Browsing the archives for the Uncategorized category

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 […]

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The 3 Questions Major Gift Officers Confuse

“What amount could this donor give if she was enthusiastic about this request and our institution was her number 1 charitable giving priority?” “What amount am I going to invite her to give?” “What amount do I think she will give?” Far too often, major gift officers either do not know or are vague in […]

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“How Do You Know. . .?”

When it comes right down to it, you are, at heart and in practice, an educator. You educate donors regarding the needs of those you serve and how your institution can better fulfill those needs with the help of their support.  You educate new donors or “not yet” donor prospects on why their consistent, year-in-year-out […]

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A Brighter Light

  We often work in dim light.  There are questions to every problem we are working on for which we don’t yet have clarity.  Sometimes important questions.  And sometimes the problems themselves are important. You may be finalizing a direct mail piece.  How many segments of that solicitation should you employ to get the highest […]

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What Am I Doing?

The world is filled with leaders in every industry (including advancement/development) who rarely ask themselves this important question. Posers, caring more about the perception of leadership than the practice of it, almost never ask this question.  Even still, some are able to ascend to high-level, leadership posts (again, yes, even in advancement/development). It doesn’t matter […]

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The Nuanced (But Key) Lesson Behind Robert F. Smith’s Gift

Amid all of the publicity regarding Robert F. Smith’s announcement to repay the student loan balances for each of the Morehouse College graduates a Sunday ago, there is a key lesson to ferret out, if advancement and nonprofit leaders are willing to look (and listen) closely. Yes, the gift is wonderful and should be applauded.  […]

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Every Donor Is An Exception

Over the last few years, I’ve taken to explaining the purpose of donor and prospect management as the “management of exceptions.”  By that phrase, I simply mean that all major donors and major donor prospects are “exceptions” to any conceivable universal rule one might use to engage them as a group.  Each of these identified […]

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5 Researched Reasons To Be Grateful For Your Work In Advancement

In a world seemingly plagued by insecurity, brittleness, volatility, anger, negativity, and senselessness, being involved as a professional in the arena of gift-giving and philanthropy is something for which you should be grateful.  Each day you work in advancement, you are affirming the remarkable goodness of humanity through generosity.  Consider what we know from research: […]

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On Meaning in the New Year

  I invite you to begin your New Year by watching this short “ted talk,” which was actually a presentation by Viktor Frankl, the 20th Century Austrian psychologist and more importantly, Holocaust survivor.   He reminds us all that we have a responsibility to lift up, to inspire, and to encourage others. Regardless of your circumstances, […]

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A Perspective on Purpose

It is well known that, given the choice, younger people will opt to meet new people and participate in new experiences as opposed to spending time with a sibling or other family members.  Conversely, older folks tend to prefer spending time with those closest to them – family, long-held friends, etc. – as opposed to […]

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