Tagged: Integrity

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.

How To Destroy Your Enemy

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Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? – Abe Lincoln

How To Destroy Your Enemies

1. You could dig up dirt on them and leak it to the public
2. You could study them to determine their weaknesses and chip away at them until they break under the pressure
3. You could study them to determine what/who they love and cut them off from it/them
4. You could gather data to prove that they are wrong about something and discredit them
5. You could bear false witness against them, thereby inviting the unjustified wrath of others
6. You could harm them in some way and render them useless
7. Or you could enter into a conversation with them to find out what you have in common and take it from there…

Often when disagreements surface, we feel we must clobber down those whom we perceive to be working against us and their ideas.

We’re afraid if we don’t, we won’t get our way.

We want to win.

If we really want to win, we should start where we agree and work forward from there. We’ll likely find that the end result is better than either side could have imagined alone. Who could you reach out to today to begin discovering which values you have in common?

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.

Rising To Leadership

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There are standards to which government, religion and higher education should be held. There are examples that politicians and principled businesspeople should endeavor to set, regardless of whether their peers are making that effort. There’s right and wrong, not just better or worse.

And there’s a word for recognizing and rising to that: leadership. We could use more of it. ~ NY Times, Weary of Relativity, May 23, 2015.

There are times when I convince myself that I’m doing alright by telling myself that:

  • I do better than that other person.
  • I’m not as bad as so-and-so.
  • This is how everyone else does it, it’s good enough.
  • Things are fine, why should I go that extra mile?
  • There’s not enough time to do it the way it should be done.

Lowering the bar is tempting, especially when I’m tired. I don’t want to go there though. I want to strive to always do my best. I won’t always succeed but I want to keep that bar raised high.

I want to do right, not just better than others.

Are high standards important 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.

A Good Time To Do Good

kindness-3“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” ~ unattributed

There seems to be a dispute about whether or not this quote can be attributed to John Wesley or not.

In fact there’s a whole website dedicated to the quotes John Wesley did not say.

But who said it, doesn’t matter nearly as much to me as what the quote suggests.

Doing good.

Right now, using all the gifts at your disposal, no matter the circumstances.

No matter where you are, what time it is, who you are with and how much time you have left, doing good is a worthy endeavor.

Not just when you’re at the top of your game; when all the pieces are falling into place.

But do good when your bottom’s falling out.

When you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Do good when you don’t want to — especially when you don’t want to.

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.

How Much Do You Care About Your Donors?

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I’m not challenging your goodness or integrity.

As a fundraiser, you work hard to support a cause that means a lot to you. You strive to connect your donors’ passions to the needs of people your organization cares for.

And you are successful by staying true and focused on your organization’s mission and vision. This is exactly what you should be doing. Good for you!

But what happens when others are finding solutions to the cause that is important to you in different ways or through other organizations?

Do you feel tempted to create a new program in order to win their support?

Do you try to convince your donor to change her mind on the type of program she supports by trying to convince her that your organization’s methods or goals are better? Or reach more people?

Or do you recognize that other organizations may be filling much-needed gaps in the bigger picture of the cause you care deeply about and choose to honour the passion of each individual making a difference in ways that are meaningful to them?

Maybe it’s not about who is better at what. Maybe it’s about each person doing their part and in doing so, achieving better results than anyone of us could have, alone.

What do you think?

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.

Mission Drift – Wishy Washy Doesn’t Wash With Folks

 A LESSON FROM RECENT EVENTS WITH APPLICATION for your non-profit organization

imagesI18CTDYQOn March 28th, PC candidate and ex-Wildrose leader, Danielle Smith lost her bid to represent the Highwood riding in Alberta in the general election to newcomer Carrie Fischer.

Let me back up here to give you some background information that led up to these events.

By mid 2014, Smith, as leader of the Wildrose had successfully brought the party to a place where they’d won the hearts, imaginations and support of rural Albertans.

The party had become an effective opposition, shaking up the PCs who have held power in Alberta for more than four decades.

In the fall of 2014, the Wildrose party hit a few speed bumps when several party members crossed the floor to join the PCs. Smith was outraged and even ended a long-term friendship over the issue; telling the defector that she’d have her constituents to answer to.

Shortly afterward, in a plot twist worthy of a Stephen King novel, that left the mouths of many people gaping across the province – regardless of their political affiliation – Smith herself, crossed the floor, urging remaining Wildrose members to do the same.

So on the 28th, the residents of Highwood made their voices heard and expressed them loud and clear by rejecting Smith.

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A lesson with applications for the non-profit sector

This is what happens when who you are, and what you stand for, is discarded. In other words when mission drift occurs. And the same thing can happen to your organization if you don’t remain true to who you are.

