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. […]

Additional Tools for Building Effective Philanthropic Relationships with Institutional Partners

One of my favorite things to do as a fundraising consultant is to help those who are not comfortable with fundraising get comfortable, learn how to be conversational and, in some cases, find our work … enjoyable! The leaders, physicians, faculty members and others who are least likely to be seen as partners early on […]

Building a Bridge: How to Effectively Transition Prospects

Advancement officers are, typically, quite familiar with the idea of transferring a prospect from one portfolio to another. This is most easily done when transitioning a new prospect without an existing relationship. In those cases, it’s easy for a different colleague to reach out and introduce themselves. But what about when you do have a […]

Creating Your “Unhooking” Strategy

Work events: Whether it’s a gala, a homecoming event for university parents, a campaign launch or any other community-facing event, there’s a belief among folks who aren’t frontline fundraisers that we just love to attend these. That we’re naturals at introducing ourselves, making conversation, working the room, and using it to move strategies forward. What […]

Keeping it Simple

I was recently conducting an assessment that will lead to a strategic plan outline for a client. As a part of the process, I had the honor of speaking with a handful of passionate stakeholders: alumni, parents, trustees and donors. Each showed up with incredible passion for their institution, and a deep-rooted desire to support the […]

Measuring what Matters

The topic of metrics comes across my desk regularly. It may also be one of the more challenging topics in fundraising, as metrics is both an essential tool and one that is often misused, thus causing damage to morale. In a conversation I had last week, we discussed my approach to metrics: Advancement leaders should […]