Category: stories

Give it to Get it

A Muslim pilgrim prays at the top of Mount Noor in Mecca

By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answers to our own.

MOST OF US KNOW that if you want to achieve a certain outcome, you must develop strategies to get you there.

For example, if you want people to attend an event, you might send out invitations. To increase your success in getting actual bodies to your event, you may further decide to invite those who are most likely to attend your event.

The above quote seems counterintuitive in comparison. But is it also effective?

Whether you believe that you reap what you sow, or to keep a gift you have to give it away, or that Karma lurks around the corner; you may have experienced this concept to be true.

25 years ago, I was at a low point in my life. I felt alone and broken. Looking back, the best decision I made, was to volunteer with an organization that looked after some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

By walking with people through their brokenness and loneliness and believing in them until they believed in themselves, I unwittingly brought meaning and purpose back into my own life.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Bad Luck…Or Is It?

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You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from. – Cormac McCarthy

Can you look back on a particular situation where you are sure divine intervention saved you a world of trouble?

Because even when we plan for the future to ensure that we will be prepared for whatever may come, bad or unforeseen things can happen to foil our carefully laid plans.

Sometimes what seems like a bad thing at the time, ends up being the best thing that ever happened to us.

Many years ago, I missed catching a ride with someone because I answered the phone and ended up chatting longer than I had intended.

Irritated with the situation and mumbling under my breath, I hailed a cab. Upon arriving at my destination, I learned that my would-have-been driver had been in an accident.

I’ve experienced a handful of similar situations with varying degrees of seriousness. Enough to make me more patient when things don’t always go my way.

A missed flight…

an unsuccessful job application…

a strategy that doesn’t work out as planned…

…might just be the best thing that ever happened.

Has something seemingly bad ever worked out for the best for you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words…

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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow ~Melody Beattie

A FEW YEARS BACK I got to do one of my favourite things.

I sat down at my desk with a list of ten names.

Each had made a recent donation to the non-profit organization I worked for.

These ten people contributed to the bottom line.

But there’s a deeper story.

About a week or two before this list hit my desk;

Ten people in the privacy of their homes thought about my organization.

They thought about the work that is done;

how it makes the world a better place;

they thought about their loved ones who receive quality care from our passionate and dedicated staff;

and then each one, in his/her own home, sat down and wrote a cheque.

That just blows my mind. It fills me with deep gratitude.

Armed with my list I had the privilege of calling each one to tell them that:

  • they made my day
  • we couldn’t do it without them
  • and thank you.

Turns out I made their day too.

Two simple, yet powerful words.

When’s the last time you said thank you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Collective Impact

IHeartHomeMy good friend Louise Gallagher recently invited me to attend the Community Summit on ending homelessness in Calgary, Alberta and I am so happy that I took her up on it!

WHY?

Because any time an organization can draw 450 people from 150 organizations together to work on addressing a common goal, the Community Builder in me is beside herself with joy!

The Community Summit was organized by the good folks at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, along with leaders in the homelessness sector, to introduce Calgary’s updated 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

The key piece that stands out to me is how this goal will be achieved.

Beyond collaboration, the success of the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness is dependent on Collective Impact and involves everyone in the community; including service providers, government, the private sector, academia, media, faith community, those who have lived experience, or are members of the public.

And that’s just amazing to me!

There are five conditions that need to be met for Collective Impact:

  • Common Agenda
  • Shared measurement
  • Mutually reinforcing activities
  • Continuous Communication
  • Backbone support

To read more about the summit and get more information on Calgary’s updated 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, click here.

Does your organization work with multiple partners to achieve its goals? What are the benefits of working with multiple partners? What are your thoughts on collective impact?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

So, What’s Your Story?

“Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.” – Robert McKee

untitled3SO YOU WANT TO GET PEOPLE EXCITED about your cause?

You want to ignite their passion?

You want their enthusiastic support?

Before you ply them with stats and pull out your reports and research, help them relate to your clients and your organization’s vision through stories.

Stories connect us and also have the power to transport us to places and situations we have not personally experienced, they bind us together emotionally to the rest of humanity.

One might not personally know how it feels to be homeless, for example, but we can all relate to how it feels to be helpless and alone.

Non-profits have an important story to tell their communities about the vital work they do. A well told story that includes donors and how they affect change with their generosity, inspires action.

Equally important, are the stories of donors and volunteers. Why they give, what their passions are; how they connect with the non-profits they support.

Our individual stories are threads, that combined with the stories of others, fit into a beautiful tapestry of the greater story of humanity.

Oh and by the way, keep those stats, reports and research handy for when your donors ask for more information.

So…

what’s your story?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Do You Know How To Appreciate Your Donor?

 

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. ~ Voltaire

imagesUX8A5PA5MOST ORGANIZATIONS KNOW IT’S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE DONORS, but what happens when how you do it has the opposite affect?

I recently celebrated my birthday and was blown away by all the good wishes that came my way in person, by phone and by email.

Because it feels good to be appreciated

Even people whom I hadn’t had recent contact with, reached out to me through Facebook and Twitter; many letting me know the difference I have made in their lives, personally and professionally and wishing me a year of the same sort of kindness.

I was moved by their words and the creative ways they chose to express their gratitude and birthday wishes. And some of the most touching messages included videos, personal photographs and poetically woven words.

I LOVED IT!

But there are people who are not comfortable with public acknowledgement.

I suppose a more private person wouldn’t share their birth date on Facebook or click the feature that allows people to post on their wall.

How do you appreciate your donors?

How do you know what your donor’s preferences are?  Not every person is comfortable with public acknowledgement; preferring something more personal or even wanting to be completely anonymous. Do you know your donors well enough to know what makes them feel appreciated?

What’s the point of showing gratitude if your donor does not feel appreciated, or even worse, is offended and feels their privacy has been compromised?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Service, My Word For 2015

 Eric Liddell when asked how he came to become a great runner said, “God made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.

imagesWhat stands out to me in this quote, is that Liddell recognized his talent, his God-given gift if you will, and ran with it – pardon the pun.

Even though he had raw talent, it couldn’t have always been easy for him. But Liddell was passionate about running and so he gave it all he had.

As we come to the end of this year, I find myself reflecting on the last twelve months and wondering if I gave it all. Like many of you, I chose a word for 2014 – tenacity.

It’s not easy, when you first start a business. You really have to want it to succeed and doggedly stick to the plan.

In 2014 The Other Bottom Line turned one, I had the pleasure of working with four clients throughout the year and I learned a tremendous amount about facilitating processes and working with others. Sure, there have been obstacles to overcome but I’ve really enjoyed it and am so grateful to my clients for the opportunity to work with them!

As is my custom I have chosen my word for 2015 – service. Do you also choose a word for the year? If so, what is your word for 2015?

I hope you were able to use your gifts and are satisfied with your accomplishments in 2014. And I wish you and yours a Happy and Fulfilling New Year!

Warmest regards,

Diana