Browsing the archives for the Leadership category

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 […]


The Most Useless Fundraising Metric. . .Usually

In any given year, most advancement shops that work smart and with effort will focus on increasing either gift income or donor numbers. Those two metrics – gift income and donor numbers – are, easily, the most important when assessing the success of any given fundraising year. Occasionally, though, I’ll hear an advancement leader proudly […]


The 3 Most Important Variables To Successfully Inviting Gifts – And How You May Be Thinking About Them Wrong

The Messenger The Message The Medium Those are the 3 most important variables when inviting a gift.  In that order. It doesn’t matter if it’s a modest annual gift, a major gift, or a planned gift.  That’s the order of importance. Who does the asking is, without fail, more important than the message.  And the […]


You Will Raise More Major Gifts If You Do This 1 Thing Consistently

If you want to raise more major gifts – especially during our disrupted world of 2020 – the path is simple: Invite more prospective donors to make them. That’s it. Sure, you can fret all you’d like over the impacts of the pandemic. You can spend your time commiserating with colleagues about the disruptions caused […]


Actually Doing The Work

A class I had in graduate school still resonates with me.  It was a research methodology class and we had just completed reading a series of research articles about educational leadership that, seemingly, didn’t provide many fresh or new insights on the topic. In class one evening, a classmate of mine spoke up to our […]


What Volunteers and Donors Don’t Always Know

Steve Jobs, the former CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc., is quoted to have said, “Get closer than ever to your customers.  So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” I’ve reflected on this counterbalance to “the customer is always right” perspective for years.  I can recall, for […]


Unstated Expectations

When each was recruited to serve, what percentage of the members of your institution’s governing or Foundation Board were invited into a conversation about the giving expectations associated with Board membership? How many of your institution’s major donors have affirmingly stated, “we will continue to be supportive,” after finishing their most recent major gift with […]


A Broker For Hope

The very best, most successful advancement folk never confuse what they do with how they do it. You aren’t a fundraiser.  You aren’t a gift officer.  You aren’t a relationship-builder.  You aren’t even a development professional (whatever that might mean!).  Those are all examples of how you do your work. When you work exceptionally well, […]


The Delusion of the In-Person Visit

If we’ve learned anything over the last 6 months its that development officers and performance metrics’ systems myopically focused on meeting in-person donor visit goals have struggled to adapt. That’s because the real work has never been about the in-person donor visit. The real work has always been about creating learning opportunities and experiences so […]


Out of Order

    The phrase, “out of order,” is used to describe when something is broken or not working or when someone is behaving in a way that is unacceptable or not customary. The reverse assumption, would be that “being in order,” is synonymous with being correct or acceptable, or working properly. Words matter, of course.  […]