Author Archives: Eddie Thompson

PERSUASION THEORY; Two Pathways to a Giving Decision

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Two donor appointments early on in my career showed me then (and remind me now) how donor relations is a never-ending learning experience. With both experiences, I made some very wrong assumptions about what they wanted and needed to hear. In retrospect, my heart was right, but what was I thinking?

I sat down with the attorney and launched into a passionate appeal for a major gift. I came to the meeting armed with blueprints, a budget, and a gift-hierarchy chart. The only thing missing was a big thermometer that wouldn’t fit into my car. Continue reading

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FIVE IMPORTANT LESSONS; From the Greatest Fundraiser I’ve Ever Known

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I have spent my whole career working as a fundraiser. I never really thought about doing anything else, and my dad is the one responsible for that. In fact, every lesson about giving that really matters, I learned from him. Some of my earliest memories were standing next to my dad on the front seat with my arm on his shoulder as we drove around the state raising money in our old 1952 Plymouth, paint rippling off the back fender from Dad’s do-it-yourself paint job. Continue reading

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AN ESTATE OF PHILANTHROPY: Creating a Multi-Generational Legacy of Giving

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Families that set up foundations to carry on their giving traditions are almost always disappointed — or would be if they lived to see the results. However, I have also been personally involved with a number of families over the years that represent the most extraordinary examples of multigenerational philanthropy one could imagine. Generally speaking, the difference between the successful and disappointing outcomes is in a particular type of asset transferred — specifically, a non-monetary legacy that has been systematically imprinted on succeeding generations. Continue reading

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INSTITUTIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: Transitioning from “Hunter Gatherer” to a Cultivation-Based Fund Development Strategy

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The following article appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Healthcare Philanthropy Journal, a publication of the Association of Healthcare Professional (AHP). It was based on a June 2011 article posted on this blog site. The full length article is expanded to include tips and action items for transitioning from a hunter-gatherer to a cultivation-based sustainability strategy of non-profit funding. Continue reading

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ESTATE PLANNING FOLLIES: Disappointing Results of Setting Up Family Foundations to Teach Children Philanthropy

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I talk with hundreds of families each year about generous giving and wise estate planning. I can’t tell you how many times affluent parents or grandparents have said to me, “We want to set up a family foundation.” Notwithstanding the worthy causes listed in the conversation that follows, the underlying donor intent often emerges with words something like this: “We just want to teach our children about generosity and provide a means for them to be involved in giving.” Unfortunately, it very rarely works out as parents or grandparents anticipate. Continue reading

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PHILANTHROPIC AWAKENINGS: Mentoring Donors in the Art of Philanthropy

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It thrills and amazes me to witness individuals go through transformations with regard to their giving. Those transformations don’t happen that often, or that easily. Some might say (paraphrasing the Gospel of Mark), “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a terminal materialist to become a generous giver.” But it does happen, and more often than you might think. Jesus’ commentary on the rich young ruler concluded with the words, “Yet, with God all things are possible.” Continue reading

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THE ART OF THE TELL; Identifying the Heroes in Your Organization’s Story

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No matter how masterful you are with facts and figures about your organization’s effectiveness, to move people to make institutional changing contributions you have to become a masterful storyteller. The right story to the right donor can make the difference between a multimillion-dollar gift, a token gift, or no gift at all. Scott Pelly of 60 Minutes provides a classic example of using key literary elements to tell a compelling healthcare story. Continue reading

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