Making A Difference Where It Matters To You

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Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you ~ Oprah Winfrey

Fundraising is FUN!

You get to meet and be inspired by so many wonderful people who want to make this world a better place. You get to match great need with needed resources.

You get to be part of something that is transformational.

You get to build community.

So make sure you’re aligned with an organization that answers a need you’re passionate about. One that mirrors your vision and values.

Making a difference where it matters to you, is just as important to a fundraiser as it is to a donor.

Are you making a difference where it matters to 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.

 

Go Ahead, Talk Behind My Back!

Be generous with kind words, especially about those who are absent. ~ Goethe

gossip2In order to ‘undo’ the effects of having said something negative, you need to say up to ten encouraging things.

Even so, another hurtful comment down the road can bring a person right back to the pain of the original comment.

Does that mean we can never be critical or evaluate behaviours? of course not! Constructive feedback is essential to growth.

We know that being hurt is unavoidable, especially for those of us who have raised children and have wanted so badly for them to find their niche. Getting hurt is part of growing up. It happens.

And when it happens at the office, isn’t it good to know that you have teammates who’ve got your back and want the best for you?

It’s also said that we shouldn’t talk about others behind their back.

I say go for it.

But say something nice!

Because you know what’s better than someone saying something nice TO you?

Somebody saying something nice ABOUT you to someone else, and it getting back to you!

The next time someone says something wonderful about one of your co-workers – go tell them!

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.

The Journey Vs. The Destination

“We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams.” Eric Hoffer

lab-rat-460x307I read a study once regarding scientists who were experimenting with two groups of rats.

They fed one group as much food as they could eat. They fed the other group just enough so that they were always a bit hungry.

The first group became lazy and lethargic and suffered a whole onslaught of diseases associated with poor health choices.

The second group had more energy, were more productive and lived longer.

Maybe there’s something to always being a bit hungry…

in our careers

in our relationships

in our dreams.

It’s good to have a dream,

a destination

a vision

goals

ambitions.

But maybe it’s more about the journey

The process of getting there

the striving

the passion

the fighting for.

When I get what I want, I’m happy.

But then inevitably

I begin to miss the dreaming,

the anticipating

the striving to get there.

What do you think? Which is better, the journey or the destination?

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.

Is Being Right Always Right?

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. — Mahatma Gandhi

untitledA global statement with personal application

In all our relationships there is one guarantee.  We will be let down and we will let someone else down in some way.

It could be a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend, a co-worker – regardless of who it is, each one will fail at some point.

Whether it’s intentional or not is irrelevant

This failure can take many forms including: betrayal, death, illness, criticism or selfishness.

The temptation to pay back the wrong can be strong

Left unchecked it can quickly build into a toxic situation

where those affected are so hurt and damaged

they’ll overreact to the smallest offence.

It becomes too hot to handle.

Maybe you can’t even remember how it started, or who started it.

Someone needs to be the first to offer their hand in peace.

Why not you?

If you must pay back why not…

pay back loyalty?

pay back generosity?

pay back encouragement?

pay back friendship?

pay back love?

Is being right really always right?

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.

*This article was originally posted June 2012 on TALK TO DIANA

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.

Using The Right Tool To Get The Job Done

Anyone who has ever undertaken a DIY renovation or construction project understands the value of having the right tools to get the job done.

Me, in front of the house I helped to build twenty years earlier, Thanksgiving 2012.

Me, in front of the house I helped to build thirty years earlier, Thanksgiving 2012.

IN THE EARLY 80s I TRAVELLED OUT WEST with my boyfriend to help his sister build a house.

Having never built anything in my twenty years of life, I soon found out that I was on a huge learning curve.

I learned plenty about building a house that year. Everything from building walls, trusses and gable ends to installing windows and running electrical wires.

But the most important lesson I took away with me was – having the right tool for the job makes all the difference.

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In the same way, you need the right ‘tools’ to connect the passion of your donors with the passion of your organization.

You will find that the ‘tool’ you’ll reach for the most, will be your listening skills.

Why?

Because if the job at hand is to connect your donors with the work of your organization, you need to tap into their passion and show them how they can achieve their dream for a better world through you.

Ask questions and listen to the answers.

  • Learn why they give to you.
  • Discover what motivates them.
  • Hear their dreams for a better world.
  • Listen to their ideas and feedback.
  • Invite conversation.
  • Stay in regular contact with them.
  • Brag about them every chance you get.

As well as providing you with the significant gifts you need to run your organization, your major donors are a great resource in providing insights, expertise and valuable feedback.

Just as the cartoon below highlights the need for the correct screw head to get the job done, you need to find what connects your donor’s passion to the work of your organization.

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Thirty years ago, I helped to build a house that still stands today, how will you use your listening skills to build strong and lasting relationships with your donors?

Today’s post was inspired by Screw heads by John Atkinson, Wrong Hands. You can find more brilliant cartoons by John Atkinson at Wrong Hands here.

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.

The Impossible, Massive, Heavy Task

“Little by little, one travels far.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

imagescxfexqrpHAVE YOU EVER HAD an impossible, massive, heavy task looming in front of you?

A task so important to you that the thought of not achieving it, was unbearable?

I have.

If you’re like me, it can paralyze you if you don’t deconstruct it into manageable pieces.

