Taking “No” For An Answer

Our culture celebrates those with the grit, determination, force of will, and interpersonal skills to bend reality in their favor. It can be easy, for instance, to embrace the notion that the best development folk, “never take ‘no’ for an answer” from a donor. The effective fundraisers, this ubiquitous thinking goes, are the ones with…

Inviting Effectively

There are 2 primary components that lead to effectively inviting people to engage more deeply. First, we have to have clarity in what we want them to do.  What, specifically, are we asking of them? Give for the first time? Attend an event?  Be a member of the governing board? Increase their giving to a…

The Pressure For Gifts

There are two types of pressures gift officers can embrace. On the one hand, many gift officers can feel pressured to invite the biggest possible gift from a donor as quickly as possible. This pressure can cause gift officers to feel as if they have to “ask big,” and “not leave money on the table,”…

What Should Concern Us More?

“We’ve gotten some push-back from the direct mail piece we sent.  People are saying we ask for money all the time.” “People complained that we sent too many emails on our giving day.” “We’ve had people hang up on our phonathon callers.” Whenever I hear these types of observations from advancement folk, I regularly ask…

How Do You Think Best?

Not when or where do you think best.  We all have stories of that a-ha moment while taking a shower or waking up with the solution to an especially thorny problem we are facing. But, how do you think best? Do you think best by bouncing ideas off of other people?  Do you think best by scribbling…

2 Mistakes With 1 Specific Thing

What’s the 1 specific thing you want a prospective donor to do based on receiving your direct mail? What’s the 1 specific thing you want an alum to do based on their interaction with your social media campaign? What’s the 1 specific thing you want to accomplish with the prospective major donor during your visit?…

Giving As Good Governance

There are at least 3 reasons why giving should be a key aspect of a governing board’s work: Board member giving signifies to employees, donors, and the broader community that they believe in and fully support the CEO.  If the board desires the CEO to be successful, then personal giving of some amount from each…

All We Know

First, the printing press made knowledge and information distributable to those who could read. Then, terrestrial radio and television broadcast knowledge and information to anyone with the hardware to receive the signals. Next came the searchable internet which connected hardware so that the whole planet (mostly) could share knowledge and information. Now, we are experiencing…

Beyond the Donor’s Legacy

We focus a good bit on inviting donors to “leave a legacy.”  Or, talking with donors about their giving legacy. But what about your legacy in this work? Will you be known as a person who encouraged others on the team?  Will you be viewed as the individual who put the mission or the cause…