Blog Archives

Beyond Money: A Look at Giving: Please Stop using the phrase “Giving Back!”


I even avoid the softer phrase “pay it forward”. These expressions imply obligation . . . Philanthropy is about DEDICATION not obligation. Dedication to building something new that makes the world, or a corner of it, much better. I know a lot of philanthropists who set up scholarships b/c they never had the opportunity to go to college. They want to create something that didn’t exist for them. These people are generous, bold visionaries who give without the burden of obligation but with the joy of dedication.

Giving To Your Church Doesn’t Count: Jon Huntsman Sr. And Twitter’s Biz Stone On New Philanthropy

John Huntsman Sr. has given away about $1.5 billion to worthy causes – about 80% of his total wealth. He is also spending $200 million building Huntsman Springs, a golf resort and nature reserve in Idaho that will donate all proceeds of real estate sold to his family’s charitable foundation. But […]


I especially like Biz Stone’s attitude – don’t wait until you’re old and comfortable .. . . philanthropy starts right now.  Both he and Huntsman talk about the “compound effect” of giving what you can right now, and the next time, and the next time . . ..before long, the impact is enormous.  It’s like bonsai – begin with what you have, work on it every day, and you’ll never be finished.

Giving Tuesday

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday . . . didn’t shop at all this past weekend (except for a few groceries to feed my crew of teenagers).  However, I learned of a day that I could really get into:  Giving Tuesday.

I have a theory:  You will receive only what you FIRST give away.  That means, for example, if you want more business, give some of your business away (see The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann.)  If you want more money, love, friends . . . give away money, love and yourSELF first and you will Imagesee an increase in those things.

So, here’s an opportunity to test this theory.

1) Find some things to give away today in honor of the special name . . . it doesn’t have to be big or a donation to a worthy non-profit (although that is encouraged, of course).  Find simple things, things that you already have . . . some examples:  Give someone your undivided attention for 10 minutes; share chocolate; be on the lookout for a colleague that’s having a rough day and give them a word of encouragement; buy lunch for your boss . . .  CHALLENGE – do something like this every day for the next 10 days.  Be as innovative and imaginative as you like.

2) Over the coming weeks, observe the affects of your giving and use this blog to post your comments.  Describe what you gave and what came back to you.  Another Theory:  what you receive will probably NOT come directly from the person / people you gave to.

Thank you for helping to test this theory.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?.

A reblog of Jacqueline Novogratz’s post from earlier in November.  Acumen Fund is putting a new face on philanthropy and self-determination.  Funding entrepreneurs for community development all over the globe.  Want to see the highest level of the Golden Ladder of Giving?  This is it . . .

This will touch your heart and give you new perspective.

Give to your donors FIRST

The Divine Economy is automatic and very simple – we receive only that which we give. (Napoleon Hill)

If you are reading this, you are probably itching to do more to generate revenue for your non-profit organization.  You are probably frustrated that the only options you see seem to be methods that are passive, with a “wait and see” component.   What if you could be more active and in control of your fundraising success?  What if you could set a goal and be able to manage the results?

This video from the Chronicle of Philanthropy is revealing:

The professional fundraisers in the clip indicate that they are increasing their communication and stewardship efforts.  If you are engaging in this, that’s great.  However, if you aren’t careful this extra communication could be viewed as a lot of “talk” .  Your donors are already receiving thousands of messages each week from many sources.  They are all designed to persuade your donors to part with their hard-earned cash.

Instead, why not offer to give donors something they want and need in this economy?  Further – do it before they give you more money.  Why not be the first to offer something? Michael Rosen, CFRE of ML Innovations, Inc. encourages non-profits to offer value to donors and prospective donors – especially to the business community.  (See radio program of October 12, 2011)

In other words – be the first to give the donor something.  Give them something that helps their business grow and be in a better position to help you.  Become a trusted partner in other people’s success, and you will create a network of raving fans.

We have two programs that are active and innovative.  They involve a new approach to promoting your organization so that you don’t have to just “wait out the storm”.

The Pathway Partners program gives your non-profit organization a way to engage small businesses and help them grow.  A key element is also the ambassadorship component that gives donors and volunteers a customized tool to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your organization.

Corporate Programs – investigate this and encourage your corporate partners to engage in a program that includes Profit and Philanthropy.  It is a value-added plan that generates extra income and builds communities at the same time.

These two streamlined programs are based in a practice of cooperation and collaboration.  You are no longer passive and forever making YOUR case  – the methods are truly donor-centered.  It changes the nature of your organization’s communication and stewardship. It also transforms the lives of your donors so they can help you transform the lives of those you serve.

The guests on our radio show this week give us practical advice and inspiration on reaching out in a new way to achieve fundraising success.  We debunk the myth of a competitive model and offer tools to get you on an immediate path toward taking control of your own success by investing in the success of others FIRST.

Contact Laura for more information: 614-915-4324 – – –

Heard on the Web: Charitable Lead Trusts Draw Renewed Interest

Jackie O. had a CLT, but it’s not just for the uber-wealthy

Our guest on the “Making Good Work” radio show for Wednesday is Laura Malone. In the interview, she will give an example of  how a family is using a Charitable Lead Trust  with a DAF to maximize the positive impact of donations – now AND in the future.

If you don’t know about Charitable Lead Trusts, how they can help your organization’s current budget, and why this may be an option for many of your donors, click to link on this article from the Planned Giving Design Center.

