Advancement Blog

3 New Year’s resolutions for your advancement team

by Dena Schwartz

You made a list, checked it twice, and you finally have a break after Giving Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, and end-of-year gift processing.

These year-end events are exhausting and time consuming. They limit your ability (and the ability of your staff) to take a step back and think about where your advancement shop is headed in the following year.

January is a great time to consider your strategy for the upcoming year and assess the previous year’s goals, successes, and shortcomings.

This year, consider adding some of our New Year’s resolutions to your list:

1. Equip managers to hold talent review conversations

People don’t leave organizations, they leave their managers. To increase major gift officer retention and avoid the costs of hiring new talent, managers need to play an active role in the professional development of their direct reports. Train managers to hold talent review conversations and use career maps to determine the professional development needs on their teams. Find templates and conversation guides in the PD Playbook Toolkit.

2. Find the best ideas on campus for principal gifts

Today’s top donors are donor investors: they seek compelling ideas that will have a transformative impact, and they want to build credible connections to the leaders on campus who are doing the work. To facilitate this, your advancement department must also build connections with deans, department chairs, and faculty members across campus. Show these academic partners that they will not be responsible for finding the donor or making the ask—this will increase their comfort level and willingness to partner with advancement moving forward.

3. To sustain the volunteer pipeline, meet alumni where they are

Mid-career alumni are busier than ever, and they seek scoped, accessible volunteer roles that fit into their schedules. Reimagining traditional affinity and regional chapters by creating corporate chapters enables alumni to engage with your institution without having to leave the office. Use the alumni engagement and volunteerism resource center to think strategically about corporations with a critical mass of employees and how they are already contributing to or collaborating with your institution.

Add some (or all) of these resolutions to your own list, and encourage your staff members to set similar goals for this year. Starting this conversation ensures that your advancement shop will start 2017 on the right foot and continue that momentum for years to come.

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