Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where Should You Avoid Meeting with Prospects and Donors?

My father NEVER met with clients in their homes or restaurants. Always came to our site – – you can make it comfortable and still be in control of the environment. It inspires more confidence, and we almost always gained / retained a client (financial planning / estate planning firm).

Michael Rosen Says...

Whether you want to cultivate or ask for support, a face-to-face meeting with a prospect or donor will usually be the most effective approach. To ensure the success of your meeting, you need to carefully plan for it. That includes knowing where to avoid having that meeting.

Two types of locations make particularly poor choices for meetings:

Katz's Deli by Matt Biddulph via FlickrRestaurants/cafes. Such locations can be problematic for any number of reasons. Your guest might not feel comfortable discussing personal matters in a public setting. The noise level of the restaurant might not be conducive to conversation. Servers will inevitably interrupt your discussion. The choice of a specific restaurant could even be problematic. Consider the following true story that I shared in my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing:

The development officer picked up the donor at her home and drove her to the Four Seasons Hotel for lunch in the very lavish Fountain…

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Money for Good 2015: There’s $22 Billion Up for Grabs

Collaborative philanthropy is key! Nonprofits need to wake up and find new ways of connecting donors to each other. Stop trying to isolate donors from each other, “manage” your relationships and control the process. Give donors an environment where they can know each other and come up with crowdsourced, open sourced, and crowdfunded solutions FOR you! Nonprofit leaders and fundraisers – you don’t have all the answers. Contact me for good tools to give your donors – – if you dare!

GuideStar Blog

Money for Good 2015: There’s $22 Billion Up for Grabs

Money for Good 2015 is out today, and, like its two predecessors, it offers plenty of food for thought.

Published by the Camber Collective (the result of the merger between Hope Consulting and SwitchPoint LLC), Money for Good 2015 examines donors’ motives for charitable giving and what they mean for philanthropy overall.

Here are some key findings from the 159-page report:

Donors Are Suspicious

Money for Good 2015: There’s $22 Billion Up for GrabsThe Money for Good team surveyed more than 3,000 people with household incomes greater than $80,000 (half of the group had incomes greater than $300,000). This audience represents the top 30 percent of US households and accounts for 75 percent of individual charitable donations. The team also interviewed more than 50 donors.

The results? Many donors don’t trust nonprofits. They don’t know how the organizations use their money, and they’re not sure who benefits from the gifts.

Donors Are Confused

Some 13 percent of donors feel…

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House Votes 240-179 To Repeal Estate Tax

Death tax foes are at it again, gearing up for tax reform.


This would be another significant shift toward a society where estate planning is more about a true legacy and less about tax avoidance.  It would be more about passing along values through your valuables and less about complicated mechanics.  You could provide meaningful and equitable support to your family without the fog of a constantly shifting and confusing tax code.  In the end, I think it would open up legacy philanthropy to more people than ever – and everyone can win when that happens.

What do you think?

Money can buy you happiness

Turns out that money CAN buy you happiness – as long as you don’t spend it on yourself.  I’ve experienced the effect of giving myself, and I’ve seen how generosity works as a key to happiness, prosperity and long-life for many people I’ve met over the years.

But don’t take my word for it – – here’s what the experts say:

MarketSmart has some fantastic visuals on the research – for those of us who don’t like all those words in white papers:



Let’s start a good conversation on this subject –

Tyler Morning Telegraph – Janice Owen Miller’s legacy lives in philanthropy

Janice Owen Miller was born and raised in Malakoff. Three months after she was born, her father …


This the story of a TRUE legacy gift – – – Mrs. Miller used some simple gift tools to plan her gifts.  Her plans have made it possible to fill the “gap” in philanthropy to the charities she supported during her lifetime.  

But even more significant is that she set things up in such a way that NEW charitable endeavors are being funded that are in alignment with her values.

This type of significant impact doesn’t happen by accident.  It takes thoughtful, purposeful planning.  And it takes a team of people who really care about the client / donor  – – looking at her more than just a prospect with “capacity”.  Taking time to learn what is important, what values she held dear, and assisting her in discerning what she wanted her wealth to do that would outlive her.

