GivingTake Blog Posts

Getting Aligned with the Missionary Position
Are you a fundraising Mercenary or Missionary? These two fundamental leadership styles have direct application to the advancement work you do.  They are both effective and valuable, but it is important to know which you are, and how it aligns with the responsibilities of your position. Thanks to Fast Company co-founder Bill Taylor’s latest book […]
Time to Play Your Federal Budget Trump Card
It’s time for the nonprofit sector’s stakeholders to exert our considerable influence on the national debate in response to the Trump administration’s chilling budget blueprint.  Nonprofit organizations account for 11.4 million jobs, 10.3 percent of all private sector employment, $370 billion in charitable giving and touch the lives of every American.  Collectively and individually, stakeholders […]
Fundraising Beyond Rock-Paper-Scissors
You may recall how disputes were resolved when we were kids using Rock-Paper-Scissors.  This is a zero-sum game to peacefully determine who will prevail when there is conflict and competition. What is great about this method is that each has its power over ONE of the others. Rock prevails over scissors. Scissors prevail over paper. […]
Raising the Barr
I had the good fortune to attend a luncheon presentation at The Friday Forum* in Boston, by Jim Canales on September 23, 2016. Jim was appointed as president and trustee of the Barr Foundation in Boston in 2014 after spending two decades in a variety of roles at The James Irvine Foundation in California. The […]
Sound Management Trumps Organizational Design
This is not a sexy topic, but it addresses a central and often minimized issue facing many advancement operations and nonprofit organizations. After many years of working with an array of organizations it is clear to me that, all things being equal, you can have the most rational and defendable organization design and yet not […]
Be Smart About Capital Expansion
The recent article in The New York Times, “How the Rich Are Hurting the Museums They Fund” by Ben Davis on July 22, 2016 struck a chord with me because it addresses a common question I ask potential clients about their plans for capital expansion. The question is, once you build it, will you be […]
It is Time for Large Funders to be Leaders
A recent article in the Boston Globe “Does Boston have too many nonprofits?” by Sacha Pfeiffer, addresses an often heard lament that there are too many nonprofits (stakeholder corporations) doing overlapping work. As the article points out, there are 40+ organizations dedicated to help disadvantaged students in the Boston Public School get into and graduate […]
Board Overreach
Who is in charge? A recent dust up at Suffolk University in Boston over a conflict between the board and its new President of seven months, shined a bright light on what happens when boards are too controlling. After the departure of its president of more than 20 years, Suffolk has had five presidents in […]
Doing the Right Thing…Even if It is Hard
  Every now and then I construct a case study about a situation that applies more broadly to our work in the non-profit sector and has many potential paths to the outcome.  While this particular case is personal, it has application to the advancement field; for example, the dilemma of legacy naming opportunities that may […]
Designer Performance Metrics
You are the leader of an advancement operation. 1.      Would you rather your most productive gift officer raise $3 million annually from 8 donors or from 28 donors?  2.      Are you choosing performance numbers or are they generated by the gift officer in consultation with you?  3.      Do you value team work that encourages relationship […]
Fundraising Training that Works
After six years, the planMGO 4-Day Master Gift Officer Immersion continues to improve and enable more and more advancement professional to achieve new levels of performance with ease and confidence.  The following comments from participants of this past (sold out) April session speak to the effectiveness of addressing the role of human behavior of both […]

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