About Jason McNeal

Welcome and thanks for reading!

As a partner with Gonser Gerber, I work daily with Presidents, CEOs, Board members, Heads, and other non-profit leaders formulating strategy to achieve institutional goals.  While helping each of these leaders chart a path for the future of their organizations, I have come to hold a fundamental belief:  There are time-tested approaches to leadership, institutional development, and fundraising, which, when applied with consistency, cause institutions to thrive.

Jason’s Blog was created to communicate these approaches in ways that are memorable and easily implemented.  My hope is that the blog encourages, inspires, and enhances your capacity to better lead your institution and more effectively engage your donors.

I’m excited about writing to you and hope you find great value here.  If there is a topic you’d like to see discussed or if I can assist you and your institution in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me at jmcneal@gonsergerber.com.

I look forward to our discussion!



  1. Jason, hello from Heidi (fr: Countryside School) First, I love your blog, and I hope you and your family are well 🙂 Second, I would love to know what your opinion is on matching gifts for leveraging gifts. Two examples I am hoping to get your feedback on . Questions at the end.
    1) I work now at a nonprofit that has a yearly gala. A new auctioneer suggested we ask donors who already gave if we could also repurpose their gifts to use for a matching gift in our paddle raise. He says that this is very common in the auction/gala business. (Which turns out to be true) After some research, this seems to be called an illusory match (where we are honest with the giver giving the matching gift, but not 100% honest with the donor. Here’s an article I found about this.

    2) My charity received a capital bequest. Would there be a way to create a completely honest matching challenge if we already knew we were going to use a certain amount in the capital campaign anyway? Or, in your opinion, would it be most honest to use the funds for a lead gift?

    Questions for you : are either of these matching practices unethical?

    • Hi Heidi:

      Good evening. My apologies for my slow response. My blogging software had a glitch and I didn’t see your comment/questions until this evening.

      Yes, you are correct, matching and challenging giving can be confusing. Here is how I would describe each. In pure form, matching gifts are gifts that are received after an agreed upon goal or total has been achieved. Matching gifts most typically are tied to dollars (i.e., for every dollar you give, we have a donor who will match it, up to $5,000), or tied to donors (i.e., if we have 250 donors during our 24-hour giving event, we have a donor who will give an additional $10,000).

      Challenge gifts, on the other hand, are slightly different. Again, in pure form, they represent gifts that, typically, have already been received or committed and the donor agrees to let you use the amount to encourage more generous gifts from other donors. For example, “We have a donor who has given $25,000 who is challenging 3 others to do the same to reach $100,000.”

      At Gonser Gerber, we would say that you should never implement a fundraising practice that begins by misleading the prospect. Do other organizations do these things? Yes, unfortunately. But, with a little planning and work, you can announce matches and challenges that are legitimate and ethical. For instance, instead of using old gifts and “re-purposing” them for matches, why not go out and get new commitments for the purpose of the matches? In this way, you still have the old gifts and you now have new match money to encourage other gifts.

      Good luck in your role! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

      With all good wishes,


  2. My apologies for leaving this reply here, I can’t find another way to do it. I am trying to update my email address, and it says it can’t find the subscription for the email address that I’m currently using, but when I put in my new email address, it says I’m already subscribed. But I did not get the latest post emailed to me at my new address. Could someone email me to clear up the confusion? Thank you! (Sorry to post this here!)

  3. Jason, this is great! You have a wonderful knack for writing, not to mention framing issues. My preferred frequency is in-person, followed by phone and e-mail. But, I’m trying to learn new things. Look for me in your old-fashioned inbox, MJB

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