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#Wednesdaywisdom

“Developing a good work ethic is key. Apply yourself at whatever you do, whether you’re a janitor or taking your first summer job because that work ethic will be reflected in everything you do in life.”

-Tyler Perry

 

 

 

 

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Tactical Tips: Those Frustrating PDF files

We’re a Mac office at Impact, so if you’re working from a PC, this may not be the tip for you. But when you’re in that particular circle of hell otherwise known as trying to modify a PDF file, Mac users should know there’s a secret little program already installed on your machine that can help you.

You know it as the default program for viewing .jpg, .png, and other basic image files. But, unbeknownst to many a Mac user, Preview can also help you modify PDFs.

  • Merging or rearranging PDF files. This was mindblowing when I first discovered it. By clicking “View Thumbnails” on the view menu, you’ll see a sidebar with all the pages of your PDF. Simply drag and drop those thumbnail pages to re-order them within one document. Want to get even fancier? Drag another PDF into the thumbnail sidebar to add it wherever you’d like, then save the whole thing as a new PDF.
  • Adding text to a PDF. So, the text tool doesn’t appear as a default, leading people to simply assume it’s not an option. Go to the dropdown Tools menu, choose Annotate, and when you select “text,” you’ll see a whole bunch of annotation options appear at the top of your window. Now go mark up that document!
  • Signing a PDF. There’s a handy feature in Preview that allows you to store a digital copy of your signature, then insert it whenever you need. The signature image can be resized to fit whatever document you’re working in.
  • Converting a PDF into another file type. (Note: This does NOT help you convert that PDF into a Word document. You’ll likely need Adobe Acrobat for that one.)

By- Jennifer Clements

 

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#Wednesdaywisdom

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”

George Lorimer

 

 

 

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Is the Copy Approval Process Sapping Your Soul?

The strongest desire is neither love nor hate. It is one person’s need to change another person’s copy.” – Gilbert Cranberg, Columbia Journalism Review

I’ve noticed a trend in direct mail schedules over the past couple of years—earlier and earlier initial due dates for copy.

I’m glad we’re carving out more time for creativity to blossom through creative meetings, in-depth research and idea percolation. But sometimes, we’re leaving more time in our schedules because we simply have unclear or poor copy review processes.

Here are five tips to help keep your sanity and ensure you always bring quality copy to the table:

  • Limit the number of cooks in the kitchen. In most cases, there are way too many people reviewing copy. Determine who is essential to the review process and eliminate the others. When different departments review copy, they are looking at it from their own perspective, needs and goals.
  • Don’t allow writing by committee. When you circulate copy, provide specific instructions for feedback. For example, “I’m excited to share this copy for our test acquisition package for your feedback. As you review, please do not ‘rewrite.’ Instead, add comments about factual errors or messaging concerns. These comments will be shared with the writer to incorporate into the letter while ensuring it maintains a single, cohesive voice.”
  • Pick up the phone. Some things are too difficult to convey over email. If you find yourself writing comments that are longer than 75 words, it’s time to talk to your writer directly.
  • Just say no. Many of the people who have to “sign off” on your copy are not fundraisers or marketers. Be prepared to say no to some suggested edits while maintaining a smile on your face.
  • Toot your own horn. Share results of your program’s big wins. This will inspire confidence and remind your colleagues that you know what you’re doing.

By setting up a formal copy review process and using these tips, you can reduce stress, be more efficient and improve yours fundraising results.

-By Kathy Swayze

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#Wednesdaywisdom

“There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up.”

-Bernard Meltzer

 

 

 

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#Wednesdaywisdom

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire.”

—Oprah Winfrey

 

 

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I’m a Darren Walker groupie. Why you should be too.

Ok, I’ll admit it. I follow him on Twitter. Am subscribed to his YouTube channel and generally devour his writings. His book, From Generosity to Justice:  A New Gospel of Wealth is in the queue. I am a Darren Walker groupie. Here’s why.

As you likely know, Walker is President of the Ford Foundation, the country’s second-largest foundation when ranked by its $11 billion in assets. He describes his work at the Ford Foundation as, “lifting up those people who often feel invisible, left out and left behind by society.”

