4 fundraising lessons we learned in April  

Here are four lessons we learned last month: 

It is far from inevitable that a crisis will derail a capital campaign  

Advancement teams that are transparent and responsive with donors can weather a storm and, in some cases, the experience may even deepen their connections with donors. For example, Rod Kirsch, GG+A Vice President who was Vice President at Penn State University throughout the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, said his team made more face-to-face contacts the year of the scandal than any year in Penn State’s history. Those interactions helped Penn State soar past its $2 billion goal “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students” in April 2014. 

Learn more lessons related to dealing with scandals by clicking here. 


The pandemic has forced institutions to be more thoughtful about how they tell stories that explain what they’re seeking to accomplish 

It’s important to note that not every institution needs a vision that is world-changing, but every institution does need a vision that addresses why it matters. That requires them to sort through the broader purpose they serve and identify how a campaign will help the institution reach those objectives. After all, as the pandemic begins to fade, we’ll be able to focus again on quality of life. 

Learn how institutions can start planning for the post-COVID campaign by clicking here.  


Data can and should drive decisions  

Many institutions may have widely held perceptions of their donor bases that seem to explain certain trends. But rather than accept those assumptions, Dr. Jacline Wyman, Vice President, External Affairs at the University of Ottawa, used data to model whether those assumptions are accurate. Analyzing her team’s performance, the return on investment, and the institution’s investment in advancement, enabled her to model why the institution was underperforming and to propose solutions that could fix the issues at the source. She then built a training program to build the team competency that was based on data. That helped build a team culture that ultimately bolstered the university’s fundraising.  

Learn how one high-performing advancement program is navigating a number of critical issues by clicking here.  


Volunteers can be a nonprofit institution’s most valuable commodity. But that commodity requires a significant investment in time and energy. 
Volunteers need to know and understand that fundraising is not asking friends for gifts. It is hosting events and assisting with discovery. Beyond their gifts, they also need to share their contacts. And they need to have the willingness and desire to identify colleagues who might be interested and have the capacity to give. That understanding often stems from educational training. That’s why it is essential that institutions schedule dedicated time for training that emphasizes that “people give to people.”  

Learn more ways to successfully leverage volunteers by clicking here.  

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