Simone Uncensored

January 7, 2019

Hard Skillls and Soft Skills

Make sure you know the difference. Make sure you know how important soft skills are.

Hey out there….fundraisers and fundraiser bosses… Check this out: Hiring effective sales people requires identifying the soft skills and traits that are fundamental to success. WOW. I soooooo thought of fundraising.

What to ask a candidate: “What motivates you as a sales profession?” 2 columns. Good answers (Go Green!!)    Potential red flags…

And those potential red flags sound so much like bad fundraising:

“The thrill of closing a deal keeps me coming back….I’m driven to come out in first place every quarter and to really maximize….I’ll do whatever it takes to grow our customer base. I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer!” This is not, actually, good motivation. This is quite questionable.

Have you ever heard talk like this in fundraising? Has your boss ever told you something like this: “You didn’t talk about us? You spent 2 hours with the donor and didn’t tell her why we need money and what for? If you ever do that again, I’ll fire you.”

I just love those initials WTF…. I mean really.

Really. I really mean, read this thing about motivation and inspiration and…. Click here now. Then think about your organization.

 

 

 

January 3, 2019

Sophia and The Princess Bride

Once upon a time, there was a young girl (5 years old) named Sophia.

Sophia and her mom were watching the movie The Princess Bride.

In this one scene: Our hero Westley – and his beloved Princess Buttercup – flee through an icky landscape with many icky things chasing and snatching and and … Buttercup is mostly kinda shrieking and fluttering and doing all those icky things attributed to “girls” – that real girls (#LikeAGirl) actually don’t do so much.

Over and over, Westley rescues Buttercup from dasdardly evildoers and gruesome monsters.

Sophia is squealing and cheering as the story progresses. But…

Sophia finally jumps up and actually yells at Princess Buttercup. “Stop waiting for Westley to help you. Quit screaming and fight!”

After the story ends – of course, happily – Sophia invents a new game to play with her mom. But Sophia makes a slight variation.

“Mommy, you play Westley and I’m Buttercup. And don’t rescue me. I can rescue myself!” 

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That’s my kind of girl, woman, female…person.

Read this delightful book. Watch this cool movie. Cult status.

Check out William Goldman: American novelist, playwright, screenwriter. (Died 11-16-18.) Some of his other work: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Marathon Man.  A Bridge Too Far. All the President’s Men (Adaptation of the Bernstein/Woodward book). And so much more.

And for the writers out there, here’s what Goldman said…. “Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.” [William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade.]

December 13, 2018

Will your kids earn more than you earn?

The Opportunity Atlas … social mobility data.

The USA has been justly proud …. for decades …. that “kids earn more than their parents earned.” You know…. Every generation has a better life.

But that’s not true anymore. The change began happening in the 1980s. Now it’s possible to “trace the roots of today’s affluence and poverty back to the neighborhoods where people gew up.”

“See where and for whom opportunity has been missing and develop local solutions to help more children rise out of poverty.”

Wow. That’s one hell of a promise. You and me… Our communities… Our charities… Our beloved philanthropic sector… And even our governments!!!! can help fix this.

I’m looking athe map right now. It’s not pretty. It’s not even acceptable. Income? Highest household income on the scale = $56,000. Lowest = $23,000.

What else to say? Please check this out, you USers.

 

Filed under: Research, Resources

December 10, 2018

Great New Year gift for YOU!

LEARNING.   Learning more.   Learning new.   Developing yourself!!!   LIFELONG LEARNER.

Check out the Masters Program in Philanthropy and Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

See what the students say in this video.

Check out what our graduates are doing… For example:

  • Aaron Sanderson (SMUMN Cohort 20) has been recognized by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) as one of the Forty Under 40.
  • Cathy Mann (SMUMN Cohort 23) has been recognized as AFP Greater Toronto’s 2018 Outstanding Fundraising Professional.

The SMIT  (Single Most Important Thing)… THE RESIDENCY... On campus for 1 week together. Intensity of learning together, face-to-face. Sharing. Arguing. Laughing. Learning. (And you’ll want to build that back home in your office!)

