Leadership

September 16, 2019

Fundraising myths…fundraising fallacies

Thanks, Terry Graves, for asking me to write my thoughts. Cool to be with Gail Perry and Mary Cahalane.

Getting Past the Myths of Fundraising, Part 1.

TomAnd then, check out Part 2 with Claire Axelrad, Tom Ahern, and Jeff Brooks.

(Geez… I didn’t know Tom Ahern was in Part 2. Obviously, we don’t necessarily communicate all that well. So Now I’m reading Part 2. )

Are you avoiding these fundraising fallacies? I sure hope so. Always remember…opinion vs. expertise shouldn’t even be an option. EXPERTISE should win!!!!

Thanks, Terry, for inviting these writings and putting them all together.

September 10, 2019

Little notes from different places

I was going through my office supply cabinet. And I have tons of little notebook thingys.

And here are the quotes on the little notebooks:

SORRY. (Red and black plaid cover with Maple Leaf. Maple leaf is Canada.) And on the back: “Souvenirs that don’t suck!”

ORANGE. Engraved in the leather-like cover: “Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” And since I’m the conversation is a core business practice woman…with CRQs (cage-rattling questions)… This is perfect for me to keep!!!

PINK: Work hard. Play hard.

BLACK: “Always deliver more gratitude than expected.” From Tom Ahern.

Filed under: Just for fun, Leadership

September 5, 2019

Notes from my dorm room

Notes from my dorm room… A recurring series that I’ve done for years…after my summer teaching at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota…Masters Program in Philanthropy and Development.

A few new bumper stickers:

Be a person of significance, NOT a person of success.

It’s not the money!

Both of these are from Derek in Cohort 27. Thanks!

August 19, 2019

Part 2: I’m thinking about new stuff…

Part 2: Last week was Part 1.

So my conclusion from last week’s Part 1… What more can I do? Well, I thought about that – and here are some topics I’m going to talk about.

1. Organizational culture: Business theory notes that “culture eats strategy for breakfast and lunch.” What and why. Importance. Developing, supporting, and measuring. Culture of philanthropy – special subset for nonprofit sector. I developed this curriculum for AFP ICON 2019, San Antonio. How about this topic for your professional association, your organization, a product for your community foundation…whatever…

Make sure you read the big read thing below! Skip the first 6 if you wish!! The big red one is really BIG!!

2. Leadership: In-depth probing. Theory and practice. How to develop yourself and others. Creating a leadership development program for your organization and its staff. Maybe a series for your organization or your association or your community…Or just a 1/2 mini session or who knows…

3. Trends and emerging issues: So much is happening…happened…will happen. And you and I have to cope with it. This is sooooo far beyond an organization’s mission or a particular sector. How do we build staff and organizations and processes to watch, monitor, anticipate, recognize, prepare…How do we build foresight? Yes, this is a strategic planning fundamental. But I’m also interested in operationalizing this into day-to-day operations.

Maybe read the big red item below first!!! The first 6 are definitely cool. But wow…the red one after #6.

4. Fundraisers as organizational development specialists: I wrote and talked about this beginning in the late 90s. I think it’s still a major weakness of fundraisers. The best fundraisers are not just great technicians. Writing the best direct mail…hosting the best events…securing tons of grants…All important stuff. But without understanding how everything in an organization fits together…like #1,2,3,5,7…and so much more!…you’ll have a tough time with fundraising.

I’m doing the red item first. I’m thinking 2020…fall or spring. What do you think?

5. Enabling others to do: People can’t just read a book and then be able to do the thing. Leaders enable others to learn and understand, anticipate and preempt, get the stuff done well. The CEO has to be the best enabler. The CDO better be darn good at enabling. And you can learn more about enabling in the handout in my Free Download Library on this website. You really have to learn this. Sequential sessions? Simulation? Daylong. What do you think? 

Here it comes!!! The BIG RED ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Measuring “strange things”: Enough with measuring only money! Let’s measure ROI in various areas. CRQs (effective use of cage-rattling questions). Donor-centric quotient (DCQ). Board member performance (and that’s not not not gift size and $ raised!)  When you ask me to speak, think about this topic!

THING I WANT TO DO FIRST…THE WAY WE SHOULD APPROACH GOOD GOVERNANCE Maybe you think this is old news…But I’m telling you that doing good governance well is still a frigging mess. And I’ve been playing in this arena since 1975.

