Give your Board, CEO's, physicians and volunteers the art of Bold Asking™

Philanthropy in the United States is at an all-time high, with gifts from individuals representing 87 percent of all charitable giving.

Many potential donors care deeply about medical research, education, and complex world problems. But, each year fundraising campaigns struggle for one simple reason: they fail to ask.

 Bold Asking™ is a coaching program of Vision Philanthropy Group designed to give Boards, CEO's,  physicians and volunteers the tools and confidence they need to become effective partners in major gift fundraising and building meaningful philanthropy.

Susan Holt, President, Vision Philanthropy Group

Susan Holt, President, Vision Philanthropy Group

Susan Holt is one of the premier health care and biomedical sciences fundraising professionals in the United States.  She has partnered with deans, presidents, board members and faculty in identifying, cultivating and closing gifts ranging from $1M to $250M.  During her 30-plus year career, she has helped some of the nation's preeminent physicians, scientists, and volunteers become willing participants in major gift fundraising.  With her help, not only have they become comfortable and effective in obtaining game-changing philanthropy for their institutions, they have experienced the joy of building meaningful relationships that translate into life-changing gifts.

“The research at Mass. Eye and Ear is a game changer in finding future cures for blindness and deafness. We needed to accelerate our fundraising program to make sure our world-class scientists have the philanthropic resources required to continue their discoveries. Susan has provided the counsel our entire team, and I, needed to create a high performing fundraising program. With her guidance, we have set audacious goals and are achieving fantastic results that exceed our expectations.” -Wyc Grousbeck, Chairman of the Board, Mass. Eye and Ear and Managing Partner, Governor and CEO of the Boston Celtics

Recent News

Our new blog post is up:  Designing Powerful Partnerships: What do your philanthropic partnerships look like? 

How are powerful partnerships created? The great late anthropologist, Margaret Meade, made the case for the power of partnerships and people working together years go in her famous statement, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."  Certainly, philanthropy is no exception. Read more here...

“Susan does an excellent job setting the stage for a major gift program. Participants learn who will be interested in supporting their organizations and how to speak to those donors in ways that help them realize all the benefits of being meaningfully engaged in a cause.” - Timothy A. Kaltenbach, Executive Director, Trusts, Estates and Gift Planning, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Development.

It was an honor to share ideas and experiences last week in Nashville, TN at the summer session of the Planned Giving Council of Middle Tennessee, the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Association for Fundraising Professionals. My colleagues and I were delighted with the great turnout and the group's receptiveness to the session: "The Psychology of Giving: Why Me?" I had a great time! Thanks for hosting me. We're happy to share what a couple of people had to say. 

"I thoroughly enjoyed Susan's presentation…and the manner in which she presented. It was refreshingly enjoyable!" - Sister Mary Davyd Deerwester, O.P., Advancement Office, Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation

Part Two of our latest blog post is up:  The Secrets to Creating Meaningful Bonds: Promoting Social Connection and Valuable Experiences. Check it out for Susan's remaining six tips!

"Every child in Nashville deserves a great school. By empowering the community, advocating for supportive policy, recruiting effective educators, and growing great schools, Project Renaissance is dedicated to renewing our education landscape."

Our firm, Vision Philanthropy Group, is honored to partner with Project Renaissance as development consultants. You can learn more about Project Renaissance here.

Part One of our latest blog post is up:  The Secrets to Creating Meaningful Bonds: What Does Research Tell Us? There are many factors that help create bonds between people:  from deep friendships to shared dreams, experiences and values, to common hopes and visions, and sometimes a crises, or a crises averted.  Relationships are critical.  But, to nurture major donor relationships that truly endure, I prefer to focus on creating bonds; the bonds that undeniably tie us to one another.  This is what I want to devote a little time to here

Upcoming Speaking Engagement:  Planned Giving Council’s Summer Session, Wednesday, August 17, 2016, University Club of Nashville (Vanderbilt campus), 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.

Presenter:  Susan Holt, President, Vision Philanthropy Group

Session Title:  “The Psychology of Giving:  Why Me?”

Session Description:  A practical guide into major donors’ minds for development officers and CEO’s. This interactive session will look at the connections between happiness, social connection and meaningful giving.  Susan will offer real-life, practical tips into understanding donor motives and moving them more closely to your organization for high impact philanthropy.  The session is designed for development staff and executive leaders.

For registration and more information, please click here.

Our latest blog post is up! How do you get to Carnegie Hall (or a successful donor meeting)? Practice, Practice, Practice! 

The quote made famous by Benny’s repartee is a great reminder of two things:  the misunderstandings that so easily occur in communication and the importance of practice to achieve expertise and success! Read more here...

Susan Holt, President, VPG, joins the Planned Giving Council of Middle Tennessee Board!

We are honored to have been selected to present with our client-partner, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, at the 2016 AHP Annual International Conference in Chicago! Our presentation time will be Friday, October 28th, from 3:45 - 5:00pm. We hope to see you there!

Session Title: Creating million dollar gifts and a new era of philanthropy with physician partners

Session Description: When Mass. Eye and Ear, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, began its $100 million campaign, few $1 million gifts had been received.  We identified three major objectives to tackle during the campaign's quiet phase: creating physician partners, enhancing volunteer engagement with development staff and physicians, and building the donor pipeline. Four years later, 30 donors have become "Campaign Founding Partners" by committing gifts of $1 - $5 million. This benchmark has brought the institution into a new era of philanthropy. With the goal raised to $200 million, physician partnerships are thriving. This interactive session will share the strategies, communication tactics, successes and hurdles in leveraging our partners to create greater opportunity.

Co-Presenters: Melissa Paul, Chief Development Officer and Anna Murnane, Campaign Director, Mass. Eye and Ear, with Susan Holt, President, VPG

Client-Partner Spotlight

Vision Philanthropy Group President, Susan Holt, along with assistance from Meredith Crowley, Development Associate, recently led an art of Bold Asking™ seminar designed for our client-partner, Centerstone. 

"The Bold Asking program provided us with essential information and training around strategic, process-oriented cultivation and solicitation of truly innovative philanthropy.  We heard directly from some of the leading philanthropists in the world about highly successful approaches and strategies, positioning our team for success for years to come." - April Bragg, Ph.D., Vice President for Research Advancement, Centerstone Research Institute

Bold Asking™ Video Vignette

Orrin Ingram, President and CEO, Ingram Industries, and philanthropist, talks about listening to your prospect in a Bold Asking™ video vignette.