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  • 12 Dec 2017 6:40 AM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    Peace of mind, a clear head, whatever you call it—give yourself this wonderful gift. Doesn't cost anything, hardly takes anytime, but getting it, can seem so difficult.

    Research has found that mindfulness training alters our brains and how we engage with ourselves, others, and our work. When practiced and applied, mindfulness fundamentally alters the operating system of the mind. Through repeated mindfulness practice, brain activity is redirected from ancient, reactionary parts of the brain, including the limbic system, to the newest, rational part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex.
    The Journey to Leadership

    Here are five easily implemented tips to help you become more mindful:

    • Practice 10 minutes of mindfulness training each day. Most people find mornings the best time to practice mindfulness, but you can do it any time of day.
      TIP: Find a 10-minute guided mindfulness training program, a short mindfulness training manual, and a link to a free downloadable mindfulness app here. Try it for four weeks.
    • Avoid reading email first thing in the morning. Our minds are generally most focused, creative, and expansive in the morning. This is the time to do focused, strategic work and have important conversations. If you read your email as you get up, your mind will get sidetracked and you’ll begin the slide toward reactive leadership. Making email your first task of the day wastes the opportunity to use your mind at its highest potential.
      TIP: Try waiting at least 30 minutes, or even an hour, after you get to work before checking your inbox.
    • Turn off all notifications. The notification alarms on your phone, tablet, and laptop are significant contributors to reactive leadership. They keep you mentally busy and put you under pressure, thereby triggering reactionary responses. They cause damage far more than they add value.
      TIP: For one week turn off all email notifications on all devices. Only check your email once every hour (or as often as responsibly needed for your job), but don’t compulsively check messages as they roll into your inbox.
    • Stop multitasking. It keeps your mind full, busy, and under pressure. It makes you reactive. Try to maintain focus on a single task, and then notice when you find your mind drifting off to another task — a sign that your brain wishes to multitask.
      TIP: When this happens, mentally shut down the superfluous tasks (jotting them down may ease your mind) entering your thoughts to maintaining focus on the task at hand.
    • Put it on your calendar. Schedule a check-in with yourself every two weeks to assess how well you’re doing with the previous four tips, or as a reminder to revisit this article to refresh your memory. Consider engaging one of your peers to do the same thing. This gives you a chance to assess each other, which can be both helpful and motivating.
      TIP: Put it on your calendar. Make changes to what is not working well. And, take a few moment to be grateful for your practice.

    This time of year can be stressful—no matter who you are, what you believe, it is a busy time of year. And, that alone calls upon us to be mindful.

  • 16 Nov 2017 12:03 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    The holidays are approaching so let’s turn our focus to practice. How will you retain your peace of mind through the year? The nonprofit world can be challenging. We know peace of mind is a choice—a consciousness. Our thinking is vital. Insultate yourself from negativity and stay in the present moment

    Learning to choose peace of mind requires that we acquire new healthy habits and that we question our thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.The Journey to Leadership

    To maintain sanity in challenging situations and to create immediate peace of mind:

    • Concentrate on being in the moment. Focus on the conversation, on your senses and surroundings.
    • Be aware of your reactions and observe the emotions that you go through.
    • Search for the best reactions and answers to a situation.
    • In the long haul, drop negative memories in order to let go of the past and to be your best self.
    • Stop all activity. Take a time out and breathe them return to work.
    • Look at the situation from different perspectives and learn something new about yourself and others. Experience life in an unlimited fashion.
    • Take regular breaks at work to keep your mind and body relaxed and to prevent burnouts.
    • Break the cycle of bad behavior.
    • Actively listen to others instead of thinking about your unaccomplishd goals, of judging others and yourself.
    • Smile. Smiling changes the chemistry of the body and creates an illusion that everything is fine.
    • Listen to soothing sounds and music.
    • Take a walk before responding yo a stressful situation.
    • Take a nap to refresh and clear your mind.

    You are worth it. We get one life—make it a peaceful one.

  • 15 Sep 2017 12:14 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    Our last tip was full of great fundraising ideas. The first one was about Major Donors. Let's drill down on this topic—How do you cultivate wealthy donors? Carnegie Mellon surveyed actual donors and their feedback is invaluable. Super Wealthy Donors say Fundraisers who do their Homework get the Big Gifts. Most philanthropists want fundraisers to take the time to do their homework and then tailor fundraising approaches specifically to their interests. 
     

