing gratitude? Making wise use of resources? Perhaps you think of all of these things or something entirely different. First-Level Stewardship: Expressing Gratitude The first level of stewardship involves making sure our donors receive a timely thank you and ensuring they know we…