Counsel Steeped in Practice

Vision Philanthropy Group is a full-service philanthropic consulting firm. We partner with mission driven institutions to achieve strategic, high impact philanthropy. Our fundraising and communications consulting team brings deep experience in leading and managing high performing philanthropy programs to our clients.  Our counsel is steeped in knowledge and decades of hands-on experiences and work with influential philanthropists, Boards, small and large institutional advancement staffs, and innovative leaders.

We bring practical, yet innovative solutions and coaching to our clients to help them achieve the results they need for today and the future. 


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Our new blog post is up:  "DESIGNING POWERFUL PARTNERSHIPS:  WHAT DO YOUR PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERSHIPS LOOK LIKE?" (This is the first in a series of three blogs on designing internal and external partnerships for development staff and institutional executives.  Please continue to visit!)

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 at our blog 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."

We are honored to partner with Project Renaissance as development consultants. You can learn more about Project Renaissance here.

Click here to read Part One of our  latest blog post:  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.

Susan Holt, President, Vision Philanthropy Group, is one of the premier health care and biomedical sciences fundraising professionals in the United States.  She has partnered with deans, presidents, board members, faculty and development staff in identifying, cultivating and closing gifts ranging from $1million to $250 million.  She has managed and counseled campaigns from $10 million to over $1 billion. Susan is a frequent speaker at the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy conferences and internationally.

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!

Our latest the art of Bold Asking blog post is live!  Pitching or Listening: What’s Your Style?  If you’ve been involved in fundraising for a while, whether as a volunteer or staff, you’ve learned just how important it is to tell the story of your organization and its impact.  If you’ve done your homework really well, you’re able to talk about the institution’s vision, its history, its impact on your community or even the world. And, you’ve probably got lots of facts and figures memorized and even internalized. Read more...

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

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.