    Smart Fundraising Tips from Wealthy Donors

    1. Get to know your donor. Take the time and the patience to get to know your donors. Their giving inspriations are often developed from childhood. Most donors are reactive—they tend to give when asked or are emotionally moved, but wealthy donors tend to be active donors. They tend to have a strong personal link to their giving and they pay attention to how their donations are being used. Arrange an onsite visit if at all possible.
      PRO TIPS:
      See the Chronicle’s Database of Gifts of $1 million or more.
      Learn more about the nation’s most generous donors at Philanthropy 50.
    2. Find out what your donor cares about. Get to know your donors, what they care about and why. Look for alignment between what your donor values and what a gift to your organization will do. Give a prospective donor as much information as they need to understand your cause and develop a strong interest in it. Make sure your website and social media profiles are current and relevant. Know your donor well enough to have an easy one-on-one meeting. Never forget that ommunication, trust and accountability are the foundations of your relationship.
    3. Enlist your board members. Make use of your trustees and encourage board members to cultivate and solicit wealthy people. If they are not comfortable with this role, they may need a few tips. Encourage them with your specific, successful ideas to jointly meet your missions goals. These starter lines might help their motivation.
    A Love Affair: The Art of Not Asking | Melissa Metcalf Le Roy | TEDxTryon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=0Kbf0T9_c4g
  • 14 Aug 2017 5:16 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    Summer is quickly coming to a close. As we move toward the fall, it feels like a "new year." This tip is all about new ideas to spice up your fundraising. Some of them are BIG ideas—don't dismiss them out of hand. Don’t miss the links to additional resources. The Chronicles of Philanthropy recently released a three article topic covering these ideas in depth. For those with a subscription, read the full articles here. There’s a lot to unpack, but well worth the read. We’re hitting the highlights below.
     

    15 Fundraising Ideas That Work

    1. Cultivating Major Donors? Just Add Data. Use predictive-analytics software, to harness the power of data in much the same way that large hospitals and colleges do. Check out this resouce link.
    2. When the Ticket Price Is Right. Consider dynamic pricing to set ticket rates based on demand. Dynamic pricing can help increase both attendance and revenue. The Museum of Photographic Arts calls it Pay As You Wish. See how they did it.
    3. Fundraising Meets Virtual Reality. Consider how you might use virtual reality to help donors visualize your concept. Watch Unicef use vr in fundraising. 

      Watch the Video

    4. How a Match for Planned Gifts Paid Off. To bring estate donations to light, the union of Concerned Scientists established a $5,000 matching donation through a major donor. Estate donations went from 40 to 228 in one year. How can you establish a Giving Council? and Suggestions from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
    5. Win Big With Smaller Fundraiser Portfolios. You may benefit by looking at the quality not the quantity of your donors. Fundraisers can manage their time better and focus on donors who can make a big campaign gift. Trust that spending time building relationships with fewer donors will pay off in the long run. Read this major study: Major and Planned Giving Productivity Issyes Reported by Today's Gift Officers.
    6. Make Food the Star of Your Event. People love food. Use a food theme to decorate and promote your event. Instead of giving a fundraiser, have an ice-cream social! 5 Ideas that Combine Fun, Food and Fundraising.
    7. Check-the-Box Planned Giving. Loyal annual donors are the most apt to make a planned gift at some point in their future, so offer that messaging in your regular annual-giving marketing. Add a check box for donors who want more information about including giving to your organization in their wills or estate plans.
    8. The Phone-athon of the Future?. Relay is selling to the charity world a key weapon from the Sanders campaign — the personalized-texting system it used to mobilize armies of young voters. Setup a Textathon! Using Relay software, upload donors phone numbers and data to laptops. With a few clicks, volunteers and staff can send a prewritten message to donors, one at a time, tweak the text to personalize it.
    9. Metrics for All! Performance by the Numbers. How can every staffer contribute to your broader fundraising effort? Can you set clear expectations for ways everyone can have an impact?
    10. Map Out a Year’s Worth of Gift Requests. Start building your calendars about a month and a half before the start of the new fiscal year, using donor history as a guide for when loyal backers might give. Schedule solicitations for new prospective donors toward the start of the fiscal year so they can adjust if the person declines to give. Engage board members help build and execute the plan. For instance, a board member may make introductions to new donors or supporters who have lapsed.
    11. Memes, GIFs, and Crowdsourcing Creativity. How can you tap your volunteers, members or donors in crowdsourced creativity to promote your cause? Challenge them to create a virtual flood of internet memes, GIFs, videos, and graphics — to promote authentic messages that inspire.
    12. Dinner at Mr. Jefferson’s: A Fundraising Success. Hold a Jeffersonian dinner. This approach was pioneered by Jeffrey Walker and Jennifer McCrea, who describe it in their book The Generosity Network

