a better way to do this work
As you'll discover, we do things a bit differently around here.
this is not the same old "fundraising training"
Our retreats, workshops, and customized programs are built on the proven strength-based methods of The Philanthropic Quest™ — a systematic approach to releasing human energy (including money) and inspiring social innovation.
Breakthrough results in philanthropy come when we have real human conversations ...
... when those conversations expand possibilities, question limits, and give new ideas room to grow ...
... when we truly keep the donor’s personal meaning and desire to make a difference at the center, so they’re eager to realize their dreams through the vehicle of our institutions.
Too often, these are not the kinds of conversations and relationships that happen — most are more superficial, sometimes just aimed at hitting the numbers, sometimes worse.
We’ve seen organizations lavish money and attention on their database technology, even while their human culture decayed from neglect and donors backed away because “something doesn’t smell right here.” (It’s like when someone eats too much garlic, it seeps out their pores and people notice.)
You may be doing much better than that dismal picture, but almost no one in this profession is using the science of human development to realize their potentials. And cultural decay can sneak up unnoticed until it’s too late.
With all this going on — plus what we hear from donors in private moments — we have to conclude …
A whole lot of philanthropy and human potential is left sitting on the sidelines. We just have to do better, for the sake of all of us.
How do we change this picture and leap to a higher level of performance? It takes something far beyond “skill-building” for the development officer and other leaders.
If we want to engage and inspire the enduring donor, we’d be smart to engage and inspire the enduring staff member. We see that happen once we strengthen personal presence, shift mindset, and give professionals a stronger connection with their own sense of meaning and belief in greater possibilities.
In other words, it all starts with what’s going on between the ears of each individual (which expands outward into the culture of the organization). The “inner game,” just as in sports like tennis, matters more than any technique or methodology.
Maybe that sounds a little woo-woo, but decades of experience has shown this is the magic ingredient that makes all the difference. Still, it gets ignored because it seems difficult or maybe “too personal” or not “metrics-oriented” … or if addressed, it’s as the occasional one-off or rah-rah “motivation.”
In this field as in no other, everyone — professionals and donors alike — deserves to live into their meaning and significance. Every single day, in every interaction, not just sometimes. (That’s what makes this work into a high calling and brings extraordinary reward.)
That seemingly “soft” focus is not only the right thing to do, it is the single most challenging and most strategic step you can take.
So that’s where we focus our attention: to strengthen this “inner game,” the pursuit of meaning and significance, the ability to foster hope and create innovations, for each individual and for the institution as a whole.
Better relationships and results … retaining the best and developing the rest … leadership development … all flow from this core.
The strategies we offer have been quietly developed, refined, and field-tested by hundreds of leaders from all walks of life and every corner of the world ... and are now being offered more widely for the first time, so you can use them to energize your organization or cause.
Different frameworks, different outcomes
THE CONVENTIONAL APPROACH
Donors seen as funding sources
Tell the organization's story
Scarcity of resources
Sell and persuade "targets"
Presentations and proposals
Professional tells and sells
Development as ancillary activity
THE PHILANTHROPIC QUEST
Donors seen as leaders and partners
Listen to the donor's story
Abundance of resources
Release human potential
Inquiry and co-creation
Professional is an agent of change
Whole-system approach to development
A few of our distinguished alums ...
Jim Hodge, like too many development officers, found himself facing burnout. Exposure to fresh ideas not only kept him in the field, but gave him a new mindset that laid the foundation for an exceptional 35-year career in principal gifts at Mayo Clinic and the University of Colorado. See how Jim energized his career.
Dan Loritz faced unusual challenges in getting his university's largest-ever capital campaign off the ground. A high-engagement approach let Dan skip the conventional feasibility study and case for support, meet the campaign goal, increase it, and then far surpass the new goal. Discover how Dan did it.
Jay Hughes, high-level advisor and confidante to families of wealth, shares insights on building relationships of trust and influence. His mentoring of Charlie Collier, leading philanthropic advisor at Harvard, has had a lasting influence at the highest levels of the development profession. Go behind the scenes with Jay.