Conference Review - CASE DPL Part Two

Welcome back to part two of the CASE DPL conference review! Let's get to it!

  • Philanthropic Motivations of LGBTQ Donors and same-sex couples
    • Presented by Sarah Anderson, Director of Strategic Priorities, Campbell & Company and Heidi Jesiel, Director of Development for Student Life, University of Michigan
    • LGBTQ Giving Project
      • How can we motivate more LGBT donors to give to the movement
      • Dr. Elizabeth Dale at Seattle University
    • Michigan’s Spectrum Center
      • Coming up on 50 years. The oldest center in higher education
      • Seven FT staff, an advisory board with students, and diversity/equity/inclusion
      • $5.2B capital campaign and student affairs was a part of it
    • LGBTQ Landscape
      • Why it matters
        • Advancing donor and community-centered fundraising
        • Understanding different passions and giving patterns
        • Respecting different decision-making processes 
        • Avoiding pitfalls and errors that jeopardize a donor relationship
      • Changing demographics
        • LGBTQ individuals
          • Are an even-more visible segment of the US population
          • Have gained marriage equality and other rights
          • More likely to be dual-income households with no children
          • But may also be vulnerable and facing oppression and discrimination
    • LGBTQ Donor Motivation
      • Role of LGBTQ identity in philanthropy
        • Giving to build and support the LGBTQ community or to shape public policy impacting the community.
        • Giving to support other marginalized communities
        • The experience of HIV/AIDS: Giving for loss and giving back
        • Using philanthropy to assert LGBTQ identity in the mainstream
        • Seeking acceptance and avoiding discriminatory organizations 
      • Motivations for Giving
        • Personal connections, experience and passion, organizational affiliation
        • Organizational leadership and effectiveness
        • Tax benefits
        • Religion/tithing
        • Giving back, the joy of giving, alleviating guilt, community uplift, social change, and advocacy
    • Barriers to Giving
      • The negative perception of organization or leadership
      • Discriminatory policies
      • Over-solicitation
      • Lack of awareness or visibility 
      • Lack of recognition and recognition errors
    • Donors motivations by generation
      • In research focused on motivations for giving to the LGBTQ movement:
        • LGBTQ donors generally were motivated to give to LGBTQ-focused causes to support policy changes, end discrimination and “change hearts and minds”.
        • Younger LGBTQ-identified donors were more motivated by issues related to serving youth and helping future generations have a smoother path of acceptance.
        • Younger donors were also more likely to consider the diversity of staff and leadership an organization’s focus on issues of trans justice when deciding whether to give
          • The same was typically true of female-identified donors compares to male-identified donors.
        • Older LGBTQ donors were more likely to be motivated by issues of policy changer and ending discrimination
        • Scholarship support (sometimes when students come out to their parents, they lose their financial support)
    • LGBTQ Donor Research
      • LGBTQ donors - distinctions in Giving
        • Significantly more likely to support advocacy and civil rights
        • Half likely to support religious organizations
        • Health non-profits
      • Same-sex couples giving patterns
        • Mostly go to human services, public social benefits, and arts & Culture
        • 79% of couples have supported an LGBTQ organization space. 
      • LGBTQ giving project: donor activation
        • LGBTQ individuals who said that their sexual orientation and/or gender identity was an important part of their identity overall were far more likely to have given recently to LGBTQ focused organizations
        • Following the 2016 Election - LGBTQ  donors were far more likely than the general LGBTQ population to have engaged in other forms of civic or political actions.
        • Same-sex couples who have pets have a tendency to support animal welfare 
    • LGBTQ giving project: Planned giving
      • Planned giving from LGBTQ donors represent an exceptional opportunity
        • Particularly given that fewer LGBTQ people raise children and that transfer of wealth is underway
      • LGBTQ people are open to making planned gifts
        • 16% have committed to planned giving from LGBTQ Organization
        • 35% say they would be likely to
        • Individuals w/o children are three times more likely to make a charitable planned give to than those with children
  • Finding and engaging LGBTQ alumni and donors
    • Same-sex couples - financial management and charitable decision making
