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…

Be The Wave

Ocean waves are constant. If you’re like me, that constancy is big part of the allure of a beach vacation.  The dependability of both the visual and aural “white noise” of waves at the beach cause an immediate sense of peace and calm for me. But ocean (or Gulf) waves are more essential than providing…

Trust-Based Philanthropy And Who Knows Best

“Trust-based philanthropy,” is all over the business news pages these days. Essentially, in a trust-based model of giving, donors embrace three perspectives regarding their support: Unrestricted giving, when done through helpful nonprofit partners, offers the best type of philanthropic support to make a difference; Helpful nonprofit partners are those who are willing to be transparent and relational…

5 Simple Steps to Raise More Money

The 5 critically-important, unvarnished, and uncomplicated steps to raising considerably more money: Start by creating an institution-wide strategic plan that invites input and perspectives from a variety of constituents.  The finished plan should specifically identify key priorities your institution will pursue over the next 3-5 years and should paint an inspirational narrative of how you…

The Future of Stewardship

In today’s advancement world, the function of “stewardship” is constrained (typically and artificially) to those activities and responses the institution makes once a gift has been made.  For instance, we steward a donor through our public recognition programs and how we extend thanks based on their giving level, etc. But this constrained view of stewardship…

Becoming Expert vs. Becoming An Expert

Becoming expert (adjective) is different than becoming an expert (noun). The former implies a willingness to embrace a developmental journey focused on enhancing one’s experience, knowledge, skill, adroitness.  The latter evokes a desire to seek a position or standing among others. Becoming an expert is an end result in which one is viewed as a…