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Relationship Cultivation

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Talking Shop: In with the Fund Crowd
CURRENTS Article Jonathan May launched the U.K. digital fundraising technology startup Hubbub, which serves the education and nonprofit sectors, with Duncan Knox in 2011. The company is expanding its U.S. operations after winning $1 million in venture capital funding in 2016 through the VentureClash investment challenge. Currents spoke with May while he was in the U.S. studying digital fundraising and alumni relations practices at more than 40 colleges and universities. His travels confirmed the importance of relationships in fundraising—even online. “I think there’s a lot more than technology behind the success of different programs,” he says.

Voices:
CURRENTS Article Advice on handling an advancement colleague's inappropriate relationship with a donor; Colorado State's lessons on making a recipe video; and how to avoid errors in your database's list of deceased alumni.

5 Ways Board Members Can Support Fundraising
CURRENTS Article "I'm happy to do anything, except ask for money." Work in educational advancement long enough, and you'll probably hear those words from a foundation or governing board member. For some volunteers, asking for financial gifts produces anxiety—and most people are already dealing with pressure in their life. The last thing they need is more stress from a volunteer job. Discomfort with asking can be a major stumbling block for fundraising success. But the ask is only one step in a larger creative process that's intentionally managed to attract donor investment. Reluctant board members can still help our cause, even if they're not making an ask. Here's how to play to their strengths.

Voices
CURRENTS Article Advice on how to respond to inappropriate comments from donors; and tricks to digitally unplug.

Relationship Status
CURRENTS Article Turnover can be costly. When a donor’s key contact leaves—whether it’s the president or development officer—the donor’s relationship with the institution is disrupted. The result? Delayed or decreased giving. So how can you reduce the negative impact of presidential and gift officer turnover? By expanding the number of indi-viduals involved in donor-institution relationships and including people with greater tenure in those relationships.

Beware of Gifts That Eat
CURRENTS Article I can hardly believe that this year marks my 30th anniversary in the field of fundraising. Ever since I fell into a development job right out of college with my newly minted journalism degree, fundraising is pretty much the only thing I’ve done. When I haven’t been securing philanthropic gifts at work, I’ve been called into service at my church, the kids’ schools, and countless other worthwhile charitable endeavors. I guess I’m a one-trick pony in that regard. And I’ve loved every minute of it. Fundraising can also at times be heartbreaking, exasperating, counterintuitive, and consuming, but above all it’s gratifying. Between you and me, here’s some frank insight on less-discussed aspects of the profession.

Book [Club] Report—An Alumna’s View
CURRENTS Article CASE Online Communications Specialist Meredith Barnett has participated in her alma mater’s alumni-student book club for the past two years, leading discussions with incoming freshmen about the reading selections and talking with them about her own time as a student. Here’s her perspective on how books can spark connections.

Voices
CURRENTS Article Advice for when a colleague acts too casual and friendly with donors; how to be preapred for last-minute end-of-the-year gifts; and thougths on preparing Native American high school students for college.

Talking Shop: Supporting Brilliant Minds
CURRENTS Article Chris Cox talks about what philanthropy does best and how to share that messge with donors. Cox is the chair of the 2016 CASE Europe Annual Conference (CEAC) in Brussels and helped shape its theme, "The Big Shift." The idea: As governments reduce funding for higher education, university leaders need to seize new fundraising opportunities, be more entrepreneurial, leverage new sources of income, and promote the value of their institutions.

Are You Following These Annual Fund Strategies?
CURRENTS Article The 2015/16 Independent School Advancement Survey of 352 institutions, conducted in January 2016, found major differences between what development leaders say is important and what they actually do. Researcher and consultant Ingrid Healy explains the trends.

A Gift for Ideas (and Ideas for Gifts)
CURRENTS Article Whether it's dangling from a precarious crevice atop one of the world's tallest mountains or pushing through mile 25 of a marathon, 69-year-old James Doti gets his best ideas off campus. Since Doti became president of California's Chapman University in 1991, the institution has risen to third in a U.S. News & World Report ranking of student selectivity, and its endowment has increased from $25 million to $300 million. As he prepares to retire in September 2016, CURRENTS asked for his secrets on fundraising, leadership, creativity, and having a little fun.

The 60 Smartest Things You’ll Ever Hear About Fundraising
CURRENTS Article You must bring tremendous energy and enthusiasm to work each day as you meet highly ambitious goals for yourself and the institution. Here's what Jerold Panas learned in 40-plus years of fundraising about donor motivation, characteristics of effective gift officers, timeless strategies for securing gifts, and leveraging trustee support.

Thanksgiving, with a Twist
CURRENTS Article How three institutions put a unique spin on celebrating Thanksgiving.

Breaking Up with a Prospect
CURRENTS Article Dating tips can help fundraisers learn why, when, and how to break up with a hot prospect who has turned into a cold fish. Here are some practical steps for managing the relationship, from the infatuation stage to "where is this going?" based on my 30-plus years of fundraising and 15-plus years of dating experience.