Heard on the Web: Charitable Lead Trusts Draw Renewed Interest.

Want to learn more?  Contact Laura for a discussion on ways to expand and diversify your revenue stream – no matter the economic climate.

614-915-4324 (USA)

Making Good Work 08/31 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio

Making Good Work 08/31 by PhilanthropyPlus | Blog Talk Radio.

Laura Malone of American Endowment Foundation joins us this week for a discussion on being truly “donor-centered”.  The ideas she will share with us will challenge you to rethink your current plans and strategies for fundraising now and in the future.

Join us!

NEW paradigm in giving is actually OLD

The New Paradigm in Philanthropy – it’s really quite old.

In 1630, John Winthrop was sailing west to a new land, America.  He was leaving England to build and lead a new community in a wilderness.  He knew that it would be difficult and would take persistence to achieve the aim of creating a new type of society.  So on the long journey across the Atlantic, he wrote a sermon addressing the ideas of independence and INTER-DEPENDENCE that would be necessary for all to succeed.

In Winthrop’s day, as in ours, he realized that to work for one’s self and one’s family was an important motivator in building community success.  However, he saw peril and “shipwreck” of the local economy and the Massachusetts Bay Colony if the residents did not also work to support each other in mutual generosity . . .

From the conclusion of this sermon:

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah: to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.

For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man.

We must entertain each other in brotherly affection.

We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities.

We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality.

We must delight in each other; make other’s conditions our own;

rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together,

always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body.

So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

This was the core principle of private philanthropic endeavor in the United States.  It is a voluntary system of working together for a common end.  It is a harmonious cooperation that allows for freedom of choice at all times.  In modern terms, this harmonious cooperation we call a “Mastermind”.

Becoming part of a Mastermind Group means joining together with like-minded people to achieve our aims and goals.  Each person in the group brings something different to the table and each has unique goals. Despite this seeming disparity of talent and desires, they all work toward of a common aim of learning and applying what they learn from each other to achieve success in their individual lives.

As John Winthrop realized in the 17th century, unless we all cooperate and share our tangible and intangible assests, the community will dissolve and our power to do good will dissipate.

Reflect on the economic news  in the past few weeks.  It is not getting better, folks.  The only way for the economy to get better is for each of US to make it better.  But we can’t do it alone.  Stop waiting for someone else to do something – you have unique gifts and talents that are lying dormant.  Those special skills can be developed to help your own situation and that of others.

How to take the first steps in improving your own personal economy:

  1. Join a Mastermind Group (See the MASTERMIND tab of this blog.)
  2. Join the weekly conversation – MAKING GOOD WORK – a radio program dedicated to non-profit excellence and success. (See the RADIO tab of this blog.)

I invite you to explore using a Mastermind Group as a way to build your organization and to MAKE GOOD WORK!

Overcoming Adversity

How do you view adversity?  Set aside the time to listen to an inspring call:

Listen to internet radio with Phil R Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

The attitudes, principles and actions that they discuss are exactly what we work through in Mastermind Groups.  Check out the MASTERMIND tab to learn how you can follow up the inspiration with ACTION.

Use Business Cards to Promote your Organization

10 powerful ways to use your business cards

By Beth Davis, Founder/CEO of Gold Star Referral Clubs

While this was written for small businesses, it is applicable to your non-profit work as well. . . . LAM

  1. Never leave home without them: Keep a supply handy at home so that you can restock your wallet/purse every day when you leave.
  2. Give and Receive:  The best way to get someone to want your business card is to ask for theirs.
  3. Insert a card into all your mail:  Starting today, don’t ever seal an envelope without your card in it, even your bills.  The person that opens the envelope might know your next best client.
  4. Be generous:  Business cards are the best value for your advertising dollar.  Be able to give someone as many as they ask for.  Always offer 2 – 1 for the person and 1 for them to pass along.
  5. Be ready at every occasion and any occasion:  You can never predict when it’s a good time to give a business card.  Buffet line, gas station, birthday party . . .
  6.  Ask for a referral:  You will be surprised at how well people will respond to, “Here are two of my cards.  I would appreciate a referral and would welcome a call from you or family or anyone you know you may need a ____”
  7. Visit trade show:  Ask for business cards from the show vendors, give yours in return.  Read some of their card out loud and ask them about what they do.  Make a friend.  Then follow-up.
  8. Make it a coupon:  Hand-write a special offer or a discount for your service or product on the back of your card.  Initial it.  Invite them to visit your business.
  9. Attach a small gift to your card:  Attach a mint, a specialty cookie or other small (but useful or tasty) promotional item.
  10. Brand yourself:  add your tag line, hook or quote

BONUS CHALLENGE from Laura Anne Miller:

Hand out 50 business cards per day:  the owner of a local termite inspection/pest control company does this.  In the morning, his wife hands him 50 cards, and he is under orders to return home with NONE.  He uses the above techniques and takes every opportunity to give people his cards.  He came to town knowing no one, and in a few short years became the leader of a thriving and wildly successful business.  Every real estate agent in town knows him and most use his services . . .  Think of creative ways you could accomplish this challenge goal!

This, of course, means that you have to get out from behind your desk every single day and go promote your organization.  You cannot spend all your time perfecting the website, writing mass mailings and planning the next “event”.  Use your imagination and think like a salesman.  Call me to discuss – 614.915.4324 – Laura Anne Miller