      • Among 19 couples interviewed, financial management systems favored more individuals control than different-sex couples.
      • 8 couples independent control
      • 6 couples partial pooling
      • 5 couples join pooling
    • Engagement strategies 
      • Creating a data infrastructure and foundation
        • Tagging on-campus activities and memberships
        • Recognizing and respecting sensitivities 
      • Activating networks 
        • Leadership/founders of LGBTQ centers and programs
        • Allied academic and extracurricular programs
        • Always dashing for connections
      • Commitment to leadership
      • Importance of representation and authentic engagement
      • Friends/Allies tag in RE
      • Who else should I be talking to?
      • Find those staff members that have relationships with the alumni
    • Implications for fundraisers
      • Have a pre-pride event for alumni
      • How have you find the tackled finding those donors that are LGBTQ but are also diverse 
        • Events are possibly the best way to find those diverse donors that support them
      • Moving the student life partners that they’re ok with the color green (so they can move projects forward)
    • Proposition 2 (cannot be a specific group to get scholarships)
      • There’s a legal framework in which the institution and foundation can operate (involvement in the space)
  • Managing Intergenerational Teams with Kishshana Palmer
    • You against the email
    • Objectives
      • Understanding generational differences
      • Iding workplace challenges
      • Discuss strategies to effectively manage intergenerational teams
    • Employees of all generations value meaningful work, yet “every generation perceived that the other generations are only in it for the money, don’t work as hard, and do not care about meaning.”
    • Baby Boomer - ‘45-‘64
      • Age 53-70
      • Typically grew up amid economic prosperity, suburban affluence, and strong nuclear families
    • Generation X - ‘65’85
      • Latchkey kids in a world of divorce and working mom
      • Independent, resilient, adaptable with an “I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder” attitude
      • Overlooked because of two loud and large generations on either side of you
    • Millennials ‘81-‘98
      • Considered the most educated and diverse generation, Millennials tend to be energetic, technically savvy
    • Generation Z - ‘99-present
      • Just starting entry-level roles
      • Entrepreneurial 
    • I don’t want what you want
      • Differing priorities
      • Lens of experience
      • A negative perception of different (hello judgment zone)
        • Mental model
        • Relationship to money
    • 4 areas of generational difference
      • Collaborating with others
      • Dealing with change
      • Organization and accountability
      • Productivity and decision making
    • What are some workplace challenges?
    • Different Communication style
    • Don’t judge me (or my work)
      • What examples are you providing to your team so they meet/exceed their goals
    • Look on the innanets (aka the internet) - the technology divide
    • Four things team members want
      • Transparency
      • Accountability
      • Satisfaction
      • Success 
    • Strategies to lead effective teams
      • Get out of your comfort zone
        • The T-Force Method
          • Talk about generational differences (a lot of times, we do not name it)
        • Focus on team building
        • Offering mentoring programs 
          • Take the time with your staff to add professional development to their goals
        • Respect competence and initiative 
        • Create workplace choices and accommodate differences
        • Expanding communication strategies 
    • Go for a walk, go to lunch, etc. (out of a place of power) to have a feedback sandwich
  • The Past, Present & Future of Black Generosity with Dr. Tyrone Freeman
    • Black people are the most philanthropic people in the world. We just don’t call it philanthropy.
    • “Few races are more instinctively philanthropic than the Negro. It is shown in everyday life and their group history. Some few of the largest philanthropies in America in early days have been recorded.” - W.E.B. Du Bois
    • Philanthropic Life and Legacy of Madam C.J. Walker
      • Sarah Breedlove 1867-1919
      • An orphan at 7 years old, taken care of by her older sister
      • Before she turns 22, she’s a Wife/Mother/widow/single mother/uneducated/homeless, migrant
      • Adopts her third husband’s name, Walker. 
      • Indy is where she sat down roots for the first time and started her business
      • $253k house in NY next door to Rockefeller’s
    • Philanthropic research
      • American Philanthropy - her name was not there (rich white men)
      • Women’s philanthropy - her name still is not there (women who married rich, white men)
