Bob’s Blog

Did John Shamberg Call You?

This blog was originally posted in 2010 but still very relevant today.My last blog about John Shamberg’s New Year’s Eve gift of land evoked the greatest response yet.  I received notes and emails from across the country commenting on fundraisers being available on...

Are You Ready for John Shamberg’s Call?

As a fundraiser, part of the deal is showing up.  My clients know that on New Year’s Eve, I call each of them.  If I get them, I offer them my best holiday wishes and cheer.  If I don’t reach them, they get THE LECTURE.Believe me, you don’t want THE LECTURE.Here is...

Fundraising Lessons from a Shuttle Driver

From guest blogger Jeffrey Trimbath, Senior Regional Manager at The Heritage FoundationFor many of us in development, travel is part of our weekly existence.  Like most of you who’ve spent several years in the profession, I’ve been treated to my share of folks working...

If I Could Only Be Jim Tangeman

Who?My life has been like most, built of one influence at a time.  Jim Tangeman is one of those HUGE influences that began 41 years ago when he hired me as Dean of Students at Colby Community College at 21 years of age.  He had just been appointed President of the...

Fundraiser of the Year

I have been so eager to write this blog, I couldn't contain myself.  Some of you know early in 2013 I had been sick with pneumonia, but on the day I had a 103 temperature I got an email from Jim Dawson, the CEO of Truman Medical Center Foundation (Kansas City).  He...

Innovation, Thought, Strategy and Success Everyday

[This is second in my series about one of our client's success stories].Leadership for America is the Heritage Foundation's ten-year campaign theme.   Heritage is the most prominent conservative think tank in the country, and is based in Washington, DC, just blocks...

Let’s Focus on Success

My new resolve for 2013 is to celebrate the success of my/our clients.  As you know, I have a lot of opinions about the challenges that face nonprofits, the fundraising profession and philanthropy.  For me, there isn’t a better way to do this than to celebrate...

Jimmie Alford Dies Suddenly

Our profession has lost one of the leaders of our generation,” said Robert Hartsook, chairman of Hartsook Companies in Kansas City, Mo. He called Alford “a great spirit of professional fundraising who set his mark not only through his personal example, but his...

Hartsook Fellow Appointed By Founding Dean at IU

One of the first acts by Gene Tempel, Founding Dean of the new School of Philanthropy at Indiana University was the appointment of Brittany Miller, a doctoral graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies as the first Hartsook Fellow. Brittany is from...

Will You Be There When John Shamberg Calls?

A big part of fundraising is showing up and being available. I learned this lesson on a very memorable New Year’s Eve, a very long time ago.

As an eager young fundraiser working for Washburn University, I didn’t know that it was unusual still to be at work in the evening of December 31st. But, there I was.

Earlier that year, a graduate of Washburn University School of Law told me he was going to give a gift of land to his synagogue, a private K-12 school and Washburn. John Shamberg, who has since passed away, made millions of dollars for institutions all over the world, and he wanted to give a significant gift to organizations he valued. His 40 acres of land on the outskirts of Kansas City were valued at $450,000, and his intention was to give $150,000 each to three organizations.

He’d left the task to the last day of the year, but now he was ready to make it happen.

He called the synagogue. No answer.

He called the K-12 school. No answer.

Then, he called Washburn and got me.

“Bob,” he said, “you just won the jackpot!”

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