Philanthropy Blog

Let’s Get Engaged! Why alumni relations deserves our attention

In a robust alumni relations environment, students and graduates alike view the college as an ongoing resource – a continuum of positive influence intellectually, professionally and socially. In turn, students and alumni have an enduring effect on the college. Not just in their growing capacity for philanthropic support but in the manner in which they represent the college’s brand to the world.

The bottom line is that alumni relations matters – a lot.

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Five-Why Stewardship

In stewardship and donor relations we sometimes work against our own best interests. We are talented communicators, information managers, project overseers, events planners and implementers and just plain experts at getting things done. Our enthusiasm and dexterity are a source of pride…and often exploitation.

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Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report 2014 UK: Findings and reasons to be optimistic

There is much good and encouraging news in the latest Coutts report. Whilst the headline growth in £1m+ donations, from £1.35bn in 2012 to £1.36bn in 2013, is far from exceptional, it perhaps masks what may prove to be long-term positive trends and messages.

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Online Giving Done Right

There is a website that is totally dedicated to the visual depiction of just flat out getting it wrong. It’s called You Had One Job ( On it you’ll find images of everything from tomatoes for sale in a container clearly labeled carrots, to signs that would even cause my 6-year-old to scratch her head.

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A Gift Officer Walks into the Development Office…

Who thinks about stewardship and donor relations at the height of summer when the living should be easy? Even though I am preoccupied with thoughts of a few days on the water or a picnic in the back yard, and distracted by flowers in the garden and warm breezes, my mind has wandered back to work (kind of) and I’m thinking about stewardship and donor relations in a paraphrase of an old joke.

On the first day of work, the new gift officer asks the administrative assistant where to find stewardship. What’s the answer?

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Does data have to be BIG to be powerful?

Spend a few minutes with Virginia Gray, the Director of Annual Giving at Golden Gate University (GGU), and you’ll have the answer: No. In fact, data of all varieties and magnitudes can be used to make strategic decisions that dramatically improve performance.

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A Shout-Out for Conservation

You could hear conservationists everywhere let out a collective cheer when news outlets announced Howard G. Buffett’s gift of nearly $24 million to South Africa National Parks for a 30-month initiative to deter rhino poaching in Kruger National Park.

Constituent Research: Understanding what makes your donors happy

This is the second in a series of blog posts answering questions from Marts & Lundy’s January 23, 2014 webinar Annual Giving in 2014: Trends on the Horizon. You can view the entire webinar here.

Do you know your constituents as well as you should?

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Creating a culture that nurtures the shared interests of patient and clinician

All healthcare organizations have an affinity group as central to their fundraising potential as alumni are to universities: their patients. However, the complexity of patient relationships — and the regulations that govern them — make designing programs that build a culture of patient giving much less straightforward in healthcare than in any other nonprofit sector. And, all too often, healthcare organizations are far too timid in moving forward with strategic patient philanthropy.

Silos Clutter the Landscape of Cultural Institutions

A response in support of Avoiding Silos  (HuffPost Arts & Culture, February 10, 2014)

Michael Kaiser hit the nail on the head in a recent posting about silos within arts organizations.  Silos exact a terrible, sometimes hidden, price at every level of operation. 

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