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Taking It to the Next Level

next level goldfish bowl jump
How do you know when it is the right time to plan for taking your advancement operation to the next level? And, how do you know that it is reasonable to expect you can? These are big questions that can be career making or career ending if not addressed or answered correctly.

Many organizations are content with the status quo and planning for similar results next year as this year. They don’t see how they can elevate their game and they “know” they don’t have the budget for investing in the planning and staff typically needed to elevate.

The typical trigger for next level thinking is the appointment of a new CEO who has big plans for the future (She wouldn’t have gotten the job if she were thinking status quo.) or a board member who wants to see aspirational thinking by “her” organization. As consulting engagements go, these “next level” situations are some of the most fun and fulfilling.

There are some key questions you need to ask about your organization to help you guide your decision:

A. Are there peer organizations doing a much better job raising money than yours?

B. Do you have strong and visionary executive and volunteer leaders who can drive change?

C. Is there a vision for how philanthropy can transform the organization to greater mission accomplishment and can the vision be translated into philanthropic targets and strong cases for support?

D. Are there opportunities for aspirational gifts (7,8 & 9 figures) to be transformative to the organization?

E. Does the organization and the advancement operation have the financial stability and the stomach for change?

There are, of course, many more variables that could be at play here, but these have to be satisfied before you can even begin to think about moving to the next level.

Your takes:

A. Always be thinking about how you can improve your advancement operation, and document your ideas in one place.

B. Don’t be content with the status quo because unless you are nimble and thinking a mover or two ahead you will be left behind.

C. If you think you are ready to take your advancement program to the next step…be bold, find allies and make it happen!

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