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Advancement Services Defined

Advancement services provide the backbone of an organization's advancement operations.

Advancement services professionals gather, organize, manage and disseminate information to guide the sound and effective advancement and overall business decisions of not-for-profit organizations. They establish principles, adhere to guidelines and apply technical solutions to minimize risk, and maximize philanthropic investment, in their organizations. Advancement services professionals protect and advance the missions of their organizations and the interests of those who support these missions.

Description of Advancement Services Functions

Functions that are regularly managed by advancement services departments include:

  • Database management and reporting
  • Gift and biographical records management
  • Donor relations – donor recognition and stewardship 
  • Prospect development – prospect research and prospect management

Additional functions such as staff training and development, PC/Desktop support, grants management, departmental budgeting, events management, internal and external communications and personnel management may also be included in an organization's advancement services operation.

Key Duties of Advancement Services Professionals

As part of their responsibilities, advancement services professionals are routinely called upon to:

  • Facilitate fundraising, gift processing, constituent tracking, relationship management, fund management, and stewardship. 
  • Provide the essential infrastructure of the Advancement enterprise.
  • Position their front-line colleagues (fundraisers, alumni officers, etc.) for success in relationships with donors, potential donors, volunteers and other supporters.
  • Minimize risks that Management incurs by accurately recording and reporting fundraising information and by securely managing sensitive data.
  • Understand, explain and apply all regulations and guidelines governing fundraising, gift processing and gift accounting (IRS, CASE, FASB/GASB, etc.)
  • Stay current with trends in Philanthropy and with the technical developments that apply to the profession; communicate and lead their organizations in applying these developments.


View our Best Practices Library for advancement services professionals, our AASP Partners, and Education & Events