But, Why Are You Raising Money?

Not, why should donors give? Instead, why are you raising money? This is a question about your personal motivations for doing this work. The least motivating answer:  “To build a building (or “start a program,” or “meet the budget,” etc.). The moderately motivating answer:  “To better serve our mission – our students, participants, patients, community, etc..” The most motivating…

“I have raised over $50 million. . .”

“I have raised over $50 million. . .” No one ever raises charitable gifts by themselves.  Ever. There was a professor decades before who showed interest in that donor as a student.  There was a nurse who showed compassion to a family while caring for their loved one.  There was a volunteer whose winsome words…

The Point of Saturation

“At what point during our campaign should our Quiet Phase end and our Public Phase begin?” The universal answer to this common question is some percentage of the total campaign fundraising goal.  For instance, “you should never go public before hitting 60 or 70% of your goal.” But, this type of cookie-cutter response isn’t a…

The 6 Advancement Responsibilities of the Board

Be an advocate for the institution. Be a ratifier of the institution’s mission, vision, and strategic plans. Be an advisor regarding the capacities, interests, and opportunities to more deeply involve current donors. Be a door opening influencer for institutional leaders to engage new donor prospects. Be a resource guarantor so the advancement program has the…

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…