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Sunday, December 1, 2013


Date: 12/1/2013
For Release: Immediate
Contact: CFRE International


Alexandria, VA – CFRE International has named James S Anderson as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). James S Anderson, Partner for GoalBusters Consulting, LLC joins over 5,200 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation.

Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International which include tenure in the profession, education, demonstrated fundraising achievement and a commitment to service to not-for-profit organizations. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive, and have agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and the Donor Bill of Rights.

“The CFRE credential was created to identify for the public and employers those individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and commitment to perform fundraising duties in an effective and ethical manner,” states Jim Caldarola, CFRE, Chair of CFRE International. “As the certification is a voluntary achievement, the CFRE credential demonstrates a high level of commitment on the part of James S Anderson to himself, the fundraising profession, and, the donors who are served”

CFRE recipients are awarded certification for a three-year period. In order to maintain certification status certificants must demonstrate on-going fundraising employment and fundraising results, and continue with their professional education. Employers and donors who work with CFRE’s know they are getting a professional who is committed to the best outcomes for their organization and has the requisite knowledge and skills.

CFRE International is an independent organization dedicated to the certification of fundraising executives by setting standards in philanthropic practice. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and led by a small professional staff, CFRE International consistently meets the highest standards for certification excellence and is itself accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies.

As the premier global credential for career fundraisers, the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation is endorsed and supported by the world’s leading professional and philanthropic associations, including:
  • Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP)
  • Association of Christian Development Professionals (ACDP)
  • Association of Development and Alumni Professionals in Education (ADAPE)
  • Australasia Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC)
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
  • Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE)
  • Association of Philanthropic Counsel (APC)
  • Canadian Association for Gift Planners/Association canadienne des professionnels (CAGP*ACPDP)
  • Council for Resource Development (CRD)
  • Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA)
  • Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ)
  • Giving Institute; International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC)
  • Kenya Association of Fundraising Professionals (KAFP)
  • National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC)
  • New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (NEAHP)
  • North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO)
  • Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI)
  • United Way of America Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO)

CFRE International congratulates James S Anderson for achieving the CFRE designation.
For more information please visit or call +1 703.820.5555.


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Alice Ferris LinkedIn Facebook Twitter pinterest Skype alice.ferris

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lessons from 100 Days of Gratitude

From June to September 2013, we embarked on a mission to thank someone every day for 100 days. Honestly, the 100 Days of Gratitude was supposed to be a way to get us to blog more. Instead, it was an inspiring, emotional, touching, frustrating, occasionally dramatic, and, in the end, transforming experience.

We didn't blog more. But we reconnected with many people who have been important to us and continue to affect our paths.

Even though we both experienced this differently, the above deck highlights some of the points that were revealed to us both:
  1. Don't make a list. (This from the list maker, Alice). When we began, we both made lists but discovered that we were spending more time making the list than actually thanking people. So away went the list, and we thanked whomever we were inspired to thank that day.
  2. Be personal. Early on, we decided that email was "cheating." It had to be a handwritten note, a phone call, or an in-person visit. People who received our thanks were very touched to receive personal attention.
  3. Be specific. Often, the people we were thanking didn't know why they were being thanked. By being specific, we could highlight that something that perhaps seemed very minor to them had a huge impact.
  4. A gift is nice. Not required, but nice if you're inspired to give one. 
  5. Thank every day. Like any habit, it takes a while to stick. There were days when we just thanked one person, and days when we thanked many. But we reached out to someone every day.
  6. Listen to your heart. This led to thanking people we didn't want to thank, or people that we didn't know needed thanking. Even the tough ones were rewarding.
  7. Laugh. It's easy to get sucked into sentimentality with gratitude. Some days, our thanks were silly, bordering on absurd. (Our colleague, Steve, in Yuma got most of those.) But they were thanks nonetheless, and a whole lot of fun.
  8. Experience thanks fully. Emotions are involved in expressing gratitude. Prepare to be moved by them.
  9. 100 days is not enough. There are many more people to thank, so we press on. Maybe not as consistently, but we continue.
Thanks to everyone who played along, and of course, to all the people we have been grateful for. We've learned much from this experience, and encourage anyone to take on this challenge. Let us know how it touches you!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Marketing With Facebook Photos

I often see organizations and individuals "repost" their existing Facebook photos duplicating the photos. This is unnecessary and ineffective unless you're reusing an existing photo as a Cover Photo or Profile Picture in which case duplication is unavoidable. However, if the goal is to "borrow" content from the past to add current visual content to a post today, there are few more efficient/effective ways to do that. 
The ultimate goal with Facebook is to increase engagement with audience. A person can't be engaged if they don't see your post and they won't see your post unless it shows up in their Facebook News Feed. How likely something is to show up on a person's News Feed is determined by "Facebook's feed prioritization algorithm" formally called "EdgeRank."  This algorithm determines which posts show up on in a user's news feed, how high in that feed and for how long.  Facebook execs claim there are as many as 100,000 variables that produce the News Feed. The three original EdgeRank elements, Affinity, Weight and Time Decay are still  part of the evaluation and interactions (likes, shares, comments) are very important.

