Browsing the blog archives for August, 2010

Benchmarking and Uniqueness

One of the first understandings an institution claims I need to have about them involves their uniqueness.  It goes something like this: “Jason, we know you work with institutions and organizations across the country.  But we are different here.  Our institutional culture is different.  This community is different.  Our views on philanthropy are different.  We […]

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The Problem With Metrics

Performance metrics in development are important.  CEOs and Board members want clear indicators which depict the value of our work.  Savvy donors expect to see institutional efficiency.  Even the government is poking around in the finances of non-profits like never before. However, we make a huge mistake when we make metrics our focus.  Much like […]

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The Power of the Whisper

In college, I had a professor who, to get the attention of class and quiet the room, would whisper.  After a few moments, every student would cease their talking and strain to listen to what the professor was softly saying. It was an effective way to gain the attention of the audience.  It worked because […]

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Copy And Steal Everything

For those of you who practice the craft of development in the education arena, you are aware of CASE – the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. A fine and helpful organization. Because CASE conferences have been effective in disseminating good ideas and initiatives, the friendly joke within development circles in education is that […]

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Lack or Faith

“We don’t have the money to do that.” I hear this statement (or another variation on the theme – “we have too much on our plate already”) far too often.  And it is almost never the reason why we don’t attempt a new direct mail strategy or make more visits on our most promising donors […]

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Is A Culture of Philanthropy Really The Goal?

A common aim – usually unwritten –  of advancement professionals is to “create a culture of philanthropy” within their institutions.  The typical reason for this goal stems from a sense that board members and others with high giving capacity are not responding to the institution with a matching degree of generosity.  I usually hear a […]

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The 3 Appraisals

It’s not uncommon for a gift officer to tell me that she knows very well the organization’s major donors.  When I happily follow-up this assertion with a few questions, I sometimes learn what is really “known” is the origin of the donor’s wealth and little else.  In some instances, very little of import is understood […]

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3 New Relationships

When we attend conferences, we are often encouraged to “take home 3 good ideas and implement them.”  If we do that, we are told, the conference will have been of high value. Focusing on the content to gather up 3 good ideas is fine for the short term.  If the presenters and the content are […]

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The Believe First Rule

When soliciting a major gift prospect, it is best practice to engage only volunteers who already have made their commitment.  This is the “Give First Rule.”  Not only is this an ethical practice, but we know that modeling the giving process encourages others to respond favorably to a gift request. Development professionals smile when they […]

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