Peer Screens: A Most Helpful Donor Research Tool

When advancement leaders consider conducting current donor and prospective donor research, two primary methodologies come to mind. First, an electronic wealth screen is the choice most advancement leaders make when attempting to find currently unknown (to them) prospective major donors.  A wealth screen uses publicly available databases and information to provide a rating of an…

“We Don’t Make Enough To Give”

Recently, I provided a keynote address to a gathering of high school presidents.  During our time together, we discussed faculty and staff giving at their high schools and multiple presidents said, “We had tremendous pushback during our faculty and staff annual giving campaign, so we don’t do that anymore.” “What was the primary objection from…

They Might Be Right

During his life, Howard Baker, Jr., the longtime politician and diplomat from Tennessee, credited his father with the following quote: “You should always go through life working on the assumption that the other guy might be right.” Not only does this quote strike me as a thoughtful way to travel through life personally, but it…

Just Something Special

Go to any college or university and interview alumni who are proud of their school. “There is just something special about this place,” you will hear over and over in various forms. The reality, though, is that there isn’t that much truly special (or different) about the place. It’s an institution of higher education (like, literally, thousands…

Big Change

Every year, every decade, every generation brings with it societal-level questions that are complicated and unsettling legally, socially, politically, morally, and ethically.  The U.S. has had to confront some of its thorniest and deeply disquieting societal issues and questions since its founding. For instance. . . From 1787 until 1865 and the passage of the…

Gonser Gerber Welcomes Pam Spencer

Get to Know Pam Spencer, Senior Consultant: What makes the biggest difference for an advancement team? What do you wish you had learned early in your advancement career? What are you most excited about joining Gonser Gerber? Are you a coffee or tea person? Contact Pam What makes the biggest difference for an advancement team?…

“I Don’t Know. . .”

“I don’t know how we will reach the goal. . .” “I don’t know where the next major gift is coming from. . .” “I don’t know who is willing to lead this campaign. . .” After we establish a goal, create a fundraising plan, or design a campaign, our advancement work is filled with…

The Formula

The big ask captivates us. “If she would only give us the $1.5 million. . . ” “If that company would only be our event’s title sponsor. . . ” The big ask is so captivating, in fact, that it’s tempting to start there. “Let’s go ask and see what they say!” is the trill…

A Not-To-Do List

“What are you going to say, ‘no’ to?” I asked this question of a client when their alumni relations team was looking at their annual planning calendar and it was clear they had more great ideas than they could implement. I posed the question not only to get them to think about prioritizing their list…

More New Major Donors

“If we are going to have success in this next campaign, we will need to find new major donors.” Almost certainly you have heard a board member, a president, or someone else state something similar.  Or, perhaps, you have said something similar! While there are a variety of issues related to this type of statement,…