Q1: The Key to Your Best Year Ever

I’ve spoken with dozens of philanthropy leaders in the first three weeks of 2015. Most entered the New Year running out the gate and are starting to feel overwhelmed. A few are experiencing a sluggish start. But they are equally overwhelmed because they aren’t sure where to begin.  In my experience, a productive first quarter of the year will lead to a successful, fun, and easier remainder of the year. Feeling behind? The great news is you still have 2 months left in Q1! You can answer these three questions to help you get started. 1. What are my top 3 priorities for 2015? (If you find it hard to pick only three, you can ask my favorite question: If I … Continue reading Q1: The Key to Your Best Year Ever

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Step Over Inert Bodies

“It takes awhile before you can step over inert bodies and go ahead with what you were trying to do.” I first read this quote from artist Jenny Holzer while visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I think it offers profound advice for us, both in life and professionally as grantmakers. How often have you: Dated someone who never quite got around to making something of life (getting a job, seeking promotion, finishing graduate school, etc.)? Had a friend who never seemed happy when your life was going well (new job, birth of a child), because she was never happy with hers? Wondered why a parent told you how much she loved you, but her actions never felt loving? Similarly, as a … Continue reading Step Over Inert Bodies

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Do You Have a Poverty or Abundance Mentality?

I’ve spoken with thousands of foundation leaders over the past 15 years, and I’ve found that one thing that holds many back from achieving the dramatic success and deep impact that they seek. They have a poverty mentality. A poverty mentality is a belief that money should not be spent on internal investment unless the need is urgent, opportunities are limited by capacity, improvement is always incremental, we should do more with less, and we don’t deserve the best, fastest, or most efficient path to success. It is based on fear of failure and a misguided belief that maintaining a Spartan operation equates to delivering value for grantees and communities. An abundance mentality is a belief that internal investment is … Continue reading Do You Have a Poverty or Abundance Mentality?

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5 Questions to Improve Your Philanthropic Giving in 2015

Ready or not, 2015 is here! If you want to achieve dramatic results this year (and who doesn’t?) ask yourself these 5 questions: What can I learn in the next three months that will improve my grantmaking for the remainder of the year? You might need to conduct an evaluation, retain an expert advisor, or spend the day reading articles and listening to podcasts about a certain topic. Armed with new insight, you will be better prepared to allocate your talent, time and resources, and achieve more dramatic results. What holds me back? Identify and eliminate it. If you are overwhelmed by email, commit to reaching “Inbox Zero” by the end of January. Do you have a poverty mentality, believing … Continue reading 5 Questions to Improve Your Philanthropic Giving in 2015

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