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Adapting to Your Environment

Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud Canada

This week's blog is a guest post by Delphine Haslé, CFRE. It's one thing to talk about donor walls, but it's an entirely different journey to take it from inception to a successful conclusion. Let me share with you my experience at The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre Foundation. [caption id="attachment_1833" align="aligncenter" width="448"]Donor Recognition Wall Before - traditional donor recognition wall.[/caption]

1. Dream big, Think outside of the box

giftHere is my list of earth-stopping phrases that I heard at AFP Congress this year. These are the ones that really made me think about what I am doing, and how I am doing it. You can sSend me  your "aha" moments in the comments section below. 1)  Your donor sees his or her thank you card as the beginning of the relationship, while more often than not, the organization sees the thank you card as the ending of the relationship – Tom Ahern 2) You can’t do it all. You are just going to have to choose what falls off your deskKaren Osborne, The Osborne Group 3) Millennials (young people between 12 and 31 years of age) see themselves on equal footing, and equal hierarchy with fundraisers and staff who have been in the business for over 15 years. Get over yourselves and accept the fact that good ideas can come from anywhereBarbara Talisman. Link to PPT slides from “Millennials in the workplace” here.

This month I gave my most meaningful gift ever. And because the gift felt special to me, I have been reflecting on why I give.  I asked myself: Why now?  Why this amount?  Why is it meaningful to me? Maybe it’s all this talk about vulnerability, but I am ready to share with you my personal thoughts on Why I Give. By listening to my reasons, I hope it will help you understand why your donors give. It’s very simple:

The Dinner Party. It was a social fixture in the ‘60’s, but in the last few decades it has lost some of its allure. If you are a not-for-profit development officer, read on: there are some really good reasons why revitalizing the dinner party can lend meaningful support to your organization. The best story I have ever heard about hosting “home turf” dinner parties was shared with me by my friend, Kate Jaimet, a writer and journalist here in Ottawa. She was hired by the Chelsea Club - a women’s club for Ottawa’s high society ladies - to compile a mini-history of the organization. The interviews that Kate conducted shed enormous light on how networking happened in Ottawa high society during the past few decades. Here is the story of one of her interviewees.

Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bell

Mrs. Ruth Bell, now 92 years old recalled how her husband, Mr. Dick Bell, an elected Member of Parliament, had a long list of friends, supporters and fellow parliament members that he needed to “spend some quality time with.”

Belonging. It’s a three syllable word that, in the wilderness, is the difference between life and death. Here in civilization, belonging may be slightly less dire, but it still packs a pretty big wallop.  In other words, you may not live and die by your association with a local non-profit, but the sense of connection that comes with “belonging” to such a group may significantly contribute to the sense of “wholeheartedness” in your life. Let me back up a bit and introduce you to Brené Brown. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I was introduced to Brené Brown though a creativity workshop. Since then, I have shared this TEDtalks video of Brené countless times. Please watch it. Really. I mean it. Twenty minutes to a more authentic life is what I am asking you for. http://youtu.be/X4Qm9cGRub0

Milk and cream:  two yummy parts of what a cow produces . Left on a counter for 12-24 hours, fresh milk naturally separates into a high-fat cream layer on top, leaving a larger, low-fat milk layer on the bottom. Where is this moooving metaphor going? This natural process reminds me of a trend I am tracking in the not-for-profit world. The not-for-profit world is experiencing similar separation these days. The organizations that rise to the top are doing a better job of communicating, engaging and raising money from their communities. Unlike the cream they emulate however, these non-profit’s aren’t doing this work on their own.  More and more not-for-profits are knocking at my door, and at the door of other consultants because they want to build: