What Do I Want To Learn?

This is the most important question a gift officer can (and should!) ask themselves before a visit with a donor or prospective donor. It brings into quick focus the fundamental purpose of the visit. It requires a plan (and, usually, additional questions) to have prepared prior to the visit. And, it is a reminder that…

Philanthropic Timing

Sometimes, the prospective major donor is not ready to be invited to give. She needs to learn more about the initiative.  She has questions.  She hasn’t made a major gift previously.  There could be any number of different reasons. Other times, the relationship between you and the prospective major donor is not ready for the invitation to give. There…

The Annual Giving Bomb Set Is Coming

Surfers live for the “bomb set.” This is the series of the largest, most rideable waves that come along only every so often.  The surfers in the lineup wait for the bomb set to arrive and then frenziedly work to position themselves for the best rides of the day. In the annual giving world, we…

5 Phrases Used By the Ablest Gift Officers

“I don’t know.” This phrase provides a reason to circle back with the donor (if needed).  Just as importantly, this phrase builds trust because it positions the gift officer as a professional who is confident and humble enough to admit there is something they don’t know. “It occurs to me. . .”  This is a conversation-enhancing…

The Absolute Worst Time To Start A Campaign

“Donors won’t be able to give because inflation is too high.” “The stock market’s downturn will cause donors not to give.” “There is a recession coming so this isn’t a good time to start a campaign.” You’ve probably heard Board members, donors, or well-meaning colleagues make statements similar to these when the idea of a…

Budget Decisions

Most advancement leaders agree: Major and principal gifts most often emerge from longer-term, trusting relationships built with donors on a foundation of personalized, face-to-face interactions. Annual giving programs are most effective when they are built on a foundation of consistent, multi-channel direct invitations to give. Special events should be few and are inefficient for fundraising.…

Strengthening Your Advancement Culture

If the only people who are involved in major gifts discussions are the major gifts officers, silos will be built. If the only people who pay attention to advancement budgets are the accounting and finance professionals, disconnections and confusion will emerge. If the only people with a focus on recruiting attendees to an event are…

Things Good Leaders Say

Not long ago I had the good experience of listening to Adam Weinberg, president of Denison University address parents and families of current students.  He delivered prepared remarks for about 15 minutes (no powerpoint) and he spent another 45 minutes addressing questions from the audience. Here are 3 things president Weinberg said that struck me:…

Volunteers As Priceless Reviewers

If you are seeking a service, a product, or an experience, you can find an online review as quickly as you can access Google. Of course, finding online reviews quickly is not the same as trusting online reviews.  In fact, it is estimated that between 30 – 50% of all online reviews are fake and designed to fool…