This is our soapbox

This is our opinionated soapbox on philanthropy, fundraising, the charitable sector and the world. For more information, visit GoalBusters.net or call 888.883.2690.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thank You to the Ronald McDonald House



(Alice Ferris said I should share this moment/memory as a blog. Deep breath...here you go.)

Former McDonalds CEO, Ed Renzi and Jim Anderson after Ed pulled Jim on Stage in Pittsburgh at the AFP Fundraising Leadership Conference.


The CEO at a Canadian Ronald McDonald House invited me to connect via LinkedIn. I shared the following story.
------

Larry, Thanks for connecting. I don't know if you knew it but I have a personal connection with the Ronald McDonald House. I spent the first week of my daughter's life, including Thanksgiving living at a Ronald McDonald House in 1986.

The day after my daughter was born I left Arizona for an 8 hour drive to Colorado to start a new job at a radio station that had been delaying my start date because my daughter was "late." This was "pre-cellphones." When I arrived in Colorado they told me to call home because my (ex)wife was trying to reach me. When I called the hospital, they refused to release any information because we weren't married. I finally reached our roommate who explained my ex had rushed into our apartment with a nurse, grabbed some clothes and rushed out explaining our daughter was being helicoptered to Phoenix 4 hours away.

I jumped back in my truck and drove the 8 + 4 hours to Phoenix. I arrived in Phoenix after more than 20 hours behind the wheel and again was being blocked from receiving information or entering the intensive care unit because we weren't married and my name wasn't on my daughter's birth certificate. As I was pleading my case, my ex emerged from an elevator stooped and beaten down by stress and fear. She collapsed crying in my arms, gushing everything that had happened through her tears.

My daughter had ingested "things" while being born and this may have been what caused her breathing to stop periodically. She was in a ward with so many very, very sick children. It was a terrifying ordeal.

I got to meet former McDonald's CEO, Ed Renzi last October when he presented in Pittsburgh, PA for an AFP Fundraising Leadership Conference. When he told the story of how he approved giving all of the profits from the "Shamrock Shake" to support creation of the 1st Ronald McDonald House, I had to thank him. He asked our 400 attendees for questions, I made my way to the microphone and thanked him for helping give families like mine a little normalcy and comfort in the most difficult time of their lives. I thanked him and the Ronald McDonald Houses for making sure we didn't have to spend our nights sleeping in chairs or on the floor to be near our loved ones in their time of need. When I offered my hand, he pulled me on stage for a hug. He later had me pulled from the crowd to find out more about my experience and how my daughter was doing. She's an intelligent, beautiful and healthy 27 year old prison guard in Phoenix, Arizona.

Thank you and your team for the work you do. You make an excruciatingly stressful time a little more bearable for families like mine.

Jim Anderson (a grateful father)

(Yes, I know...I REALLY need a haircut...and a shave.)


(Yes, I know...I REALLY need a haircut...and a shave. I miss my parrot shirt!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude: People You Don't Want to Thank

We've been much quieter than we expected during our self-proclaimed 100 Days of Gratitude. You could chalk it up to being too busy, but I think, in reality, we've been quiet because the process of thanking people for 100 days has required more internal processing than either of us realized.

We'll have a summary of lessons learned soon, but before we do, we want to share one lesson that struck both Jim and me.

Sometimes, there are people you should thank that you don't want to talk to again, let alone thank.

I'm certain that you have people who have crossed through your life's journey who have been just mean. Cruel. Rotten to you and your loved ones. Sometimes it's unintentional, but sometimes it's specific and targeted.

These people hurt you.

As Jim and I reviewed our lists of people to thank, certain people came up over and over. "Oh, I'll never thank that person." But as we talked about this whole process more, we recognized these main things:

1. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Yes, it's an overused phrase, thanks to Nietzche (and Kelly Clarkson), but it can be true. Difficult people and challenging situations can test your resolve and put your own beliefs into a crucible to be refined.