      • African American Philanthropy - her name is not there (focused on the organizations and not individuals)
      • Went to the archives reviewing her information
      • Had a series of letters exchanged with Booker T. Washington (aka the President of Black America and of Tuskegee College)
        • She saw her stories similar to his. 
        • Wanted to give a $300 to fund five students with money left over to give to the general fund
        • He responded and asked if she could do more.
          • “I am unlike your white friends, who have waited until they were rich, and then help, but have in proportion to my success I have reached out and am helping others.” - Madam Walker to Booker T. Washington 1914
          via GIPHY
      • At that time, Andrew Carnegie was the prime model of philanthropy. 
      • Olivia Sage married wealth, and the wives can’t do what they want to do until the husband passes. Then go on Philanthropic giving sprees
    • Madam Walker’s Gospel of Giving (and the future of Black Philanthropy)
      • Give as you can 
      • Spare no useful means
      • Give more as your means increase
      • Employment, Education, Activism and Material Resources
    • Her company was organized to be philanthropic. They were intent on lifting up the race through her company. Social entrepreneurship before it was even a thing.
    • She had a network of beauty schools that provided certificates and can start working for her, start your own salon, etc.
    • Washerwoman
      • Tough working conditions
      • Breadwinners and economic agents
      • “Consumption strategies”
      • Washing Societies and organized their work (unions) so they had rights and were paid
      • “I was considered a good washerwoman and laundress. I am proud of that fact.” - Madam Walker 1917
      • Pulled resources to help one another 
    • Church Women
      • Jessie Batts Robinson connected her to the church and community
      • “It was in St. Louis, that Madam Walker learned that it was truly her mission to realize the poor and distressed awarding as she was able.”
      • This is where she first became a donor herself.
    •  Fraternal Women
      • Order of the Court of Calanthe - held up values of Christian, and charitable values
      • Fidelity, harmony, and love
      • Life, burial, sickness insurance
      • Old folks home, orphanages 
      • Ritual bonding and charity
    • Walker Women (agents)
      • Promoted unity
      • Strengthen ties
      • Protect the brand
      • Charity and activism
      • Had a national conference in Philly to build support
      • To President Wilson “use your great influence that Congress enact the unnecessary laws to present a reassurance to ban lynching.”
    • Madam Walker’s Gospel of Giving
      • Donor
      • Educator
      • Speaker/storyteller
      • Organizer
      • Convener
      • Employer
      • Sharer
      • She knew the power of her story and needed a word to counter the Jim Crow laws.
    • No matter how well she does, she’s still a black, female in Jim Crow America
    • Madam Walker was not alone. Annie Malone had another beauty company and had a similar story as Madam Walker. Sarah Spencer Washington started the Apex Company (similar story, and started her own golf course). 
    • The same thing that happened to them, then the unionized, etc. The only difference is that they had more resources.
    • “When it comes to fundraising and philanthropy, we are unlike our dear white brothers and sisters.”
      • They are not new and emerging. Our strategies may not work with theirs. Look from their eyes, not ours.
    • The Present
      • The Black Church (still a primary vehicle)
      • Kinship/Community-based giving
      • High net worth individuals
      • Family foundation/funds
      • Giving circles
      • Infrastructure/capacity building organizations (ie Black United Fund)
      • Identity-based Networks/Associations (ie AADO)
    • Madam Walker’s dream was to build the Tuskegee of Africa. She couldn’t figure it out how to do it. She put $10k in her will to build a school in South Africa. Her daughter couldn’t figure it out, and her daughter had a judge strike it out. However, Oprah did several years later.
    • Sisterhood of Philanthropists and DAP in Colorado, Black Benefactors, Young Black & Giving Back Institute, AKA $10M initiative to support HBCUs
    • There is much to learn and much to teach
    • The Future: Tap into Something Bigger
      • Blacksonian - created entry levels for everybody, and engaged everybody. People responded. Tapped into something bigger, traditions and ways of giving. 
    • Have on the right glasses and perspectives. 
    • “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” - Galatians 6:9
    • “Fundraising is a gentle art and science of teaching the joy of giving.” - Hank Rosso 
What did you think of the notes? Anything you can take back with you to your teams? Leave it in the comments below!