If you repost an existing image or video as a new timeline update as opposed to sharing it from it's existing/previous location, you LOSE ALL previous interactions, meaning that new posts starts from "zero." If you do not want "waste" prior engagement and interactions there are a few more efficient ways to use existing content.

1. Share a link to an existing photo album. It will generate a post that looks identical to an original "new" post. AND it retains ALL captions, links, photo credits AND MOST retains all the engagements...likes, comments, shares, etc. Those "engagements" are gold in increasing the post's rankings in Facebook's prioritization system. You can use Facebook's "share" feature or share the link by copying and pasting the url for the album.

2. Share a specific photo from an existing Facebook album. This allows you a wealth of photos you can post as you work to generate buzz for specific recurring events or ongoing topics while retaining all the engagements as mentioned above. It will navigate the user to the specific photo within the album and they can explore the album and your Facebook page from there, all while building your overall engagement. You can use Facebook's "share" feature or share the link by copying and pasting the url for the photo. 

3. Add new photos to an existing album. When you add photos to an existing album, the photos appear as a new post on your timeline and are a part of the existing album so viewers might explore previously posted photos. Also, when you add photos to an existing album that album "jumps" up to the top of the list of your photo albums because it has been edited with new content. 


Improve Engagement When posting photos to Facebook that are suitable to create an album, ALWAYS try to post 4 or more photos. An MTV comparative test demonstrated that posting 4 or more photos generated 1200% more clicks than a single photo posted. To create ongoing interest and engagement you might choose to post 4 or more photos from an event over a period of days creating serial storytelling experience.

Be Strategic. Select your album's Cover Photo carefully. And think about how you organize your photos within the album to place the most dynamic photos first in the album to generate interest, even if that means putting some photos out of chronological order. You can always go back and rearrange the photos to be chronological later if that's important.

Tag People. When you tag someone, you often draw attention to your event or organization from people that are completely unaware of you. But don't over do it. Only post flattering photos and only tag a person in a few photos within a given album. Group photos are a great way to get a conversation started. Tag a few people and they or their friends will tag others.

Honor Privacy If you want to make someone aware of a photo but don't want to leave the tag "public," tag them and then immediately remove the tag. They'll get a notification, but it won't show up in other people's News Feed. 

Tell Stories and Provide Information. Always add captions, links and photo credits to your photos. Your goal is to create visual storytelling with your photos and your captions and links provide information and entertainment for your viewers while delivering "thank you" value to the people and organizations in the photos. It's just common courtesy.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due. If you are posting someone else's photo, be sure to ALWAYS give them credit. When possible post a link back to a website, blog, or social media site that they would want promoted.

Photos can be your most effective posts in creating social engagement, I hope some of these tips help you better engage your communities.

Here are some additional training resources.

Fundraising Success:  Creating Your 'Virtual Porch'

ONLINE Prezi Training by GoalBusters, LLC Plug In! Social Media for NonProfits


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Jim Anderson LinkedIn Facebook Twitter pinterest Skype GoalBustersJim
Alice Ferris LinkedIn Facebook Twitter pinterest Skype alice.ferris

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thank You to the Ronald McDonald House

(Alice Ferris said I should share this moment/memory as a blog. Deep 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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What's Your Culture of Philanthropy?

Being a donor is often the best way to learn how to be a better fundraiser. I've experienced this on many occasions, particularly when I was the Foundation Director for Flagstaff Medical Center and was responsible for giving away a half a million dollars a year.

But right now, I'm learning a lot for another reason.

My mother-in-law, Rose Marie (Ogden) Ferris, passed away on Friday, July 19, 2013 after a long battle with emphysema. She passed peacefully with her surviving sons, Steve, Bill and Dave, nearby. While no one is ever prepared for the loss of a parent, the Ferris men are handling the transition and arrangements as well as they can. 

Of course, I was wondering how to help. I figured the things I knew how to do were planning the lunch after the service and the donations in lieu of flowers. I am a fundraiser, after all.

