#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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# 47 | What's getting in the way of your fundraising career, and what you can do about it?

This afternoon at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio, Mazarine Treyz, author of Get the Job! Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide, is helping discouraged fundraising professionals answer the difficult questions of why their fundraising career might not be going anywhere and what they can do about it. Mazarine insists the barriers to your next interview are not your lack of a CFRE or masters degree.

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#46 | How do we stop board members from running away when they hear "fundraising”?

This afternoon at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio, Lori Jacobwith and Gail Perry presented to a room full of anxious fundraisers who wanted to know exactly how to stop their board members from running away when they hear the word fundraising. Lori and Gail’s solution; teach them how to be better story-tellers.

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# 45 | Have you ever had one of those "You Didn't Say That" moments in fundraising?

This morning at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio, Barbara Talisman and her colleagues Keri Kae Almstead, Antonia Makkar, Clay Buck, and Ken Miller, facilitated a conversation about those sometimes awkward and uncomfortable moments when your immediate reaction is, You Didn’t Say That? Barbara shared one such example from last year’s conference when an insecure fundraiser apparently suggested that fundraising was a dirty word.

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#44 | Is your local community foundation a friend or foe?

My recent conversation with Julie Buck aligns with this change in my perspective. Julie wants to ensure that local nonprofits in rural Grundy County, Illinois have as many advantages as those located in the big city of Chicago just 65 miles away. Instead of being a barrier to funding, Julie wants her local organizations to recognize that she can play a strategic role in significant giving decisions and that she can assist them in meeting the expectations of major donors who are inclined to make very siginficant and often complex gifts.

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Jason Lewis
#41 | Is the impulse to sell undermining our fundraising efforts?

But the opportunities and challenges we have similarly encountered in my hometown were not the focus of our conversation for this podcast. Instead, we compared notes on what we believe are some of the tyrannies that are undermining the effectiveness of many fundraising efforts. Interestingly, all three suggest that our impulse to sell may be undermining our fundraising efforts.

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Jason Lewis