Simone Uncensored

April 21, 2020

Feeling weird

PERSONAL…….. Sometimes I just feel weird … and kinda sad … and …  (And, of course, so do you and so does everyone else, too.)

I was listening to DANIEL over and over… The Elton John/Bernie Taupin song. Elton is the famous one. But without Bernie’s lyrics??… So maybe I feel badly for Bernie?

And DANIEL always makes me think of Nam. Nam (Vietnam) was my war. For my generation. My first husband. My brother. Even my father … as Papa Georges used to say: “Why do you Americans think you can win in Vietnam? The French never did.” Ah yes, French Indochina…L’Indochine… My dad served in the Free French Army after the liberation (WWII). He and a bunch of his friends re-enlisted. (WTF?! I should have asked him why.) His re-enlistment papers were lost. That’s good. Because all of his re-enlisted friends went off to L’Indochine – and died there.

Have you ever read my story about Viet Nam?

Or how about this Simone Uncensored?

Shit…How did I start thinking about Nam this morning. WTF? Talking with my great accountant…another Tom. Talking about gift giving and then Elton John and then Daniel…And then Nam.

Maybe I need to cry?

Cry because of the world. The older world and Nam. The newest world and the coronoa virus.

One more listen to Elton and Bernie’s DANIEL. And then BENNIE AND THE JETS – to change the mood. Getting ready for a 10 a.m. client meeting. And I have 20 minutes to get it together!!

Filed under: Social Commentary, Stuff

April 20, 2020

Rich people&coronavirus…YouMe&philanthropy

This lengthy article is the result of reading an article by Andy Serwer with Max Zahn: “Why the rent is due for rich people in the time of the coronavirus.”  Read the Serwer/Zahn article first.

And now, watch out, I’m going to babble and even lecture a bit. You know me…the Simone Uncensored bitch…So here goes……………….

………….An Article in the time of the Coronavirus…from Simone Joyaux…………..   

Philanthropy….From the Greek, philanthropia. Love of humankind. But my favorite definition of philanthropy comes from John Gardner, voluntary action for the common good.

Doesn’t matter if it’s $10 or $25 million. Voluntarily taking action for the common good. Common good…community…Concept of civil society.

And, of course, philanthropy means giving money AND/OR!!!! time.

Of course I want the very rich to give lots of money. Especially as millions of people worldwide are losing their jobs, closing their businesses…

However, I must say that I’m really tired of the focus on big money and big news, e.g., disasters like a hurricane or coronavirus. Because shit happens every day and people have been starving for decades and living on the streets and guns keep killing kids and college is too expensive and there’s no universal healthcare. And in the USA, only 2% or so of GDP has gone to charity during the past 60 years. (I hope you read Giving USA, the annual report.)

Ah, the big money…Certainly the culture of the US of A. Money money money…The celebrity of wealth. Big money always seems to win. What a terrible culture.

One of my pet peeves is the phrase “major donor” and “major gift”… All that money that those wealthy people give/gave… I’m pretty damn sure it didn’t change their lives at all. I’d like everyone to think of the mother at the charter school (former client of mine) who gave 5 single dollar bills to the school where her child goes. And that money would have been spent on her family’s special holiday dessert. But she and her family gave the gift to the school instead.

Yes, I want those wealthy peeps to give and give more and give regularly. But I want every country and every person and everyone to respect the others who give time and money. Shall we call them the minor donors? Because if there are major donors, there must be minor donors. WTF!!

Here’s something I think about always…. Philanthropy…. VOLUNTARY action for the common goodSo I want everyone – especially those who have excess money – to choose to give.

And I suppose that I could say that since really wealthy people made their money from their communities … I’d like to think that those very wealthy people actually think that – on a pretty substantial level – that they actually “owe” care and voluntary action for the COMMON good.

In my deepest hopeful world, I dream that all people look at themselves and wonder what they might do for the common good. 

  • Obligations like voting – civic duty – building a civil society. Read Mike Edwards’ books about civil society.
  • DEFINITELY read Mike’s book Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the WorldTo me, this book is a must read for anyone who works in philanthropy. And I’m thinking a must read for all of us in society. Because for-profit business isn’t going to save any world…any community.