      Watch the Video

    13. A New Way to Hunt #MajorDonors. Do you have a digital-gifts officer? Rather than racking up airline miles to meet with prospects, these fundraisers court midlevel donors via phone, text, and email, hoping to move them into four- and five-digit territory.
    14. Millennials to the Rescue Consdier forming a council of young professionals to spearheads outreach to twenty- and thirtysomethings. Some do's and don'ts: dedicate staff to the group, formalize recruiting, don’t fashion the group as a junior board, embrace ideas for change — even when you have doubts.
    15. Try Experiments, Not Events Form an experimentation team — a few staff and board members as well as some donors and alumni — get together to study the organization’s fundraising data and come up with an idea to test every month or every quarter. Failure can teach as much as success.
  • 21 Jul 2017 12:10 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    Do you feel guilty taking time off? You work for a nonprofit and do important work! But, you still deserve time off and if you don't get it, you are heading straight to a burn out. It's summertime—so take that vacation and make it a real break..

    When you feel responsible for saving the world, it’s hard to justify a vacation. But nonprofit employees do deserve a break from the office, to spend time with family and friends, explore new places, and keep burnout at bay.
    Rebecca Koenig
    The Chronicle of Philanthropy
     
    9 Ways to Ensure your Vacation is Really Time off from Work
    1. Coordinate carefully with others in your office. Plan your vacations around the schedules of the people in your office who can cover for you.
    2. Talk about your vacation early and often. Well in advance of taking time off, start easing colleagues and donors into the idea that you will be out, to avoid any surprises or sense that you’re leaving people unprepared. 
    3. Distinguish between "working vacations" and true escapes. Being willing to communicate with the office during some of your vacations may make your coworkers more willing to respect those occasions on which you want to be left in peace.
    4. Tie up loose ends — and drop what you can. In the weeks before you take your vacation, expect to put in extra time finishing up tasks that can’t wait and don’t try to reschedule everything that you’ll miss.
    5. Communicate what needs to be done in your absence. Let your supervisor and other colleagues know what projects you’re working on and where they stand. Make sure someone is assigned to cover any work you usually do that can’t wait for your return.
    6. Use your vacation as professional development for other staff members. If you’re a manager, think about your vacation as an opportunity for your employees to up their game. Make sure your staff knows what you expect them to accomplish in your absence.
    7. Enforce reasonable boundaries and expectations. Clearly identify when, who and how you can be contacted.
    8. Make a plan for your return. Give yourself a day to catchup and schedule followup meetings before you leave.
    9. Construct your out-of-office messages carefully. Explain in your voice-mail and email notifications when you will be back and which of your coworkers to contact until then.
    Time for a Forest Bath?
    Spend more time around trees. Wander in the forest. Bath in the full experience of the forest, engage all your senses. Forest bathing has been proven to: lower blood pressure, improve circulation, decrease heart rate, reduce stress hormones, reduce depression, and increase energy. Include a time of sitting—quiet and still. Go untethered—no phones or cameras. If with others refrain from conversation.

    Introduction to Forest Therapy and Shinrin Yoku
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wixyvQMCFj4
  • 02 May 2017 6:00 AM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    We can all get off track and lapse into unhealthy habits, especially if we are dedicated to our mission. “Operating under the strain of insufficient resources and motivated by a strong sense of moral urgency, they can find it difficult to limit their work hours, take breaks, and tune out their emails while at home.” says Rebecca Koenig.

    I think what happens with nonprofits in particular, we are empowered by a mission, we are passionate about the work we do, and we don’t want to do anything less than our very best.
    Tara Collins, Rupco
    Director of Communications and Resource Development


