Loving The Idea

Loving the idea we are implementing is important. Without our enthusiasm, the donor may not stretch his giving nearly as much. Without our energy, phonathon callers won’t be nearly as productive. Without our creative initiative, the special event won’t be nearly as captivating. But we should love our ideas only up to a point.  And…

What Are You Doing?

Humans have a habit of doing what is easier.  Doing what we like.  Doing what we enjoy.  Doing what is pleasurable or what we want in the moment. Not necessarily doing what is in our best interests. For instance, it’s in our best interests to exercise regularly and eat healthily.  That helps us stay strong…

The Nineteen Hundreds

As teenager coming of age in the late 1980s, my music of choice was the burgeoning rap sound coming out of New York and later, California.  The soundtrack to those formative years of my life were filled with Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim, MC Lyte, EPMD, L.L. Cool J, Run-DMC, Special Ed, 3rd Bass, Salt-N-Pepa, Public Enemy, and so many others. Of course,…

What’s A Campaign For?

A major, multi-year fundraising campaign’s primary purpose is not to raise more money. It’s not even to build the building.  Or grow the endowment.  Or, add the new program or equipment. A campaign’s primary purpose is to strengthen the perception among all involved with our institution that charitable giving is a robust, healthy, and needed…

A Leadership Choice

It’s easy to get consumed by the workplace drama of the moment. A teammate is upset because a colleague hasn’t yet responded to an email request. A supervisor is frustrated because expectations weren’t met during a meeting. A vice president is irritated because team members consistently arrive late for work. A common response in these…

Charitable Giving Capacity

It’s not equal to a donor’s lifetime total giving to your institution. It’s not equal to how much a donor has been giving more recently. It’s not equal to how much you may decide to invite a donor to give next. It’s not equal to how much a donor tells you they will give. It’s…

5 Advancement Beliefs In Need of Improvement

Belief #1:  “It’s all about relationships.” Improvement:  “It’s all about purposeful relationships.” Belief #2:  “You should listen far more than you speak.” Improvement:  “You should ask far more questions than you make statements.” Belief #3:  “Our donors have giving fatigue.” Improvement:  “Our donors are tired of giving for visionless purposes.” Belief #4:  “Our Board should be more generous.” Improvement: “Our Board…

What We Know

The most knowledgeable mechanical engineer may have very little to say about the complex dynamics of intimate human relationships. The most advanced scholar in the humanities may have very little to offer when the topic of agriculture technology comes up. The most gifted and successful surgeon may be of very little help when it comes…

Scaling Results

When most advancement leaders are asked what they need to raise more money or engage more alumni, or do more of anything, the answer usually has something to do with hiring more people. But, when presidents, Board members, engaged donors, and other non-advancement leaders are asked the same question, they usually start by assessing if…

The Advancement Errors We Love

Our institution needs more money . . . “we need to hold a gala!” Our major donors aren’t giving as generously as they could . . . “we need more donor relations staff!” Our Board members don’t engage meaningfully with fundraising . . . “we are a working Board!” The fundamental problem with the most ineffective solutions…