Stay Fab, 

Lehigh Valley with Love Podcast

It’s a surprise guest blog today gang! This past week,  had the opportunity to be the guest on the Lehigh Valley with Love podcast. We talk about leaving the Lehigh Valley, life in the south and the blog! Thank you to George Wacker and Tyler Rothrock for having me on. Looking forward to chatting more the next time I visit the area!

Click here to listen to the podcast episode (FYI, there is cussing).

Stay Fab,

Conference Review - CASE DPL Part One

Wow. What I can say about the CASE Conference on Diversity & Philanthropy Leadership. Myself, along with four other colleagues, presented a panel discussion on how to engage diverse and young alumni. While we loved being a part of the panel discussion, I absolutely L O V E D participating in the conference as an attendee! Taken place in the heart of the upper mid-west, Indianapolis, IN.

This conference is not just meant for your select group staff members (who have a diverse background, LGBTQ, women in STEM, etc.). EVERYONE should attend. Here's what I loved about this conference, it helps remove the blinders off the side of my face that I didn't even realize that they were there. You see different perspectives and get a greater understanding of what our colleagues have gone through, and you learn how to be an ally for them. While this conference is small, it's mighty with the content and presenters.

Below are my notes from the session I attended. Next year it will be April 15-17, 2020 in Atlanta, GA. Mark your calendars now!


  • Nurturing a New Generation of Diverse Leaders & Philanthropists with Charlie Nelms
    • Julius Rosenwal Foundation (Sears Robuck & Company)
    • People are more than just their test scores. 
    • Leadership and philanthropy are linked
    • Acts of Philanthropy
      • HBCUs - churches started these schools
      • The effort to diversify higher education (providing access)
    • Middle and lower class have a tendency to give more than the top 1%
      • Public policy (tax deductions) allows the top1% to be philanthropists
    • Get yourself a definition/vision to align it between the university leadership and theirs
    • Philanthropy is a voluntary action for the public good (giving and serving).
    • Gilded Giving
    • How do we nurture the next generation?
    • Access is not the same as success
    • Diversity and inclusion improve the bottom line (who is on the boards?) - Challenge you to raise questions about that.
    • Growth in Philanthropy
      • The wealth of the wealthiest (ranks the top 50 donors and made $7.8M)
    • People that make policies should not undermine philanthropy for the Commonwealth
    • The status quo is unacceptable and not effective
    • Culturally component, compassionate, and passionate people
    • Pre-req for diversifying leadership in higher ed and the third sector
      • Demystify leadership
      • Early identification and nurturing (not telling them what to do, but to build the foundation of support)
      • Provide continuous mentoring and coaching
      • Incentivize participation in Leadership Development Programs
        • Paid internships and volunteer externships 
        • Work Study - job descriptions with evaluations
        • Academic credit
        • Co-curricular transcript
      • Experiential Leadership through job shadowing
    • Strategies for producing a new generation of philanthropist
      • Debunk the view that one must be wealthy to be a philanthropist
      • Incorporate service learning throughout the curriculum (learningtogive.org)
      • Provide an early and recurring glimpse into the work of local nonprofits
      • Provide age-appropriate opportunities for children to invest time and money
      • Publicly acknowledge the contributions of children, young adults and others who engage philanthropic work
    • Use promo code FMGXXX for 30% off. From Cotton Fields to University Leadership by Charles Nelms
  • Creating a DE&I Model within Advancement
    • Presented by Charleon Jeffries, Director of Diversity, equity and inclusion and Drew Kovacs, Director of Talent Acquisition from Penn State University
    • DE&I in DDAR
      • Diversify our work environment
      • Prepare current employees to work with greater cultural agility
      • Address factors that contribute to or detract from a welcoming and inclusive workplace
      • Engage with diverse alumni, prospects, donors and other external stakeholders
    • “I don’t see myself here.” - learning how to be present at the moment with the donors
    • Why now?
      • Our student demographics are shifting. 
      • Making changes, however, our staff and faculty have not. 
      • How do we fully engage everyone on the campus?
    • Diversity in our workforce
      • Objective:
        • Organizationally - Recognized and appreciate the various, unique ways in which we will all contribute to diversity in our division
        • Talent Acquisition - Partner to increase the representation of traditionally minoritized individuals within the demographics of our workforce.
      • Strategic Framework:
        •  Pipelining - internship program, career exploration opportunities, outreach and recruitment proactively 
        • Equity action resource team (EART)
          • Educational equity, affirmative action office, and Human Resources working together. Train about 100 individuals to train in diversity and put on the hiring committee.
          • Trained over 250 people. Small and exclusive 
          • Spent four hours with every step of the search process. 
          • Better turn on investment on what they post vs. where they post.
          • Value commitment 
        • Implication bias in hiring 
          • Long continuous conversation. To undo it, you need to put attention on it
        • Going through hiring processes quickly, and slow down and look at what we’re dealing with, SLOW DOWN!!!!
    • The Trusted 10 Exercise 
      • List 10 people you trust that you are not related to. Unfold the paper and fill out age, race, sex, orientation, etc. 
      • Many of them look like themselves
    • Cultural Agility
      • Objective
        • Provide current employees with tools to sharpen skills to work with increasingly diverse stakeholders
      • Strategic framework
        • Build capacity for cultural agility
        • Partner and expand the DDAR Diversity Book Discussion
        • Engage!
    • Division Culture 
      • Objective:
        • Enhance factors to positively impact divisional culture, creating a welcoming and inclusive place to work
      • Strategic Framework
        • We Care (Sexual harassment, traveler safety, etc.)
        • Develop diversity council
        • Employee resource groups
          • A place who are engaging with others, and need a space to come back to
        • 2020 university-wide climate for diversity assessment (moratorium on client assessments until then)
      • Knowledge, skills, and abilities that the candidate brings to the work
    • Engage with diverse stakeholders
      • Objective
        • Create and support opportunities for the division to engage with traditionally under-served stakeholders
      • Strategic Framework
        • Women’s Philanthropic Advisory Board
        • Alumni Association partnerships
        • Donor solicitation consultation (navigation risk aversion for affinity-based scholarships, etc.)
    • Where to start? Diversity councils to build community partnerships to help with the transition. Meet as many people and bring the family here to see if this is a good fit.
    • Difference between cultural competence and cultural awareness is to understand more.
    • Inclusion should be natural and including mentorship. Cause Effective for researching a lack of diversity in the field.
    • Make the time to be a nurturer 
    • Giving circles that are invested in particular items that are important to those donors
    • This field is going to need to be changed in order to change the look of America.
    • How to make the case for growing the diversity of your team
      • MOVE AT THE SPEED OF TRUST
      • Establish networks on your own. Find those new donors!
    • Don’t be afraid to reach out to donors who are not black to ask them to support their initiatives. Think of the diversity of thought.
    • Strive for excellence in everything you do. Making sure you know your craft and you’re producing at your top level of performance. Cultivating the relationships
    • Metric or benchmark for diversity. Task force will be developed to determine these benchmarks. However, it’s what we use every day as a reflection of our institution. Match the equity with the number of fundraisers to begin.
      • The Ph.D. Project attacked few minorities that were in business. A logic model was that there are not enough African Americans teaching in business.
    • Showcase impact (that’s what makes us sparkle)
    • Meet with Career Services to talk to them about development is a potential career
    • Let people know that you are known (continue communication to not be siloed)
    • Not everything that counts matters, and vice versa.
    • People that have decision making need to know the importance of diversity.
Stay tuned to next week for part two!