For example, my own view of philanthropy was once tested by someone who believed that fundraising was a zero sum game. "If I have a dollar to give, and I give it to someone else, you're out of luck," he said. "Every other organization is a competitor."

In response, after some thought, I said, "Do you know where the word 'philanthropy' comes from? It's from the Greek, 'philos' and 'anthropos.' It's about love of your fellow man." I continued, "You don't tell a parent that they'll love the second child less because there's a finite amount of love. Love expands and grows. Philanthropy is the same way. If you truly love a cause, you'll find a way to support it." I couldn't articulate that thought until I was pushed to do so.

2. Mean people can push you outside of your comfort zone. Generally, I am not a huge risk taker. I like to know what's going to happen and like to be in control of things that I can control. There have been times in my life, however, where it felt like there was nothing under my control, and I had to adjust. I had to take risks.

There's a quote on my wall that says this: "The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be...because of all I may become, I will close my eyes and leap!" Sometimes, I didn't leap, I was pushed!

3. There is something to learn from every chapter (or scene or paragraph) of my life. It was strange that once I started thinking about the lessons that came out of difficult interactions and relationships, my reactions to that time of my life seemed a little more detached. I could process the lesson without getting caught up in the emotions. Sometimes the lesson is as basic as, "that person is not really your friend," but it's a lesson, nonetheless.

I'm not saying that either Jim or I had this great epiphany where we are both willing to let bygones be bygones with everyone in our lives. I certainly am not saying that we're going to be friends with everyone we've met. There will be some people that I will never like or trust again. But I think we've both come to realize that even the difficult people have added something to our experiences and can be thanked.

Even if we can never bring ourselves to say so.


