You Can Teach an Old Dog Major Gifts Tricks
The other day I was in Uncle Bill's Pet Store in Noblesville, Ind. Both of my grandchildren wanted to see the new puppies on display for sale. We saw about 10, but Laffy, a Boston terrier less than a year old, caught their eye. We spent the next 45 minutes holding Laffy and watching Laffy do what puppies do all the time, which is be themselves. As we left the building, I began to think about the development conference I recently attended in Chicago.
One particular aspect of the conference that peaked my interest was the section on major gifts. I then wondered about the idiom regarding teaching an old dog new tricks. At times, many senior professionals think they can do it all and will not change their habits or acquire new skills because they feel it is impossible. Thanks to Richard Perry, founding partner at Veritus Group, that idiom was challenged.
Perry is a colleague of mine. He also writes a biweekly blog for NonProfit PRO, "Connections." He has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience. I was fortunate to attend his session at a national conference in 2014. When I found out he was speaking at a recent development conference, I was thrilled. Contrary to the old dog idiom, I love to learn and constantly seek to improve as a professional nonprofit executive.
When I learned Perry was speaking on the topic of major gifts, I was especially excited. While I enjoy all aspects of fundraising, I must say the area of major gifts is my favorite. It is very complex, and each fundraising professional must use an array of talents to secure gifts at the major gift level. I have worked with many major gift officers during my career, but very few have shown mastery of their craft.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.