Advancement Associates Inc.

Issue No. 15

Summer 2012

Tools of the trade
For the accountant, it's a calculator. For the conductor, a baton. For the barber, a comb. Similarly, nearly any professional could likely name a tool without which he or she would have difficulty performing to potential. What about persons in advancement?
Our summer issue is dedicated to helping your organization fill its metaphorical tool kit. Associates Dan Hess and I offer tips for the communications staff. Guest contributor Peter Graber explores essential attributes of donor software. Principal Rich Gerig shares components of a good advancement plan. All this and more in this issue of E-news.
Sherilyn Ortman, editor
Tool #1: Advancement plan

In my former life as a college administrator I had an experience that made me a believer about the importance of formal planning in the advancement office.


To prepare for the new school year, our advancement team invested two full days in creating a plan that would guide our work. 


Four months later, a senior member of our four-person professional staff suffered a heart attack on Monday afternoon. Then on Friday, another colleague was killed in a tragic car accident. In the space of five days, I had lost half of my staff.

What allowed the rest of us to make some quick adjustments in our strategies and activities was our good advancement plan. Read more
Tool #2: Donor software


If you manage a nonprofit, someone has certainly tried to sell you one kind of fundraising software or another. As the capabilities of computer hardware have expanded, as the "web" has become ubiquitous, and smart phones nearly so, fundraising software continues to adapt and offer new capabilities.


With so many choices--and each with a price tag--it takes some careful consideration to determine how you want to use fundraising software in your organization. Read more 

Tool #3: Effective communications


What vehicles does your organization use to communicate with its constituencies? How do you use each of them? 


On some level, we hope that our communications foster in

our constituents a sense of goodwill that translates to ongoing support of our mission. Some-
times new professional print pieces are called for--to introduce a capital campaign or reveal a program initiative, for example. But AAI encourages organizations to think more intentionally about how their existing communications tools can also effectively support their advancement goals. Learn how

Tool #4: A solid case for support

Any organization that has undertaken a capital campaign is familiar with the process of developing a case statement. Typically this statement includes a look at the organization's history, mission, current needs and goals. The case is tested with constituents in a feasibility study and, assuming it is well received, it then provides guidance and focus for the campaign as it proceeds.


AAI believes there is merit in developing a case statement even apart from a capital campaign. Doing so can help focus annual fundraising strategies, whether they be fund letters or personal asks of major donors. Read more



Advancement Associates, LLC 

PO Box 339
Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311



In this issue
Components of a good advancement plan
Selecting donor software
Using communications to support advancement
The case for support
10 tips for writing a catchy story
Mennonite Church USA dedicates new offices
The new building for Mennonite Church USA's Elkhart, IN offices was dedicated Saturday afternoon, April 14, with around 325 people in attendance.  
Drumm presents at Lutheran health assembly

Associate Becky Drumm presented a workshop, "Growing Your Own Development Officer," for the annual health assembly sponsored by Lutheran Services in America (LSA). The event took place in Pittsburgh in mid-April.

Drumm's invitation came about because of AAI's recent appointment as a preferred business partner for LUMEN Resources, a collaboration of LSA and Mennonite Health Services Alliance. 
10 tips for writing a catchy story

1. Build your story around a person or people.


2. Let your story tell one big thing.


3. However, you need related facts, dates, numbers.


4. Get a high-quality photo. If you don't have one, hire a professional to take pictures for you.


5. Think of your story as the caption to the great photo.


6. Use short paragraphs.


7. Begin sentences with strong and specific nouns (not "There are..." or "The reason is because" but rather "AAI was able, on the basis of extensive research, to create a kind of balance sheet that showed what respondents considered assets and deficits").


8. Put action into your account by using strong acting verbs (traveled, built, painted, ran, etc.).  Rebuild sentences that are over-reliant on these verbs: is, are, was, were, has, have, had.  They don't act.


9. Bring in quotes -- just the way people talk.


10. Ask a trusted colleague to proofread what you wrote.

Our team

Richard L. Gerig, MEd, Principal
Rebecca S. Drumm, CFRE, Associate
J. Daniel Hess, PhD, Associate

Sherilyn R. Ortman, BA, Associate

Michael D. Wiese, PhD, Associate

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