Here's my experience so far with the selected charitable organization:
  1. It took three attempts to get in touch with someone in the development office. The volunteers and staff were uncertain who to call and asked many questions as if to "filter" me away from the development staff.
  2. The person I spoke with was very nice, but neglected to get my contact information, even after I asked if she wanted it.
  3. Even after I asked about naming opportunities in honor of my mother-in-law, they still don't have my contact information.
In "Under Developed:  A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising," conducted by CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the analysis identified a lack of a culture of philanthropy as a key weakness of the sector. Fund development and philanthropy needs to be "understood and valued across the organization."

So I write this not to "flog" the organization in question; they took very good care of Rose and we're working out the details of the donations. But how can this, or any other, culture be improved?

Here are my suggestions:
  • Make regular contact with your "directors of first contact." Who is the first person who will interact with a potential donor? Make sure they know who you are and you know who THEY are.

    The first volunteer we spoke with on site didn't really know what we were asking for. The second volunteer that we were referred to looked through the binder at the front desk and said, "I can't remember the lady's name who does this sort of thing." The third volunteer was almost protective--"Why do you want to speak to them? Can you give me more information?"

    Highlight a handful of key people in this role--people who are willing to participate and receive additional training. As they develop their persona of "brand ambassador" for the organization, their enthusiasm will eventually spread throughout the rest of the front line.
  • Assume that your team isn't as comfortable interacting with donors as you might be. More often than we care to admit, our teams are terrified of our donors. Many of the staff don't know what to say or how to act around donors, mostly because they're afraid they'll say something wrong. Help your team understand their role in thanking donors, whether they are current, past or future. Provide them with regular training on how to communicate with external audiences as well, as communication skills are critical.
  • Make sure you understand why they work for your organization. It's not just about you: what makes your colleagues tick? What are they passionate about related to your cause? If you understand that, you can help them find their own story that they can share. You can also help them relate to a donor, saying, "Our donors are excited about our organization, too."
  • Collect donor information, even if you're not sure where the relationship will go. Especially if the donor initiated the contact. They want to start a relationship with you--at least have a way to follow up.
  • Be a donor to your organization on a regular basis. Do a little "secret shopping." Call your main line. Find out what happens when someone asks to donate. Then use your experience to improve.
Culture of philanthropy is a challenging thing to build and maintain at any nonprofit organization. It requires a consistent investment of your time as a development professional, but you never know when a donor will not be as persistent as I am.

In memory of Rose Marie Ferris, mother, grandmother, wife and author, 1938-2013.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 33: People who push you out of your comfort zone

CN Tower Edge Walk, Toronto, ON
"Just try it. Three bites."

We have a rule in my house when it comes to food--the three bite rule. If my son, Matthew, doesn't want to try something, which is rare since he'll eat almost anything, he has to try at least three bites. If he doesn't like it after three bites, he doesn't have to eat it. More often than not, however, he ends up liking it. Unfortunately for me, that has resulted in him liking oysters (raw and smoked), lobster, unagi (eel), toro (fatty tuna), Brillat-Savarin cheese and all sorts of other expensive foods. And some of my favorites.

Likewise, there have been people in my life who have pushed me to try stuff that I didn't want to try. For instance, in May, Jim decided he wanted to go on the CN Tower EdgeWalk, where they hook you up to a "human dog run" on the roof of the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower. At 121 stories in the air, it's the highest outdoor recreation activity in North America, so they claim.

Video highlights from the EdgeWalk

This wasn't really on my to-do list, but I reluctantly agreed to participate. AND I HAD SO MUCH FUN!

On a professional level, when I was at Wisconsin Public Television, I did NOT want to be in front of the camera. Even though I was the on-air fundraising producer and could do the pitches in my sleep, I had no desire to be on-camera talent. The development director at the time, Malcolm Brett (now General Manager), said that being on-air was a condition of my employment.

My first on-camera break, in August 1994, was awful. Truly, incredibly awful.

Malcolm came up to me and said, "Well, you got the kinks out. Your next break will be fine."

The "after": My national PBS gig pitching Downton Abbey
(l to r) Ken Verdoia, Bob Marty, Joe Campbell, me
And he was right. My next break, the red tally light came on and I was fine. Now, being on-air for public television and radio is second nature to me, and my favorite part of my job.

If it weren't for people like Malcolm, I never would have discovered something that makes me really happy. And something I happen to be kind of good at.