Sticky Situations
CURRENTS Article Gift officers often face emotional angst and ethical dilemmas in their dealings with donors, and the stakes are high. Handling these situations isn't easy, especially when the decisions can jeopardize gifts. Here are four case studies, based on real-life experiences, with advice on how to handle ethical issues, from inappropriate gifts to sexual advances.

Elite and Greet
CURRENTS Article Successful professionals find value in building connections and talking about their work with others in their field, which is why we created a networking program at Marquette University called CIRCLES. The program helps our professional alumni do business together—while helping us identify donor prospects.

Ins and Outs
CURRENTS Article When managed effectively, a change in leadership can enhance rather than hurt an institution's fundraising efforts. A successful leadership transition requires, among other things, constant, honest communication with key donors.

Out of Focus
CURRENTS Article For years, development officers have cultivated prospective donors by listening to their deepest desires. Now, development officers' work increasingly involves devising a strategy for aligning the donor's desires with the mission, goals, and needs of their institution.

True Confessions
CURRENTS Article Examining fundraising best practices is a great way to improve a development program, but looking at worse practices can also be enlightening. In this story, fundraisers reveal embarrassing blunders that subsequently may prove instructive.

Building Better Donors
CURRENTS Article This article encourages institutions to engage donors by offering them donor education programs. The author describes three types of programs: those that teach basic how-to information about donating, those that empower donors to think of themselves as philanthropists, and those that use faculty experts to provide subject-specific knowledge about topics of interest to the donors, such as the environment.

An Inspiring Life's Work
CURRENTS Article One of the pioneers of educational fundraising, David Dunlop discusses ultimate gifts and the personal qualities of successful development officers in this interview. He shares similar insights annually as a faculty member of the Inspiring the Largest Gifts of a Lifetime conference.

PSAs and Commercial Spots: Indiana University Foundation - Silver Medal
Best Practice The Indiana University Foundation Marketing Group initiated a collaborative effort to communicate with donors, prospective donors, and grateful patients in four primary media markets across Indiana. The group produced a series of four TV ads focused on advances in medicine that were partially underwritten by private philanthropic support and that have improved quality of life in Indiana and the world. In creating the campaign, staff hoped to demonstrate the significance of medical research at IU and its partner hospitals, and the importance of private gifts to the University.

A Match Made in Heaven
CURRENTS Article Many prospects acquire their wealth through their entrepreneurial ventures. Development officers can tap into this potential through the concept of angel investing--the opportunity for donors to start a new business, champion a cause, and be directly involved.

The Pluto Principles
CURRENTS Article The quest for the planet Pluto teaches the need for persistence, research, strategic planning, and thinking out of the box--and why it's smart to sweat the small stuff. Astronomers discovered Pluto's existence by noticing wobbles in nearby planets. So if something in your development programs appears a bit off, it bears looking into. The discovery will be donors who want to make larger and more meaningful gifts.

Do Unto Others
CURRENTS Article This article describes the DISC method of categorizing personality types according to: dominance, influence, steadiness, or compliance. Once you know yours and someone else’s personality type, the author argues, you can use the platinum rule in dealing with them: Treat others as they would like to be treated, rather than the Golden Rule (treat people as you would like to be treated).

Weighing Dollars with Sense
CURRENTS Article The central purpose of development offices is to raise money. But to measure their effectiveness based solely on rigid dollar figures would be shortsighted, say many chief development officers. Some of these forward-thinking managers now assess the effectiveness of their operations by how well their efforts support the institution’s mission and goals, develop new and long-term relationships with potential donors, and move prospects and donors toward greater participation in the institution.

Means, Motive, & Opportunity
CURRENTS Article Development officers at DePauw University use structured, face-to-face interviews with prospective major gift donors to determine their potential for giving as well as their attitudes toward campus programs and institutional messages. The interview takes about 75 minutes and includes 50 carefully considered, standard questions. Questions cover the prospect's experience with and interest in the institution.

AdvanceWork: Dollars from Diplomas
CURRENTS Article AdvanceWork: Dollars from Diplomas

The Young and the Restless
CURRENTS Article Two trends are increasing the number of young major gift prospects: the intergenerational transfer of wealth to the baby boomers from their parents, and the increase of young stars in high-paying fields. As a group, young donors often face financial insecurity, have a desire to give back to the community, are focused on the bottom line, and may be seeking status. To cultivate young major-gift prospects, consider approaching them through other young alumni or older major givers; try a challenge; keep an eye on the annual fund for prospects; and let them start small. A sidebar profiles two top young women philanthropists.

You're Not Welcome
CURRENTS Article When a major supporter suddenly breaks off connections for no apparent reason, the problem may be burnout.

In Advance: Stop Looking for Bill Gates
CURRENTS Article Joseph M. Zanetta, vice president for advancement at Whittier College, recomends that campuses looking for major donors prospects look at their previous donors for large gifts, rather than at those who are rich and trying to find a connection to their campus.

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