In my deepest soul, I dream that each of us and all of us look at others as human beings…with basic human rights…That we all fight for social justice…welcome inclusion…demand equity. And all that is built by a civil society…promoted through philanthropy…Voluntary action for the common good. That’s what I keep fighting for.

  • I respect the mother who gave those $5 to her children’s school.
  • I’m thankful that some really RICH people are giving money now…and I dream that they will give in the future as regular philanthropists.

I look at Tom and me…We aren’t Bezos or any of the other names in the article, “Why the rent is due for rich people in the time of coronavirus.” But we’ve worked hard for years and have no children and live life well — and we’re damn affluent!

Tom and I are so fortunate. We’ve saved enough to retire well, too. We have no children and no one who needs care from us. So 100% of our estate goes to charity. And every year we give approximately 20% of our income to charity. Why not? We have the money!

Philanthropy…Voluntary action for the common good. And there’s the challenge. I do believe that philanthropy is voluntary. In my dream world, everyone who can is philanthropic in some way. 

  • Giving time at the Food Bank or Planned Parenthood or that environmental org you love
  • Giving money to the charter school, to fight for women’s rights and against birth defects, to save the land and the water…to fight against the coronavirus…

Everyone gives for his/her/their own reasons … whether it’s businesses, foundations, individuals… You and your family, Tom and me.

  • Yes, some give charitable gifts to get their names broadcast around town and even around the world. Some give to get positive PR…to compensate for bad actions… for glory and fame…
  • Some give because they want to serve on the most famous/important board in the community.
  • Some give to fight homelessness – perhaps that person was once homeless or knew someone…
  • Others give because they love the land and water and worry about climate change and…

I’ve worked in the philanthropic sector for 45 years. It’s not my right to tell others where to give. It’s not my right to evaluate your choices.

I can hope that you give. I do hope you choose philanthropy – voluntary action for the common good – to be in your life. 

I have chosen philanthropy – even when I die…and am dead.

P.S. An interesting, perhaps, P.S. Based on their own missions, some charities won’t accept gifts if the proposed donor(s) have “tainted” money. Tobacco companies intentionally addicted people…so have some drug companies. Imagine the conversation that cancer and lung associations had and may still have, should we accept gifts from those businesses.

April 13, 2020

Just stuff

Have you ever read Harlan Coben’s books? Oh my. Good. Well written. Mysterious. Scary sometimes. Fun, too.

Right now, I’m reading MISSING YOU. 

First item: Great comment and wow can I ever visualize this……”The office was done in early American Elitism. Rich gurgundy leather chairs with gold buttons sat atop a forest green Oriental carpet. Paintings of fox hunts…The expansive desk…A large antique globe…”

WOW!! “early American Elitism” decor. Soooooooo cool!!!

Next item. Same book: The book is very good. But kinda spooky. And curious. And I keep trying to figure out the stuff and I’m agitated. I’m so distracted by “who did it…” I’m actually thinking of going to the end to find out. Then going back and finishing the book in it’s normal progression.

When I explained this to my dear friend Doris, her answer was very very very insightful and enormously helpful. In essence Doris said: “Sometimes it’s best to read the end and then go back and read through in the orderly intended way. Because now you can realize how great the author was. How carefully written…such masterly writing…and stuff.”

I haven’t decided yet, if I’m going to the end first.

Filed under: Just for fun

April 9, 2020

Do this NOW….PLEASE!!!!!!

COMPLETE THIS SURVEY? Why? Because participating in research is a great thing we pros should do to learn more.

https://philanthropycentre.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1NyS6PHv16MuQoR

If you’re a fundraiser – PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY. You’ll learn how you can do your work better, based on this research!!!! https://philanthropycentre.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1NyS6PHv16MuQoR

 

***** RESEARCH TOPIC: How do organizations plan their fundraising?

  • For example, questions like: What strategic issues do you consider? What’s the board role? What tools do you use? And so very much more!!!!
  • Just imagine: If you and I know the answers to all this — and more — imagine how we can improve our work!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!

***** SURVEY CONDUCTED BY: The marvelous Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy (Adrian Sargeant & Jen Shang).