How to tackle an impossible, massive, heavy, looming task

  • Picture the final outcome. How does it feel? What are people saying about it?
  • What are the top 3 objectives/barriers you need to achieve/overcome?
  • List tasks under each objective/barrier to take you where you need to go.
  • Run it under the noses of people you trust, particularly those who think differently than you.
  • Tweak and modify your tasks.
  • Take them on, one step at a time and start with the hardest ones.

The smallest steps today can help you chip away at your task. Before you know it, momentum takes on a life of its own and you are well on your way.

Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Are you facing a massive, heavy, looming task? What small step can you take today to get the ball rolling?

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.

**Today’s post was originally written and posted on November 16, 2014 at TALKTODIANA**

Building An Annual Plan From Scratch

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Having a good annual fund development plan keeps you focused on the work that needs to get done and raises money for your organization. But what do you do when you join an organization that has no plan in place? How do you build a development plan from scratch?

Something that has worked for me is to envision what an annual plan will look like a few years down the road and develop strategies to get there.

SO WHERE TO START?

Examine the current status and get…

  • a good understanding of current trends and challenges.
  • a good understanding of the organization’s fund development history.
  • a good understanding of its donors.
  • a good understanding of who the organization is and what it does.

Explore fund development opportunities including:

  • Monthly Giving program
  • Major Donors program
  • Planned Giving program
  • Direct Mail program
  • Acquisition and Cultivation strategies including, fundraising opportunities with strong calls to action, third-party fundraising, proposal writing, marketing and promotions
  • Strategies for particular constituent types, i.e., individuals, businesses, foundations, groups, etc.
  • Tools and processes, i.e., database implementation, policies, procedures
  • Writing a case for support
  • Creating a good story and photo bank
  • Writing fundraising copy for each program for use in newsletters, fundraising letters, website, etc.
  • Creating a philanthropic culture starting with the board, staff and other volunteers
  • Identifying and developing strategies for capital needs
  • Creating volunteer opportunities and
  • Developing engagement strategies for the community at large

Once you’ve created a document of all the possibilities, develop a timeline for implementation with particular emphasis and detail on the strategies you plan to implement in the next 12 months.

Starting from scratch, allows you to build a plan that is customized to the needs of your organization. Although there is a lot of hard work involved, implementing the organization’s first annual plan will yield positive results.

Have you ever built an annual fund development program from scratch? What are some of the important lessons you learned? What tips would you recommend to someone who is building an organization’s first annual program?

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.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Fundraisers are some of the most inspirational people to be around – their enthusiasm is contagious!

Masters of building strong relationships, fundraisers tap into the passions of donors and create meaningful opportunities that move them to support worthy causes.

Yes, you do well working with others outside of your organization. But how do other departments, within your organization, feel about the development department?

I’ve been around long enough to know about inter-departmental tensions.

Tensions between finance and development; the balance between compliance and seizing opportunities.

Tensions between program delivery and development; the balance between client confidentiality and sharing inspirational stories that show how people’s lives are changed.

Our attempts to build solid fund development strategies can create divisive chasms between departments if we push our agendas through with a You-Wouldn’t-Have-A-Program-To-Deliver-Without-Funds-To-Support-It-So-Get-With-The-Program mentality.

This is problematic because your staff and board are your closest stakeholders. They are your inner circle. If you can’t convince your closest stakeholders on the importance of engaging and soliciting support from your community, your influence and impact with your external stakeholders will suffer for it.

How to put the FUN Back into Fund development

imagesSo how do you get staff on board?

How do you build a foundation on which to create an organizational culture of philanthropy that inspires participation internally?

I think the answer lies in the fundamental point mentioned above.

You are masters in building strong relationships.

Following are some suggestions to promote mutual understanding and strengthen working relationships between departments in your organization.

Sit down with each department leader and: 

  • find out what they’re passionate about.
  • ask them what is important to them in order to do their job well.
  • learn how their role fits into the bigger picture. 
  • explore how you can help them to succeed in their role.

Then explain your role to them. Share how support is raised by connecting the passions of donors with the mission of your organization – how it’s about meeting the needs of your clients with the resources supplied by those who care about your clients.

Then tell them your door is always open:

  • to discuss, address and solve tensions as they come up.
  • to develop ways to work together that are mutually beneficial and encouraging.
  • to hear their ideas and joyfully conspire with them.
  • to provide support and materials needed for them to share their new-found enthusiasm with others.

You build strong relationships. That’s what you do and you’re good at it. So why not create a safe environment where creativity and participation are enthusiastically pursued and a commitment to support each other is valued.

What are you doing to create a vibrant culture of philanthropy in your organization?

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.

No Regrets – Is It Possible?

I’d rather have a life of “OH WELLS” than a life of “WHAT IFS.”

imagesHKOPD85BI saw the above quote on my Twitter feed the other day and it immediately spoke to me.

Because it’s easier for me to take my lumps in ‘oh wells’ than it is to take them in ‘what ifs.’

It also reminded me of a post I’d seen months ago (link below) about the regrets people have on their deathbed.

And my thoughts about the areas I need to work on; specifically regarding my personal relationships, areas I have been consciously and unconsciously working on since.

According to Bronnie Ware the Top 5 regrets people have on their deathbed are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

To read more see Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

Do any of the above points resonate with you? What are you doing about it?

**I originally wrote and published this article on talktodiana in January 2015**

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.