A special invitation to CEOs, CDOs, and other staff leaders who want to take their organization or cause to a new level of success.
In university advancement, intense pressure to “meet the metrics” can lead to unhealthy outcomes. Too many fret over mechanics but ignore deeper meanings and natural human connections. Jim’s approach lets leaders shape organizational culture with greater wisdom and humanity, for sustainable performance.
Senior Vice President Emeritus for Development and Alumni Relations, Pennsylvania State University;
Consulting Vice President, Grenzebach Glier
You’re starting to think about a campaign or major program and have high hopes for it. But you’re wondering if will succeed — or if you’re aiming too low and losing out on potential. Could you be doing something differently to set the stage for more certain success?
Sometimes an ambitious initiative stalls mid-way, or could simply benefit from a step back and a fresh look. You might be concerned you're missing some great opportunities (or maybe even coming up short).
Are you focused on your highest-payoff strategies — or getting lost in the weeds? With so much at stake, are you making smart decisions in the heat of the moment?
You want to get your organization out of the scarcity mindset and into a “big thinking and big results” mode. How in the world will you do that? (This is not taught in “fundraising training,” yet nothing is more essential to success in raising money.)
Take this unusual opportunity to create a new kind of collaborative partnership with a few key people — to raise their sights, inspire them to see that more is possible, and move forward together as true partners.
You might also want them to understand development better, get excited about engaging fully in relationships with philanthropic supporters, or become even more inspiring advocates for the cause you share.
How often do you get the space to ask yourself the big questions: What could be possible? How can you inspire others to raise their sights? What’s truly important — and what is just noise that you can brush away? (You know you have too much on your plate right now.) And what are the first steps you’ll take to get to a new level of success, more easily and quickly?
You’ll get away from the daily work pressures and expectations, and be in a quiet, safe, calm place for a few days. A true retreat where you’ll have the luxury to stop and think.
But it’s much more than just a retreat.
I’m devoted to making sure you get results and turn your big ideas into inspired, sustained action.
So you’ll have a chance, while we’re together, to get a jump start on whatever it is you’ve cooked up — all the way to the detail of who you’re going to see, what you’re going to say to begin the conversation. And we’ll be in touch after the program to make sure you stay on track.
If you have a sense the answer might be “yes,” then we encourage you to send in your application today.
Even if you’re thinking of bringing another person or a small team with you, the first step is for you to apply — so don’t put it off while you think about the people you might invite.
Besides, you may find the application itself gives you new clarity and energy, right away. (People often tell us they’re surprised by what they discover, simply in the process of answering the application questions.)
Maybe devote a few moments to yourself right now and take a look?
~ Jim Lord
The workshop I attended with Jim came at an inflection point in my life. I needed to decide whether I was going to become a "leader" or a "foundation administrator" for our community. It helped me become more comfortable with the idea that leaders don't have to have all the answers (which I didn't) but can be the people who ask the right questions (which I learned to do). In the intervening years, we've grown the foundation tremendously, both in size and in service to the community.
President, Berks County Community Foundation, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA; former Chair, Council on Foundations
Jim Lord’s visionary thinking begins with the very first visit, making it possible for me to raise millions of dollars. This is a thoughtful, transformational experience. I'll always be grateful to the board chair who first recommended this program to me.
Director of Planned Giving, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health
Jim magnifies one’s power to dream and dream big. My first workshop with him gave me courage to take the plunge and start my own non-profit organization, Muskaan (which means “smile” in English) — and energy to translate it into reality. I am grateful to Jim for allowing me to be part of this work because it has strengthened my courage to create the kind of world I want.
Founder of Muskaan, Lucknow, India
My first Quest workshop with Jim Lord at Cambridge University was a turning point. After it, everything was changed. We grew our first private university in Germany, which set the example for more than 100 others. And rescued another university 14 days before it would have gone into bankruptcy. (It’s now flourishing.)
For over 20 years responsible for fundraising and strategic planning at the first private university in Germany
Our programs are for anyone who seeks to advance a social cause or an organization of social good, and wants to understand more deeply how to release human energy — including significant philanthropy — toward that end. (We take a broad view of “philanthropy,” drawing on its root meaning: love of humanity.) If that's you, we encourage you to apply.
Our programs were first developed in response to requests for learning programs appropriate for high-level volunteer leaders and the most experienced professionals. In general, people with at least a few years of experience in the social sector are best positioned to benefit, and most participants have significant experience.
On occasion, we are able to accommodate someone who has high potential but less experience, to get them started on the right path. This is the exception, but if you are highly drawn to what you see here, we encourage you to apply.
If you have questions about whether the program is right for you and your specific goals, the next step is to complete an application so we can see together whether this is a fit.
Dates and locations are announced privately to those who have applied. After you've applied, you may even be able to influence dates to fit your calendar. (Once we know your level of desire, we pull out all the stops to make it easy for you to be with us.) Learn more about how that works.
Because our programs have strictly limited enrollment, we go to great lengths to make sure there’s an ideal mix of people in the room. (We often hear afterwards “what an amazing group of people that was!”)
The application process is not intended to weed you out (you’re more than “good enough”). We use it to get to know you a little and understand what you'd like to gain from the program, so together we can make sure you're in a position to get maximum benefit. And then we'll be able to place you in a group that will be a great fit for you. Learn more about applying.
Thanks to decades of experience, we have a good handle on who will be successful with this approach. If you see yourself in the following criteria, you're likely to be a great fit. (Or at least some of them, some of the time — “perfection” is not required!)
If you've registered for a program, but something unexpected happens and you are unable to attend, you can choose to:
Returning alums are welcomed with open arms.
Why do they return? Well, we’ve heard many say they want to immerse themselves again in the inspiring atmosphere — and be with people who share their aspirations and values.
After all, this program is much more than “training.” It’s a true retreat where we can restore our batteries, wallow in the mindset with like-minded folks, and leave refreshed with greater understanding of our work and more energy for the future.
That’s a big reason people return again and again.
Another reason is that you are different from the last time you were with us. You may be in a new role, at a new crossroads, or working with a new team you’d like to inspire.
And of course, we’re constantly learning from alums’ success, refining the program content, and introducing new elements and insights. If your last program was more than a couple of years ago, you’ll be surprised by how different it is today.
To keep the option open, please complete the application — in your case it’s less of an “application” and more of an update about what’s going on for you. Then we can see if the program would serve you again.
I came back home from the workshop with a renewed energy and confidence. With that I was able to initiate a network of people who believe in democratic values, have commitment to generate a new future and also positively influence political leaders to take bold actions. I have been engaged in this journey for last 15 years and I am fully convinced and confident that the learning I received at the workshop is what we need for a greater social transformation.
Community Leader, Kathmandu, Nepal