 

CLICK NOW!!! https://philanthropycentre.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1NyS6PHv16MuQoR

 

And as the Institute says,Literally every reply we receive will make a MASSIVE difference AND we will love you forever!”

April 6, 2020

The fun times at home

What are you doing that’s fun…restricted in your own place away from all the others and scared sometimes?

Some of my favorite movies ever……..

The Princess Bride. One of the bestest ever. For adults not just kids. Both Tom and I love love love love this movie.

The Big Chill.  Another bestest one. A Lawrence Kasdan film. And Kasdan’s next film included Kevin Costner, who was cut from The Big Chill.

That next Kasdan film…which included Kevin Costner?? Silverado!! Another one of the Tom/Sim One favorite films.

Have you ever seen the original Magnificent Seven? Yul Brynner.

Yes… I like cowboy movies. Really like them. Watched cowboy movies with my dad. And WWII, too.

So that’s a few movies. More next time.


.

 

Filed under: Just for fun

March 25, 2020

Books to read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Important new books… Check them. Keep up with your lifelong learning!!!!!

It’s Not Just About the Money: How to Build Authentic Donor Relationships, 2nd edition. Authors are Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels. This is the revised and updated version. Richard P. and Jeff S. are Veritus Group. These are great guys. All that expertise in donor retention. Check out their Passionate Giving Blog, too. (By the way, the forward to this edition is written by Jeff Brooks.)

Fundraising 401: Masterclasses in nonprofit fundraising that would make Peter Drucker Proud. Author is Laurence A. Pagnoni, CEO of LAPA Fundraising, Inc. Me, Simone Joyaux, wrote the foreword. I’m a HUGE Drucker fan. And believe so deeply that fundraisers need to learn more than fundraising stuff!

Donor Care: How to Keep Donors Coming Back after the First Gift….Connect…Appreciate…Reply…Encourage. John Haydon is the author…with hte foreword by Tom Ahern. Cancer killed John just before the book was released.

Please read. Please learn. Please share and teach all the others. Our beloved sector must be stronger to help this world.

 

March 16, 2020

Why so many secrets?

[Another old Simone Uncensored… Before 2010…]

Who taught us to be secretive?

In business, we keep secrets from employees and customers. We keep secrets from donors and volunteers. Why?

Transparency is good. Honesty and truth build trust. Candor and communications nurture understanding and ownership.

Sure, you have to be conscientious and wise with transparency. You don’t violate the privacy of clients or employees. You probably don’t discuss litigation. You make judgments. But the default is, too often, “keep it private,” “don’t talk about it,” “there’s no need for them to know.”

Lack of transparency does a lot of damage, unnecessary damage when it’s so easy to be transparent.

Why not share your budget and financial report and financial situation with your donors, volunteers, and employees. Explain what’s happening and why. Explain what you are doing about the situation.

More transparency reduces the anxiety of not knowing. More transparency builds understanding and support. More transparency may generate useful insights and ideas – and more transparency with donors can certainly generate more gifts.

Maybe what I perceive as a lack of transparency could be lack of awareness and poor business practice on the part of nonprofits. Just the other day, I was trying to find the board members of a charity. But no list on the agency’s website. How silly. According to a recent study by GuideStar (“The State of Nonprofit Transparency, 2008: Voluntary Disclosure Practices”), only 73% of the studied charities post a board list online.

Another example: Your audited financial statement is a public document and should be readily available for anyone. Why make people ask? Just make it available, like on your website. But the GuideStar study said that only 13% of the studied charities post the audit online. And only 3% noted that the audit is available off line.

Transparency is good. Basic transparency about the fundamentals is essential; not to do so is just plain stupid. And more transparency is really really good and really builds trust, understanding, and ownership. And trust, understanding, and ownership bring many good things.

March 8, 2020

Learning and change…An old Simone Uncensored…2009

I just got off the telephone with a colleague who was bemoaning the fact that we just don’t change. We don’t change the way we do fund development.

Sure, people go to conferences. People listen to speakers and read books and even read research. But change doesn’t seem to be the result.

I agree with her. Hey, that’s what Keep Your Donors talks about a lot. Questioning and learning. Learning and change. And how individuals and organizations don’t do this enough.

