November 20, 2015


Given all the passion and efforts you pour into your mission year-round, it’s only natural to emphasize your organization and its reason for existence in your appeal.  After all, an educated and well-informed donor is your best donor…right?  Is it possible, however, that your focus on the WHAT and WHY of your mission leaves out the all-important WHO?   I’m referring to your donors, of course.


The best, results-producing fundraising appeals are donor-focused. And, if your appeal answers the following key donor questions in a compelling way, you will you have opened up avenues for tremendous success down the line.

  1. Why me? Your donors, whether they’re first-timers or repeat...

October 27, 2015


Eastern philosophy has been making its way into western culture for sometime now, and many of us are now seeing things like science, medicine and world events through a more holistic lens.  We've started to incorporate some of its practices into our everyday lives.  


Concepts of Buddhism are especially commonplace.  Mindfulness, mental wellness and spiritual health are now a part of corporate health programs, and hundreds of Buddhist meditation centers have popped up across America.


If you grew up in the 60's and 70's (as I did), the concept of practicing mindfulness and compassion, balance and wisdom were quite foreign.  Could you ever picture an All In The Family episode tha...

June 8, 2015

Daniel Burnham, hailed as a Chicago visionary, once said, “Make no small plans.” Burnham was renowned for leading the design of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago over 100 years ago.


He challenged civic leaders to think big as they envisioned what the future of Chicago would be. The results of his vision are evident today in expansive public parks, open spaces and famous institutions along the shore of Lake Michigan.


While most of us who are engaged in the world of nonprofits are unlikely to be involved in projects of such magnitude, we’ve all seen successful organizations that defied the odds and evolved from the thinking of one or two individual dreams and plans.


What separates the “bi...

May 18, 2015

Though I’m certainly no Henry David Thoreau, who urged his readers to ‘Simplify, Simplify, Simplify’ their lives over 150 years ago, leaders who cultivate healthy organizations do so by striving to create clarity or or simplify things.. We see that these are the leaders who are the most successful.


Is it just a coincidence that unhealthy organizations – those with a poor culture and minimal results – got that way because of a lack of clarity around their vision, mission, guiding principles, goals and objectives? I don’t think so.


If you’re interested in your organization’s health, here are 6 specific Points of Clarity that I think you should be talking to your staff about:

  1. Why do we ex...

May 11, 2015



How much does the leadership of an Executive Director or CEO affect fundraising? To answer that question, we’d all better have an understanding of the responsibilities of the job.

The following is a list of requirements:

  • work with the board to set strategic direction and create organizational vision;

  • communicate with both board and staff;

  • engage with community and stakeholders;

  • hire, coach, and incentivize a competent staff;

  • manage finances;

  • manage various resources;

  • oversee fundraising planning and execution

So that’s a partial list of what is required of an Executive Director or a CEO. The original question was how does this person’s leadership affect...

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