Most boards are mediocre at best. Some are simply dysfunctional. And too damn few are really good. And this holds true no matter the “sophistication” of board members, the organization’s budget size, or the supposed experience level of board members. 

PLEASE PLEASE LET’S FIX THIS! And not with “governance training for the board.” This is not the answer.

Who should be the governance expert in any and all boards (and I’m focusing on the nonprofit sector at this moment)? The ED/CEO. Because that’s an official (mostly) paid position. And as a professional, that individual in that position is expected to be well-trained and well-educated in the business, a lifelong learner, and an expert in management…and hence an expert in governance, too!

Who else should be an expert in governance in your organization? Anyone who works closely with board members or board committees…for example, the chief development officer!!

I teach a 30-hour course in governance in a Masters Program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. I see the change in people’s understanding.

Topics would include: Organizational culture and development. Enabling. Conversation as a core business practice – which is different than discussion. Distinction between the board (collective) and board members. (Damn it! The terms are not not not not interchangeable!!!!!!!!) Relationship of board committees to the board itself – and to staff. Distinction between governance and management. Your board is not a fundraising team! Role of the board chair – one of the biggest messes in the field. Performance expectations of all board members. Power dynamics – like wealth, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. Identifying and recruiting candidates. Enabling the board, its committees, and the individual board members. And, when absolutely necessary, firing lousy board members.

This is a session for staff. This would require 2 days – like we’d all meet live in one place. Lots of great materials. Interactive lecture. Small group work / assignments. Simulation. Articles. My book Firing Lousy Board Members – And Helping the Others Succeed. Follow-up coaching. Undoubtedly points for CFRE.

Let me know what you think. Add a comment to this blog. Send me a personal email to spjoyaux@aol.com. You could even call me if you wished. 401.397.2534.

 

 

 

 

August 12, 2019

I’m thinking about new stuff… Part 1. (Part 2 is next week.)

Part 1 of a 2-part blog:

Of course, I love all the fundraising and governance stuff I’ve done for years. And I love changing and adjusting and adding new stuff and and… I’m just not one of those people that likes doing the same old stuff the same old way.

  • I’m also reading new stuff and stuff that so few other people in the nonprofit sector seem to be reading. Come on peeps – let’s get out of just reading fundraising and governance and donor stuff.
  • Have you read systems thinking and learning organization business theories yet? I wrote about that back in 1997. How about the stuff that’s happening to our brains because of too much technology?
  • Leadership…Oh sure, some conversations on the job. But who reads actual leadership research and stuff from the Harvard Business Review and and and ….
  • By the way, when was the last time that your professional association recommended readings beyond your specialized field?
  • How about organizational development? Culture and top-notch management and and and… SO MUCH MORE!!

There are 3 sectors: Government. For-profit. Nonprofit. I think the nonprofit sector is more important than most of our society thinks. And I suspect that most of you reading this honors our sector, too.

  • I want the government sector to do more. I’m appalled at what government doesn’t do.
  • I want the for-profit sector to be put in its proper place…. NOT the best the greatest the most important the individual and corporations are bestest. I want the for-profit sector and its people to be punished more often than they are. And if I hear one more person say “If only the nonprofit sector would operate more like the business sector….”)…well I just don’t know what I’m gonna do!!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

But if the nonprofit sector doesn’t get itself together better… Just survival isn’t good enough. The excuse of “We nonprofits and our staff are just sooooooo busy just doing what we have to do that we can’t possibly learn more…” WTF????!!!! Would you do your mission in a half-ass manner? Most of you tell me, “No way. We do our mission excellently … or we will choose to close.” Well if that’s the case, then do all the other stuff — fundraising, governance, management, leadership, organizational development, and on and on — damn well, too. Or close down!

The world needs and deserves the best and most loved nonprofit sector. Because people and the planet deserve the best. Social justice. Diversity. Inclusion. Equity. Health. Safety. Employment and economic security. Joy and love and education and peace.

The world needs and deserves the best and most loved nonprofit sector. Because people and the planet deserve the best. An environment that endures – with animals and plants and insects and all those living things. And learning and pleasure and the strength and support to build and care and live and…

Oh good heavens…How did I start down this path today? I read Seth Godin’s July 9, 2019 blog, The $50,000 an hour gate agent. I got frustrated because I hear too much whining from my beloved nonprofit sector people.