When you take your eyes off the prize, when you go along with popular opinion, when you compromise who you are to chase money and garner support, your foundation begins to crumble. It becomes increasingly difficult to engage your community in meaningful ways. Your closest relationships and your best fundraising practices cannot save you when you stray from your mission. Wishy-washy doesn’t wash with folks.

If you don’t stand firm for something, you will fall for anything. And it will be those whom you serve that will suffer the most.

What do you stand for? How do you ensure you’re staying true to your mission?

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.

A Donor Horror Story – Don’t Do This!

images1DRJYW0CShe’s a single parent, let’s call her Ann.

When her daughter Mary was 8 years old, they decided to sponsor a child in South America through a reputable organization. Together they chose a girl who was the same age as Mary.

It felt good to make a difference. Their monthly donation was not only helping the little girl, it was helping her community as well.

Mary was thrilled to hear from this sponsored girl and over the years they exchanged many letters.

It was such a good experience, that they decided to sponsor a second child, a boy in Africa.

Time went by and Ann fell on hard times. She felt horrible, but she knew she had to phone the organization and let them know she could no longer sponsor these two children.

As a fundraiser, I’ve taken calls like this myself. I would hear in their voice that they felt bad about having to cancel their monthly donations.  I would thank them for all the support they had given, tell them I understood their decision and wished them well.

When Ann phoned, she was told that she was being transferred to the donor retention department or some other equally offensive department name. Ann questioned this and asked why the person she was speaking with couldn’t honour her request.

Nevertheless, she was transferred to a new person who asked Ann if she wouldn’t prefer to just suspend her donations and have them automatically start up again in 3 months. Ann, who by this point, was starting to get frustrated restated that she wished to cancel the automatic withdrawal from her bank account.

You would think that would be the end of it but the woman at the organization then said, “But what about the children? Don’t you care what happens to them?”

Thankfully Ann stood her ground. She thought about following up with the organization’s leadership, but never did.

A week later she received a letter from the organization informing her how she could start donating again if her financial situation improved. But Ann had been so hurt by this experience with the organization that there was no chance she would ever support them again.

If we don’t care about our donors, our organization and ultimately those whom we care for, will suffer.

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.

7 Time-Tested Tips For Building Stronger Donor Relationships

imagesGMI3ULB2Be Genuine. Speak from your heart. Be true to who you are. Don’t say what you think they want to hear just to get a donation.

Take responsibility for your mistakes. Fess up before you’re found out. Apologize when you are wrong. Listen graciously to their concerns.

Keep your promises. Do what you said you would do. If you are unable to keep your promise, call them and explain why.

Be respectful. Respect their opinions. Respect their wishes in regards to receiving mail from you. Respect their privacy. Respect their decision on how they would like to designate their donation.

Show your appreciation. Say thank you. Tell them how grateful you are for them. Tell them the story of how their contributions make a difference. Tell them how inspiring they are.

Listen. 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.

Recognition. Brag about them every chance you get. Share the story of their generosity and compassion. Tell others how much you value their ideas and involvement and how they are changing the world.

It’s not Rocket Science. Think about how you would like to be treated and apply it to your donors.

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.

What You Do Is NOT Who You Are

History has demonstrated all along–that people with carefully defined missions have always led and surpassed those who have none. ~ Laurie Beth Jones

identity-crisisIt’s easy to tie your identity to your job, especially if you love your work.

But your job description is not who you are. It’s what you do. If, for whatever reason, your job should cease to exist, what would happen to you?

Who are you outside of your work life? If you don’t know the answer to this question, you could have an identity crisis should you suddenly find yourself unemployed.

I know from personal experience just what this feels like. A few years back I was employed in the job of my dreams. Unfortunately, my identity was tied to my job and when it all came crashing down, I was devastated.

To learn more about this story, check out  When It Comes Completely Undone .

So how can you distinguish who you are from what you do? Following, are two tips for your consideration:

1. Create a personal Vision Statement and Mission Statement

It works for organizations. It keeps them on track and prevents them from drifting off in a million directions. Making decisions is easier when measured against a mission statement. It will also work for you. You can work with a career coach or access any number of books on the subject to assist you in building your personal vision and mission statements. I found  The Path by Laurie Beth Jones to be very helpful.

2. Develop a Personal Role Description

You have a job description that pertains to your duties at work. Why not create a personal role description that aligns with your values and who you are at work, home or anywhere else? A personal role description is more encompassing than your job description. It speaks to your core values and how you interact with your family, friends, the guy at the gas bar, etc. It outlines how you conduct yourself and reflects who you truly are no matter where you are.

Your vision/mission statements and personal role description will simplify your decision-making and help you to more easily recognize opportunities that line up with your passions and values.

What you do is not who you are. How do you differentiate between the two? What processes have you used to create a mission/vision statement and/or define yourself?

The purpose of The Other Bottom Line 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.