    8 Tips for Staying Healthy While Doing Good
    These tips are simple, but powerful. Read each one and honestly assess yourself. Make a commitment to implement changes for your health and happiness.
    1. Be Realistic Keep your work in perspective. Remember that you cannot do it all, all the time. Don't let yourself lapse into becoming a martyr.
    2. Strive for Balance We all work extra hours on occasion. Make it an exception, not the rule. Discuss comp time for situations where extra effort is required, and make sure you take it. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for burnout.
    3. Organize and Prioritize Plan and prioritize your responsibilities at the beginning of each day, week, and month. Be proactive not reactive. Know the most important task for the day and start with it versus answering emails. Keep your three most important monthly tasks in movement everyday.
    4. ‘Not Right Now’ If you have a pressing issue, learn to say ‘not right now’ when the next request crosses your desk. Be specific and reschedule the deadline for a later time and/or day. For tight deadlines that require concentration, put a do not disturbsign on your door.
    5. Reduce Distractions Reduce distractions to improve your productivity during the workday and decrease the need to work extra hours. If possible, set aside one day a week with no meetings, so you can focus on work and get a lot done.
    6. Set a Good Example As a leader, you can create the open environment for others to share when they are becoming overwhelmed. Work as a team to adress unique stresses. By managing your stress well, you lead by example.
    7. Take Breaks Know your limits and when to recharge. A break for lunch or a walk can help refocus your mind for greater productivity.
    8. Remember the Mission Never forget the larger calling of your organization. It's the people we help, and during stressful days, it can be easy to forget the good we do in the world.
    You know taking time to relax or do other things is important, but it’s hard when you have so many things you want to get done and don’t want to let anyone down.”
    Maggie Siemer, Girls on the Run
    Operations Director
  • 21 Apr 2017 3:16 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    A new 10-year study from a leadership advisory firm and economists from two business schools, published in this month's Harvard Business Review, finds that the most successful chief executives often don't fit the mold of an extroverted, charismatic, confident executive who climbed a mistake-free ladder to the top with a degree from an elite school.

    The biggest aha, overall, is that some of the things that make CEOs attractive to the board have no bearing on their performance. Like most human beings, they get seduced by charismatic, polished presenters. They simply do better in interviews. There was zero correlation between pedigree and ultimate performance.
    Elena Lytkina Botelho
    Partner at ghSmart
    Founder, CEO Genome Project
    Author, The CEO Next Door

    Surprising traits of top-performing executives
    The CEO Genome Project assessed the early moves of CEOs with outstanding track records; some valuable lessons for leadership transitions emerged. The top four behaviors sound deceptively simple. But the key is to practice them with maniacal consistency, which our work reveals is a great challenge for many leaders.
    1. Deciding with speed and conviction. High-performing CEOs do not necessarily stand out for making great decisions all the time; rather, they stand out for being more decisive. They make decisions earlier, faster, and with greater conviction. They do so consistently—even amid ambiguity, with incomplete information, and in unfamiliar domains. People who were described as “decisive” were 12 times more likely to be high-performing CEOs. Smart but slow decision makers become bottlenecks, and their teams either grow frustrated (which can lead to the attrition of valuable talent) or become overcautious themselves, stalling the entire enterprise. Among CEOs who were fired over issues related to decision making, only one-third lost their jobs because they’d made bad calls; the rest were ousted for being indecisive.
    2. Engaging for impact. Strong performers balance keen insight into their stakeholders’ priorities with an unrelenting focus on delivering business results. They start by developing an astute understanding of their stakeholders’ needs and motivations, and then get people on board by driving for performance and aligning them around the goal of value creation. CEOs who deftly engaged stakeholders with this results orientation were 75% more successful in the role.Three-quarters of the strong CEO candidates demonstrate calm under pressure. Two-thirds of the CEOs who excelled at engagement were rated as strong in conflict management. They do not invest their energy in being liked or protecting their teams from painful decisions. They give everyone a voice but not a vote. They listen and solicit views but do not default to consensus-driven decision making.
    3. Adapting proactively. CEOs who excel at adapting are 6.7 times more likely to succeed. Adaptable CEOs spent significantly more of their time—as much as 50%—thinking about the long term. They sense change earlier and make strategic moves to take advantage of it. Adaptable CEOs also recognize that setbacks are an integral part of changing course and treat their mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. 90% of the strong CEO candidates scored high on dealing with setbacks.
    4. Delivering reliably. Mundane as it may sound, the ability to reliably produce results was possibly the most powerful of the four essential CEO behaviors. In our sample, CEO candidates who scored high on reliability were twice as likely to be picked for the role and 15 times more likely to succeed in it. Boards and investors love a steady hand, and employees trust predictable leaders. A stunning 94% of the strong CEO candidates score high on consistently following through on their commitments.
    If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”
    Jeff Bezos
    Amazon CEO

  • 05 Apr 2017 3:09 PM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    “Financial need makes it difficult for leaders to turn down money for programs, even if those programs are not a good fit. If proposed federal budget cuts come to pass in 2017, that pull may become even stronger.” says Rebecca Koenig in her recent article in The Chronical of Philanthropy.