Stay Fab, 


Derby, Disqualification and a Dynamo Lesson

Last summer, my husband and I visited Kentucky. As part of this trip, we indeed visited the historic Churchill Downs. The first Saturday of May, the 145th annual Kentucky Derby took place. The pageantry, the hats, the mint juleps, the horses, it's quite an experience from what I was told. Unfortunately, these ponies and their riders had to run in the rain.

Little did we know that this happened, causing the most historic call in horse racing history.



The best explanation of what happened at the event, cause I had to pull my laptop to my face to see what actually happened. Maximum Security switched lanes when he was not supposed to. It was to a point where the front legs for the horse behind him were in between his back legs. If those legs were to catch each other, it would have been a huge pile-up and injured the jockeys and the horses.

While it sucks for Maximum Security to be the first horse EVER to lose the Kentucky Derby by disqualification, keeping the rules intact to preserve the fairness and integrity of racing was necessary. As the caster mentioned, "if this was not overruled, everything would have become the wild west." I applaud the judges making this call.

It got me thinking about leadership and accountability. Not just in fundraising, but in any field. If the rules are not taken seriously, and no one is held accountable, the team will be dysfunctional and it would be extremely hard to get work done.

For example, when it comes to fundraising, there are rules in place when it comes to working with donors (check out Family Fundraising Code #1). Could you imagine if those rules weren't in place? Gift Officer Susie was meeting Mr. and Mrs. Chrome for lunch to talk about a six-figure gift to the new Arts & Sciences Building, just to realize that the Estate Giving Director James was just there last week to talk about an eight-figure estate gift. If this staff was held accountable, and the rules were enforced, there wouldn't be two gift officers meeting with the same couple within weeks of each other.

Not only does it not look good on the institution, but it does not look good to the donors. The office looks uncoordinated, non-communicative and that we have no idea what we're doing. The Derby judges making the ruling, preserved the game for generations to come so it would be fair to everyone and the future of the sport.

What do you think? Did the judges make the right call? Leave your comments below!

