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BREAKING: Secret Shopping the Bob Lasher ‘88 Advancement Division

Beyond the internal stories of temper tantrums, disorganization and silly turf battles, let’s look at the College’s fundraising disaster (here, too) from the perspective of people on the receiving (or giving) end: prospective donors who deal with Bob Lasher ‘88 and his ever-revolving team. Read with care the thoughtful depiction below by a wealthy alumnus who spent time with Lasher after having met with people in the Advancement office. It recounts part of the reason why Phil Hanlon’s capital campaign is still only on the horizon well into his fifth year in Hanover.

In my own business we use secret shoppers who go through the sales process and report back on what it is like to be treated as a customer. That’s where the rubber hits the road, and if Phil and the Trustees have any faith in Lasher after reading this vignette, well, heaven help us and the College.

By the way, this donor did not approach the Advancement office as a secret shopper. She only contacted Dartblog after the dispiriting experience of dealing with Bob Lasher ‘88:

Lasher Secret Shopper.jpg

Note also Lasher’s depiction of Phil Hanlon’s unvarnished vision for the College. Reduced to its essence, Phil has no more imagination than to turn Dartmouth into Michigan-on-the-Connecticut. And he does not care if today’s students, faculty and alumni disagree with his plodding ideas.

We are in big trouble as long as Phil and his team are in town.

Addendum: An active alumnus writes in:

I wouldn’t know Bob Lasher if I tripped over him. I am over at Centerra easily a couple of dozen times a year and in group meetings, and Lasher can’t be bothered with low-class peons like me who help get him more givers than almost any other class (over $1M)

I was barely an agent back in the Carrie Pelzel era, and she gladhanded me with the best of them. We have 10 top givers in our class that are supposed to be courted by the elite of the fundraising team, and if you asked me, I would say they do nada. Advancement is an area that needs a change a lot faster than Parkhurst, and almost as fast at the 22-person PR group.

Addendum: Lasher’s sales technique, if it can be called that, would be cited in a Tuck class as a model of what not to do. How many fundraising faux pas did he make in his interaction with a potentially significant donor? Hint: It’s not always about you, Bob.


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