Believe in your Consultants

June 30th, 2015

Dream It • Believe IT • Achieve It

As a Donor Recognition Program Consultant, I am sometimes asked back to a client’s office to initiate services aimed at furthering their thinking about thanking, to enhance policy decision-making and/or to instill administrative efficiencies in their Stewardship efforts to thank donors.

This morning I received a newsletter from our business consultant, Dave Baker of “Recourses”, that articulated my own experiences and inner-evaluation when “returning to the scene…”

Here I paraphrase his remarks to fit my clientele and experiences.  I am hopeful that a few leaders in non-for-profit organizations may benefit by the introspection as well:

When asked to embark on “repeat consulting for a client, … I was surprised at how little things had changed since I worked with them and wondered why….” I understand that “working with any advisor is a painful process, but it’s designed to be a good investment rather than a fair bit of pain for just a little bit of gain.” Here’s the insight shared by Dave Baker.

“She (the client) initiated the re-engagement, so I presumed that I wasn’t blamed for the lack of progress, but I can’t help the introspection. Did I misread her situation? Did I not work hard enough to suggest a solution that she could realistically implement? Was everything good except that I wasn’t present enough during the implementation period?

Each of those reasons has been true at one time or another in a consulting career that spans decades, but it’s rare and I nearly always catch it in time and make it right, where appropriate. This time, though, I decided to chart out the simple…but profound…reasons why change might not take root…”

I, too, wondered why clients keep trying different things and can never seem to get rid of those weights that keep them from soaring above the fray.

Here are 4 reasons Baker offers as to why firms are held-back. “Getting unstuck is going to require ‘action; action will be inspired by these qualities’ and lacking any single one of them can hold you back:

  1. Courage. This is the stuff that helps you” hold your place in the marketplace, “dismiss that talented jerk who doesn’t fit the culture, and muster the internal strength to dissolve the ‘corporate and individual partnerships‘ already broken. If you don’t have enough of it (courage), gather the right people around you….
  2. Insight. Having just lauded courage,…why reinvent the wheel if a peer “organization” has already figured something out, saving you from wasteful experimentation. If you implement the suggestions of ‘the other organization‘, indiscriminately, you’ll end up with an average firm. But you can get valuable insight from many places. There aren’t many good books on my subject, but as their consultant, I’m here to ‘to suggest and evaluate new insights‘. Believe me, I want to say. “Another great source of insight is hiring a couple of great employees who have worked at “successful non profits” before. Resist those who can’t envision ‘bigger challenges‘ or don’t want to get their hands dirty with real work or don’t value your culture….
  3. Discipline. Give me a choice between the brilliant ‘leader’ who flits from one shiny object to the next or the dedicated “leader” who keeps doing smart things and I’ll always take the latter. Discipline covers a multitude of sins and it means that things get done. So they actually do a little bit of research, they write a short e-book, and they sit down and actually manage people. These are the folks who inspire me. I’ve seen many ‘organizations‘ who have all of the ingredients of success except
  4. Killer Instinct. When I initiated a massive research project studying 13,000+ people in the marketing field,… only one pattern surfaced around “a leader’s” personality profile and that was their killer instinct, which is my summary for their ability to make decisions, value control, take risks, and win. It’s what helps ‘leaders’ turn a mess of circumstances into a thriving ‘non profit‘”.




Donor Recognition: 7 Strategies

April 3rd, 2015

Donor Recognition is simply under-utilized as a tool for building a culture of philanthropy for a non-profit organization. Donor recognition is to be plaques, parties,  personal conversations and perpetual. thinking-cap

It simply begins with your own unique, strategic and focused thinking about thanking. It’s usefulness is bought to bear by your attention to and application of its potential as a proactive partner in all efforts toward enhanced and broadened giving for your organization. Continue reading »

“Just in Time” Donor Recognition

March 24th, 2015

Donor Recognition is the most powerful communication tool a fundraiser has. Yet, why is it that Donor Recognition plaques and displays seem to be ordered ONLY at the last minute? Continue reading »

Make “13” YOUR Lucky Number

March 10th, 2015

LUCKY 13Free Advice. Donor Retention? Want guaranteed, proven results? Easy. Improve your donor communications. Jerry Huntsinger (the very best guide you’ll find) lists 13 of the strongest words in the English Language. Continue reading »

“Thank you”: Powerful stuff

February 25th, 2015

Danke Cicero said: Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
Fundraisers, don’t overlook the power of “thank you.”