Browsing the blog archives for October, 2011

The Rise of Fe-lanthropy

Recently, frogloop posted a story about the rise of the she-conomy.  A story that should remind us that donors are not a monolithic category of people.  Homogeneous groups, based on important variables, as well as all individuals, approach philanthropy differently.  Our role as advancement leaders is to build the knowledge and capacity of our institutions […]


How Generous Is Your Institution?

As development professionals, our work is focused on encouraging generosity in others.  We rarely pause to assess (at least publicly) our institution’s level of generosity.  I think we miss an important point when we go about our business in this way. Think about this:  We tell our faculty/staff/doctors/etc. that the “family campaign” is important because […]


What’s Really Important in Grant Writing?

One of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin, had a great riff recently about getting good at the important things in our work.  Seth suggests that sometimes we “quickly jump ahead to the new thing, failing to get good enough at the important thing.”  Good point – and I would add a bit to it.  In […]


The Problem with “Donors”

We use the terms “donors,” “funders,” and, in some instances, “giving units” (yuck!) to refer to those individuals, businesses, foundations, churches, and other organizations that provide our institutions with gift income.  Each of these terms is incomplete and, I believe, short-circuits our thinking about how we should relate to these important individuals and organizations. When […]


Solve Their Problems

What problems do your prospects and donors have?  What concerns do they carry?  What issues are they facing?  Do you know?  Do you seek out their problems so that you can help solve them? They might not want to tell you about their problems (or they may not even know they have a problem!).  So, […]


What If Time Was Booked As A Gift

More and more I run across thoughtful and sophisticated advancement leaders who question the value of volunteers.  I’m not talking about the volunteers who plan a charity auction or help out with a fun run.  I’m talking about volunteers who help with personal solicitations on major and planned gift prospects.  I’m talking about Campaign volunteer […]


Authentic Engagement

You can’t be in development today without at least saying that you aim to engage your donors.  It’s the language that all sophisticated development professionals use.  I sometimes wonder, though, how many who use the engagement language actually understand and practice it. If you look up the word “engage,” you come across the following synonyms: […]


Giving Through

My friend and consulting colleague, Jim Langley, likes to talk about the principle of “giving through.”  Here is a simple question for you to consider: Do you ask your donors to give to your institution? Or. . . Do you ask your donors to give through your institution to your students, patients, clients, etc? Simple, […]