Author Posts

Larry Raff
The Power of a Lead Gift
The ingredients of campaign success are like real estate…leadership, leadership, leadership.  It comes in many forms, the most tangible of which is the stretch gift by your most prominent volunteers.  It is not hyperbole to say that the commitments made by your most loyal supporters, who are known to be wealthy, will “set the pace” […]
The Power of Levity
By Larry Raff In Insights Posted November 24, 2013 0 Comments
Have you noticed that many successful and memorable speakers begin their presentation with a joke or a funny story?   There is nothing that can substitute for a good laugh, a quiet chuckle or a warm smile when it comes to building rapport with someone or with a crowd.  I have to admit that my primary […]
By Larry Raff In Insights, Major Gifts, Training Posted November 10, 2013 0 Comments
After (many) years on this planet I have come to believe people are inherently generous.  People want to help, and today’s society presents thousands of ways to step up.  That’s the good news and the bad news. This human trait is put on display most elegantly when disaster strikes.  The Japan tsunami, hurricanes Katrina and […]
Is “Planning” a Cop Out?
By Larry Raff In Planning & Strategy Posted October 27, 2013 0 Comments
  Words are powerful and have influence on our behavior, whether we know it or not.  I’ve been reflecting on the notion of “planning” and the “plan” and what they tell us subconsciously. While “planning” is an active process that results in a “plan”, inherent in this is the general understanding that “things may change” […]
Managing the Messiah Moment
The new chief advancement officer or CEO or consultant is not the “savior”, and managing this expectation must be done boldly and early.  How many times have you heard it from volunteers or the organization CEO… “Once so and so starts we’ll start raising the money we need.” It is often said in development committee […]
Counting Cash Has Its Virtues
By Larry Raff In Insights, Major Gifts, Training Posted September 29, 2013 0 Comments
  My August 4th GivingTake post addressed “The Little Engine That Could” highlighting a recent $250 million gift received by Centre College in Danville KY from the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, representing the largest outright gift ever to a liberal arts college. As you likely have heard, the pledge fell through because a financial […]
The Myth of Advancement Benchmarks
By Larry Raff In Emerging Ideas, Major Gifts, Training Posted September 2, 2013 0 Comments
There seems to be this belief that by “benchmarking” an organization to other “peer” organizations that something useful can be learned.  Or that insights will emerge that will help your organization…or make it feel bolstered or diminished in some way. Consultants are often asked to do benchmarking as part of an assessment engagement, but unfortunately, […]
Effective Altruism – A Critique
By Larry Raff In Insights, Major Gifts, Training Posted August 18, 2013 0 Comments
    Beware of academic modeling…unless you keep it simple it falls apart.  The August 11, 2013 NY Times business section had an article by Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University entitled “Good Charity, Bad Charity” that address the complex behavior of philanthropic giving and tried to fit it into an academic model. […]
The Little Engine That Could
Centre College in Danville KY is indeed a little engine but with a lot of horsepower.  With total enrollment of 1325 students, this small and highly regarded liberal arts college uses what it has to gain standing among the giants in higher education. My June 23rd and July 7th  GivingTake posts, 7 & 8 Figure […]
Taking It to the Next Level
By Larry Raff In Planning & Strategy Posted July 8, 2013 0 Comments
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 […]
7 & 8 Figure Gifts – Why Some Get Them and Other’s Don’t
By Larry Raff In Insights, Major Gifts, Training Posted June 23, 2013 0 Comments
It takes more than wishful thinking to get a share of the big gifts. I just read about Harvard receiving another eight-figure gift, substantially adding to its huge endowment coffers. And here you are, an advancement officer for a venerable institution, wondering what it is about Harvard that enables it to habitually attract such large […]
“Mapping” Fundraising Strategies
By Larry Raff In Planning & Strategy Posted June 10, 2013 0 Comments
Supermarkets do it.  Telecommunications companies do it. Public health departments do it. Police departments do it. They use geographic information systems (GIS) mapping to improve the way they do business.  It is about time the advancement profession uses it.  We at Copley Raff are finding many applications for this technology to help elevate programs to […]

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