Browsing the archives for the Leadership category

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.  […]

0 Comments

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 […]

0 Comments

Every Donor Is An Exception

Over the last few years, I’ve taken to explaining the purpose of donor and prospect management as the “management of exceptions.”  By that phrase, I simply mean that all major donors and major donor prospects are “exceptions” to any conceivable universal rule one might use to engage them as a group.  Each of these identified […]

0 Comments

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” […]

2 Comments

3 Questions To Help Avoid “Ask Fever”

Within the U.S. space industry, the term “go fever,” refers to the general idea that engineering teams sometimes rush to get a project completed or a program implemented without taking the appropriate time to assess problems or concerns.  “Go fever,” was identified as a contributing factor in both the Space Shuttle Challenger (1986) and Space […]

0 Comments

Inputs and Outcomes

In the April 1, 2017 edition of The NonProfit Times, Mark Hrywna writes about the challenges and opportunities large nonprofit organizations face in keeping employees engaged and feeling valued.  In the article, Hrywna quotes Harry Johns, the President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association as follows: “The thing that’s most critical is engaging people in […]

0 Comments

Who Are You Making Comfortable?

We’ve all been in a social setting – perhaps a theatre prior to a performance – when a voice comes over the public address system and calmly states, “In the unlikely event of an emergency. . .”  Or, if you board a airplane, you will certainly hear the phrase, “In the unlikely event of a […]

0 Comments

Hiring the 25%

One of the least-discussed, but germane mysteries of our advancement profession is the fact that too many gift officers shy away from asking prospective donors for specific gifts.  I’m not suggesting that gift officers are not receiving gifts.  But just about every institution I’ve worked with has someone (or more than 1) on the team […]

0 Comments

“Whatever Makes You Feel Good”

In all the years I’ve flown through Denver airport, I can’t recall ever having my shoes shined there. Earlier this week, though, I had a long layover and realized that my scruffy dress shoes were in desperate need of help.    As I waited my turn at one of the chairs, I looked around but […]

2 Comments

Why You Are Here Matters Most

Over the past year, I’ve read two thought-provoking articles – “Donation Inflation,” by Toni Coleman in CASE Currents and “Unplanned Obsolescence,” by Paul Clolery in the NonProfit Times – which focus on different topics but speak to a similar root concern for the future of philanthropy in the U.S. In “Donation Inflation,” Coleman highlights the […]

0 Comments