Browsing the blog archives for August, 2011

Requesting A Song and Engaging Key Constituents

The Nashville, Tennessee, airport has a decidedly “country-music feel” to it (as one might expect!).   In fact, there are a few places throughout the airport that showcase country-music singers who are trying to make it.  One such place is the well-known restaurant/honky tonk “Tootsies.”  Whenever I walk by Tootsie’s in the Nashville airport some […]


We’d Raise More Money If. . .

“. . . if we had another major gifts officer. ” “. . . if we had more money in the budget for our direct response program.” “. . . if our board would provide more philanthropic leadership.” “. . . if our major donors responded more generously.” These are common misunderstandings about why institutions […]


3 Ways Development Pros Forget Human Nature

Despite how appealing a week marooned alone on a deserted island might sound in the fantasies of our hectic lives, the reality is that humans are intensely social creatures.  When given the choice of aloneness versus togetherness, we dependably choose the fellowship of others. Think of the choices we’ve made over the eons of time. […]


Food, Unavoidable Defects, and Getting Things Done

So, the Food and Drug Administration published their Defect Levels Handbook some time back.  The purpose of the handbook is to identify levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans.   In other words, if food manufacturers stay below these levels of  “unavoidable defects” in the products you […]

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The Problem With a Shift-Worker Mindset

Development work can become a 24/7 lifestyle.  There are always more events to attend.  More lunches to have with donors.   More trips to visit prospects.  It can seem never-ending.  And ultimately, if one is not careful, it can produce an unhealthy, out-of-balance lifestyle. In response to these very real pressures, some people apply a […]


When Others Are Fearful. . .

Fresh from a conference with other college presidents, a client once called me to express his concern about moving forward with campaign plans.  Like recent days, the markets had been up and down (mostly down) and the talk at the conference had apparently been about institutions pausing their campaign plans or stopping them altogether.  “Jason,” […]


On Becoming A Better Leader

Why do some leaders inspire action from those in their care and other leaders struggle to keep mutiny from occurring?  Why do some leaders engender positive feelings while others give rise to feelings of angst, fear, or worse?  Is it charisma?  Experience? The ability to make others feel at ease? Even if we can answer […]


Doing The Giving

The decision to make a “stretch gift” is driven, many times, more by the donor’s psyche and her beliefs about giving than by the value of the institution or the program.  I’ve listened to donors long enough to know this to be true – and I’ve seen it at work in my own life. Here […]