Major Gifts

The Attitude of Gratitude

Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Attitude-of-Gratitude_1024x1024Life doesn’t always make us want to say “thank you.” We have ups and downs, successes and failures. And sometimes things happen that simply don’t make any sense at all. I’ve just experienced something like this. And after a week or so of shaking my head and wondering, as the transition plan from one assignment to another is in the works, as I’ve spent way too many hours contemplating how this change will effect me and others, I’ve finally taken a deep breath, regrouped, asked myself some serious questions, and now I have only one main thought:

THANK YOU!

  • Thank you for forcing me to shift gears.
  • Thank you for being the catalyst that made me reevaluate my priorities.
  • Thank you for returning me to my family.
  • Thank you for reminding me that every ending is a new beginning.
  • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with amazing people on amazing programs.
  • Thank you for widening my eyes while broadening my experience.
  • Thank you for sharing your passion with me.
  • Thank you for all I’ve learned.
  • Thank you for this new start.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Sometimes our initial reaction to change is knee-jerk, simply because it’s new, it’s foreign, it’s life-changing. Or sometimes, our initial reaction is because we aren’t prepared, we haven’t been paying attention.

Ask yourself, am I paying attention? If your career seems to be sliding into autopilot, if you’ve become satisfied with the status quo, I would suggest an attitude of gratitude is needed. Sit up straighter, write bolder, think broader, and be more grateful!

The right attitude can change your life in ways you never could have expected.

Ask yourself, what is my attitude saying to others and doing to me?

Today, my attitude is one of gratitude. I hope yours is too.

Now, ask yourself, what am I grateful for today?

Start writing!

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4 Suggestions to Help You Be More Friendly

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 | 0 comments

Do you remember the saccharin-sweet person you couldn’t stand to be around? Do you remember the always-a-downer person who never was invited to anything? Are you either of these two? If you are, or if you have someone on your staff who is,  take a deep breath and start to make a plan for change, because saccharin-sweet and always-a-downer personalities can take down an organization.

Literally.

Donors are looking for authentic. They want passion and enthusiasm. They want to feel good about what they are doing. How we approach them can make the difference between a “yes” or a “no”.  Our demeanor can make or break a donor relationship.

Friendly is defined as having goodwill. Friendly is not hostile.  Friendly is warm and comforting.

Are you friendly when you meet with donors? Or do your nerves take over and cause the meeting to feel tense (the opposite of warm and comforting)? There are four clues to improve your “friendly” factor, they are:

  1. SOUND FRIENDLY: Ease your voice: Don’t talk too fast or too loud. Practice the “prepared” part of an expected conversation before the meeting.
  2. APPEAR FRIENDLY: Sit or stand comfortably. Don’t fidget. Don’t furrow your brow. Don’t hunch and cross your arms. Relax your shoulders. Let your hands rest easily, don’t clench them together (or fiddle your thumbs!).
  3. SMILE FRIENDLY! Nothing says “friendly” more than a smile. (Don’t forget to brush your teeth and do a quick rearview mirror check for a clump of pepper or green flake, so you can smile confidently in the meeting – there’s nothing worse than wondering if you have something in your teeth). A genuine smile can rock the world.
  4. LOOK FRIENDLY: Make eye contact. Don’t look down and up and all around. Look at the person you’re talking to. This makes you approachable and also shows that you are interested in them.
To borrow something from my mother: Friendly is as friendly does. For a nonprofit fundraiser, friendly begins with a phone call or first time meeting and continues through follow up notes, thank you letters, requests for input, personal meetings and really never ends. Donors may irritate or disappoint, but it’s their money that’s funding your projects. Being friendly, even if we’re disappointed, stressed, or discouraged, is the least we can do to say thank you.
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W.I.I.F.M?

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 | 0 comments

Well? What’s your response to that?

OK, let’s do this. Pretend I am your donor. You’ve just nailed your personal appeal to me relating concisely and completely your organization’s efforts, your achievements, your goals, and your needs.

You’ve WOW’d me with data showing the expected long range effect of your work. It’s obvious that you are changing lives for the better. And now you look to me; I know you are about to ask me something in an attempt to engage me in your efforts. But all that’s going through my mind is W.I.I.F.M?

What’s in it for me? W.I.I.F.M? What’s in it for me? You’ve talked about you, and about your organization, but what about lil ol’ me? You know, the one with the checkbook….me, your donor?

Talking face-to-face with potential donors can be challenging, but if we remember the simple rule of conversation, which is to ask questions of the other person and NOT talk solely about ourselves, it’s really fairly simple. Imagine attending a party and as you meet new people you start talking about yourself, nothing else (yes, we all know someone who does this – obnoxious, isn’t it?).

It’s not all that much different when you’re talking to your donors, making an appeal, or introducing a campaign…sure, you have to give them the information they will need to make a decision on their involvement, but why not frame your presentation from their viewpoint? Tell them what their involvement will do, who it will affect, how it will make a difference and change lives…remember, this is really about them, it’s not about you.

Tell a compelling story correctly, let them know what’s in it for them, and ask concisely.

You can do this…without being obnoxious!

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