Browsing the archives for the Leadership category

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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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“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 […]

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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 […]

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Happy Anniversary

You may complain regularly that your database is deficient, inaccurate, or misused (or all three!).  And because of your database shortcomings, you may get frustrated that you cannot consistently use it to improve and enhance your donor identification, solicitation, and stewardship. Here, though, is a database stewardship and solicitation strategy that all institutions can use […]

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Grow Up

If you’ve ever been admonished to “grow up,” you know the sting of those words can linger.  One of the reasons these words stick with us like they do is because they demand much more than a simple change in our behavior.  Rather, they are meant to communicate a much deeper transformation – a maturation […]

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3 Steps To Increasing “Donor Durability”

Some number of your major gift donors are what I would term “durable.”  They are the ones who continue to give (often generously) regardless of their own personal and financial circumstances;  they are the ones who are deeply committed to your mission;  they are the ones who show up when you need it most;  and […]

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