Friday Inspirations, Episode 16 :)

May 11, 2018

Wow! We are watching Gates, Rockefeller, and Chan Zuckerberg take aim at poverty in the U.S. We geek out on seeing theories of change in action.

The Gates Scholarships embrace education as the way out of poverty and reward the best and brightest. Rockefeller and Chan Zuckerberg's Communities Thrive Challenge lifts up communities' own innovative, scalable solutions. 

If you do community work to alleviate/eliminate inequality, check out the Challenge! Grants are $1 million plus technical assistance and big publicity for results. Amazing!

We are reading The Culture Code, on how groups get and stay successful. Belonging is, unsurprisingly, at the center. Turns out the amygdala, that old reptilian part of our brains, not only spurs fight-or-flight, it also detects "belonging cues" and uses "immense unconscious neural horsepower to build and sustain your social bond." Fun fact: 

  • People at a train station during a rain storm were approached by a stranger....
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Better Boards

Apr 27, 2018

This week, we were lucky to listen to Anne Wallestad, CEO of BoardSource. She presented findings of their excellent report, Leading with Intent.

This survey of over 1,700 nonprofit leaders showed that 67% of executives and 64% of board chairs said fundraising performance needs to improve. So, if you're wishing your board would step up to raise money, you are not alone!

 Two things we can all do to help: 

  1. Be clear about fundraising expectations when recruiting and orienting new board members.
  2. Provide lots of "mission moments" so that board members really know what your org is up to and can tell personal stories about why it matters.

Check out the report for tons of nuggets on how to help your board be the one everyone wants to join - and the one that makes an inspiring difference.

Need a little help with board inspiration? We are reading THE POWER OF MOMENTS, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book is full of amazing ideas to provide moments of elevation,...

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You are a Badass

Apr 20, 2018

That's right! We said it.

You. Are. A. BADASS!

If you need a little reminder, refresher or reinforcement of how badass you really are, read Jen Sincero's books, You Are A Badass & You Are A Badass At Making Money

We are still fan-girling over Jen's talk this week at super awesome Watermark Books in Wichita.

She was irreverent, honest, sarcastic and inspiring - all the things you'd hope for in an author who titles chapters: Love the One You Is, Your Brain is Your Bitch and Gratitude: The Gateway Drug to Awesomeness.

I keep a copy of Jen's 10 Secrets to Being a Badass in my office. Here are 3 of my favorites:

  • Leap Large - Take risks. All the time. Big, hairy, scary ones. Thrilling and terrifying are opposite sides of the same coin - if you're serious about changing your life, you will be feeling them both. Often. They are excellent signs that you're on the right path. When you get an intuitive hit to do something scary, run straight towards it before the excuses start...
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Friday Inspirations, Episode 10 :)

Mar 23, 2018

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....

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Friday Inspirations, Episode 9 :)

Mar 16, 2018

Happy Friday! 

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:

  1. Do less, then obsess: Choose just the few things that matter most and then absolutely obsess  - make huge efforts to do terrific work in those areas. (If you don't have it already, see our Purpose-Driven Productivity Formula!)
  2. Redesign your work: don't pursue goals, but value. For example, instead of "Visit with 150 donors," you might want to "Advance meaningful gift conversations with 100 donors." You know...
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Friday Inspirations, Episode 8 :)

Mar 09, 2018

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...

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How To Talk About Money On Your First Visit

Feb 20, 2018
 

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:

  • "Thank you so much for your generous gifts through the years." And, as you discover what s/he is excited about/interested in, then name a level of support and ask about future interest: "It is amazing for students to have international experiences. We have a lot of donors who give $1,000/year to help with tickets - often that alone makes it possible. Some have...
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How to Have Your Best Discovery Visit

Feb 13, 2018

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:

  • Phrases to help turn the conversation to money
  • The best questions to ask in discovery meetings
  • Tips to make your best case for your org
  • Keys to being your best in every conversation

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.

But...

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Friday Inspirations, Episode 4 :)

Feb 09, 2018
 

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. 

  • Attunement: Can you attune yourself to someone else, understand their perspective?
  • Buoyancy: How to you remain afloat in an ocean of rejection? Fundraisers know all about this! Turns out questioning your abilities is more effective than pumping yourself up. 
  • Clarity: There's a ton of information...
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Should I Stay or Should I Go?:

Feb 06, 2018

Retention.

It's a big hairy issue in fundraising - one that's made up of a ton of other big hairy issues: time, money, engagement, productivity, training, management and culture.

Why should you care?

If you lead a nonprofit - money & time (and time is money!).

  • According to research by Penelope Burk, it costs a minimum of $127,650 to replace a fundraiser.
  • The average tenure of a front-line fundraiser is 2 years, but it takes at least 10 to 12 months for fundraisers to feel up to speed in a new role.

If you're a manager - you have the power!

  • 50% of employees who quit cite their manager as the reason.
  • Managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. (No surprise: Engaged employees are happier and more productive.)
  • In short, great management makes all the difference,
  • But, nonprofits provide little to no training for fundraising managers.

If you're a fundraiser - you want to succeed.

  • You're driven by meaning & mission.
  • You get little to no training....
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