Browsing the blog archives for April, 2010

Frequent-Donor Programs

Our friends in the airline and hotel industries have been doing something for years that makes a good amount of sense to me.   They reward those customers who choose them regularly. Frequent-flier programs and frequent-stay programs are so successful that now customers can earn free airline tickets by using their affinity credit cards at […]

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Not Giving with Strings

Many years ago as a young development officer I naively decided to probe a bit when an upset alum donor said to me:  “I’m not pleased with the direction of the institution and I’m going to withhold my giving until things change.” The specifics of the situation are unimportant.  It could have been that she […]

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Who Cares?

When I was in graduate school, I had on my committee Dr. Norma Mertz, a wonderfully blunt New Yorker.  Not only was she blunt, but her insight was exceptional. When she listened to a student discuss a possible dissertation topic, one of her favorite ways to bring clarity to rambling was to firmly (and sometimes […]

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3 Methods of Asking

All told, we can engage in 3 methods of asking.  We can: Beg; Persuade; or, Facilitate Of the three, begging is the least effective and brings with it the smallest gift totals from individual donors.  This is the sympathy play.  Begging asks donors to give because there is an urgent need – perhaps with those […]

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Ego

A few years back I had the good fortune to meet Bruce Heilman in a University of Tennessee graduate course. Bruce was president of the University of Richmond from 1971 – 1986 and is credited with elevating that institution to one of national prominence. I won’t go into the story here but what he accomplished […]

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The Unique Giving Proposition

Our friends in the marketing world long ago came up with the notion of the Unique Selling Proposition (USP).  Simply put, the USP is the impelling reason why a customer would choose one product over another.  It is that “thing” that gives a company’s product or service a distinct advantage over the competition.  It may be […]

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5 Reasons Your Major Prospects Say “No”

“It’s not about you.”  That’s the opening sentence of the uber-successful book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.   It’s also a helpful attitude to embrace when toiling in the major gift vineyard. Rejection is a component of development work.  Sometimes major prospects tell us, “no.”  When it happens (hopefully infrequently) we should take care […]

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Donor Gratitude

Most development professionals I know understand the need to provide personalized and meaningful gratitude to donors.  Most understand that extending thanks is both the right thing to do and also helps encourage future giving from donors. Most think a lot about saying thank you to donors.  But what if we made the donor experience so […]

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Begin With The Journey In Mind

You’ve heard the saying, “Begin with the end in mind.” (Habit 2 of Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”). With all respect to Covey. . . I think this isn’t completely right.  Here’s why: What is it that we plan that ever ends? I mean really ends?  Stopped. Completed.  No more.  Finished.  Finito. A successful […]

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Forward Giving

Although the phrase, “giving back,” is used everyday in development work I’ve never thought of it as being very helpful. First, it encourages the idea that something was received in the past and now, out of duty, out of indebtedness,  the donor should pay for it.  I’m not sure that this encourages uncommon generosity in […]

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