  • Yes, yes… I know what it’s like to work long hours and fight with a silly CEO and icky board members – too few of whom seem to “get it.” I know what it’s like to work for less than I’m worth – and without adequate support systems.
  • So leave the sector. Or first, look for a better nonprofit job with smart staff and board members who give you the respect and support I hope you deserve.
  • Because there’s no excuse for we all in this sector accepting inadequacy in others or in ourselves.

Okey dokey. Part 2 is next week. Thanks for listening.

July 29, 2019

Some quotations

I just can’t resist.  Because quotes can be so inspiring and insightful and stimulate us to think.

“Fundamentalism is the thief of mercy.” (Jeffrey Goldberg, Prisoners: A Muslim & A Jew Across the Middle East Divide, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006, page 7

From Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (Jimmy Carter, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005) Just imagine these quotes — from 2005 — and we didn’t listen then or now.

  • “There is a remarkable trend toward fundamentalism in all religions…Increasingly, true believers are inclined to begin a process of deciding: ‘Since I am aligned with God, I am superior and my beliefs should prevail, and anyone who disagrees with me is inherently wrong,’ and the next step is ‘inherently inferior.’ The ultimate step is ‘subhuman,’ and then their lives are not significant.” (page 30)
  • “There are three words that characterize this brand of fundamentalism: rigidity, domination, and exclusion.” (Page 35)
  • “A characteristic of fundamentalism: ‘I am right and worthy, but you are wrong and condemned.” (page 79)
  • “It is the unprecedented combined impact of fundamentalism in religion and politics that has helped to create the deep and increasingly disturbing divisions among our people.” (page 101)

Filed under: Leadership

July 1, 2019

Knowing…Not knowing…Not knowing the not knowing…

I know there’s stuff that I don’t know. Like I just don’t know enough about some internet stuff. And I don’t know enough about donor-centered communications. (But I live with a guy who knows lots about that so I can just ask him.)

I’m also very sure that there’s stuff that I don’t know … and I don’t know that I don’t know it … And maybe even I’d be better off if I did know.

To me, great organizations and great professionals and great people spend meaningful time figuring out what they don’t know — and learning that stuff if it would add value to their life, organizations, etc. etc.

What’s disturbing to me is that too many people don’t know what they don’t know. And don’t have a mechanism for fixing this. And and …

So what’s your organization’s process to fix this? And your personal and professional processes?

Let’s add the bullets below to strategic planning processes…our organization’s overall management…and…

  • What don’t we know?
  • How do we recognize that there’s stuff we don’t know — and we don’t know that we don’t know?
  • How do we confront that we don’t even know that we don’t know stuff?
  • How do we build into an NGO the concept of regularly exploring / discovering what we don’t know?

Filed under: Leadership

June 17, 2019

I figured something out!!! Kinda….

Sometimes I wonder what value I add to my beloved nonprofit sector. I haven’t raised as much money as so many of you have. I’m not an expert in direct mail or donor communications or…

I believe that what I add is “bringing things together”. Integrating stuff. Cross-pollinating. I do NOT just read fundraising stuff… I read Sherry Turkle’s book ALONE TOGETHER … which I keep telling you all to read!!! And Shankar Vedantam’s THE HIDDEN BRAIN … another book that I insist everyone read!!! And Harvard Business Review and systems thinking…learning organization business theory…Jim Collins…and on and on and on and on…

Stop it with all the “specialists” in fundraising, e.g., Director of Annual Fund. Director of Planned Giving. Major Gifts Officer. Etc. etc. etc. I want a bunch of damn good generalists in my development office. And I want my CEO to be a generalist and and and … I want generalists everywhere! 

Yes of course, specialists are good, too. And critical at times. And and…

BUT WOW!! Listen to this WGBH radio showKara Miller talking with David Epstein about generalists.

Teach people to think. Transfer knowedge between domains. BEWARE!!!! of too much specialization. Listen to the radio show – because you’ll hear frightening mistakes (that have even caused death) because of specialization.

