A little advice to use outside the classroom

As I begin preparations for the Spring semester of Patterns of Patronage at the University of Delaware, I find myself continually coming back to the same question: how can I improve upon my first semester of teaching? And whenever I determine one of the many answers to this question, they often relate to fundraising and my consulting business.

First, there are many, many (many, many) ways that I could improve the way I teach, keep students engaged, and provide the most useful “real world” experience for them. But what it comes down to first and foremost, is setting the scene. Creating the mood for the class to draw attention away from everything else going on in the world. I found this article Small Change in Teaching: The first five minutes of class to be really helpful.

Opening with a question! Asking for students to write down answers about what they previously learned (in this class or another)! It’s so simple and yet so effective. When you think about it, these are ways to actively engage the students in participation in the here and now, setting the stage for discussion and dialogue.

This same thought process can be used in so many aspects our professional lives outside of academia. Think about meetings: next time you are leading the meeting, start with a question. Or ask everyone at the table to write down their answers (to be shared or not). You may be surprised at the attentive and thoughtful answers and how they will guide the remainder of your meeting.

How else could you utilize this advice?


I love sharing FREE tools

If there’s anything that nonprofit organizations, it’s FREE resources. While reading through APRA (Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement) forums a few weeks ago, this amazing resource was shared:

The Wealth Open Data Dashboard –

This is an amazing resource for organizations with minimal research budgets! Check it out; but please keep in mind, it is meant for organizations with little to no budget for this type of work.


Getting ready for the giving season

As we head into the giving season (I know, SURPRISE, it’s right around the corner), take some time to strategically think about your goals, how you measure up and what you aim to do between now and December 31.

This recent article 6 Ways to Leverage Financial Data for a Successful Giving Season is a great reminder of the different ways you can review your current financial position using reports and analysis to guide where you want to go. And of course, making sure your “board is on board” is also incredibly important.

If you would like to tackle some of this analysis but are unsure of where to start, I would love to help! Reach me at

Free research tool

Yes, you heard right – there are free research tools and they can be amazing to supplement the wealth screening subscriptions you already have.

We’ve all been there. You get some great information from your screening tools but there are bits and pieces that are missing or hints into a mysterious past.

The Wayback Machine extension on Chrome can fill in those blanks. You can see past iterations of websites to either gather information or confirm your suspicions.

Take a look at how Donorly’s researchers suggest using the tool (and a quick step-by-step for installing the extension).

How will you use the Wayback Machine? I like to look at old annual reports and lists of board of directors to find previous directorships of the prospects I’m researching. It’s important to not only include current positions but also past to ensure you are showing the entire spectrum of a prospect’s interests and activities.