Browsing the archives for the Fundraising category

On Curiosity

In general, folks can be curious in 3 ways: Curious about things; Curious about ideas; Curious about people. Typically, we all fall somewhere on the spectrum for each of these classifications. But, the most effective advancement pros lean heavily into the 3rd. (As an aside, some people are not curious about any of the 3 […]


What’s Their Story?

Too often gift officers focus on the donor and miss the human being. Donors are conduits for gifts.  Donors are assets to be managed.  Donors are, God-forbid, “giving units.” Human beings, on the other hand, are holistic.  They are complex and nuanced.  They are souls with lived experiences and stories. When a gift officer shares […]


2 Ways To Know

Dollywood’s Wild Eagle is one of my all-time favorite roller coasters. The initial drop is a smallish 135 feet and, while the ride lasts only 2 minutes and 22 seconds and hits a modest speed of 61 mph, it does have 4 inversions. It’s the smoothness of the ride, though, that makes it so enjoyable […]


Acquire vs. Inquire

How do you prepare for donor visits – either virtual or in-person? What steps do you take to identify the purpose of the visit?  How do you go about establishing specific goals for the visit?  What overall mindset are you bringing to the visit planning process? The most effective gift officers plan for donor visits […]


The Harmful Allure of Point-Making

Influence matters a great deal in the achievement of fundraising goals. The more influence an institutional leader, a gift officer, or a volunteer has with a donor or prospect, the greater the opportunity to encourage generous responses from that donor or prospect. People give to people. But the process of enhancing one’s interpersonal influence is […]


Committing To Quiet

Last night – Christmas Eve – we had snow in East Tennessee.  This is a uncommon occurrence for us but a welcome one, especially given the holiday. Falling snow is mesmerizing to watch as it dances toward the ground under the watchful eyes of street lamps.  And I spent some time bundled up on our […]


7 Words That Hinder Your Advancement Success

Donate – inviting people to “donate” is akin to asking for hand-me-downs.  People donate used items.  They donate old clothes, or used cars.  Generally speaking, donations are second-thought give-aways, not charitable investments in your mission. Use give, giving, and gift, instead. Appointment – advancement professionals don’t have appointments with donors.  We have visits or meetings.  […]


Strategy vs. Enthusiasm

How should we go about inviting Mrs. Howard to make the lead gift? You might be inclined to respond to this strategy question by seeking to know more about Mrs. Howard as a person and as a donor.  You would probably want to know more about her history with your institution, her financial capacity, the […]


The 7 Most Important Reminders For Advancement Leaders

Your donor database will always have more inaccurate or missing data than you think is acceptable.  You can still raise more money. Your institution’s brand and messaging could always be more concise, clear, and compelling.  You can still raise more money. Your case for support does not need to be completed for you to contact […]


Today’s Legacy

We talk often about “leaving legacies,” in development work.  Mainly, of course, we talk about this concept with donors who might have an interest in making a planned gift of some sort. Another way to think of “leaving legacies,” though, is not nearly as future-casted and is focused on your choices as opposed to the […]