I just ordered Epstein’s book. RANGE: WHY GENERALISTS TRIUMPH IN A SPECIALIZED WORLD

Filed under: Leadership, Resources

June 10, 2019

The annual fund…all over twitter

Here’s my thinking….

Nonprofits raise money for 2 things: (1) Running the organization.       (2) Some special project.

  1. Running the organization means every single cost required to carry out your mission. Staff. Management systems. Service/program development, design, evaluation, improvements, facility costs like utilities, mortgage, cleaning/maintenance, lawn mowing, whatever.
  2. Some special project means: Building an endowment. Facility capital costs, e.g., renovations, new building, whatever.

Sure, use the phrase “capital campaign” for that special project.

Sure, name your endowment campaign “Building for the Future” or whatever you want.

BUT STOP IT STOP IT with “The Annual Fund.” Geez…. 40 years ago I made letterhead that said: “Trinity Rep Annual Fund.” How dumb was I. Boring!! Maybe I could have called it “Trinity Rep Operating Support Fund So We Can Keep Doing Plays.”

NO NEED FOR A TITLE!!!! Internally we talk about raising money for the fiscal year budget to cover all the costs to run the theatre and hire actors and build sets and perform plays and and and …. That’s what we raised money for every single year. That fiscal year budget to continue our mission.

Presumably every organization raises this money. Every single organization uses every appropriate solicitation strategy and reaches out to all appropriate audiences.

  1. Sources of gifts are: Individuals. Foundations. Government. Corporations. Faith groups. Civic groups. You check with every single particular source to see what they give to…. running the organization or some special project. Anything else to add?
  2. Solicitation strategies are: Personal face-to-face solicitation. Direct mail (print or electronic). Telephone. Proposals/grantwriting. Fundraising events. Can you think of anything else to add?

Here’s what I recommend to all my fundraising clients and what I put in every single fundraising plan for that annual operating/mission/purpose/existence that a nonprofit has:

Segment all donors by solicitation strategy: 

  1. Who will staff and board members personally meet with and ask for a gift from. When I worked at Trinity Rep, I had 75 volunteers who personally solicited annual operating gifts every single year. Given how much I give to my Planned Parenthood affiliate, I expect a personal solicitation to support annual operations. (Yes, many fundraisers and organizations call this major gift solicitation. I find that so offensive I want to scream! Because major gift donors implies there are minor gifts and minor donors.)
  2. But neither Trinity Rep nor PPSNE talked about annual operations. We told stories about plays and students and favorite actors…And education programs about sex and saving men and women from HIV/AIDS and breast cancer and primary care and….
  3. Who will receive direct mail letters? And this donor segment may receive 3-4 letters/fiscal year … even after they’ve already given. Different stories resonate with different people. And some people respond to more than one direct mail letter. So cool!
  4. And pretty much everyone receives an invitation to the fundraising event.
  5. And on and on…

All my fundraising plans include using every solicitation strategy — and of course a comprehensive relationship-building program.

This is all just for annual operations, our mission.

And then the special campaign for the building or the van to hall kids or or??? We figure out which donors and how to solicit. And sure, there’s a name and maybe even special letterhead and whatever.

So all that’s my thinking. Great fundraisers tell stories about beneficiaries and donors, too. Great fundraisers segment the market for solicitation strategies. Great fundraisers avoid language that is unclear and kinda icky and has no emotional content and is unclear and confusing and… 

Okay. Back to work. Getting ready to head to Saskatoon for the Western Canada Fundraising Conference 2019. Thank you David and Christal. Thank you Common Good Fundraising.

 

 

 

 

May 24, 2019

In RI June 6: Jay Love + Tom Ahern + Simone Joyaux…. LIVE!!

FUNDRAISING POWER SESSION

Jay Love, Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer, Bloomerang. Plus
Tom Ahern & Simone P. Joyaux

Thursday, June 6: 7:30 am – 12:30 pm. Radisson Hotel Providence Airport
2081 Post Road, Warwick RI  02886. Members: $50 / Non-Members: $85.

Jay’s really cool workshop on “Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Your Donors for Fundraising Success.

And then the 3-way talk. Jay + Tom + Simone. Bring your questions. Ask and ask more. Want to be unknown? Then write your question on a piece of paper and hand it to Simone in private. Time to complain and whine. Wail and weep about stuff back at the office. Secrets and doors closed.

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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