So today, I give thanks to people who pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to new things that I ended up enjoying. And most times, it didn't take more than "three bites."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 32: Gratitude is Contagious

We've finished the first 30 days of our 100 Days of Gratitude! It's time for some reflections on our experiences so far.

1. People still like the personal touch.
We could have done this all a lot quicker by sending emails to people or posting something on their Facebook wall, but we have purposefully selected sending handwritten notes, making phone calls, and seeing people in person. Electronic media is great for a lot of things, but when you want to communicate a personal connection and real human interaction, you still kind of need to do something else.

2. There is never a shortage of people to thank.
When Jim and I travel (which most people know is a lot), we discuss our projects. (Sometimes I wonder what we'd talk about if we weren't business colleagues!) Lately, our conversations go like this:

Jim: Did you see I'm having dinner with Paul?
Alice: Yes. Oh, and that reminds me, we're having lunch with Elta.
Jim: Great. We haven't seen her in a long time. Oh, I have to call _____.
Alice: Oh yeah, and that reminds me, I need to add _____ to the list. Let me text myself.
Jim: Did you add _____?
Alice: Oops, no. I'll do that too.
Jim: Oh, and we're behind on the blog.

You get the idea. The list continues to grow the more people we thank. That's not a bad feeling!

3. Gratitude is contagious.
After sending thank you notes to several people, I got thank you notes back! We've also been encouraged by the number of people who have also decided to embark on their own 100 days of gratitude. A little bit of time that it takes to thank someone can start a cascade of gratitude.

(I'm reminded of the old Liberty Mutual ad campaign: "Doing the Right Thing.")

via AdWorld

Whether it's been people who impacted our personal lives, professional careers, or have donated to our causes, it has been the highlight of the month to thank them for their contributions. As we continue the 100 Days of Gratitude, we welcome your comments on your own gratitude experiences on this blog, or on our Facebook page.

Thank YOU!

Monday, July 1, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 31: Honoring Granite Mountain Hotshots

Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew
photo from City of Prescott
Like so many other friends, I heard about the loss of 19 firefighters from Prescott on Facebook. At first, I was a bit skeptical. "There's no way that 19 firefighters lost their lives fighting the Yarnell fire. Those guys are really well trained. This must be a rumor," I thought.

But then the updates started coming from media sources like NPR, and given my proclivity to believe NPR (hazard of my chosen profession), I joined in the discussion. One post that struck me was from my friend, Janet, who said, "As parents of a firefighter it hits close to home. Please send them prayers in this terrible time of grief."

Living in the mountain west in a period of drought, we have been touched by many fires. A little more than three years ago, Jim took this striking video of the Schultz Pass Fire from his driveway:

Schultz Pass Fire, Father's Day 2010

It's hard to imagine seeing a fire like this, or the Yarnell Fire, and going into it instead of running away. And hotshot crews, teams of usually 20 men who have been trained for difficult wildland fires, are considered the elite. When I've seen their trucks driving down the highway on their way to the next fire, I can't help but be a little kid again--I honk my car horn and wave.

To lose even one firefighter is tragic. To lose almost an entire team is unheard of.

For those living in this region, in the wildland urban interface, fire is an ongoing and increasing risk. We all know someone who has been affected by wildland fire, whether the immediate or after effect. We rely on firefighters who not only leap into danger to protect our communities, but who also spend countless hours providing public education, conducting fire prevention activities, and doing a lot of relatively mundane tasks to keep us safe from future fires.

Even though I did not know any of these men, I honor their commitment and ultimate sacrifice to all of us and pray for their families and friends.

Related links:
Facebook page honoring the lost:

The Granite Mountain Hotshot team was highlighted training for a situation just like this in this article posted June 25 and in the video below: For hotshot firefighting crews, training can be a matter of life and death.

Author's note: This is a little detour from the 100 Days of Gratitude, but given the situation, please forgive us. We have been progressing along with our pledge to thank someone every day for 100 days and will be posting more reflections soon.

Friday, June 21, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 13: Accidental Encounters

Mabel's on Main, Scottsdale, AZ
On a regular basis, we encounter people that we didn't expect to meet. Tonight was no exception.

We just wrapped up a successful "mini" drive at KAWC Colorado River Public Media in Yuma, Arizona. We're en route to a presentation for AFP Vancouver Island and AFP Wine Country. We had a Living Social deal for Mabel's on Main in Scottsdale, Arizona, that was good to use the night before an early morning departure.

At one point, a young man approached our table and asked to take our extra chair. Moments later, after Jim initiated a conversation, we have two new table companions, Joshua and Tiffany.

