Want a little UPLIFT?

Jun 17, 2019

Behold the remarkable (smart, driven, open-hearted) women of UPLIFT.

Thank you, ladies, for two days of candid conversation, thinking big about work and life, and powerful planning. We will never forget it!

One comment we treasure, from the fabulous Kim Schmelz:

I loved that the whole conference had dialogue...I didn’t drift off to my own space once!

Thanks, Kim!

Here’s what UPLIFT proved:

  1. You are hungry for dialogue – real conversations, often about tough stuff without easy answers.
  2. You learn as much from each other – regardless of position or “experience” – as from “experts,” so diverse groups matter.
  3. We are (much) better together – healthy teams, tribes, troupes achieve more and have a lot more fun.

It has never mattered more to find your voice and use it, bravely and authentically, in service of big visions. The ladies of UPLIFT made an amazing start and we can't wait to hear what every single one of them do next.


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When's the last time you tried something new?

Apr 19, 2019

It had been a long, long time since I tried something really, truly new that scared me.

It was not pretty and it was not easy.

It was exhilarating, terrifying, kinda humiliating, and really inspiring.

This spring break, I learned how to SURF in Costa Rica!!

On Day 3, when I was finally standing up more than falling, I had a revelation (a few, actually):

When you try something totally new – and hard to do – you start with a lot of instructions. You tell yourself the 1, 2, 3, 4 in your head. Chest up, jump up, feet parallel, look UP, butt DOWN, arm up, etc.

Pretty soon, you realize that your brain and/or your body just can’t follow all those instructions. They basically have to happen all at once. You can’t remember and recite them, you just have to DO.

Soon after that, you realize that instead of trying to control the whole thing (because you really, really CAN’T), you’re going to have to surrender and trust your brain/body to start getting it...

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Is Work/Life Balance Weakness?

Mar 15, 2019

I struck a nerve.

Over the last week, we've been sharing tips & tools to reclaim your time and prevent burnout.

I've gotten some pushback, including this short and sweet email:

"No issue from me.  I CAN HANDLE IT!!  MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY."

Who knew time management could be so controversial?

Others have sent notes admitting their 24-7 work habits, but chalk it up to a need to be challenged, the excitement of being busy and a deep love for their work.

This feedback made me wonder: Do we see work/life balance as weakness? (said in my best Sarah Jessica Parker narration)

The truth: I've done my fair share of eye-rolling about work/life balance.

The phrase feels cliche, overused and almost impossible to achieve.

Then, I started this business. Work became life - in great ways (like typing this in comfy pants & slippers) and in mind-breaking, pain-inducing, panic-producing ways (how will I make money today?!).

One of the amazing parts of this business is talking with...

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Can I Reach You Anytime? Reclaim Your Time Tips #2 & #3.

Mar 13, 2019

Do you ever say this to your donors:

You can reach me anytime!

Do you ever say it to your staff, your colleagues, your dean or your boss?

Do you actually want to be reached anytime by your job??

No! You have a big ol' life with lots of other humans you want to spend time with.

As of this very moment, I hereby give you permission to never ever say, write or type "You can reach me anytime" again!

Over the past month, we've heard from fundraisers across the country during our 3 Solutions to Burnout webinars.

Fundraisers feel tied to their phones and their email.

They feel obligated to be in constant contact.

They feel guilty for shutting down.

If you're feeling this way, you are not alone!

With so many demands on your time, it's easy to feel trapped.

This leads to burnout - which we HATE - and don't want for you.

Here's a few tips to help you reclaim your time:

Reclaim Your Time Tip #2 (Go here if you missed Tip #1):

Set a Digital Sunset.

Make a commitment to stop looking at your...

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Do you EVER have enough time? Reclaim your time tip #1.

Mar 13, 2019

Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel like you did a zillion things, but you didn't actually accomplish anything?

Do you feel like you never, ever have enough time?

You are not alone!

Over the past month, we've heard this from fundraisers across the country during our 3 Solutions to Burnout webinars.

Never enough time was one of the biggest challenges for fundraisers across the board.

Why is your time disappearing into the dark void of The Upside Down?:

  • Meetings (too many!)
  • Requests from deans & faculty
  • Travel (planning, executing, following up)
  • Analysis Paralysis (all that time you spend sorting & researching who you should reach out to)
  • Humans (colleagues who stop by your office, bosses who want to have more meetings or staff you manage)

What can you do to take back your time?

