All The Things You Wrote

Last year my grandma gave me a big envelope, the contents bulging. “What is it?” I looked in.IMG_3059

“It’s cards and letters,” she said. “I don’t want my kids having to clean things up,” she said in her no-nonsense way as I pulled out a card. They were written to her from me when I was a kid. I looked through it a bit when I got home, but feeling melancholy I put it in my box of mementos.

But last week I was tidying the shelf that had the box of old photos and keepsakes and this unmarked envelope rose to my attention.

There it was: everything I ever wrote to her. I sat on the floor and read every one. There were lots of thank you notes and chatty letters, postcards from travel, some get well cards, my birth and graduation announcements she had kept. I felt sentimental and happy she had saved them.

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Let’s resolve … to lead with gratitude in 2016

Welcome to 2016!

In the lead up to the New Year, did you see your inbox piling up with end-of-year asks? I sure did.

IMG_3030In those last days of the year, there was quite a bit of chatter on Twitter about that. But this tweet from The Whiny Donor struck my heart… “Sometimes we give in spite of the stewardship.”

Wow. So many fundraisers – or their colleagues – spent lots of time crafting “don’t-forget-us” or “please-give-right-now” year-end emails. Somehow, the same diligence doesn’t seem to apply to thanking quickly or with heart. Why?

As fundraisers, we all know that better thanking – prompt, heartfelt, sharing impact – leads to a stronger connection between a donor and the charity.

So why are there still so many courses and books and blog posts and conference sessions about thanking donors, crafting better donor stewardship, and reporting back to donors? Because thank yous still aren’t happening. (Check out this post by Lynne Wester about her Giving Tuesday experiences with gifts, thanks, and resolicitations.)

Don’t expect your donors to give in spite of the stewardship your nonprofit offers.

Thank you letter creation can end up being a process. Don’t let it.Instead, make 2016 the year you lead with gratitude… and here’s how. Continue reading

Resolution 2014

2014New Year’s Day 2014 has just arrived.

I’m not a big “make a resolution list” person. I think it’s better to evaluate oneself all through the year.

But what I do like to do is think about what was good about last year, and dream about the New Year ahead. What do I hope to accomplish? Where will I go? What might be my happy achievements?

With my donors, I’m more focused. What do I hope to accomplish overall this year? What are my goals? Where will my donor(s) and I go on the philanthropic path? What do my donors hope to achieve and how might I help them get there?

This year I made a resolution. Tom Ahern handed it to me in his post, “What I learned in 2013.”

“Deliver more gratitude than expected.” 

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