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,…

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…