Browsing the archives for the Uncategorized category

The Value of Influence in a Post-Expertise World

One of the by-products of our digitally-connected age is the waning value of expertise.  The growing understanding today is that the everyone’s right to express an opinion is synonymous with the notion that everyone’s opinion is equally informed. Medical doctors and research scientists have been publicly second-guessed by celebrities with influence but no medical training […]


The 3 Most Damaging Fund Raising Myths – Part II

Note:  This post is part II of a series of III in which I will identify 3 separate fund raising myths that make us less productive. The first installment in this series focused on the myth of donors giving only (or substantially more) for restricted purposes.  This second post springboards off that myth and highlights the […]


From Conduit to Conductor

If you are a successful gift officer, you might view your role as a bit like a conduit – a connector that weds donor interests with the needs of your institution.  The best gift officers have carefully crafted questions and strategies designed to engage prospective donors so that deep understanding of values, beliefs, and interests […]


Making the Invitation

If there is one word in our work that captures people’s imagination and interest more than, “asking,” I don’t know what it is.  Gift officers are conditioned to talk unremittingly about “making the ask,” presidents and CEOs wonder if they are “asking” enough and for enough, Board members want the development team to “ask” more, […]


Do Not Solicit

Recently, I was with a client and we stumbled upon my donor record in their database.  “Do Not Solicit,” it read. “That’s interesting,” I observed.  “Why would you have me classified as a “do not solicit?” “Well,” came the response, “we didn’t want you to receive all our phonathon calls and direct mail solicitations. . […]


3 Differences Between Nonprofit and For-Profit Boards

Nonprofit organizations, including colleges, universities, and schools, seek financially-successful, influential, and generous individuals to serve as governing board members.  In seeking individuals who fit this profile, nonprofits will regularly pull from a pool of successful for-profit leaders.  Not only do many leaders in the for-profit world have access to significant financial resources, they also can […]


Getting Ready. . . To Ask – A Professional Development Opportunity

There are two questions consistently asked by serious advancement professionals: “How can our institution get better prepared for our next campaign?” and “How can I get better at asking for major gifts?” These questions, of course, are linked.  Consistently soliciting gifts effectively will help ensure that an institution is well-prepared for a campaign.  However, there […]


Seeking Strangers vs Delighting Friends

Strangers usually won’t invest significantly with you or your mission.  They don’t know you well enough to trust you. Friends, though, are much more apt to invest with you.  They know you well, are invested in their relationship with you, and they believe in you and your mission. When institutions plan for ambitious campaigns or […]


Board Members and Major Gifts

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that engaging people – wholly, gracefully, and artfully – is a primary theme.   Philanthropic investment is, most often, an action that succeeds (not precedes) other forms of engagement. Major gifts, then, begin with those who you know best, your institution’s closest friends and […]


.001 Seconds Do Matter. . .Sometimes

It seems that Bode Miller, one of the winningest downhill skiers of all-time, is focusing on becoming a thoroughbred race horse trainer.  In making the transition from ski slopes to horses, Bode made an interesting observation.   To his mind, the field of horse racing is not as technologically-advanced as skiing.  And Bode understands technology […]

1 Comment