Listen Carefully

You will hear a gift. You perhaps know the definition of an anagram. It means two words that have different meaning but contain precisely the same letters. A good example of an anagram are the words listen and silent. Is it not entirely proper that these two would be an important anagram? All of the

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Testing Strategy Strength

McKinsey is considered one of the premiere firm in management consulting. They have developed a set of “tests” aimed at helping executives assess the strength of their strategies. I have done a good bit of editing and translated these into evaluations for development people. Test 1: Will your development strategy and service be able to

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Keep Pushing the Rock

To an over-flowing crowd in the University’s dining room, the President had just finished commemorating a huge victory. He was celebrating a highly successful capital campaign— 80% over goal. He spoke in glowing terms about the Vice President for Advancement. He gave tribute to the entire Advancement team, but praised the Vice President profusely. After the meeting, the

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You Are a Communicator

Before his passing, Peter F. Drucker was quoted in The Wall Street Journal. What he said about success is immediately transferable to our profession of fundraising. Drucker says that the responsibility of an effective fundraiser is thinking through your organization’s mission, defining and establishing it, clearly and visibly. And then, being able communicate the vision

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Hopeful Giving

The Star of Hope (Houston, Texas) is the second largest center for the homeless in the country. For years, Kathy Tabor headed the successful development program. I urged her to start calling her donors to thank them for their gifts. Kathy started calling. She tells me: “The giving went up 40 percent. It was amazing.”

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Four Steps to Success

I was with my colleague, Bill Sturtevant, the other day. He told me about James Benson— who was CEO of Equitable Life and MetLife. Benson was one of the most successful life insurance salesmen in the country. His formula for success would be just as appropriate for the fundraiser. Identify. Cultivate. Illuminate. Close. IDENTIFY It

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Expect No

Paul Edwards is perhaps the most outstanding trainer in the country in coaching our profession in the fine art of asking for a gift. Yale, Stanford, Oxford, The University of Pennsylvania— and add another several hundred institutions that have benefitted. He says, expect No for an answer. You won’t always get a yes. Your job

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Display Your Mission

You’ve heard me before on the subject. Your mission isn’t important. It’s everything. I very much like what I see at more and more Board meetings. (May I take a slight bow! I’ve been preaching this for years.) The organization has a tent card they use for Trustee seating at the Board meeting. The piece

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Building Trust

It occurs to me that in a major way, we’re in the business of building relationships. This was brought home to me the other day. I was asked to give a speech on relationships and building trust in fundraising. As I worked on the speech, I kept coming up with the fact that relationships are

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Attrition is Your Enemy

If you don’t monitor carefully your attrition of donors or members— you neglect, at your own peril, the single most important element in your fundraising office. At one of my Seminars, I asked how many knew what their attrition was. No one raised a hand. Then I said, “Okay, someone give me a guesstimate.” One

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