Place Matters

In the for-profit world, scale matters.  If 100 widgets cost me $100 to produce, then 1,000 may only cost me a bit more, perhaps $200,  to produce. If I sell my widgets at a local famer’s market, I can sell maybe 10 on a Saturday morning. If I utilize the web to sell my widgets,…

Affiliative and Agentic Relationships

Advancement leaders sometimes find themselves awkwardly positioned with donors.  On the one hand, the donor and advancement leader may have a warm, friendly, and comfortable relationship.  They genuinely may enjoy spending time with each other.  Social scientists call these types of relationships, affiliative. On the other hand, the advancement leader understands that the donor relationship…

Inviting More

For a vast number of nonprofits, there is a single, simple adjustment that could be made which would radically change how much is received through charitable giving. . . they could invite more gifts from their donors. Just ask more.  That’s it. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp.  It’s been backed up by research…

Promotions vs. Promoters

Advancement teams spend tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources on promoting events, activities, campaigns, solicitations, receptions, giving days, etc. Promoting and marketing is so ubiquitous in advancement, it can be difficult to accurately assess the amount of staff energy and effort, the design time, the printing and mail costs that go into promotions and…

Defining Board Work

“Our Board is very dedicated, but we are more of a working Board.” When this type of statement is made – by an institutional leader, an advancement leader, or a Board member – there are two unhelpful assumptions being made: First, this definition of “working Board,” almost always is limited to one in which Board members plan…

Acceptably Ambitious

When setting a dollar goal for a significant, multi-year campaign, it can be tempting to reduce the process to some mathematical formula or calculus.  For instance, Average amount raised over the last few years X number of years of the campaign X some campaign multiplier effect = campaign goal. Another, more subtle and intuitive approach,…

Applying Fresh Starts

Katy Milkman at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania suggests that Mondays, first days of the month, New Year’s Day, birthdays, many holidays, and other “temporal landmarks” are a great times for humans to make changes. Dr. Milkman’s “Fresh Start” theory posits that moments in culture that we all celebrate (such as New Year’s…

Renting vs. Owning

When everyone worked from an office location 5 days per week, employers owned the results and employees rented out their services to their employers.  “You have purchased my attention, energy, and work product for these hours on these days,” was the message from employee to employer. Of course, employees stayed late and came in on…

Speed vs. Direction

When it comes to fundraising results, the first, easiest, and most misguided focus is on speed: “How quickly can the money be raised for the new building?” “I needed more unrestricted gifts yesterday!” “When will we reach the campaign goal?” Instead, the healthier, more accommodative focus should always be on direction: “In our community, who…