Quick Tips: The magic of tiltshift

Looking for a cheap way to look like you spend a ton on your graphics?  I’m always looking for techniques that are really simple to use, but pack a punch.  Tiltshift is one of the things I keep up my sleeve.

I really don’t know why Universities aren’t using adorable tiltshifted photos for more of their mailings…
I really don’t know why Universities aren’t using adorable tiltshifted photos for more of their mailings…

Tilt-shift is a technique that manipulates your photos to look like miniatures and models of real-life scenes.  And you can do it with your photos very very easily.   Read more

Burnout is not a Badge of Honor

There is a curious thing that happens when a lot of highly ambitious professionals get together…ask someone how things are going at their job, and they will most likely say “good, but crazy” and then proceed to talk about how very very busy they are.  Then everyone in earshot will chime in with stories about how busy they are, as if working to the point of exhaustion is a point of pride, as if working more hours is directly related to virtue and professional value.

I was going to write this post about fundraisers, but the more I thought about it, the less it seemed restricted to development professionals.  The problem is, it’s insane. Read more

“I” and my opinions vs. power and undeniable fact

Word choices convey a huge amount of power dynamics.  If you’re a woman, there’s no chance you’ve gotten through your higher education without someone pointing out how so very many women are socialized into pitching their voices up at the end of their sentences.  It’s a tonal tic that makes you sound like you’re asking a question?  Even when you’re making a statement?

Undermines your authority.  Everyone knows that.  Some people work on destroying that habit, with varying results (there’s a reason that women have learned to do that…there are penalties for women who are seen as too assertive.)

But it’s not the only language choice that shows and influences power dynamics in the workplace.  There’s some powerful new research out there about the use of personal pronouns, particularly “I.”  Think back to your last couple of work conversations…do you tell people “I think X is a good strategy…” and “I’d like to see X happen…”, or do you say things like “We should do X…” or “We will probably get the best results from X…”???

Want to know what that says about you?  Read more

Google Grants – Can You Use An Ad Grant?

Google grants are pretty great.  All those ads you see whenever you search for something? (Go ahead – google something – the listings up top in the shaded box and the listings on the sidebar – those are all paid ads.)  Google gives free ads (with a few conditions, but still) to their Ad Grantees…up to $10,000 per month!

Are you eligible?  Are you ready to maximize this powerful gift? Read more

Mailbag: Using a Donor Ladder

Q: I have a new boss, and even though I’ve been on the job for three years, she’s tossing around terms I’ve never heard.  She’s always talking about donor lifecycle and awareness ladders.  Now she wants us to go through our entire database and categorize people according to their solicitation readiness.  She’s terrifying and judgmental and I’m scared to ask her to explain what she wants.  What does she want???

A: First things first, let’s talk about your fear of asking for further direction.  You have to.  I’ve got your back, and I’m going to explain the concepts that she’s talking about, but I want to be really clear: Development isn’t a science.  There’s no universally agreed set of terminology, and there’s no single way to format or categorize or rank or parse anything.  If you want to give your boss what she wants, you have to ask her about it.

But we can make sure that you’re asking intelligent, informed questions.  Here’s MY version of thinking through donor evolution (which is a modification of the marketing concept of an “awareness ladder.”) Read more

Hazards of Accents (and what to do about it)

The British Psychology Society says that 1 in 33 people worldwide work in a country they weren’t born in.  That’s a lot of non-native accents in the workplace.  Unfortunately, if you are one of those folks, particularly a highly educated professional building a career as a non-native, it’s not going to shock you when I confirm what you have been experiencing: there’s significant prejudice against people with accents.

It upsets me, and I wish it weren’t true, and I advocate for the metaphoric bashing of institutional heads until this pernicious form of xenophobia is flattened.  But, if you’re currently in the workforce, it’s a real peril that you have to be aware of and likely overcome.  Here’s a few practical tips: Read more

In Praise of Peter Salovey

There’s a Jewish tradition that I really like – if you want to honor someone, you teach in their honor (typically something about Torah – the central Jewish holy text, but modern tradition isn’t quite so narrow).

So it’s my pleasure to do a little bit of teaching today in honor of Peter Salovey, my first psychology teacher and someone I admire greatly.  Today kicks off the festivities at Yale University to celebrate his inauguration as the University’s 23rd President.

That’s him, the distinguished gentleman on bass. Read more

Open Response to the Yogi

Yogi Cameron Alborzian writes fairly prolifically for the Huffington Post.  His latest, 5 Steps to a Limitless Mind has so much potential, but I find myself grinding my teeth and snarling retorts at my computer…which is not, I’m guessing, what the Yogi hoped to inspire.

Either he’s a bad guy to be taking advice from when it comes to emotional wellness, or I’m not ready for his particular brand of serenity. Read more

Creativity is not a mysterious and fickle muse

First, let’s make an important distinction: creativity and productivity are not the same thing.  But the odds are, you want to figure out how to make yourself into a creative AND productive person, on the job and beyond.

I have bought, but not yet read a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey. (Forgive me – I run my own consulting and coaching business, write this blog on the side, serve on two nonprofit boards, and by the way, have a two-year old who only goes to pre-school four days a week, so…I’ll get to it.)  Mason is a charming young writer – you may also like some of his bite-sized articles.  (Check out the one on caffeinated snacks, which is possibly more directly related to your immediate productivity.)  Suffice it to say, I’ve been looking forward to reading it since it took its place on my shelf this summer.

But I did just catch wind of a recent article in the Guardian that reviews the book and picks out six “lessons from history’s most creative minds” in digestible format.  Check it out.  Read more