Lately, Walker is using far more than the Foundation’s money to advance social change, he is also using his voice to ask some challenging questions about philanthropy. If the rules of philanthropy are changing, Darren Walker is one of the reasons why.

He notes that there was a time in our country when it was common, “You could do bad things to amass wealth and then give back and that was your pittance. I don’t think today that’s enough. Today, wealthy people, entrepreneurs, captains of industry are now under a kind of scrutiny that they were not during Carnegie and Rockefeller’s day and I think that’s a good thing.”
Walker’s book seeks to disrupt philanthropy and make us all a bit uncomfortable. In an interview on Amanpour & Co, he says, “Rather than giving money to a homeless shelter, we have to ask ourselves, why is their homelessness in the richest nation in the world?”  After more than 30 years in the fundraising profession, these are the kind of questions that resonate with me.

You can watch the full interview on Amanpour & Co here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxgXR47iAs0

If you would like to join the Darren Walker fan club, you can follow him on Twitter @darrenwalker.  And if you read the book and want to chat about it, let’s have coffee!

-By Kathy Swayze

 

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#Wednesdaywisdom

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”

—Michelle Obama

 

 

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Preparing for Year End in a Strange World

It’s that time of year again . . . time to plan your year end fundraising campaigns. But this year, there’s a twist. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic that has already claimed nearly 180,000 U.S. lives. Many of your donors have been socially distancing at home since March while others have been putting their lives at risk every day in essential jobs. And this “new normal” seems likely to continue through the holiday season and into the new year.

So, what can you say to donors this year? How can you “look ahead” to a new year when you really don’t know what the new year will look like? There are no easy answers, but we hope these five guidelines can help you to get started to create unconventional and successful year end messages.

  1. Remember, there’s no perfect thing to say. Our nation has never experienced anything quite like this before. We’re all figuring it out, one day at a time. Visualize one of your donors and just start writing them a letter. It won’t be perfect, and you will need to go back and make edits, but it’s the best way to start to get something personal on paper.
  2. Acknowledge COVID-19. You don’t want to sound tone deaf. Acknowledge that this has been “a year like no other”; share your heartfelt wishes that your donors and their loved ones are doing well. You might even want to acknowledge that not everyone is in a position to give this year: “We know times are tough for many but if you are able to help, our students have never needed you more.”
  3. Don’t stretch the truth. All organizations have been impacted by COVID-19 but some have been impacted much more than others. If the response to the pandemic is NOT a big part of what you do, don’t try to force it into your messages. You can refer to ‘challenging times,’ ‘the political climate’ and even ‘revenue shortfalls’ . . . but don’t overstate the impact of the pandemic on your work. It’s important to be genuine with your donors.
  4. Share success stories . . . and give your donors the credit they deserve. Especially when they are surrounded by a lot of bad news, people want to be reminded that they are a part of something important. Share the good news of what you accomplished in spite of COVID-19. And, even if your work has been halted or slowed, express how your donors’ continued support will enable your organization to get back in the groove quickly in the coming months.
  5. Always stay true to your mission. Remember, your donors support your organization and cause because they truly believe in the work you do. Don’t be afraid to own that. Explain why your work continues to be important. Discuss shared values. Show them what’s at stake. Tell them what you are doing to ensure this crisis does not derail your important work.

Most importantly, start now. I know it’s only August . . . but November is really just around the corner. Donors are still giving generously. They will donate to organizations and causes they care about at the end of the year – it might as well be you. So, get to work on your messages for the upcoming “season of giving.” And call us at Impact if we can help.

 

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The Next Big Thing

Everyone is talking about “blended gifts” these days. It’s like the intermittent fasting of the fundraising world. It will solve all your problems! It will help you live forever!

Well…it just might do that.

Yes, many gift officers have been working with donors on “blended gifts” long before there was a term to define them. But we didn’t talk about it with the same fervor when it didn’t have a label. And that’s a shame because it is one of the most donor-centric ways to approach philanthropy. You help the donor define what they want to accomplish and then help them find a way of reaching that goal.

Amy Eisenstein has some great advice on her blog with listening cues and sample scripts. Go over there and check it out! https://www.amyeisenstein.com/thinking-beyond-cash-how-ask-blended-gifts/

-By Meg Roberts

 

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