Labels

Alice Ferris (96) Jim Anderson (71) AFP (40) ACFRE (38) GoalBusters Consulting (30) goalbusters (30) CFRE (28) fundraising (28) Training (23) nonprofit (22) 100 days of gratitude (21) Association of Fundraising Professionals (18) 100 days (17) AFP Conference (16) Presentations (16) 2009 (15) 2014 (15) Social Media (15) gratitude (15) 2010 (14) AFPNAZ (14) 2013 (13) philanthropy (13) 2012 (11) Workshop (11) 2011 (10) travel (10) How To (9) arizona (8) thank you (8) 2008 (7) Facebook (7) Flagstaff (7) KAWC (7) Marketing (7) Video (7) Volunteer (7) YouTube (7) FAQ (6) Food (6) Public Radio (6) Storytelling (6) Tips (6) 2017 (5) LinkedIn (5) Making the Ask (5) NFCB (5) Planning (5) Social Networking (5) Webinar (5) restaurants (5) rural fundraising (5) 2016 (4) Air Travel (4) Chinese New Year (4) Christmas (4) Donor (4) KGHR (4) KUYI (4) Major Gifts (4) Native American (4) Planned Giving (4) Pledge Drive (4) Public Broadcasting (4) Public Television (4) SlideShare (4) Special Events (4) Stevenson (4) Video Production (4) board development (4) ethics (4) stewardship (4) 2015 (3) Arizona PBS (3) Baltimore (3) Brand (3) Capital Campaign (3) Chinese (3) Community (3) Conference (3) Development Staff (3) Donor Acquisition (3) Economy (3) Elf (3) Elves (3) Goals (3) HEEF (3) Haiku Deck (3) Health Care (3) Holiday (3) Hopi (3) Jimisms (3) KAWC Colorado River Public Media (3) Lowell Observatory (3) Manifesto (3) Mission (3) North Country HealthCare (3) PBS (3) Passion (3) Photography (3) Promotion (3) Research (3) Small Shops (3) Wisconsin (3) Year-End Giving (3) customer service (3) phoenix (3) prescott (3) resolutions (3) yuma (3) 2007 (2) AFP TechKnow (2) Accreditation (2) Advancing Philanthropy (2) Alice's Restaurants (2) Books (2) Business Strategy (2) CFRE International (2) Canada (2) Chronicle of Philanthropy (2) Coaches (2) Commentary (2) Communication (2) Congress (2) Dancing (2) Dr. John H. Caskey III (2) Elta Foster (2) Foodspotting (2) Fundraising Campaign (2) Funny (2) Guiding Principles (2) Honor (2) Hopi Education Endowment Fund (2) Humor (2) Immigrant (2) Jib Jab (2) KAET (2) NAU (2) New Orleans (2) Partners (2) Plan (2) Press Release (2) Profile (2) Prospecting (2) Relationships (2) Respect (2) Resume (2) Reviews (2) Sanders (2) Schultz Fire (2) Singing (2) Strategic Planning (2) TechKnow (2) Trust (2) Twitter (2) VIP (2) Values (2) Velvet Rope (2) Visionary (2) Vora Finacial (2) accountability (2) anniversary (2) appreciation (2) award (2) change (2) checklist (2) code of ethics (2) crisis communication (2) cultivation (2) culture of philanthropy (2) development (2) development cycle (2) diversity (2) education (2) goal setting (2) habits (2) introspection (2) jobs (2) lapsed donors (2) las vegas (2) lessons (2) new year (2) san diego (2) tripit (2) washington DC (2) 30 day plan (1) 50th Anniversary (1) 60 minutes (1) AFP Foundation Canada (1) AFP Meeting (1) AFPeeps (1) ALD (1) AWC (1) African American (1) Alexis de Tocqueville (1) Alpha Lambda Delta (1) Andrew Philips (1) Animoto (1) Anna LaBenz (1) Annagreta Jacobson (1) Apps (1) Arizona Daily Sun (1) Arizona University (1) Arizona Western College (1) Ask the Experts (1) Bequests (1) Bill Ferris (1) Blink (1) Bloomerang (1) Boot Camp (1) Boudros (1) Branding (1) Broadway (1) CAN-SPAM (1) CN Tower EdgeWalk (1) CPB (1) Career Change (1) Case (1) Center on Philanthropy (1) Certified Fund Raising Executive (1) Charity Channel (1) Cheerleaders (1) Children (1) Chris Adams (1) Church (1) City Council (1) Cleveland (1) Cold Call (1) Colorado (1) Commission (1) Community Service (1) Compensation (1) Cook (1) Corporate Giving (1) Credential (1) Credentialing (1) Dan Coughlin (1) Data (1) Dating Game (1) Dave Ferris (1) Dave Tinker (1) Desert (1) Dharmesh Vora (1) Discovery Channel Telescope (1) Donald Sutherland (1) Douglas Adams (1) Dr. Carl Myers (1) Dr. William J. Rugg (1) Ed Renzi (1) Efficiency (1) Elevator Speech (1) Entrepreneur