When Givers Don’t Give

You delivered a well-crafted major gift proposal to current generous givers.  This particular donor couple has been close to your institution for years and made one of the larger gifts to your last major campaign. Based on your recent visits and discussions with them, you know the gift amount proposed was in the ballpark (it…

Goals and Strategies

What are you trying to accomplish? Increase your donor base OR Increase your dollars raised? Enhance the number of people you serve from your community OR Enhance the sense of community among the people you serve? Raise more annual fund money OR Raise more money through annual giving? Get more people to respond to your appeal OR Get more people to experience the…

3 Campaign Decisions Only Leaders Can Make

Multi-year, comprehensive campaigns have lots of moving parts and many engaged parties.  There are many ways that campaigns can be successful (and, also, many ways they can fail).  But, as with most things on which human cooperation depends, successful campaigns require effective leadership. Specifically, there are 3 campaign decisions only leaders can (and should) make. …

Where Do You Work?

Some people work in the future.  The next donor visit.  The next gift.  The next goal.  The benefits of this approach are that the future is almost always perceived to be better and some sort of progress almost always occurs.  The downsides with this approach are that others may not feel important to us and…

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,…