Browsing the archives for the Advancement category

The Most Important “Impact” of Giving Is Not What You Think

With the dawn of another U.S. Thanksgiving holiday just days away, we will soon welcome the commencement of the official “season of giving.”  The month of December will experience millions of donors acting with great generosity and each year at this time I am reminded of the concept of philanthropic impacts. Specifically, and, it seems, […]

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The Nuanced (But Key) Lesson Behind Robert F. Smith’s Gift

Amid all of the publicity regarding Robert F. Smith’s announcement to repay the student loan balances for each of the Morehouse College graduates a Sunday ago, there is a key lesson to ferret out, if advancement and nonprofit leaders are willing to look (and listen) closely. Yes, the gift is wonderful and should be applauded.  […]

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It’s All About The Donor, You, and . . . Who?

Just recently I was consulting with a university president when, in a moment of personal and professional transparency, he shared his lamentation that he had “gotten too close” to one of the institution’s most generous donors.   I asked him what he meant by that and here was his all-too-familiar story. “I’m not quite sure how […]

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Giving The Gift

Imagine with me for a moment that you are sitting with one of your most generous donor couples.  It is a husband and wife who are now contemplating the 7-figure gift invitation you have just extended to them.  In the past they have given significantly to your institution – but not at this level.  If […]

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They Aren’t

They aren’t. . . your donors.  You are one of their charitable recipients. your Board members.  You are one of their volunteer priorities. your staff.  You are one of the key factors in their workplace satisfaction. your Twitter followers.  You are one of their social media interests. your prospects.  They may not even be aware […]

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You Have 2 Missions – And You Should Choose to Accept Both

I sometimes wonder how many nonprofit leaders realize they are serving two distinct but related missions? First, of course, is the mission of service particular to your institution or organization.  You may have an education mission, a healthcare mission, a nutrition mission, a faith-filled mission, a mission to assist the homeless, etc.  Most nonprofit leaders […]

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You Are Not A Fundraiser

How do you respond when someone asks about your profession – what you do for a living?  While it can be tempting to offer a knee-jerk and readily-understood response such as, “I’m a fundraiser,” please don’t. Ever again. For the sake of our authentically-transforming work, just don’t. Fundraising is the transactional, point-in-time act of donating.  […]

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The Law of Supply and Demand – For Development Programs

We all recognize the “law of supply and demand,” as a basic economic construct in free markets which states that ultimately, the price of a good or service will be determined by the supply of and customer demand for that good or service.  But I believe there is a development program version of “the law […]

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Best Practices or Best Thinking?

As an advancement professional, you see the hackneyed phrase, “best practices” a ton.  Professional development opportunities tout the teaching of “best practices” for this advancement function or that one.  Members of your team may spend time benchmarking other shops to identify, “best practices.”  Perhaps even you have sought or are seeking the silver-bulleted “best practices” […]

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The Believability Factor in Campaigns

What makes a campaign successful? “It depends,” is a well-established, go-to answer for consultants, but that doesn’t mean it is an altogether unhelpful response.  From leadership, to donor engagement, to giving history at the institution, successful campaigns do, in fact, “depend,” on numerous important variables. One variable, though not often discussed, is exceptionally predictive of […]

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