PENT UP GENEROSITY: Enabling the Felt-need to Give

PENT UP GENEROSITY: Enabling the Felt-need to Give

I’ve met a lot of extraordinarily generous givers over the years. There was one couple, however, that I’ve never been able to forget—and, not because of the amount they gave. In terms of big-dollar philanthropy, this was not one of those seven- or eight-figure endowments.

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NEXT UP: A Rare Example of CEO Successions

NEXT UP: A Rare Example of CEO Successions

Last month I wrote about the cost of turnover in organizational leadership, particularly at the senior executive level. The stories of nonprofit boards making poor decisions in the choice of the next CEO can be quite discouraging. In such cases, organizations often...

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DONOR PINGING: Firing Bullets Before Cannon Balls

DONOR PINGING: Firing Bullets Before Cannon Balls

In their recent book, Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen published the results of a nine-year research project in which they identified three characteristics of what they called “10X leaders.” These were CEOs who led their companies to achieve ten times...

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OPTIMISM: Ben Franklin and the 200-Year Endowments

OPTIMISM: Ben Franklin and the 200-Year Endowments

In 1785 a French mathematician named Charles Joseph Mathon de la Cour wrote a parody of Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac in which he mocked the unbearable spirit of American optimism represented by Franklin. The Frenchman fictionalized about “Fortunate...

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VISIONARY LEADERSHIP: Asking the 100-Year Questions

VISIONARY LEADERSHIP: Asking the 100-Year Questions

Overused concepts lose their significance over time. The word “hero” is applied equally to extraordinary acts of courage as well as to casual attempts at civilized behavior. The same is true for words like service, sacrifice, and generosity. One particularly worn out...

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Understanding and Upgrading Habitual Donors

Understanding and Upgrading Habitual Donors

Three fourths of all donors give by habit, some with the rhythm and regularity of piano teacher’s metronome. Tick, tock, tick, tock — same time, same amount, same method, same organizations. Other equally habitual donors manage their giving with a systematic approach...

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Giving Donors a Genuine Sense of Partnership

Giving Donors a Genuine Sense of Partnership

Many non-profit organizations are very strict about their terminologies. Some of them never make reference to donors, contributors, or supporters. “Partners” is the only term allowed. It’s a good communications policy because it is the relationship concept they are...

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MANAGING DEVELOPMENT: Getting the System Right

MANAGING DEVELOPMENT: Getting the System Right

I started my career in non-profit development at the bottom, determined to do whatever it took to work my way up. The organization gracious enough to give me a shot located their development office in a large old house. And since I was the new guy, my workspace was in...

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The Greatest Fundraiser of All

The Greatest Fundraiser of All

Lucky for me, the most important lesson I’ve learned in my thirty years of fundraising and charitable estate planning came near the very beginning. And through all these years, that lesson has never left me. I have come to believe no other concept has a greater impact...

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