Browsing the blog archives for January, 2013

Encouraging Others to Look Beyond The Blot

Take a normal sized, white-paged flip chart and, with a black magic marker, draw a round, big dot – about the size of your fist.  Color it in fully.  Now, ask people what they see. Most everyone will say they see a big, black dot. Almost no one will say anything about the large white […]


Are you “of” or “for”?

What is your title? Assistant Director of Annual Giving? or Assistant Director for Annual Giving? Associate Vice President of Development? or Associate Vice President for Development? Vice President of Advancement? or Vice President for Advancement? You get the point. Little words – even those we regularly gloss over – can have a big impact on […]


5 Inexpensive (And Better) Ways to Thank Your Donors

Extending thoughtful gratitude to donors is one of the most fundamental and yet under-utilized aspects of the gift cycle. As development professionals we invest a lot of time and resources in the identification of prospects, their cultivation and their solicitation. However, I would argue that the final phase of the gift cycle – stewardship – […]


Why “You’re Doing It Wrong,” Is Wrong

Financial journalist Felix Salmon, recently wrote an opinion piece for Reuters entitled, “Philanthropy:  You’re Doing It Wrong.”  The blog is worth a read, if only because it clearly articulates wrong-headed concepts about how best to engage philanthropists. Allow me to highlight Salmon’s thesis as best I understand it.  He is criticizing the “mega-philanthropists:  the people who […]

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You Don’t Get Better By Telling Positive Stories

How should you go about becoming a more productive development professional?  How should your team go about becoming more productive?  How should your institution go about becoming better at fulfilling its mission? Fundamentally, there are two approaches we can take to get better: Focus on weaknesses.  We can home in on the weak links, the […]


The Charitable IRA Rollover Is Back: Act Quickly With Donors

The most recent tax law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, included the reinstatement of the charitable IRA rollover.   To recap the context of this rule, people who are 70.5 years old and have traditional IRAs must take required distributions and pay tax on the withdrawals.  This law reinstates the ability for […]