How Others Feel

Perhaps one of Maya Angelou’s most well-known quotes is her wise sentence on interpersonal influence: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” During our firm’s Annual Conference this past weekend, our Gonser Gerber family recognized and thanked Doug Mason for his 31 years…

Open or Closed

“Open” people are the ones you should be spending the bulk of your time engaging as an advancement professional. People who are open are learners. They are interested in ways to make tomorrow better than today. They are willing to charitably invest in others who are working to make tomorrow better than today. “Closed” people…

Chasing Income

The business minded folks in our institutions view gifts as income. Sometimes they don’t like to make concrete decisions with budgets based on potential gifts (i.e., the annual fund) because they view gifts as “soft income.”  “Perhaps,” the thinking goes, “that income won’t materialize so it’s safer not to make plans with it in mind.”…

“The hardest money to raise.”

The story is that “unrestricted” or “where needed most” or “comprehensive giving” is the most difficult money to raise. It’s the story we tell ourselves in meetings. It’s the story we tell our colleagues and bosses and Board members.  It’s the story we hear at professional development conferences. But, why is this the story? The most common…

How To Decide

The most important part of leadership is deciding. Deciding which direction to go.  Deciding which choice to make.  Deciding what project not to put resources behind.  Deciding what idea not to pursue. But making decisions isn’t the most difficult part of deciding.  Each of us make decisions every day.  We have preferences.  We have interests.  We make…

Diffusion of Responsibility and Inviting a Gift

In the sociopsychology world, the concept of diffusion of responsibility is well studied and researched.  Basically, diffusion of responsibility suggests that when individuals are confronted with an emergency, they are less likely to help when there are more people around.  This diminution of helping behavior occurs because each of us believes others in the group will or…

Marketing Your Annual Fund

Development leaders often make the case that donors aren’t eager to give to the annual fund because its not compelling to support “keeping the lights on.” But, donors aren’t ceasing their giving to your annual fund because they want to, “give to something specific” instead.  Or, because your annual fund, “is a black hole.”  Or,…

Helping Donors Make Exceptions

“Young people today don’t love our country and they don’t want to work.” This statement was made by a major gifts donor I interviewed a couple years ago. The interesting thing about this quote is not that an older, white, U.S. citizen made such a statement.  These types of statements from folks in this demographic…

Setting The Table

Most institutions understand the concept of marketing – offer an attractive opportunity along with an easy way for people to respond. We market programs, special events, activities, athletics, ticket sales, annual giving opportunities, naming opportunities, planned giving, etc. But what comes before marketing – public relations – is at least as important as the marketing…