The Chutes and Ladders of Qualification

When we think about a successful gift officer, many of us think of someone who puts together strong donor strategies or compelling solicitations. We commonly overlook the most foundational, ongoing work of productive gift officers everywhere: prospect qualification. In a recent training, I shared the idea that qualification work has a lot in common with […]

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Jim Ryun said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Given that Jim is a former Olympian, he is likely less vulnerable than the rest of us to starting a resolution with intention and motivation … and losing steam and focus. This happens to all of us, doesn’t it? We […]

Reconnect in the New Year

As we come to the end of 2023, we begin thinking about the new year and new goals. January is the season of resolutions—resolutions to spend more time reading, budget better, exercise more … the list goes on and on. Odds are, some of us in fundraising are making resolutions around more qualification, stronger donor […]

Two Touches

Advancement professionals think about our donors and prospects regularly – whether we’re wondering if a prospect will fund a gift proposal, a donor will take our meeting request or a faculty partner will tell us if she identifies a new potential prospect. But as much as these prospects and partners may be top of mind, […]

Approaching Professional Development More Organically

I was talking with a manager a few weeks ago about their team and the need to invest in professional development. This person was doing so many of the right things by sending their team members to conferences, webinars, and more. And that’s good news! Many of us recognize that professional development builds skills, confidence, […]

Kick off Event Season with Purpose

As we start this event season, let’s make the events impactful, relationship-moving opportunities we can leverage all year. Here’s a checklist you can use to get started.

Build Recruitment into Every Day

Hiring continues to be top of mind for leaders across advancement shops, as there has been no decrease in folks leaving our industry, moving to a new opportunity, or retiring altogether. This is nothing new: Recruitment and retention have been buzzwords for years now. And yet, too many shops aren’t taking action to build a […]

Handoff Versus Transition

“Handoff” is transactional — It indicates a lack of collaboration, and rarely reflects a thoughtful pathway for someone who is supporting our institutions. So how do we move away from this transactional reference, and embrace our very best work?

How to Become a Fundraising Favorite

If you’ve been a fundraiser for long — whether in higher education, healthcare systems or large nonprofits — you’ve probably heard these phrases: The fundraising team loves that program. That program gets all the funding. That faculty member is advancement’s favorite. And the reality is, it’s likely true! We know that not all initiatives are […]

Parent Season is Here! Are You Here for It?

My passion for parent engagement started long before I became one – it was built when I served as a summer orientation leader while I was a student at San Diego State University. I loved meeting parents, sharing about the student experience and providing resource suggestions as a member of the student panel geared for […]

Rejection? Try Redirection!

This past weekend was full of emotions as our youngest son graduated from the University of Arizona. One of my favorite things about higher education is the tradition and pageantry of commencement, and the weekend was even more special as our family came together to celebrate and connect. The all-university ceremony featured Wildcat alum Michael […]

Making Magic Happen

San Diego State University’s incredible run in the NCAA tournament this year had many people cheering on the Aztecs. However, “Aztec for life” has resonated for me since I began my time at SDSU as a student. From my early days as an undergraduate and student leader, to my times teaching and volunteering, to my […]

Tackling Your Top Fear: Conflict

At the recent CASE Strategic Talent Management Conference I attended, a fascinating report* was presented that outlined factors that make major gift officers successful, and surveyed fundraisers on how confident they felt in their ability to display those factors. At the very top of the list — tied with using the phone to secure donor […]

How to Engage Your Front Door Partners

How many blogs have you read, or conversations have you had, about engaging executive leaders in your work? Deans, star physicians, executives, program leaders … these are the first roles we think of when it comes to collaborating with partners in advancement. But there’s another group of natural partners about whom we should be thinking. […]