    Nonprofits are already bracing for sweeping reductions in a lot of their programs. As the government retracts or retreats from providing the amount of social services people need, I think a lot of governments are going to be relying on nonprofits to fill the void.
    Larry Checco, Nonprofit consultant
     
    Five Tips for Nonprofit Leaders to Avoid ‘Mission Creep’
    How can you stay true to your organization’s mission and focused on your main objectives? 
    1. Make a mission statement and a strategic plan. A clear, strong mission statement is the best way to stay on target.
    2. Make your mission clear to supporters. Marketing your mission accurately can help bring in money for programs you’re qualified to run. If your marketing doesn’t match your mission, you may need to revise how you sell your organization.
    3. Run new ideas past a team of leaders. Frequently checking ideas with organization leaders, such as the executive team or the governing board, will help your nonprofit stay on track. Other groups can help, too.
    4. Seek new, mission-appropriate revenue opportunities. Bringing in money that matches your mission requires your nonprofit to make its expertise visible to potential partners and consumers
    5. Suggest other outlets to help. But just because your nonprofit can’t serve someone doesn’t mean that you can’t help at all. Be available to offer options.
    In the nonprofit world, you only have one chance to have success with a program. If the outcomes are not good, that reflects on your organization. Taking money for things you’re not equipped to do turns into something negative.
    Sofia Crisp
    Executive Director of Housing Consultants Group

     
  • 20 Mar 2017 11:58 AM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    Happiness the world over 
    Today is International Happiness Day. How happy are you? The World Happiness Report, released today at the UN, now includes an entire section on Happiness at Work.

    Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. 
    World Happiness Report, 2017
     
    Four things that nonprofits can do to create a thriving work environment
    Why are nonprofit employees unhappy? Because they work in environments that, and for bosses and with colleagues, who squelch “happiness.” (See Creating Sustainable Performance)These are free and practical suggestions:
    1. Give employees the discretion to make decisions. Too tight a rein and you dampen vitality.  Uncomfortable with this seemingly open-ended invitation? There are tools for that!
    2. Share information throughout your organization, rather than dispensing it as if were something that needed to be earned to know.
    3. Love this one:  “minimize incivility.” Truly, did we need scholars to tell us that working in an uncivil workplace isn’t a recipe for happy workers?
    4. Provide performance feedback. Not the stuff formal stuff that comes with paperwork and formal meetings and is all too frequently, and wrongly, tied to compensation, but the small stuff, the good stuff—and the bad.
    Four thing you can do to increase your own happiness
    Be conscious about your own happiness list. If you don't have one, start here:
    1. Take breaks for renewal. Not talking long, but long enough to break out of the mire, breath and come back a bit refreshed.  So, take a stroll, meditate, read something relaxing, do a crossword.
    2. Take it into your own hands to make your work more meaningful; don’t sit around waiting for something to fall into your lap.
    3. Look for and seize those learning, growth opportunities. Even in flat, small nonprofits, there are opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and do something different.
    4. Stick with satisfying, energizing relationships at work; ditch the ones that take you down.
    Daniele Quercia: Happy maps
    You may enjoy this wonderful video about taking the happy route. Another easy way to choose happiness over expediency.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/daniele_quercia_happy_maps
  • 16 Feb 2017 11:25 AM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

    We are all keenly aware of the current and very real unpredictability in our current political climate. Peter Fishinger covers six important areas of concern in his article "Advice for Nonprofit Leaders: How to Navigate an Unpredictable Political Landscape."

    • Watch the economy first and tax policy second. Looking ahead, many analysis groups predict economic growth for 2017 and 2018, albeit at a lower rate than in previous years. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center posits that if fully implemented, these (Trumps's) proposals could decrease giving by 4.5 to 9 percent.
    • Let politics inform your work, but not define it.  Find a way to harness this mindset by analyzing how new political leadership and trending activist movements motivate people. Organizations in some sectors are already showing success in responding to political changes. These include women's health, environmental, international, and social justice nonprofits.
    • Position your organization to adapt to sector-sweeping changes, especially in healthcare. Backup plans for disruptions in government funding, the tax structure, or a recession can prepare organizations to weather challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. Nonprofits need to think critically about resources and partnerships that are most critical to sustaining and advancing their missions.
    • If there is another recession, leverage close donor relationships. People tend to reduce the number of organizations they support before they reduce the amount they give to their top organizations. If donors believe in an organization’s mission, they will be more willing to stay connected and support it through thick and thin.
    • Speak up for the value of the nonprofit sector at all levels of government. Though the charitable deduction has previously earned bipartisan support, maintaining that support will take the efforts of the entire sector, and all nonprofits should communicate why this deduction matters.
    • Stay committed. Nonprofits can thrive under any administration. History suggests that the organizations that are effective and committed can survive and thrive under any administration.

    Times of unpredictability can increase stress levels. The Leadership Sanctuary's mission has been to support nonprofit leaders to be more resilient, develop focusing practices and build supportive community. We urge you to stay informed, continue rigorous self-care and stay connected. Let us know what is helping you through these unpredictable times.

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