This has been an amazing week in America, Generous Changers!
We are truly blown away by this $29 million gift from the blockchain tech company, Ripple. With their cryptocurrency gift, Ripple funded every single project on DonorsChoose.org - a public school crowdfunding platform where teachers submit projects or classroom materials in need of funding, like this one from Mrs. McCarthy at Chaplain Watters Elementary School 24 in New Jersey. Her 6th through 8th graders are "...ravenous for books that are able to provide them with self to text connections." She's asked for $557 to buy a set of 66 novels. Anyone who loves a great book would agree with Mrs. McCarthy when she says, "We may not be able to take many trips, but these books would make for a wild adventure!"
Led by our amazing friend (and Jayhawk) Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple made the largest contribution of digital currency ever to a single charity. The gift will fund projects like Mrs. McCarthy's, submitted by over 28,200...
Happy Friday, changemakers!
This week while working on branding (for ourselves and some of your orgs), we came across this quote:
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This feels especially resonant for fundraisers. Several of you have told us that it can be tempting to become a chameleon in donor conversations. (We've done it; it feels creepy.) Resist the temptation! As Emerson knew, you connect and inspire best when you are ... you.
We're reading: Derek Black, an heir apparent in the white nationalist movement, until he attended New College of Florida. There, he was invited by fellow students to a Shabbat dinner, which he attended that first night and regularly for the next two years. "Outreach and discourse won't magically solve the problem of hate. But without those private conversations with people I cared about, I might not have seen the weaknesses in my arguments....
If you are looking to reinvigorate your work and achieve at the next level, we recommend this great read (picked up at the airport like most good books): Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More, by Harvard B-School prof Morten Hansen. It has great insights for fundraisers.
Hansen identifies seven principles that "accounted for a whopping 66 percent" of variation in work performance while also providing "better work-life balance, higher job satisfaction, and less burnout." Who doesn't want that?
Here they are:
This week has flown by. Hope it was a great one for you!
We led our very first Fundraisers' University course for 21 amazing nonprofit leaders in Kansas City. An awesome range of fundraisers and executive directors - from one-day-on-the-job to 12 years, from a $440K budget up to $1.2B - joined us at Nonprofit Connect. We threw candy at them, said "yay" about 27 times and left truly inspired by their drive, curiosity and missions.
We're feeling this quote from author Mary Anne Radmacher:
"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way."
We're reading The Generosity Network. I can't believe it took us this long to find this beautiful fundraising book! Authors, Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker, are 1000% speaking our language, with chapters on "human-to-human connection," "transparency & vulnerability," and "the fundraiser as mentor and guide." If you love a good philosophical experiment, check out the Brave New World exercise on page 78. The goal is to help...
Wish you were here with us in sunny San Diego for Social Media Marketing World 2018 - the conference.
True confession: we came here a little grudgingly. Two years ago, Jenna and I weren't even on Facebook - and we didn't want to be. We thought social media was mostly a waste of time. We. Were. Wrong.
This conference has absolutely wowed us. Every single talk has focused on community, connection, trust, service. Is that all that happens on social media? Of course not. But it's the best of what can happen on social media - and it's exactly what nonprofits do best.
We've also learned endless tools and approaches that can help nonprofits maximize their reach, build their following and boost fundraising.
We are listening to, watching and reading these amazing social media gurus:
Happy Friday, Generous Changer!!
Finding inspiration absolutely everywhere this week. Lots and lots of it! (Read to the end for links to cool tools!)
Quote we're loving:
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde
We're reading: Bill and Melinda Gates' Annual Letter 2018. (There's a teaser version on LinkedIn, where I first saw it.) I am pretty fan-girly about these two - they take their philanthropy very seriously. But my favorite part of this letter is the personal bit at the end:
"Maybe 20 years ago, we could have made a different choice about what to do with our wealth. But now it’s impossible to imagine. If we’d decided to live a different life then, we wouldn’t be us now. This is who we chose to be."
A great reminder that giving means a lot to generous people - it can be deeply defining. Which makes our role as connectors to causes honorable, enviable, lucky.
We're viewing: the Picasso show at the Nelson-Atkins...
Asking for money before you even know someone can feel creepy.
And it may not be appropriate. But....it probably is.
This potential donor knows why you're there, right? At the very least, they saw the signature line of your meeting request?
Think of it this way: if they know what you do, then it's actually weirder not to talk about money. Right? Kinda gets things off on the wrong foot?
Honestly, if you don't say something on this first visit, it only gets more awkward later.
Here are a few approaches that may help (thanks to peeps on Office Hours last week for asking!).
If s/he already gives at any level:
Happy Friday, Generous Changers!
This week we've been so inspired by the amazing nonprofit leaders in our Fundraisers' University and Fundraisers' Monthly. These hard-working humans exemplify servant leadership and remind us that we learn so much more - in every single interaction - when we ask great questions.
Quote we're digging:
"What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question." -Jonas Salk
We're watching: Simon Sinek talking about leadership on Marie TV. This is seriously good stuff. Heart of the matter: those with leadership roles are responsible for their people (more than "production"). If leadership is at all an obsession for you, as it is for us, give it a watch.
Bonus takeaway: just seeing a generous act provides a jolt of oxytocin, a happy hormone!
We're reading: The Coaching Habit. We cannot refer people to this book too much. The subtitle says it all: "Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way...
First visits with potential donors are awkward.
You're meeting a stranger.
They're meeting you.
This can lead to all kinds of nervousness...
...and that voice in your head telling you you need to sound smart, be likeable, say all the right things AND ask for money...
This month, in Fundraisers' Monthly, we're talking all about the Discovery Visit:
How can you show up to your next discovery visit calm and confident?
Here are the 4 keys to being your best in every conversation:
1. Be Authentic. - Be You. This sounds obvious and easy, but it isn't. I've walked into the offices of plenty of super-successful CEO's, lawyers, hedge fund managers, museum curators and filmmakers feeling inadequate. That voice in my head told me I wasn't smart enough or successful enough to be talking to those people.
Happy Friday, Generous Changers!
This week flew by for us - as in, holy moly, where can I buy some more hours?! Hope it was a good one for you.
Coming up next in Fundraisers' Monthly is the discovery visit - how to have the conversation, what to (and not to) ask and how to turn the convo to money, even and especially when it feels super awkward.
So, we're in deep thought about great conversation....
Quote we're digging:
"Be interested, not interesting."
Dale Carnegie said that first - and it's fantastic advice for fundraisers...and every single person who wants to be a great conversationalist!
We're watching: the super brilliant Dan Pink on the ABC's of Persuasion.