Browsing the blog archives for February, 2010

Involving Other Leaders In Development

Many of the subscribers to my blog have attended Academic Impressions conferences.  I know this because I’ve met many of you through AI events! For those unfamiliar, Academic Impressions is a professional development content company focused on higher education professionals.  But, even if you serve another type of non-profit, they offer outstanding conference and webcast content […]



In the social sciences, a microexpression is defined as “a brief, involuntary facial expression” shown when one is trying to conceal or repress an emotion. Microexpressions occur within 1/25th of a second and most people report not being able to identify microexpressions in themselves or others.  Simply put, microexpressions are those expressions that verify our true […]


Some Donors Need To Be Fired

Below is a recreation of a honest-to-goodness telephone call I had with an alum donor – we’ll call him Mr. Smith –  some years ago: Mr. Smith:  Hi Jason, I’d like to establish a named endowment. Me:  Great!  Tell me a bit about what you’re thinking. Mr. Smith:  I’d like it to go to scholarships […]


The 5 Principles of Encouraging Major Gifts

Why do donors make major gifts to organization X and not organization Z?  If our organization isn’t receiving as many major gifts as we would like, we may tend to believe it is because other organizations are bigger, have larger budgets, have more contacts, are more well-known, or are just plain lucky.  The truth, though, […]


Effective Messages for Donor Acquisition

How do you create the most effective messages to acquire donors?  Whether it is direct mail, an e-blast, or phonathon script, how do you construct the key phrases designed to encourage your prospects to become donors? From my experience, many organizations use the “WUTLY” approach (We Used This Last Year).  They tweak a phrase here […]


5 Phrases That Turn Off Donors

Over the years I’ve collected some less-than-inspiring statements and sayings from a variety of leaders and organizations.  In most instances, all of the folks and organizations were well intentioned.  But, in each instance they used phrases – either verbally or in correspondence – which turned off donors. Below are some of those phrases, along with […]


Seeing Donors As They May Not Be

  Assumptions are funny. Many times we don’t even know we have them and yet they provide us with fundamental models on how we view and respond to the world. Watch this quick video link of Derek Sivers from the TED Conference: What are the assumptions that your organization holds about its donors?  Here are […]


Motivating in the 21st Century

Daniel Pink, in his new book, “Drive:  The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” suggests that motivating people with the stick and carrot approach (i.e., you reach the goal and you’ll get a bonus, for instance), is an approach which actually squelches creativity and results in less productivity for many 21st Century work environments. Instead, […]


Do-ers vs. Be-ers

I’m pretty sure there are more than, “two kinds of people in the world,” as the old saying goes.  However, a lot of folk in development and leadership positions in non-profits can be divided up into two groups:  the do-ers and the be-ers. “Do-ers” are those individual who achieve results.  They want to do something. […]

1 Comment

On Becoming a Giving Consultant

I may not know your organization specifically, but I know something about your donors:  The top donors to your organization give to other organizations as well.  They have various philanthropic interests.  And with well over 1.5 million non-profits registered in 2009 (an staggering increase of 33% in the last decade), there is more competition for […]