Greatness In the Advancement Whole

Earlier today I was on the phone with an experienced fundraiser talking about how we'd love to help him. We talked a bit about the industry and that what we do here is a little odd.


Yes. We're odd. We're odd because we believe that the whole of our clients' operations is greater than the sums of their parts. A lot of tools that "support" advancement, though, act like the parts are the whole - you are in MarComm; OR, you're in engagement; OR, you're in prospect research.

Aren't we all in advancement, each with our key skills?

The real mandate, then, is knowing how each of us is impacting our ultimate, singular goal: expanding the impact of our institutions. There are supporting metrics to that, of course, but the team here isn't asking, "how do I capture some of that prospect research budget?" We're singularly focused on making alumni so pervasively and enduringly happy that schools see a measurable increase in giving - dollars and participation.

Doing that well requires us all to think holistically. Is your goal today to record a gift or to advance the school? Was today's mission to plan an event or was it to increase engagement and the strength of the community?

Sometimes the higher mission mandates that we reach across functions and offices. It can be hard - painful even. But that's our mission, isn't it? And, in some ways, clarity of mission makes all the hard work easier.

Singularity is simple in definition, though challenging in practice. Some folks journal. Others have daily affirmations. Our team does regular team huddles to celebrate successes and remind ourselves of the mission. How do you remind yourself of your singular mission? How do you ascend to it?

Nick Zeckets