Engaging Board Members

Advancement leaders tend to fall into 3 categories when it comes to their approach to Board member engagement: Keep Board members at arm’s length as much as possible because they are more nuisance than helpmate; Engage Board members as needed, primarily on their governance and fiduciary roles; Appreciate Board members and engage each in various…

It’s Never Too Late

. . . to better engage your Board; . . . to reinvigorate your institution’s social media presence; . . . to make your direct mail solicitations more compelling; . . . to do something about climate change; . . . to get on the road and visit with donors more; . . . to…

Building Trust vs. Promising Specifics

If you ask a conference full of major gift officers how to best motivate major gifts from new donors or how best to encourage increased giving from already generous donors, a significant number likely will respond that communicating how their major gift will make an impact is the way to go. The conventional wisdom is…

The N=Me Fallacy

Here are some potentially less helpful starting points when brainstorming new advancement strategies with colleagues: “I wouldn’t go to that event . . .” “I don’t respond to direct mail . . .” “I’m not seeing that much at all on my social media . . .” There are 2 potential problems with these strategy-setting…

Jimmy Buffett Can’t Sing

Even if you aren’t a “parrothead” (the endearing term given to Jimmy Buffett’s most loyal fans), you probably know at least a few lines of a Buffett song. “Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville. . .” is a classic many recognize. If you’ve ever been to a Jimmy Buffett concert, you know that a whole lot…

New Year, New Habits

For many Advancement professionals, this week marks the first in a new fiscal year. Accordingly, it seems like a good time to assess ways we can be more productive and more focused on the most important elements of our lives – personally and professionally. I’m taking stock. Feel free to join me! A good way…

Motivations

We regularly discuss donor motivations, why people give and get involved, and how to appeal to their interests. What’s far less common are discussions focused on why we ask donors to give, why we invite volunteers to get involved, or how to appeal to our own motivating factors. If you are an advancement leader and…

Asking Questions

If your aim is to be a high-quality, effective leader, ask your questions early.  Be genuinely curious.  Gather information.  Listen to understand perspectives and positions.  Empathize with different experiences.  Learn what you don’t know. And then, use what you’ve learned from others and their realities to offer solutions. Waiting until after a solution is offered…

The Donors We Inherit

Every advancement team inherits most of its donors.  You may be new to your role, or you may have been at your institution for years.  But the bulk of the donors you will engage have a giving history with your institution that precedes you. Percentage wise, a few of these inherited donors are exceptionally generous…

Becoming Better With Major Gifts

One reason it’s difficult to teach someone how to be a better major gifts professional is because it’s not about teaching specific words or phrases to use during an ask.  It’s not about teaching a particular process or formula to follow in order to prepare for asking a prospect for a major gift.  It’s not…