January 15, 2016

Happy anniversary, Simone!

“Happy anniversary to me, happy anniversary to me, happy anniversary, dear Simone…happy anniversary to me.” This can be sung in a lilting voice, as a rap song, or go for the rock version.

On January 15, 1988, I began my consulting practice. I partnered with a colleague who suggested that I might want to try consulting. Without her suggestion, I might never have had the courage. So thanks, Jane.

Of course, I wasn’t sure that I would like consulting. I’d always been committed to a particular mission. I wasn’t sure that “general consulting” would work for me.

That was 29 years ago! Today, Friday, January 15, 2016, I’m beginning my 29th year as a full-time consultant. I like it. I like it lots!

I like to work with organizations committed to change. I’m lucky that I get to pick my clients. I make sure that I show prospects my true colors: Candid. Change agent. Truth teller. Provocative. Helpful and caring and tough, too. I’m interviewing prospective clients just like they’re interviewing me. I have my test questions and my stories and and and …

How fortunate I am.

This is my life’s work. This is why I’m here.

Wow. I can’t believe that I’m starting my 29th year in business today.

Thank you to all the nonprofits who gave me the privilege of working with them. Thank you to all the conference audiences and my book readers. Thank you to the donors and volunteers and staff who labor in the nonprofit sector – who kick butt and make change and save lives and create joy. And and and….


Filed under: Just for fun

January 9, 2016

Digital mania, addiction, and what else?

Yes. Sure. Okay. I get it. Hell…I’m even tweeting now.

But balance is good.

Begin 2016 with a reading of Andrew Sullivan’s marvelous article “I Used to Be a Human Being.” Andrew Sullivan is a writer, editor, blogger. His blog The Daily Dish began in late 2000 and one the 2008 Weblog Award for Best Blog.

Sullivan is a major major major player in digital stuff. MAJOR! Tons of awards for blogging.

And then he wrote “I Used to Be a Human Being…” “An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.

Read this piece before you break.



December 28, 2015

Who died in 2015

Check out the New York Times magazine, Sunday, December 27. Beautiful memorial – with stunning stories – about people who died in 2015. Artists. Civil rights heroes. Zapf dingbats inventor.

Moving. Inspiring. Another chance to learn about people who make our history. Moments of what it means to be human and humane.

May 11, 2015

From the mouthes of babes

Isn’t that some colloquialism?

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a curious email… Statements from first graders completing proverbs. The teacher presented each student with the first half of a well-known proverb… asking the kids to come up with the remainder of the proverb.

Some of these are amazingly cool. First graders… six-year old kids! Here are some of my favorites.

“Don’t change horses”…until they stop running.

“Strike while the”… bug is close.

“You can lead a horse to water but”… how?

“Don’t bit the hand that”… looks dirty.

“Where there’s smoke there’s”…pollution.

“Children should be seen and not”… spanked or grounded.

“You get something out of something only what you”… see in the picture on the box.

“Better late than”… pregnant.

“When the blind lead the blind”… get out of the way.

“Two’s company, three’s”…the Musketeers.

And one of these days… I’ll apply some of these to the work that you and I do. Actually, how about the blind leading the blind. I’m sure you’ve seen it. So have. A board member who doesn’t know the body of knowledge in fund development criticizes and refuses to do… and other board members follow him because he’s so important and powerful.

Okey dokey. Off to work.

Filed under: Just for fun, Leadership

February 20, 2015

Do you know Al Murray & Eddie Izzard?

Tom and I are presenting for Fundraising Institute Australia at their 2015 conference. What fun to see our Australian colleagues again. And we’re both doing some curious (as in curiously cool and interesting) joint presentations with Aussie colleagues…

So thinking of Australia, I’m remembering some YouTube videos that Sean Triner sent me. Not only is Sean the big cheese at Pareto Fundraising and a great direct mail guy… Sean is a poison snake handler and really nice and hugely fun.

Oh my gosh… The videos… I laughed so hard that I almost…

When I watched these, my Tom wasn’t here to share them!! So I laughed alone and laughed hard. I can’t remember if Tom reads this blog. I’ll have to tell him about these videos.

Warning! There is foul language. (Obviously that didn’t bother me!)

