ORGANIZATIONAL MOMENTUM: Why Fundraising Is Hard for Some and Easy for Others

This gallery contains 1 photo.

My ‘62 Chevy is a perfect example of why organizational endowments are so important. If you do the math, you’ll discover that propelling a 3,000-pound car down a quarter-mile track in five seconds from a dead stop requires quite a lot of energy (i.e. gasoline). You can also discover that the same car traveling the same distance in the same amount of time but with only a five mile per hour rolling start requires about one-third less energy. So, momentum at the starting line has a huge impact on both fuel and efficiency. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

PROCESS AND PROFILE: Success Essentials for Nonprofit-Sponsored Charitable Estate Planning

This gallery contains 2 photos.

When it comes to planned gifts and bequests to your organization, a standard consultant’s reply is that organizations “have not because they ask not.” However, it’s usually not quite that simple. If success were based simply on the number of asks, then success would be a lot more easily attained, and many more organizations would achieve it. Thompson &; Associates makes thousands of requests each year on behalf of client organizations. However, the number of asks is only the third-most important factor determining success. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CASE FOR ENDOWMENTS: The Long and Short of Fundraising

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Not many people spend the better part of a decade in college with the goal of becoming a fundraiser, and neither had I. However, I was intrigued and astounded at what I heard in a meeting of college presidents. As a result, my dissertation topic became an analysis of institutional outliers—university fund development programs that stood head and shoulder above the average. And my career launch eventually became Thompson & Associates, Inc. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

WHAT’S ON YOUR DASHBOARD? Identifying Your Key Performance Indicators

This gallery contains 3 photos.

DONOR PERFORMANCE is a gauge I recommend that you monitor only about once a year, simply because it’s a performance metric you can’t control. All you can control is your development staff performance. Consequently, gauges related to STAFF PERFORMANCE are the ones that should command your undivided attention. Increasingly, nonprofit executives have developed a habit of watching, even becoming fixated, on the wrong gauges. And some are in danger of flying their organizations right into the ground. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

STRATEGIC MOMENTUM: John Harvard and a Series of Unfortunate Events

This gallery contains 3 photos.

I wrote a paper in graduate school on the Harvard legacy and have been intrigued with the idea of it ever since. It’s a great example of several key elements of strategic giving—leverage, timing, and momentum. In other words, the greatest philanthropic impact is the result of leveraging your life situation with the right gift at the right time to the right organization, creating long-term sustainable momentum. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

CULTIVATION STRATEGY: Fundraising for Your First Quarter

This gallery contains 3 photos.

What you as a nonprofit executive do in December and January each year is a “tell”—that is, it reveals a lot about your (or your institution’s) fund-development mentality. Are you a year-end closer or a springtime cultivator? Appealing for year-end for giving resolutions that you have not yet planted or cultivated is a silly thing to do. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

SIX BLIND MEN & THE ORGANIZATIONAL ELEPHANT: Microscopic and Telescopic Versions of the Fundraising Narrative

This gallery contains 1 photo.

The story of the elephant and the six blind men has been told in one form or another since the early fifth century B.C., and has been used to illustrate everything from religious toleration to team synergy. Here’s my application to donor relations and organizational communications. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments