What To Ask In A Group

A president has invited a small group of major gift donors and prospects to serve on an advisory council for a new strategic initiative for the institution.  These are current or previous donors who have given significantly in the past, have a sense of ownership about the institution’s future success, and are especially interested in…

Context and Purpose

Both context and purpose are critically important if we aim to be consistently effective on donor visits, meetings with colleagues, phone calls with prospective donors, email outreaches to volunteers, implementing special events, sending direct mail invitations to give – really anything we do in advancement. By context, I mean the surrounding issues related to the interaction.  The timing, the relevant…

3 Aims of Constituent Relations

If we define constituent relations as those programs and activities designed to encourage people to engage more deeply with your mission or cause, then there are three primary aims of those efforts. First, constituent relations efforts should educate people.  Yes, this is education on your mission and it’s important impacts.  But, this version of education…

Farmers Plant The Most Productive Seeds

Not long ago, I interviewed a couple who are significant major gifts donors and asked them how they got started making significant gifts.  When and how was the seed planted for them to give generously? The husband and wife looked at each other for a moment and then he shared with me a brief story…

Why?

Why are we holding that special event? Why are we sending that specific direct mail piece? Why did we request that particular list of donors? Why are we reaching out to our donors via phone? Why do we want to meet with that donor couple next month? Why are we highlighting that alumnus in our…

Seeking Feedback

Most everyone will say feedback is good – helpful and productive. But, some folks really don’t want it. Their decision feels good to them.  Their choice makes sense to them.  Their motivations are pure from their perspective.  Their actions are the best they can do. When others, then, have a different viewpoint or experience with…

The Complex Old World

With each passing day, the roles we play grow more complex.  No matter how we might define ourselves, our lot in life, our specific roles, or our individualistic views and perspectives, what we do becomes more complex over time. If you are a parent, for instance, your children aging and developing by the day makes…

“I don’t know.”

I enjoy watching Denzel Washington act.  His character range is staggering and I can’t recall a character he’s played that I found unbelievable. Recently I watched, “The Equalizer 3,” where he stars as Robert McCall, a retired special operations officer turned vigilante righting wrongs against evil across the globe on behalf of the innocent and the bullied.…

5 Advancement Basics

Annual Giving – consistently invite donors to give in support of your cause/mission comprehensively; Constituent Relations – consistently engage volunteers to get others more involved with your cause/mission; Advancement Services – consistently produce standing reports that have clear and important purposes; Major Giving – consistently send creative and compelling messages that encourage donors to visit…

The Question of Fear

Fear in the workplace is a corrosive, anti-productive emotion. It prompts us to assume bad motivations in others without evidence. It prompts us to tell others about our value/experience instead of listening for ways we can learn from them. It prompts us to remove ourselves when we should lean in and be heard. It prompts…