Al Murray vs. Americans (And, of course, he has many many more. Check him out.)

Eddie Izzard and the Death Star Canteen (Eddie talking. Legos moving around. And Darth Vadar!)

Eddie Izzard – British vs. American English

Hey, Tom Ahern. Send me an email if you read this blog!

Filed under: Just for fun

February 14, 2015

Movies … and the Oscars, too

I love movies. All kinds. Popular culture. Serious films. Romance. Cowboy. Sci fi. Everything.

If you like movies, check out this article about the Oscars. And read Daniel’s blogs about music, too.

Visit Third Man Movies and Culture.

Filed under: Just for fun

August 22, 2014

Check out these lovely photos

It’s Friday.

Enjoy these lovely photos. And imagine… these are gigantic color photos. Imagine the detail. Imagine the impact.

Amy Montali lives in Rhode Island. And the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has some of Amy’s photos in their collection.

Filed under: Just for fun

February 23, 2014

More learning from a novel

Wow. Novels are so … well so important.

There’s the fun aspect. Just plain fun. Curling up with a novel. Whatever kind you like.

Then there’s the learning aspect. Yes, as you see from previous blogs here at Simone Uncensored…I gather some darn good intelligence from novels.

Some of my novel intel is both novel and also useful and insightful.

And some is just plain fun.

So I finished the newest Jack Reacher novel, Never Go Back. And I learned that the word “boulevard,” (which is obviously French, by the way….) comes from the old French “boullewerc.” And a boullewerc means bulwark. You know, a bulwark like from a castle, a wall thing. “A boulevard was the landscaped top of a rampart, long, wide, and flat, ideal for strolling.” And so, the French came up with boulevards in cities.

Cool, eh?

Filed under: Just for fun

October 21, 2013

Curiously delightful and insightful, too

I listen to NPR whenever I’m in my car – either NPR or really loud rock music. (By the way, have you heard Bob Dylan’s newest CD, Tempest? I’m particularly fond of the following songs: “Dusquesne Whistle.” And there’s a really strange video that accompanies that song on YouTube. “Long and Wasted Years.” “Roll on John.” And the title song, “Tempest,” which is a wonderfully long ballad about the sinking of the Titanic.)

But I’ve digressed. Back to NPR – or rather a book NPR talked about that I ordered: Social Q’s: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries, and Quagmires of Today. The author is Philip Galanes, the New York Times Sunday advice columnist. This is a “Dear Abby” guy for today.

Galanes shares some of the columns, his frank responses, and lots of useful guidelines about how to avoid or navigate or overpower the exigencies of today’s world and our respective lives. The writing is fun. And, rest assured, you’ll likely recognize the situations, bury your head in shame or embarrassment or even gloat!

Here are just a few topics and comments that grabbed my eye:

— “Beauty Experiments: Or, Who Died and Made you Estée Lauder?” “If the Shoe Fits, It’s Ugly! On Fashion Crimes and Misdemeanors.” “Who’s the Boss? Handling Yours Like They Do on TV.” “Money isn’t funny: Why do you think we call it ‘cold, hard cash’?” “Breakups (and how NOT to): Learning from slaphappy Scarlett O’Hara.”

— Given my attitude towards social media, I particularly liked Mr. Galanes comments on Facebook, Twitter, et al. “That’s Facebook for you…. An idea that seemed perfect, but didn’t turn out that way.” And…”Facebook only seemed like someplace special. But in fact, it’s just as annoying as everyplace else in the world, and we have to treat people there as well as we do in real life!”

Looking for a gift for that hard-to-buy-for someone? Try Social Q’s. Looking for some general guidance about life – or to confirm what you already darn well know? Try Social Q’s.

Filed under: Just for fun

February 21, 2013

Just for fun — the Oscars

Yes, this is a professional blog. But I’m just taking a moment for author prerogative and fun. My nephew Daniel is a culture critic. He mostly writes about music and movies. He writes well – and his research and background – is great. He makes me see more and understand better. His critiques help me enjoy music and film more.

And Daniel isn’t “hoity toity.” He appreciates “junk” (my word!), just like me.

So check out Daniel’s Oscar picks and commentary. And for other movie reviews, visit Daniel’s blog at Third Man Movies & Culture.

Filed under: Just for fun

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