Stay Fab,


Celebrations & Stewardship


Seasons of Love written by Jonathan Larson who created the musical, Rent, is one of the most popular songs for any special occasion. Graduations, job promotion, weddings, funerals, etc. You name it, there's a space for it.

Hard to believe but 365 days ago, we started on this blogging journey. Many of you have commented, shared, reached out with questions, and have become a part this. I have made friends that I can rely on to bounce ideas off of and to share stories with each other.

Here are some fun stats on the blog so far:

  • Over 25,000+ have previewed the blog so far (and continue to grow daily)
  • 83 blog posts!
  • Prickly Women had the most page views (over 2,400)
  • Top Countries checking out the blog:
    • USA
    • United Kingdom
    • Australia
    • Germany
    • Russia
    • Canada
    • France
    • Ireland
    • India
  • 46% of you read this blog via your mobile devices. 50% of you are iPhone users.
  • Biggest referring URLs and sites are Facebook (if you haven't liked the page so far, click here) and LinkedIn.
Thank you. Thank you for joining me on this journey.



At the CASE Conference for Diverse Philanthropy & Leadership (conference review of this will be coming up soon), I was on a panel discussion that talked about how to engage diverse and young alumni. Towards the end, our moderator asked what final thoughts would be. I took a moment to think about it, and I replied with something along the lines of,

"Be resilient. We will always have politics and obstacles to work through every day. Don't get discouraged, because our work is important."

It is! This work we do for whatever type of organization you work for is changing the world. We need to celebrate our donors and our successes more often. Here are some tips on celebrating when it comes to donors and/or your team.

  • Donors
    • If the donor's gift is large (our rule of thumb is six-figures plus) for an academic unit, work with the unit to do a reception, plaque revealing ceremony, where they have the opportunity to mingle with the faculty, staff, and students their gift will have an impact on. 
    • If the gift is a leadership level (ours is between $1,000-$24,999), then take the donors out to lunch to meet with the unit faculty/staff that gift is impacting. If students are available to attend, that's the icing on the cake. 
    • What I have enjoyed, is sending framed pictures of our donors when they receive a plate for including the university in their will, or have made a sizeable endowment to the unit. Walgreens is usually my go-to. You can select the type of frame for a great price (and there's always coupons). 
  • Fundraising Team
    • Special announcements in the organization's daily newsletter is always a plus. Not only does that share the news, but it also helps with the cycle of giving. 
    • Depending on your school's rules, have a bottle of bubbly (alcoholic or non-alcoholic, hence why I said it depends on your school!) ready to go when someone closes a seven-figure+ gift, close out a campaign, etc. 
    • Take the team out to lunch or for happy hour. 
    • Have your President, VP, and/or the unit write a thank you note not just to the donor, but to your colleague that made the gift. What a difference that will make in that employee's life.
These stewardships steps not only make a healthy donor base but also a healthy team. How do you celebrate on your team?

Again, thank you all for joining me on this trip. Cheers to many more years.


Stay Fab,



Family Fundraising Code #6

Hurray! You've made it to the final code of the Family Fundraising Code! Congratulations! You can read parts one, two, three, four and five in the corresponding web links.

Communication 

The final code is communication. Easier said than done, right? Yet, this is the hardest part of the workforce. Why can't we just talk face-to-face and just see each other's differences and focus on our work?

It all comes down to three reasons:

1. Fear
2. Fear
and
3. Fear

We all have fear when it comes to crucial conversations, confronting co-workers on the snarky email, or just asking an upfront question. We don't know what the outcome will be, or what the other person will say/do, and we probably don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.



Well, it's true. Cause everyone deals with this in one form or another.

And that giph made me laugh. 

Here's how I gained a little more confidence when it comes to uncomfortable conversations that need to take place.

One of my co-workers, got the courage, to go speak to another co-worker, face-to-face, in a professional matter, to come to a mutual understanding. 

No phone calls. No text messages. No novel email. No nasty office gossip. 

Quick and to the point.

I was shocked and proud of this colleague. It inspired me to do the same. Sometimes when I get the long emails, I'll just run the next cub or floor and ask them what's up? 

Basically, if she can do that, then so can I. And if I can do it, you can do it too. 

