Over 83 weeks (yes, eighty-three!), you will read some lessons I’ve learned in my richly rewarding 40-year journey in fundraising. There are bits and pieces about our profession and what skills and attributes make a great fundraiser. I also write about what motivates a person to make a gift to your organization.

There is some wisdom, perhaps.  Years of experience, for certain. A great deal for you to think about.  And suggestions for you to put into practice.

Forty years! You may well ask whether what I write about is relevant for the mind, heart, and spirit of today’s men and women. You bet it is!

What follows are some thoughts I have about fundraising and philanthropy for today’s organizations. The material is relevant. Certainly thought-provoking.  And, I hope, a bit helpful.

blue rule

Thought #28 - Why Should Board Members Give

Board members must be roaring advocates for the college and university. They must be willing to call on others for gifts. And finally, they must be willing to give themselves. If they are not willing to give, as board members— why should anybody else?

Thought #27 -The Importance of the Nominating Committee

Because having the right men and women on your Board determines your success, the Nominating Committee is the most important committee of the board. You don’t elect board members. You select them. Carefully.

The problem is that the Nominating Committee seldom selects candidates beyond their own level of status, resources, and influence.

Thought #26 -The Board is the Organization’s Destiny

In the end, no organization will rise above the strength and commitment of the board.

Thought #25 - Help People Get What They Want

You don’t have to sell the program. Your job is to help people get what they want. If you first help people get what they want— you will get more and more of what you want.

Thought #24 - Don’t Say NO


Don’t say no for anyone. A rule I have followed with great success my entire life is: “You will be hurt more by those who would have said yes who were not asked, than by those who say, no.”

Thought #23 - Challenge Gifts


Think about how you might use a Challenge Gift. Without question, they stimulate other giving.

Thought #22 - No, Not Just Yet


No doesn’t always mean no. Sometimes it means, “Not just yet.” Or, “Not for that specific project.” Or, “Not for the amount that you asked for.”

Thought #21 - Convey a Sense of Thriftiness


Donors want to make certain your college or university is very careful about its funds and that it operates efficiently. Talk about how scrupulous you are in squeezing the dollar.

Be aware of any excessive fundraising expenses. Cut back on anything and everything that doesn’t generate funds. Cut out the extras.