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

Mailbag: Evaluating a Development Strategy in 3 Steps

Q: I’m on a Board for two different organizations.  One is having extreme financial difficulties, and one is just having run of the mill financial stress where fundraising seems stagnant so any program strategies keep getting delayed.  Both Development Directors are slick talkers with an answer and excuse for everything, so I’ve asked both to come up with a formal, written development plan for the year that can be reviewed by the Board.  But I’m not an expert, frankly.  I don’t know what I should expect to see in a good development plan vs. a bad one.  Can you tell me what I should be looking for?  I imagine it might be different for the organization in crisis vs. the one that’s just limping along, but I don’t know.

A: Great question.  There are probably as many formats for Development Plans as there are professional development officers.  You know I’m not a template person, but I have a checklist! (of course)  Read more

Mailbag: 11 Steps to a Case Statement

Q: I work for a pretty small organization.  We’ve been able to get started on government and foundation grants, and after two years working hard to build an Annual Fund, my board thinks we’re ready to add a major giving program.  I have never done this before.  I’m willing to try it, and I’m reading everything I can on how to do major gift fundraising, but I’m scared and I’m stuck.  I know I need a case statement, but I don’t know how to write one, and I have no idea what to say.  Do you have a template you recommend?

A: I don’t recommend a lot of templates.  They can be very very useful, don’t get me wrong, but templates too often give people implicit permission to literally think inside the box.  You’re so focused on properly filling in the blanks in your form (sorry – template) that you’re no longer thinking about what you actually need: what makes your story unique, what makes the way you tell your story unique, and what makes your audience unique.
So I’m going to do two things: first, congratulate you on asking for help, and two, encourage you to keep doing it.
Oh, and since I’m not totally heartless, I’m going to explain that, and give you a worksheet for how to create a case statement.   Read more