Too Much of a Good Thing

Have you ever looked around on Christmas morning after the gift-opening frenzy is over and realized that perhaps you went a little overboard? It’s a feeling I get every year about this time, and one you think I’d have learned to anticipate by now. What begins as a surety that I’ve not bought enough presents for my five kids ends up with the realization that instead, I bought way too many and there’s now chaos on my living room floor. Too much of a good thing may be a nice problem to have, but it can still be a problem – especially if you’re the one left to manage the excess once it’s strewn about or realize that perhaps funds … Continue reading Too Much of a Good Thing

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Comfort and Joy

It’s the season of giving, and I’ve got the credit card bills to prove it. In addition to playing Santa to my twin five-year-olds, I’ve been using every spare second for holiday shopping for relatives and friends. It’s a frenzy, but like everyone else, I’m comforted by the thought of the smiles my gifts will bring to the faces of the ones I love. I get the same feeling from making donations to the causes I care about, and I bet you do, too. There is something deeply comforting and joyful in knowing you’re providing much needed support for others. The thing we have to keep in mind, however, is that while we may be feeling a sense of comfort … Continue reading Comfort and Joy

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5 Ridiculous Things Said About Philanthropy

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of things said about philanthropy. Many were spot on. Some were downright brilliant. A few were head scratchers. And then there are the ones that are so ridiculous they almost make you want to throw your hands up and walk away. Some of the statements below came from folks who were relatively new to the field, so perhaps they are somewhat excusable. Others, sadly, were from the lips of veterans who should know better. In any case, comments like the ones that follow make an excellent case for investing in ongoing professional development for our field, especially as more and more players come into it. #1: “Giving away money makes me feel like … Continue reading 5 Ridiculous Things Said About Philanthropy

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7 Strategies of Highly Effective Conference-Goers

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time in philanthropy-related conferences. Just this year, I’ve either attended or presented at seven of them. Conferences can require a significant investment of time and money on your part. They also can be highly worthwhile or a complete waste of time, depending on your mindset and your plan for making the time spent as productive as possible. Here are seven strategies that will help you get the greatest return on your conference investment. Know who’s there. Most conference registrations will allow you to see who’s coming. Before you go, scan the list to identify any potential partners, people you’d like to network with, folks who can offer a particular kind of … Continue reading 7 Strategies of Highly Effective Conference-Goers

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The 5 Dysfunctions of Philanthropy

In 2002, Patrick Lencioni wrote a book called, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. It explains the interpersonal aspects of teambuilding in a professional setting and how they undermine success. Although Lencioni’s team is in a fictional company, his lessons also are entirely relevant to grantmakers. Here’s my take on how Lencioni’s five dysfunctions can affect philanthropy. Dysfunction #1 – Absence of trust. Lencioni describes this as the unwillingness of team members to be vulnerable to the rest of the group. This is completely understandable and a deeply rooted component of human nature. It’s hard to admit weakness to your teammates when everyone shares a drive for success. But grantmakers take this dysfunction to a new level when it comes … Continue reading The 5 Dysfunctions of Philanthropy

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Fitbit Philanthropy

I’ve recently started a new fitness regimen, and as we all know, once you start intentionally exercising, you start noticing all the other people who are doing the same thing. Only this time, I’m also noticing the growing number of people who are wearing Fitbits. Just in case you’re not familiar with this device, it’s a sleek, watch-looking wristband that records your activity levels, including steps taken, distances traveled, active minutes and calories burned. It allows you to enter information about the food you eat and log your workouts. You can also get models that track and display the floors you’ve climbed, your track workouts, your heart rate and pulse, and more. Fitbit is a great dashboard for get information … Continue reading Fitbit Philanthropy

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