During the course of the conversation, surprisingly, we discuss commitment to nonprofits. Tiffany is an active volunteer who has been clearly raised with a volunteer ethic. She demonstrated very quickly that she was excited about the nonprofit causes that she has chosen and spoke articulately and passionately about her causes.

Joshua is about to initiate a great adventure. He is going to hike through southeast Asia and support a new business there. When we met him, he was celebrating an award winning business project with his team for his (slightly) delayed senior year at Arizona State University.

These two young people made us continue to be thankful for the next generation of philanthropists and leaders. Some in the nonprofit sector are confused and perplexed by the Millennial generation of donors and volunteers--how do we fit them into the existing model that we have for our organizations?

Our answer? Don't.

Millennial donors/volunteers/activists don't want to fit into the traditional nonprofit volunteer or donor model, These young people didn't necessarily want to serve in a traditional role on a board or committee. Here are some of our ideas about Millennial generation nonprofit contributors:

  • Provide concrete ways to contribute: Tiffany saw the board of one of her organizations struggle to interpret marketing information. She said, "They were looking at all these spreadsheets, and I knew I was supposed to just observe, but I couldn't help myself when they didn't understand them. I spoke up." She knew she could contribute, so she decided to! Good for her, because I think she helped the nonprofit make a more effective decision, and was invited to serve on the board!
  • Provide something immediate to do: These two are ready to experience life to the fullest and won't be bothered with meetings, bureaucracy, and "that's the way we've always done it." 
  • Model behavior: Tiffany was very proud of her mother and mom's "Angie's Angels." From what she described, I don't blame her. Mom, an attorney, has demonstrated commitment to nonprofits both to her staff and to her daughter. Tiffany said that her mom's mandated days of service with her staff were an inspiration. Don't underestimate what your commitment to service may influence.
It was wonderful to meet such inspiring young people, totally by accident. We wish them luck and hope that they'll connect and keep us up to date on their accomplishments. I know they will both do great work.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 12: The Team

Elta Foster, Alice Ferris, Jim Anderson & Tegwin Tiffany
Unless you're Kanye West or Donald Trump, you'll probably admit that you need other people to support and collaborate with you to in order to achieve your full potential.

I've been fortunate to be a part of many great teams from my undefeated High School Football team to record breaking corporate sales teams to the nonprofit organizations I serve today. But one of the most collaborative, supportive, fun and empowering teams I've ever been a part of was the Development Team at KNAU Arizona Public Radio. Together we achieved great things including producing the first, and only $1,000,000 fundraising year in the station's 30 year history.

The team begins with Elta Foster, the Membership Manager and the "foundation" of our team. Alice Ferris, ACFRE was the Development Director. She had just lost 1/2 her staff "overnight" when she hired me as Sales Manager. For about six months it was just the three of us doing the jobs of six people. That kind of challenge either brings you together or tears you apart. It cemented our relationships and they thrive to this day. Tegwin eventually joined us as Development Coordinator and Maddie (Synnott) Stansell rounded out our team as Development Assistant. Together we broke the records set before us and created new milestones. None of our accomplishments would have been possible if not for the strengths and sense of common purpose each person brought to the team.

We're taking Elta to dinner to thank her for being our "rock" and for her leadership and kindness. We're sending a care package to Colorado for Maddie and maybe we'll Skype to share "in person" how much her contributions and support empowered our success. Sadly, Tegwin is no longer with us, but we'll honor her contributions as well.

I've said before that all you need to create a successful team is cooperation and enthusiasm, but here are a few other characteristics that help create effective and highly producing teams.

Common Goals: Team members understand shared goals and agree that they are important and attainable.

Emotional Commitment: Everyone is personally invested in the success of the team and cares about their teammates' experience.

"We" Mentality: The team thinks in terms of "we," working together toward the same goals. Teams find ways to "pitch in," overcoming challenges and maximizing opportunities. It's unacceptable to say "It's not my job." Instead the question is always "How can I help?"

Specialized Skills: Individuals within the team each have unique valuable strengths and skills that they bring to each task and are recognized and valued by the team. Each has independent responsibilities that contribute to the common goals.

Clear Leadership: Leadership may change depending on projects, circumstances and events, but there are not battles for control during transitions.

Celebrations of Success: Long term goals can be draining. Strong teams find reasons to celebrate small successes in order to improve morale and provide motivation.

Thank you to the people that create teams that work. It isn't easy and takes time to mature, but when it works the end result is exponentially more than what you could have accomplished alone.


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