Magazine (1) FM (1) FTC (1) Family (1) Fan Pages (1) Farm (1) Fast Food Nation (1) Feasibility Study (1) Feedback (1) Flagstaff Community Partnership (1) Flood (1) Flowers (1) Foundations (1) Frances McAllister (1) Free (1) Fundraising Effectiveness Project (1) Gallup Q12 (1) Ginny Z. Berson (1) Girl Scouts (1) Giving USA (1) Goldilocks Proposals (1) Granite Mountain Hotshots (1) Grant Writing (1) Grants (1) Grants Step by Step (1) Hash House A Go Go (1) Hawaii (1) Healthcare (1) Hey Eleanor (1) Hiring (1) Hispanic (1) Hopi Foundation (1) Hospital (1) House of Philanthropy (1) Houston (1) IAIA (1) IHQ (1) Identity (1) Immigration (1) In Kind (1) Indiana University (1) JC Patrick (1) JLB Project (1) January (1) Jetpack America (1) Jim Collins (1) Jimmy LaRose (1) KUAT (1) Kaleidoscope (1) Karla Williams (1) Ken Lain (1) KonMari (1) Kristin Taliaferro (1) KristinCoach (1) Latino (1) Lawrence Welk (1) Le Pavillon (1) Legacy (1) Living Social (1) Lodging (1) Los Angeles (1) Lotus of Siam (1) MIP (1) Mabel's on Main (1) Madison (1) Makeover Series (1) Malcolm Brett (1) Malcolm Gladwell (1) Margo Hudson (1) Marshall Rosenberg (1) Mary W. Black (1) Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (1) McDonalds (1) Meeting Facilitation (1) Methodist (1) Mexican (1) Michael Nilsen (1) Middle East (1) Montessori in the Park (1) Mr Rogers (1) MySpace (1) NAFB (1) NANOE (1) NPR (1) NSU (1) NaNope (1) Nan Bain (1) Navajo (1) Nepal (1) New York (1) News (1) Nietzche (1) Nonviolent Communication (1) Northern Arizona University (1) Organizational Readiness (1) Orlando (1) PMDMC (1) PRPD (1) Pacifica (1) Parade (1) Partners in Recognition (1) Paul Helford (1) Philanthropist (1) Pittsburgh (1) Plenary Speaker (1) Politics (1) Porgy and Bess (1) Prezi (1) Proposal (1) Publications (1) Quentin Lee (1) Questions (1) Racial Profiling (1) Raku (1) Review (1) Rick Swanson (1) River City Grill (1) Riverwalk (1) Robbe Healey (1) Robert Kiyosaki (1) Ronald McDonald House (1) Rose Marie Ferris (1) SB1070 (1) SEO (1) SWOT (1) San Antonio (1) Scottsdale (1) Service (1) Serving Your Community (1) Shared History (1) Soroptimists (1) Speaker (1) Sponsors (1) Sponsorship (1) Spring (1) Stephen Hawking (1) Stereotypes (1) Steve Ferris (1) Strategic Thinking (1) Super Size me (1) Sweets Raku (1) Taco Trucks (1) Target Marketing (1) Team (1) Teamwork (1) Television (1) Teri Sanders (1) Texas (1) Thanksgiving (1) Tim Burcham (1) Timothy Sandoval (1) Toolkit (1) Toronto (1) Tough (1) Tough Economy (1) Train (1) Tucson (1) Tweets (1) United President's Club (1) Vernon Kahe (1) WBAI (1) Watters Garden Center (1) Whitney Anderson (1) WikiHow (1) Wills (1) Wisconsin Public Television (1) Women's March on Washington (1) Woodford Reserve (1) Yarnell (1) Yarnell Fire (1) Year in review (1) Year of the Sheep (1) Yellow Pages (1) administration (1) adventures (1) assessment (1) beliefs (1) birthday (1) board of governors (1) board service (1) breaking up (1) brochures (1) budget cuts (1) business practices (1) career satisfaction (1) cats (1) cliques (1) community radio (1) crisis (1) difficult people (1) dinner parties (1) diverse communities (1) donor focused (1) donor pyramid (1) election 2016 (1) end of relationship (1) essay (1) federal funding (1) firefighters (1) for profit (1) high school (1) hotels (1) inspiration (1) jetpack (1) job seeking (1) keynote (1) lemons (1) live your dream (1) loss (1) memory (1) mentoring (1) millennials (1) monthly giving (1) motivation (1) multicultural (1) nomination (1) oklahoma city (1) organizational culture (1) outstanding professional (1) peoria (1) personal (1) potlucks (1) receptions (1) recognition (1) red flags (1) remembrance (1) sales (1) san francisco (1) scholarships (1) science (1) setbacks (1) star thrower (1) starfish (1) sustaining members (1) tempe (1) thirtysomething (1) three cups of tea (1) to do (1) transformational (1) volunteers (1) wildland fire (1) winslow (1)