In fact, asking why and questioning and learning and changing are the framework for the book. Just read Intermezzo #1 Why and Chapter 2 The Red Pants Factor and Intermezzo # 5 You and Your Organization Sprinting into the Future.

One of my favorite quotes says: “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” (From Dune: House Harkonnen, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Brian Herbert is Frank Herbert’s son. Dad Frank wrote Dune, one of those seminal books, a seminal sci fi book. I’m a big fan – of science fiction, especially science fiction fantasy.)

Anyway, back to questioning and learning and changing…

Asking why is more important than asking how. We ask “how” far too much. We learn a bunch of hows and combine a bunch of hows. And often just make a big mess. Without understanding “why,” knowing how just doesn’t help that much.

The French have a phrase, the folie du pourquoi. It means the craziness of asking why.

Just think about it. Anywhere anytime in the world some child asks, “Why?” And the adult gives an answer and the child asks, “Why?” Question. Answer. Question. Answer.

We’re great little probers as kids. It’s a way to navigate the strange world.

But by the teen years, we’re purged. Yup. That’s what research says. By the early teens, people are trained to no longer ask why.

School tests teach a right answer. Domineering teachers discourage questioning. Boards embrace dysfunctional politeness and treat questioning as disloyal. Someone sometime told you and me that disagreeing and arguing wasn’t nice.

How sad. And how problemmatic.

Because asking questions is how we learn and change. Asking questions is how we stimulate deep conversations. It’s the questions that matter most.

We need better questions. Questions that rattle cages and challenge assumptions. Questions that stimulate thinking and deep conversation. That’s how we learn.

Reactivate your childhood folie du pourquoi. Stop assuming there are answers. Relentlessly ask questions – especially why. (Avoid how for a while!)

And please, learn from questioning and learn from conversation. Learn when you read and when you attend conferences.

Then change. Change now. Things are rather a mess now. So let’s change. Now.

“You sure get a lot of questions in the world, without exactly getting the same number of answers. In fact, there was a huge gap between the two numbers.” (From Ysabel, by Guy Gaviel Kay, one of my favorite sci fi fantasy authors.)

March 1, 2020

Please keep learning…

Lifelong learning. That’s what professionals do.

And if you’re a really smart fundraiser, you know that fundraising tactics/techniques are hugely important. Yes. Hugely.

But you also know that organizational development and behavior, organizational culture, management, governance, strategic planning, and sooooooo much more are pretty darn important.

You even know that many many many fundraising problems are actually not fundraising problems. Too many problems are caused by and within other parts of the organization.

February 10, 2020

Anger. Sadness.

I’m in a strange place right now. Politics. My country. Justice. Competence and excellence for my beloved nonprofit sector. Whatever…

ANGER. And, of course, how about anger management.

Lots of statements – often directed at women – “curb your anger…”

But then I read “Why Tinkerbell Quit Anger Management.” A poem in a book called Fierce Fairytales, by Nikita Gill. Why did Tinkerbell quit anger management? “Because whole kingdoms have already spent millennia trying to keep women subdued, only to be discarded in old age.”

I searched “telling women to top being angry” on the Internet. Tons & tons & tons of articles…. Here are a few of my favorite titles:

And as long as I’m on the subject of anger. How about we acknowledge and honor the anger of people of color, too? I’ve said it before…Read Ta Nehisi Coates books. See his marvelous articles in The Atlantic. Find so many other righteous books and articles. Read Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack of sooooo many years ago.

Not enough progress. Too damn little change.

And even in our own beloved philanthropic sector. We’re supposed to be better. See my own Philanthropy’s Moral Dilemma.

Am I more angry or more sad? Am I equally angry and sad?

Looking back to why Tinkerbell quit anger management…

I had to give up on their remedies. They kept trying to make me less angry, but I refuse to surrent my rage. Because who kingdoms have already spent millenia trying to keep women subdued, only to be discard in old age.

My fury gets things done, it has saved lives, it has made the world listen where I could not speak, my anger screamed.

….So no I love my tinderbox heart so easy to light up, all it takes is half a spark

I am small and I am angry, it is how I channel my energy and I like me that way.

Thank you Nikita Gill.

I am angry and will continue to channel my anger and speak it and share it.

I am deeply deeply sad. And still see to manage it.

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

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