Browsing the blog archives for December, 2009

It’s Not Too Late!

It’s December 30, do you know how your end-of-the-year fundraising will fair?  With just over 5% of all giving being done now via the internet (and this number is growing dramatically), it is becoming more important to gauge the effectiveness of your online end-of-year strategies. Especially today. According to Convio and the Chronicle of Philanthropy, […]

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The Critical Question for 2010: Will You Be An Investor or Spender?

Two thousand and nine is almost behind us and no one seems to mind.  Most of the news was financial and it wasn’t good.  We all know the headlines and our retirement accounts continue to feel the pain. So, at the dawn of 2010, I’m asking a question that, on its face, appears to be […]


The Real Gift of Philanthropy

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams Most folk who work with donors think of themselves as “development officers” first and “philanthropic leaders” almost never.  I have become convinced, though, that capably serving in the field of development and […]


Going Quant While Staying Quaint

I have written and presented on the use of quantifiable performance measurements in the development profession for a number of years.   Having a thoughtfully-crafted set of quantifiable performance measurements is a simple, straightforward, and powerful way to encourage, assess, and reward effectiveness.  In general, most development professionals who care about their craft want to […]


Don’t Get Things Done in 2010

Marketing guru Seth Godin’s new free e-book, “What Matters Now” includes 70 different authors’ ideas on what we should be thinking about in 2010.  In the book Gina Trapani suggests that “getting things done isn’t the same as making things happen.”  I read this and thought of our work as development professionals and leaders. Too often […]


Tiger Should Remind Us

Tiger Woods has had rough few weeks.  His situation should remind all leaders of a few principles.  These are: Your “work” can not be separated from your “personal life” – No matter how good you are in your professional life, your private conduct will impact your success. By definition, being a leader means that others […]


The Problem with “Sacrificial Giving”

“We need more donors who are willing to give sacrificially!”  This was a statement recently made to me by the CEO of a national non-profit.  I paused for a moment to think about how I might best respond.  “What would more sacrificial gifts do for your organization?” I asked. He couldn’t provide a good answer. […]


The Effective Leader Next Door

In their insightful book, The Millionaire Next Door, authors Stanley and Danko paint a picture of the “typical” millionaire – they live in older middle-class neighborhoods, drive late model vehicles, dress nicely but don’t follow trends, and embrace lifestyle frugality at every turn.  In other words, these folks don’t necessarily stand out from the crowd […]


The Gift Isosceles Trapezoid

The standard gift pyramid looks something like this: However, when development leaders sort through their database they often find their gift “pyramid” looking more like an “hourglass”: As this graphic suggests, many major gift pipelines are not as robust at the middle gift levels. Why is this the case? Two reasons: First, the annual fund […]


The Sample of 1

Making development strategy decisions based on a sample of 1 is not always a bad idea.  For instance, if you are developing strategies for  major gift prospects and you have a good sense based on past interactions that a local bank executive will respond favorably to an ask for both scholarships and capital dollars, then […]