Some tips before you go into those conversations. 
  • What is the outcome? 
    • If you do not have this, then you'll be talking in circles, and getting frustrated. Bring some possible solutions, but be open to the other's input.
  • Active Listening
    • Nothing is worse than having someone repeat themselves because your iPhone is blowing up. Put all the technology on silent, and away from the table. Ask follow up questions and paraphrase.
  • Go for a walking meeting
    • I heard this from the CASE DPL conference (which a conference review will be up next week of that event. It was dope and highly recommend it). They recommended going for a walk outside of the office to have the meeting. Still, have the same game plan with outcomes, and being an active listener, but people's armor may come down a little in settings like that.
  • Follow Through
    • After the outcomes have been decided from the meeting, do what you said you were going to do. Do not just throw it to the side. Get it done right away. Do not wait, show that this working relationship is important to you. What better way than to start rebuilding than to follow through quickly. 
What's worked best for you? What do you think about these codes? Let me know in the comments below. 

Stay Fab,




Family Fundraising Code #5

Welcome to code number five of our six-part Family Fundraising Code series. You can read codes one, two, three and four in the corresponding web sites. 

Drama can live anywhere. On reality TV, in the Home Owners Association, Family (lawd, don't get me started on that). However, we know that it all lives in the office (unfortunately). 

Confront the Drama

Confronting people is scary as ish. It's not the most comfortable thing to do. You're not sure how your colleague will respond, what their actions might do, etc. 

However, when you're in a work environment, getting on each other's nerves can happen. You have your regular family and your work family. Things get said, actions occur (whether it's on purpose or not), and people do get upset/angry. 

When it comes to how I handle drama, I usually need to take a moment to myself. Let me process what happened, and then come up with a follow-up plan. To blow off the steam I usually go for a walk, play with our dog, do some retail therapy, meditate, etc. 

I will then go to my colleague face-to-face (or over the phone if needed), just to talk about what happened, if there may have been some miscommunication and a plan of action moving forward. It happens. A lot, especially if you are a transplant living/working in a different area than where you grew up. 

I'll give you an example:

When I first started at one of my jobs. One of our colleagues got moved up to a director role. I congratulated him and asked him if he was ready for this type of a new, combined role of alumni and annual giving. He said he was up for the challenge, and I told him I would be here to help, especially since I had experience in both areas. 

As the year progressed, things started to drop. Appeals wouldn't go out on time, phonathons didn't happen, alumni events started to drop. One of them included mine. 

We were in New Orleans for a large conference and the dean wanted to have an alumni event. The deal was that my colleague would send out the invites, emails, registration page, etc. and we would pay for the event. He even told me that he sent them out and was doing follow up phone calls to alums in the area. 

The evening of the event came, and not one alum showed up. Not. One. There were plenty of deans and faculty, but no external alumni. I was extremely disappointed and sad but relieved that the event didn't cost us an arm and a leg. 

I had a donor visit the next day, and was talking to the alumna about the event we had. Confused, she looked at me and said, "What event?"

I told her what we had set up, and asked her if she received an invite. She said she did not. 

Confused, I thought, "Well, maybe hers got lost in the mail?"

When I got back to the hotel, I called the couple I had lunch with the day before to follow up on a question they had for me. I then proceeded to ask the husband if they got anything in the mail for the event.

"No, we did not. The only reason why we knew about the event, was because you told us about it."

This is an accurate portrayal of how I felt.




It seems that when I get bad news, I'm not in the office. Which is usually a good thing, cause that can give me time to calm down. 

I reached out to my dean and my AVP at the time. Not necessarily to throw him under the bus, but to give them the heads up of what was happening. Forget my event, but what else has he not been doing, and then lying to others. 

He knew I was pissed (usually when I get quiet, that means I'm sick, or angry). I was flying back from somewhere, getting a connecting flight in Charlotte, when he texted me and asked if we could talk that night. I told him I will be in the office the next day, and we will chat then. 

The conversation was at first EXTREMELY uncomfortable. I had my wall up. He knew it too and began to call me out on it. I snapped back and asked him if he blamed me since I caught him in lies, and was now affecting our work for the college. He then proceeded to tell me about how much stress he was under, and how his marriage was falling apart. 

I immediately changed my tune. I apologized and told him that he did not need to tell me about what was happening in his personal life, but he could have asked for help. We left the conversation on better terms and had a call to action moving forward.

Sidebar: He did end up lying to me about his marital issues too. You want to see a Philadelphia-Italian go ape-ish...lie twice to them. That's another post for another day.


