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School of Hard Knocks Fundraising Lessons — Raising $1 billion with 300 organization partners over 40 years

This in the introduction to my new blog at Its purpose is to elevate the level of hospital philanthropic fundraising throughout North America.

My career started as a stalled capital campaign turnaround specialist for an arts organization. While serving as chief philanthropy officer for a graduate university I started consulting with hospitals and found that my ideal niche. I come from a medical family – my father was a pathologist and professor at the University of Nebraska where he eventually served on the University Foundation. My mother was an army nurse, my sister was an OB / GYN, and wife and ICU and heart nurse, and one of our 4 children is a genetics counselor. I grew up smelling acetone from the path lab and the analytical discussions at the dinner table that can be pointed but rarely personal.
Higher education raises far more money than hospitals / healthcare.

I want to share what I’ve learned from spending 1/3 of my career as a nonprofit staff member and the other 2/3 as a campaign, major gifts, and strategic planning consultants for organizations throughout North America. Over the years I’ve done capital campaigns, comprehensive campaigns, endowment, planned giving, annual giving, supervised special events, provided executive search for fundraising talent, and managed several staff fundraising teams. As a consultant I coach presidents and CEOs, train foundation board members, facilitate retreats and drive strategic planning.

As I post articles, please feel free to comment on what I’ve missed; what should be clarified; and even where you think I am incorrect.

Please register for free at to access our library of AHP, AAMC, CASE, and AFP presentations.

Tom Wilson, CEO

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