A Credible Witness: Jury Duty and Fundraising

I just spent two weeks serving on Brooklyn’s Grand Jury. Throughout my experience as Juror #15, I saw first hand how credibility sways people making important decisions. If the witness stumbled, dressed inappropriately, mis-recalled something, or mispoke, the group of jurors – myself included — immediately called their testimony into question. Humans are hardwired to… Read more

To Call Out Is Human: To Transcend Aggression is Divine

If the famous naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough were to do field research in progressive circles, he might document in his curious tone, “The humans I witnessed sat behind their computer screens and typed with aggressive keystrokes. They appeared to be in an agitated state — their heart rates high and their sweat glands activated.”… Read more

Slow it down

Decisive. Active. Speedy. Our culture values these attributes. We want to get stuff done. And we want to get stuff done quickly. I have bought into this “quick to act” mindset for years. And it’s gotten me pretty far. But recently, I’m exploring how and when this doesn’t serve me – or my clients. Sometimes… Read more

Then This Happened

I gave a research presentation to a well-respected albeit obscure conservation-oriented trade association last week. The Board chair of the development committee kept haranguing me. He kept asking why they couldn’t reach their goal of $3.5 million in annual unrestricted giving. He was getting increasingly annoyed that I didn’t have a simple answer. Finally, this… Read more

The Cadence Conundrum

The never-ending debate over how many emails is too many roils on. On the one hand most fundraisers, including yours truly, have seen no diminution of income caused by too-frequent asks. The latest musing on the subject (it’s a good one) is here. On the other hand, if we’re only looking at income, is it… Read more

How to decide what to ignore

It’s ok to ignore things. I often help clients decide what ideas they need to ignore. They usually already know they should ignore them, but they waver because they worry about missing opportunities. This is a leadership tension. When should you pivot to an opportunity that arises? When should you stay the course with your… Read more

Mind the Ripples

This is a true story, but names and some details have been changed to protect the innocent. Mary’s a generous soul. Mary and her husband Bob had just moved into a new house, and that left their rented apartment vacant for the final month of their lease. Steve, an activist and friend, needed a place… Read more

Game of Thrones, Dot-org Edition

With the arguable exception of Cersei Lannister, none of the Game of Thrones characters is truly evil. What’s driving the drama and the conflict isn’t ‘good vs. evil.” It’s a beautifully engineered set of cross purposes, where in pursuit of their passionate objectives, each character inevitably collides with another character and mayhem ensues. We see… Read more