Browsing the blog archives for June, 2010

Objects or Individuals

Some gift income reports I’ve read use the term, “giving units,” to describe donors.  I’ve never much liked that terminology.  Too cold and objectifying. Recently I read some fascinating research on community college presidents completed by Matt Thompson, a good friend and thoughtful higher education leader.  Matt’s research re-introduced me to the concept of verstehen […]


Gratitude Is Not Enough

A regular annual fund donor sends in a gift – a check for $1,000.  Your organization promptly produces a gift receipt and sends a letter (either hard copy or electronic) expressing gratitude signed by the appropriate staff person. Is that it?  Is that all that happens? Despite all the talk about “engaging donors,” I’m afraid […]


The Homeostatic Principle At Work

Homeostatis is the biological principal which suggests that living organisms will maintain a stable, constant condition.  And we humans do this well. We see this principle at work in easily-recognized statements such as, “we’ve always done it this way.”  Or, “I’m going to do what I’ve always done and let someone else worry about it.” […]


Are Millennials All That Different?

Our friends at Achieve and Johnson Grossnickle Associates recently published research on the giving inclinations of Millennials.  They surveyed 2,200 of the facebooking and twittering-set between the ages of 20 and 40 (75% were “Millennials”) and asked how they would like to engage with and be solicited by non-profits. So, here are 3 key findings […]


The Indispensability of Multi-Year Donor Planning

Let’s say your portfolio has 150 prospects.   Most readers of this blog (because they are some of the sharpest development folk out there!) have a plan for how each will be solicited in the coming year.  It may be that you plan to solicit 40-60 during face-to-face visits with specific, major gift proposals. Others […]


The 3 Meetings

As much as we may wish not to admit, meetings matter.  The types and number of meetings you hold is a key component of your development program’s infrastructure.  Too many meetings and the team doesn’t have enough time to visit with donors.  Too few meetings, or meetings with no understood purpose, and a team, within […]


A Bigger Share of a Bigger Pie – Reactions to Giving USA Data

So, the 2009 Giving USA data has been released and some people aren’t happy. What does Giving USA report? Adjusted for inflation, year-over-year giving in 2009 declined by 3.2%.  Not surprisingly,  there was a decline.  But, here is what has some people confused and even upset: Giving from individuals – which make up 75% of […]

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Lead Out of Control

The most common question I get regarding performance-based metrics is, “what should we be counting?”  Is it visits?  moves?  phone calls?  dollars raised? number of proposals submitted?  etc.  And while I can make a well-reasoned argument as to why a particular set of metrics will be more powerful in predicting success than another, I can […]