When We Start

When we attempt a new task, most of us usually aren’t that good at it. It can feel awkward the first time we attempt to ice skate. Presenting for the first time in front of a group can create anxiety. Baking a cake for the first time can be a messy (and, perhaps, a less…

Leadership and Negative Thoughts

Positive thinking, or maintaining a positive attitude even in difficult circumstances, has been shown to have various tangible personal benefits.  From workplace productivity to stress reduction to higher brain functioning, working on seeing the good in people and situations is smart. Negative thought patterns, on the other hand, are correlated with a number of less-than-helpful personal outcomes. …

Trust

People, businesses, and foundations make charitable gifts to your institution every day.  Comprehensive (unrestricted) gifts, restricted gifts, and, gifts of all amounts.  The motivations behind each of these gifts are almost as numerous as the number of gifts themselves. Important to keep in mind, though, that donors are motivated to make major gifts to your institution when…

Volunteer Courage

Advancement leaders consistently talk about the need for volunteer leaders to be enthusiastic advocates for the institution. However, Advancement leaders rarely help their volunteer leaders develop the courage to advocate on behalf of the institution when faced with concerns, critiques, criticisms, and disapprovals from donors and other constitutes. For instance: A major donor shares privately with a…

What Are We Going To Do?

When it comes to fundraising, we regularly plan our actions and activities. Maybe we’re going to: finalize the Run of Show for our upcoming giving day create the next direct mail solicitation package plan the next special event design the annual impact report ask the donor to make a gift Or maybe it’s a hundred…

“I need to think about it.”

You’ve invited one of your best prospective major donors to make a significant gift to help construct an exciting new facility. You know that the donor is generous and has made other significant gifts in the past. You know that the donor values your mission. You know that the donor agrees that constructing this facility…

A Day And A Half

If I asked, “Do you have a day and a half you can use simply for yourself?  To disconnect.  To focus on yourself with no other responsibilities for family or work, etc.  For self-care, for feeling better, for getting healthier.” Most likely, the typical response would be something between laughter and suspicion regarding my sanity. …

On Seeking Advice

Not long ago a family friend just starting his career came to me with a question. He was looking at two potential job opportunities.  One was a part-time position for a company with which he had already interned.  The part-time position had no benefits but he knew who his supervisor would be (and liked her)…

Spreading Ideas

The essence of fundraising (i.e., development) is often analogized with “asking for the gift,” or “engaging the giver,” or “cultivating the prospect,” or even “stewarding the donor.” But almost never is fundraising viewed as “spreading ideas.” Spreading ideas, though, is exactly what the best development and advancement leaders and teams do exceptionally well. They effectively…

The Dribble or Taking The Shot

Too often we think of the donor’s next gift as if it is their final gift. “Don’t leave money on the table.” “I asked for too little.” “We could have gotten more.” These are familiar statements we use nonchalantly but they deeply shape how we think about a donor’s current gift.  It’s as if we…