$25 Million Suit Over Robert Ellsworth Estate

Masahiro Hashiguchi, the long-time friend of the late collector Robert Ellsworth, filed a $25 million suit Monday against the lawyer who drafted the will.


I’m always amazed when the wealthy like Ellsworth have such poor estate planning.  This man was a savvy deal maker, but he and his attorney appear to have overlooked some basic financial fundamentals in planning the estate.  My question is:  did Ellsworth have a team of professional advisors to help him think through everything?  

This kind of problem is not just for the wealthy, however.  Even if your estate is not in the “taxable” range, you still need to have a solid estate plan to protect the vision you have for your loved ones and your community in the event of your disability or death.  And it often takes more than a simple will or trust to cover everything. You need to understand how all of your assets affect your lifestyle and legacy financial plans, and that takes the involvement from experts in different areas of financial services.

Have a plan that involves a good team that is looking out for your comprehensive interests.  Make sure they consider all the rules, regulations and options.  Then check it all again.

Southern Campus’ students instrumental in success of Red Cross fundraiser

Ohio University Southern electronic media students provided production support for a Red Cross fundraiser, “Dancing with Our Stars,” in Portsmouth, Ohio, last weekend.


Another example of active philanthropy – you’re never to young to make a difference.  We all have something to give, and these Ohio University students show us that this is true.

Congratulations on a successful fundraiser for the American Red Cross in Portsmouth, Ohio

Beyond the Traditional Estate Planning ‘Choices’ | Estate Planning content from

Estate planners often advise clients that there are only three places where you can leave your assets at death: family, taxes and charity.


Fantastic, brief article on estate planning and why everyone should do it.  The discussion on more meaningful philanthropy caught my attention, of course.  But the question, “Do you always want to avoid taxes?”  was especially intriguing and made me stop and think.

What do you think?  I would love to hear from you.

Surpise Findings on Gender, Religion in Philanthropy

Women Give 2014 study finds greater generosity among non-religiously affiliated younger women.


Our local council of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning recently had a discussion on the topic of “courting women donors”.  However, I find the religious affiliation aspect of this much more interesting. . .

Giving to a beloved cause, message or institution apparently connects us to something very deep in our being.  Focused philanthropy that includes not only money but engagement, connection and growth can satisfy some basic human needs and take us up a “Golden Ladder” to a more fulfilled life.

Unfortunately, very few of us take the time to examine our lives, our deepest desires, our highest aspirations.  For many, life has become a series of live, work, raise a family, die.  But it doesn’t have to be that way – if you know how to change it.

The good news:  Including focus on good work in your daily life is not a “secret”.  Any of us can follow some basic disciplines to encourage abundant growth, meaning and generosity.  

I invite you to join The Bonsai Philanthropy cohort in May to get you ready for the next big thing your life.  We will cover the foundational discernment methods you need to guide you in decisions about your family life, work, finances and community.  I will be a great place to begin to grow rapidly and find a life of true success, signficance and security.

Interested?  Contact me

A legacy of philanthropy: How foundation support benefits Pittsburgh, today and tomorrow

From neighborhood improvement initiatives to parks and recreation to social causes, the tradition of philanthropy in Pittsburgh has fueled the city’s recent economic and cultural renaissance.


This article is a great inspiration. It’s important to note that it’s not only the Carnegies and Heinzes of the city who have made a difference through purposeful philanthropy.  It’s also the individuals who donate through direct fundraising, donor advised funds and other organized efforts.

The common characteristic among all these philanthropists, regardless of “capacity” is that they all are giving on purpose, with purpose.  They know where they want to focus their energy and their money.  They know who they are, why they’re here, and where they’re going in terms of the impact that they want to have on Pittsburgh and the world.

How can you become a philanthropist in your community?  How can you inspire others around you to engage?  I would be interested in learning more about your experiences and approach.