Of course, there are great courses. I’m sharing just the tip of the iceberg in these bullets.

  • Foundations of fundraising – and major and capital gift fundraising.
  • Governance. Because the best fundraisers are highly knowledgeable about boards and board members and how to involve them and keep them in the right stuff and out of the other stuff!
  • Strategic planning. Because without good institutional planning, how can your organization raise charitable gifts?
  • Program assessment and evaluation. The criteria and process for creating programs with measurable outcomes. Without this, how can you prove that your nonprofit actually makes a difference?
  • And how about legal and ethical issues? Some pretty weird stories there, I’ll bet!

 

 

December 1, 2018

Annual to-do thing

Imagine showing this video every single year …. for your staff and for your board. Exploring questions. Then talking about the implications and applications for you as individuals, those you serve, and and and …

Better yet, imagine actually doing this live. And sure, staff and board members together.

And how about engaging donors in this? Hmmmm……

Learn about why and how and good and bad and and and on the Internet.

And check out the workshop at 2018 AFP Congress, too.

November 26, 2018

WOW! This could be so very cool!

THE PHILANTHROPY INITIATIVE AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY 

Thanks Jeff Broberg, cohort 17, MA in Philanthropy and Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for sharing this!!!

“The Philanthropy initiative is a long-term project to collect, research, document, and display materials relating to the history and impact of American philanthropy, broadly-defined. An annual program, The Power of Giving: Philanthropy’s Impact on American Life, and changing exhibition, Giving in America, explore the collaborative power of giving in all forms and at all levels across a wide spectrum of issues and movements.”

HOW GREAT… Philanthrop is part of American history. Remember the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville — and his article “Democracy in America.” In this article, de Tocqueville wrote about civil and political society and the individual.

….Videos. Exhibits. Info about who gives and why and how and what we give. Giving and the arts, environment. Sample pledge letters and more.

Thank you thank you, Jeff!!!!

November 25, 2018

#fightinequality

WOW. I’m listening to Ben Phillips speak at the UN.

The concluding panel of the UN Conference on Overcoming Inequalities, November 2018.

Only 9 minutes long. Listen. Please listen. Reflect. Please please reflect.

We have so much work to do and we’re just not yet doing it well enough.

Filed under: Leadership

November 20, 2018

I think this is rather bad news

New report exposes top-heavy philanthropy and its risk to the Independent Sector.”

What does this mean? Our sector – the nonprofit charitable sector – is changing … transitioning … Not so much broad-based support from lots of different donors giving different amounts of money. Now philanthropy is increasingly dominated by a small number of very wealthy individuals and foundations.”

  • Significant decline in # of households giving to charity
  • Private wealth in US is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands — And philanthropic power is held in fewer hands, too

I think this is bad. No wait!! I think this is very terribly bad!!! Very very awful and deeply deeply sad. So very sad.

Money money money…. dominates too much. Dominates!! So the wealthy give money for specific things – and that doesn’t necessarily include ensuring an equitable society. Big money dominates choices made in corporations and charities and yes, government, too.

Money = power in our society. Money to elect the people who maybe don’t much care about civil society and civic capacity and equity. Most money is held by a few. The few expect and demand certain ways of doing things. Too many donors have their own ideas about how to solve problems and do stuff and… Those few may not (probably do not) know the right stuff and understand the lives of those who experience life differently.

I’ve been writing about philanthropy as a democratizing activity for more than a decade. And this new report comments: “Charity is now becoming increasingly undemocratic…”

I believe that philanthropy faces (has always faced) a moral dilemma…Big bucks. Wealthy people. Major gifts. The “right” people on our boards to get those major donors. (By the way, if there are major donors and major gifts – that means there are minor ones, too!!!!!) Read “Philanthropy’s Moral Dilemma,” the final chapter of Keep Your Donors: The Guide to Better Communications and Stronger Relationships (2008, Joyaux and Ahern).

I talk about philanthropy as an opportunity to make change – and making change must must must include ensuring social justice. I’ve long thought that philanthropy was too much about the status quo. I want philanthropy to also be a subversive activity. I want progressive philanthropy that strives for social justice. And that means a broad, diverse donor base.

This is what I believe: No healthy society can exist when only the wealthy play…lead…dominate…control. No matter the intentions of those wealthy. Some of the biggest most important movements in this country – and worldwide – weren’t led by or funded by the wealthy.

Read this report. Talk about the values and meanings therein. Talk about the implications for your organization…for your local community…for your nation and the world.

Talk about this report as part of a board meeting. (And yes, all senior staff and board members should read this!) It’s past time to talk about philanthropy’s moral dilemma. Way past time.

I’m sad and hugely pissed. And not surprised.

 

November 12, 2018

Notes from my dorm room

Thinking about my SMUMN…where I teach every summer. And yes, live in a dorm. Students and faculty are colleagues. We talk and disagree and agree and learn together. Just check out these comments from Cohort 28 final projects….

Some very good CRQs (cage-rattling questions). Thank you, members of Cohort 28!

  1. Without passion, purpose, or predictability – what’s keeping me here?
  2. How can we embrace both stability and creativity?
  3. What are we – and only we – in the ideal position to achieve?
  4. Questions to ask donors: How has this organization transformed your life? Out of all the gifts you’ve given, which one is most memorable to you – and why? How do your core values impact your philanthropy?
  5. To what extent does status affect a person’s ability to make impact on a large philanthropic scale?

 

 

 

November 6, 2018

Say thank you better. It’s even more important than you think!!!

New research PROVES how massively important saying thank-you really is!!

Yes, I know that you know that saying thanks is important. Your mom told you so, right? Or maybe your grandma? At least someone told you so.

But now we have actual academic research carried out by the amazing team at the Philanthropy  Centre and a team of philanthropic psychologists at Plymouth University, U.K. (Make sure you subscribe to the Philanthropy Centre!!!!!)

Hey, people out there. This is real and valuable and applicable to any organization no matter the size. Imagine what the findings will do for your fundraising!

  • The summary: Even subtle changes to communications have the ability to profoundly influence how good donors feel as a result of reading that communication. AND! There’s evidence that the recommended practices have the potential to increase average donation amount, response rate, and how good the donor feels and….
  • A few specifics: How/when to use an email thanks. Thanking donors who give most frequently. And……………….Download the research! Apply it!

Report authors: Professor Jen Shang. Professor Adrian Sargeant. Kathryn Carpenter. Harriet Day.

Sponsors…YES!!! Donors… The marvelously wonderful organizations that made this possible. In alpha order: Bloomerang Inc,  Institute for Conversational Fundraising, and Pursuant Inc.

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So now I’m going to play around with thank yous.

Hello research sponsors Bloomerang, Institute for Conversational Fundraising, and Pursuant. WOW! OH MY GOSH!! So absolutely marvelously wonderfully important for the nonprofit sector and world of philanthropy…

Without your leadership support, Pursuant, my clients wouldn’t know how massively important thank you is. Sure my clients know it’s important. But there’s so much else to do and…. So thank you Pursuant for your ongoing support of the Philanthropy Centre’s research.

Gracias, Kent. We haven’t talked or seen each other in ages. How wonderful to see your support of critical research for fundraising. We’ve got a long way to go to strengthen fundraising – and your support helps us all move forward. Thank you so much.

Hey Bloomie peeps… You know I love you. And again, you’re sponsoring critical research about donor retention. Thank you et merci!! With donors like you, we can help nonprofits around the world. Thank you again.

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And here’s just a bit of what our sponsors – our exceptional donors – say about the research findings. Their testimony reminds us of what great research can do.

“If charities were as studious and deliberate about thanking as they are about asking for philanthropic support what a difference it would make!” Kent Stroman, Principal and Founder, Institute for Conversational Fundraising

“…The time and effort used for proper acknowledgements is easily justified based upon the results of this study where significant increases in funding were realized!” So says Jay Love, Chief Relationship Officer and Co-founder of Bloomerang

“…Cultivation and acknowledgement is vital to building strong, long lasting and authentic relationships with donors.” Rebecca Gregory Segovia, Executive Vice President, Pursuant 

 

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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