Here's a tip to help you take control of your time.

Reclaim Your Time Tip #1:

  • Do a time log. I know this doesn't sound exciting. In fact, it sounds like one more thing to do, but stick...
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Favorite Things of 2018

Jan 25, 2019

The first month of 2019 is almost over.

Have you taken a breath?

With so much focus on forward movement - the next donor meeting, the next gift, the next campaign - we hereby give you permission to reflect.

Think of one moment of pure, bubbly, insanely happy joy from 2018.

Go on...

Do it right now...

How can you make more of this joy in 2019 and fill it with all of your favorite things?

If you need some inspiration, check out our latest podcast. We review our very favorite books, movies, places, wine, food, advice, realizations and generous moments from 2018.

Here are a few to get you started:

We're obsessed with Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri. This letter to our first woman president spotlights the way we think about powerful women, challenges us to embrace emotions (yes, even at work) and reminds us to trust our gut.

P.S. Jennifer is our keynote speaker for UPLIFT! If you're a woman in development, register today!

One of my favorite places on earth is the Raggeds...

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3 Things Every Fundraiser Wants

Jan 18, 2019

Just back from CASE District VI!

We met amazing fundraisers from universities and community colleges all across the country.

This conference was a huge reminder of 3 things every fundraiser wants to be successful.

  1. Partnership:
    • With your boss: Bosses have a huge impact on your work life. You stay because of them. You leave because of them. It can feel like your boss controls your destiny. In our session, How to Make Your Boss Love U, we talked through habits to take control of your own destiny - to measure the metrics that really matter to your success - to write visit reports that demonstrate your insane awesomeness.
    • With your donors: You help donors make real change. You have the skills to do ANYTHING, but you choose to raise money for a nonprofit. (P.S. You're insanely awesome!)
  2. Mentorship:
    • Fundraising can be isolated. No one sits next to you to tell you what you did right or wrong. You need advice from fundraisers who've walked in your shoes - who've been where you are....
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7 Reasons You MUST Attend a Conference in 2019

Jan 11, 2019

Nancy and I are definitely addicted to learning.

We signed up for seven conferences last year.

They have fundamentally changed us in amazing ways.

We want this for you!

So here are 7 reasons you MUST attend a conference in 2019:

1. Inspiration: Fresh perspective, amazing speakers and memorable quotes abound at the best conferences. 

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva, inspired us at Social Media Marketing World. Guy gains 900 new connections on LinkedIn every day. How? He takes a stand - on politics and everything else. He believes that standing up and standing for something matters, in life and on the internet. 

Kawasaki shared this inspiration from Elie Wiesel:

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

We were so blown away by Social Media Marketing World, we wrote this blog about it.

2. New Ideas: 6 months or 6 years into fundraising, you always always need new ideas!...

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Fundraising: The Beauty & The Pain

Dec 14, 2018

This week, I've been reminded of the beauty and the pain of fundraising.


Variety - In fundraising, every day is different. You decide who to call, where to go and what to say. You're constantly trying new things, meeting new people & traveling to new places (even if a lot of those places are Starbucks!).

Learning - Every new conversation yields a new idea, life lesson or new aspiration. Donors share their secrets to retiring at 50, their dreams for how they'll be remembered and their family recipes for chocolate chip cookies.

Generosity -You see the very best in humans. You sit with someone as they decide to give their money away. They could do absolutely anything else with that money, but they choose your org. That's magical.


Paralysis - When you don't know who to call, where to go or what to ask for, your office can feel like prison. You have those brutal days - where you just stare at a list of names for hours, but never actually send an email or pick...

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Dec 07, 2018

Anand Giridharadas calls philanthropy “the elite charade of changing the world.” I respectfully disagree.

Giridharadas makes many excellent points in his new book, WINNERS TAKE ALL, but his focus on Big Philanthropy obscures the remarkable good done by regular-people-like-us-philanthropy, and especially the ways that small, place-based nonprofits do change the world, in ways little and large, every day.

This is the story of an award-winning chef, a plucky nonprofit, a generous family and the community foundation that put it all together and changed some lives.


Micki Chestnut has a very different take than Donald Trump on how to “Make America Great Again.” She prefers a different president’s motto.

“Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’ That’s been a touchstone for me. And I thought, I can do something right here, right...

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