So, what's the best way to have these conversations? 
  1. Go in with a level of a head as possible.
    1. Hotheads don't get anywhere. Emotions can get high, but you want to make sure you know what you're trying to accomplish.
  2. Remove distractions
    1. Put the cell phone on vibrate, put the laptop away so that you have each other's attention. 
  3. Have an idea of what you're trying to accomplish, and how to move forward. 
    1. You can talk in circles all day about what happened. Be sure to find a way to move forward. 
  4. Shut your pie hole
    1. I know it's hard, but talking to others about the situation just poisons the well. If you need a vent, find a trusted co-worker, colleague, friend, family member, etc., do it. Just remember code #2.
By having upfront conversations, you're able to gain more respect from your colleague and find a call to action more quickly moving forward.

Stay Fab,


Family Fundraising Code #4

Still hanging in there fam? Great! We're on to Family Fundraising Code #4. Catch up on parts three, two and one in the corresponding links.

Sharing is Caring

There are plenty of things that we discuss in our profession that we cannot share. Whether it's donor information, possible major gifts, staffing issues, etc. However, there are plenty of things that we can share with each other to help one another.
  • If a donor or spouses have degrees from multiple areas across the institution, working with fundraisers that oversee those areas help with securing the gift. 
  • When the annual giving office has their day of giving, sharing that information with your donors, units, etc. to encourage participation.
  • The events director is prepping for homecoming, travel football game, etc., supporting them by volunteering to help with the event or sharing the event with other alums.
Here's an example:

One of our donors is an engineer but has a passion for football. Every time I meet with them, I make sure I bring updates from Athletics and Engineering so that all of their basis is covered.

Fundraising is certainly different shades of gray. Many of our situations need a balance between the social side and the data side. Having staff that has been at your institution longer than you can provide context and history to the donor that may not have been recorded in the system.

Plus they may be able to come up with some points in the conversation that you may not have realized. Many reasons why I make sure people that are more seasoned and smarter than I are in the room.

How do you share information and ideas when it comes to fundraising?

Stay Fab,


Family Fundraising Code #3

Welcome to the third code of the Fundraising Family. If you missed parts one and two, they can be
found in the corresponding hyperlinks.

Back Up Required

When I think of back up, you usually think of fire, police or military. However, in this case, it's calling out to your fellow fundraisers to help.

Fundraising is certainly a team sport. Here are some ways that back up should be used.
  • Inviting a faculty/staff member to meet with a donor to grow their engagement and connection to the university. 
  • Reaching out to a colleague in estate, annual or corporate and foundations giving to help with a donor.
  • Including the AVP/VP/President on one of your donor calls to allow them to share top information to some of your most affluent donors.
  • Working with a fellow colleague who is assigned to another college to help an alumni couple decide on their philanthropy. 
There are more examples just like these, and they are meaningful and necessary. Not just to you, but also to our donors. 

There's also your tribe of friends and colleagues in other schools, in similar roles to vent to. I usually call on them to make sure I haven't lost my mind (sometimes they say I'm freaking out, while others say I may be onto something).

They're also great when it comes to collaboration for presentations, papers, events, etc. One fundraiser I was chatting with the other day, said that one of his donors will be bringing him (his undergrad) and another school's fundraiser (from his graduate school) together to find a way to support both institutions. I'm eager to hear how this conversation goes. 

Stay Fab,


Family Fundraising Code #2

If you missed last week's post talking about the first rule, visit here. We continue on to rule two.



Zip It

This happens to everyone (unfortunately). We vent to our colleagues, friends, family members, significant others, etc. Even our colleagues at other schools, we vent to them. When I chat with my colleagues at other schools, it's usually to make sure I'm not losing my damn mind (and I believe others do the same). 

I love the conversation I had with one of my colleagues the other day. He's out of state and we became buds via the CASE District conference (story of my life). He's discussion an unfortunate situation he's having with internal politics to support his donors. As he's getting into the crux of the conversation, every fiber of my being just blurts out,



He was glad that I agreed with him. Again, confirming that we're not insane and that we're trying to do what's best for our donors. 

Where the zip it comes in, is that you do not share this with other colleagues. Your tribe is there to support you, and vice versa. Do not lose that trust by spilling the tea to other colleagues, institutions, etc. If something accidentally happens, own it, tell the source, and apologize.

Is it hard to do that? Yes. Is it the adult and responsible thing to do? Yup!

A few thoughts to keep in mind:
  • No donor names (and do not connect them to a dollar amount)
  • Karma is a b**ch, and she can come back around
  • Keep those receipts
Check-in next week for code number three.

Stay Fab,