#74 | How much of contemporary fundraising practice was designed by control freaks?

Shawn attended my seminar in Worcester in early May and agreed to follow up with me afterwards to process some of the ideas that I presented. It is apparent that the three lanes made a lot of sense to him, and he enthusiastically introduced the concept to his boss. Shawn has been contemplating the foreseeable challenges and opportunities that arise as control of lane one is relinquished to high-capacity volunteers, he begins to focus his time in lane two, and he encourages his boss to operate primarily in lane three.

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Jason Lewis
#73 | Does the fundraising profession need a makeover?

After we exchanged notes on our experiences in Reno, Karen shared with me that she believes fundraising is due for a make over and that the titles we’re assigned may be a good place to start. I shared with Karen that I believe the job descriptions that accompany our titles could be a more strategic way to address some of the challenges we routinely encounter.

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Jason Lewis
#72 | If they ran parliament, could fundraising professionals have prevented Brexit?

With more than 70 episodes and guests representing several countries, I am surprised that the ordeal playing out in Europe, and the impact that Brexit is having on philanthropy, has not been discussed sooner. As I am quick to admit, I am not especially versed on what Brexit means for Britain and the rest of the world; so I was very grateful that Sian Mexsom agreed to offer me and my listeners a primer.

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Jason Lewis
#71 | Why is grant-seeking the first fundraising move most nonprofits make?

Coral Dill is my favorite grant-writer. Why? Because she’s got a great sense of humor, she’s usually good for some friendly banter, and she has always demonstrated that she understands how fundraising really works. Coral describes her relationship with her client as that of a shepherd - she doesn’t want to be the organization’s hero; she wants to guide and facilitate successful relationships between clients and their finders.

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Jason Lewis
#70 | Has philanthropy been designed for the macho white male?

Much of our conversation begged the question of whether philanthropy has been designed for the macho white males who are often applauded for writing the big checks. Chase wants us to wrestle with the reality that racism, sexism, and homophobia has prevented some from having a seat at the table; consequently we are missing out on the opportunity for these marginalized groups to contribute in a meaningful way.

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Jason Lewis
#69 | What does a really great fundraising event look like?

We began with the goal of describing what a really successful special event looks like. From the outset, Danielle knew that I wasn’t a fan of the endless number of galas and golf tournaments that clutter many of my client’s calendars. Danielle offered some very insightful observations about what makes or breaks an event and how organizers should go about planning them. Despite the fact that our original conceptions of what a great event looks like, I’d say we were more aligned than we might imagined.

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Jason Lewis
#68 | What more can a nonprofit organization achieve by sharing leadership?

Heather has recently written an article for AFP‘s online magazine that begs the question of what more can an organization achieve by sharing leadership. The two of us agree that nonprofit leaders have much to gain by sharing more leadership with their fundraisers. Heather’s follow up article will drill further down into how leaders can incorporate the values of shared leadership in their organizations.

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Jason Lewis
#67 | What would a tennis pro have to say about professional fundraising?

As Kenna points out, fundraising, like many professions, is certainly guilty of overemphasizing the external technique which allows us to overlook and ignore the game that is playing out in our heads. I tend to think this is very characteristic of the messy adolescence that our profession is navigating its way through. Like an unaware teenager, we prefer anything that rationalizes and externalizes our problems.

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Jason Lewis
#66 | Does experience as a fundraiser make for a better boss?

I was anxious to connect with Melissa Siegfried and Rebecca McAtee this week. The two of them are co-chairs for the Lehigh Valley’s Philanthropy Institute which I will be a part of in mid-May. We will be giving away 200 copies of The War for Fundraising Talent, and I will be presenting a fast-track version of the How Fundraising Really Works seminar. I’m excited to see that Gail Perry, Matt Hugg, Shanna Hocking and Chad Barger are also in the lineup.

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Jason Lewis
#65 | How do we navigate through fundraising's messy middle?

Much of our recent podcast conversation revolved around how to navigate the messy middle between a donor’s initial gifts and their most significant gifts. I believe the best fundraisers rely on an intuition that enables them to quickly determine whether a relationship is going anywhere, and it’s up to the boss to determine whether they can trust this intuition and not insist that their employees come back with a check every time.

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Jason Lewis
#64 | How many gimmicks does your organization's fundraising strategy really need?

It was a pleasure to connect with Tobey Fossey in advance of my upcoming visit. Tobey is a member of the Women in Development of Central MA which has invited me to present How Fundraising Really Works to their group in early May. Tobey and I both share a similar background in fundraising for independent schools, so we took this opportunity to share some of our experiences and compare notes on a few of the things that we believe are getting in the way of effective fundraising. 

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Jason Lewis
#63 | Where do fundraising professionals go to sharpen their saw?

I try to have meaningful conversations ahead of time with fundraisers in the places where I will be speaking. These conversations ensure I have a sense of where I’m going and better understand who has graciously afforded me a platform to speak about our maturing profession. This week I had the opportunity to connect with Suzanne Smith for a few minutes to talk about her involvement with Women in Development of Central Massachusetts and to hear her thoughts about why it’s important to be a part of a like-minded group who share a similar professional journey. Speaking for myself, I can recall many times in my fundraising career where my network of colleagues were my go-to source for encouragement and advice.

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Jason Lewis
#61 | How do we design roads with fewer potholes for aspiring fundraising professionals?

It was a pleasure to connect with Dr. Steven Hairston, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and Candice Murry, Director of Development, who will be hosting the How Fundraising Really Works roadshow later this month, to talk about fundraising at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. This podcast conversation was an opportunity to learn how an experienced leader who has navigated our profession’s many potholes takes very seriously his obligation to create a path for aspiring fundraisers who are eager to learn and grow.

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Jason Lewis
#53 | Should fundraising professionals always rely on special events for harvesting support?

I was delighted to catch up with Linda Lysakowski, a true champion of the fundraising profession. Linda is among the few who have earned the ACFRE credential; she has trained thousands of fundraising professionals and written several books on the subject. It was apparent that Linda and I could have taken our gardening analogy to all sorts of lengths if we had the time.

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Jason Lewis
#51 | Has donor-centrism become fundraising’s eight-hundred-pound gorilla?

As someone who never shies away from an opportunity to ruffle a few feathers, I admire Heather Hill’s willingness, in partnership with Ian MacQuillin (Rogare- The Fundraising Think Tank), to also ask some of fundraising’s most difficult yet critically important questions. This morning at AFP ICON, Heather and Ian are encouraging fundraisers to ask whether donor centrism has become fundraising’s eight-hundred-pound gorilla.

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#50 | Why are men still ruling so many of fundraising’s C-Suites?

This afternoon at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio, I had the pleasure of connecting with Tycely Williams, VP of Development at the YWCA USA and Chair of AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative. Along with colleagues Linda Lysakowski and Suzy Hart, Tycely is encouraging fundraisers to ask why, in the age of Wonder Woman, are men still ruling so many of fundraising’s C-Suites?

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#49 | What is the data really telling you about what's right (and wrong) with your fundraising?

This afternoon at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio, Clay Buck encouraged fundraisers to use their data in order to discern what’s really right (and wrong) with their fundraising. While recognizing that experts are generally right about what’s not working on a macro level, Clay believes it’s important that organizations understand their own unique problems.

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# 48 | Should fundraising professionals be talking about mental health?

This afternoon at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio, Ian Adair and colleagues Leah Eustace, Ligia Pena, and David Chow talked about what is often an ignored subject in our sector: mental health. Without the intent to provide expert advice, Ian explained that their group wanted to create a place at this year’s AFP conference where they could share their own stories and encourage others to begin sharing their experiences as well.

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