Posts made in March, 2012

The Silent Language of Leaders

Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 | 0 comments

Today I received an email from Jerry Panas at the Institute for Charitable Giving sharing seven factors from Dr.Carol Kinsey Goman’s “The Silent Language of Leaders.” Dr. Goman is a senior consultant for The Dilenschneider Group.  Mr. Panas added some comments of his own in the list below.  Rather than attempt to distill or rewrite, I am sharing Jerry’s email with the seven factors he chose to focus on:

1. FACE PEOPLE DIRECTLY.
Even a quarter turn away from the person you’re talking with creates a barrier.  It signals a lack of interest and causes the other person to shut down.  Close your laptop, turn off your cell phone, put your purse or briefcase to the side.  (Good advice, also, when you’re talking to your spouse or partner !)
2. MAINTAIN POSITIVE EYE CONTACT.
Look in the eyes of the person you’re talking with.  It transmits energy and indicates interest.  As long as you are looking at me, the other person infers, I believe I have your full attention.  Greater eye contact— especially in intervals lasting four to five seconds— almost always leads to a greater level of approval.
3. USE OPEN GESTURES.
Keep your movements relaxed, use open arm gestures.  Show the palms of your hands.  These are all silent signals of credibility and candor.  Individuals with open gestures are perceived more positively and are more persuasive than those with closed gestures (arms crossed, hands hidden or held to close to the body).
4. USE YOUR HEAD.
The next time you’re trying to encourage the other person to speak more— nod your head.  Employ three nods at regular intervals.  Research shows that people will talk three to four times more than usual when the listener nods in this manner.  [I know how this sounds, but try it, it really works !]  You’ll be amazed at how this single nonverbal signal triggers a very positive response.  Also, tilt your head a bit to the side while listening.
5. ACTIVATE YOUR SMILE POWER.
Smile !  It directly influences how other people respond to you.  When you smile, you will almost always receive a smile in return.  And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings (a reaction called “facial feedback”), the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.  This one simple act will instantly and powerfully send a message of warmth and welcome.
6. LISTEN!
Dr. Goman calls this, “The Silent Language of Leaders.”  For our purposes, those of us in development, it could have been written as if she had us in mind.  You have heard me preach and write that listening is the most effective jewel in the fundraiser’s treasure chest.  These tips are an invaluable skill to use in your contacts.
7. Aim High!
“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” — Benjamin Lee Wharf
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Are You Making It Easy for Donors to Give Online?

Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 | 0 comments

No matter how much time and money we dedicate to building and redesigning our nonprofit websites, the donation page is often the last area of focus, which is (in my book at least) a huge mistake.

If our content is commanding, great, but if there is confusion and chaos on the donation page it won’t matter.

This post about 11 Donate Now Best Practices highlights successful approaches to online giving and provides a foundation for your online fundraising campaign. Note a few seemingly obvious points: Keep it Simple, Place the DONATE button in a prominent position, Don’t use too many graphics…well, you can read it yourself.

So take a look, then take a look at your donation page. It may be time to make some changes!

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Board Members Are People Too!

Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 | 0 comments

Because I have been out of the office AND because I couldn’t say it better, I am sharing this link to Pamela Grow’s blog post on why (and how) your board members should always be financial supporters of your nonprofit organization (the post includes a sample template letter to send to your board members!).

She’s just awesome, isn’t she? If you aren’t already following Pamela’s Grantwriting Blog, you should. Here are three key points from this important blog post:

  • What’s that you say?  You don’t currently have a policy on board giving?  There’s no time like now to start.
  • Every member of your board should be contributing financially at a level that is generous for them.
  • More and more grantmaking foundations are making it part of their criteria to only fund organizations with 100% board giving.

And she’s right, on all counts. I especially like her point that each board member should be contributing financially at a level that is GENEROUS for them.

Board members should make significant financial contributions and you should start working on this today!

There is one additional point I would add to Pamela’s excellent commentary: As with all donors, unless they request anonymity, don’t forget to recognize board members for their contributions, both in time and money. The fact that they are on your board does not disqualify them from, or indicate they don’t appreciate appropriate, timely recognition.

It’s really back to the basics of fundraising, isn’t it? Remember to ask and to thank.

And also remember, board members are people too!

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What’s Really Important

Posted by on Mar 2, 2012 | 0 comments

If today had been the most successful fundraising day of my three decade career, it wouldn’t have changed my understanding of what’s really important.

These past few days our family has been vigilantly monitoring the health of my sweet granddaughter who is very sick with metapneumovirus (similar to RSV). She’s in the ICU as this is posted, but her symptoms are improving and our prayers continue.

Every day of our lives we have choices and responsibilities. Every day we focus on our to-do lists, we sometimes enter our offices and effectively attempt to shut out the world and personal life, but no matter how busy, how important, how many deadlines we have, we should never forget what’s really important.

Whether fundraising as a professional, managing a business, planning an event, or simply living our day-to-day life, we can not afford to forget what’s really important, and for me what’s really important is family, friends, health and faith.

Those of us who work with amazing mission-focused nonprofit organizations have the opportunity to focus our time on important causes as part of our daily life. It’s a near-perfect world when we are able to appropriately balance our time, focus and passion between our worthy causes and those personal things that are really important.

When I forget to remember these things, I find that succeeding in my daily responsibilities and goals becomes much more difficult and much less rewarding. It’s a lesson I learned later in life than I would like to admit, so I’m sharing it here to possibly touch someone who may have lost site of what’s really important.

Do your job, set your priorities, focus as you need to, and excel at what you do, but never, ever, ever forget what and who is really important.

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”  

~ David O. McKay

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