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What If

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For parents and teachers everywhere. What If And what if kids “lose” the school year? What if instead of learning math and reading, they learn how to cook? They learn to sew? Clean? To grow a plant? What if they learn to sing songs to their grandparents or younger siblings? What if they learn to take care of their pets and bathe them? What if they develop their imagination and paint a painting? What if they learn to be more responsible and be more connected to the whole family in the house? What if we parents teach them to be

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The New American Fundraising Heroes

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Reprinted from the April 12 edition of The Weekend Briefing You and your team have planned a massive, complex fundraising effort for nearly a year. At the absolute last minute, catastrophe strikes. What do you do? The Northwestern University Student Dance Marathon is one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the country. The 2020 event, scheduled for March 6-8, was cancelled by the University due to health concerns. Undaunted, the Co-Chairs and their Executive Committee reshaped the event in 48 hours into a virtual event – and raised $1,029,366, the 10th year in a row the event has raised more

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A Doctor Reassures

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The most down-to-earth, reassuring video on the coronavirus that I’ve found. A doctor from Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. A highly worthwhile investment of your time. https://vimeo.com/399733860  

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Should We Just Throw In the Towel?

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The phone rang. Phil was calling. Alumnus, donor and world-class volunteer. He got right to the point as always.  “So, how’s it going?”  “Phil,” I told him, “it’s going great!”  I could hear his exasperation. “You son of a b___, every time I call you tell me the same thing – it’s going great.”  Somehow I was inspired to answer, “Phil, if I don’t tell you things are great at your alma mater, who’s going to?”  Silence.  “You know what? You’re right.” That’s a true story. Word for word. Whether in good times or bad, I’ve never understood why we

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The Ten Things Smart Fundraisers Are Doing Right Now

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The Weekend Briefing is received every Sunday night by 1,500 fundraisers throughout the United States and around the world. Subscribe to The Briefing at theweekendbriefing.com. When our work is most uncertain, there are three sure things we know: Your donors still care about your organization. They still want to support you. Their ability to do that may be compromised for a while, but that doesn’t mean they care about you any less. The mission of your organization still matters. It matters a lot to the people you serve and it should matter a lot to you. The relationships with donors

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Disappointment

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An excerpt from “Winning: The Five Truths of Fundraising:” I was having coffee with a friend of mine. She’s the director of development for a wonderful nonprofit. Among other things we were talking about our year-end totals and all the thank-you letters those gifts precipitate. My friend had a sad look on her face. I asked if anything was the matter. “No, sorry. We had a really great year end. Very fortunate. A lot of hard work by our team. I just had a personal experience with a thank you that wasn’t so great.” I asked, if it wasn’t prying,

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Doomed to Struggle

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In “Winning: The Five Truths of Fundraising,” we write that every development professional makes a decision about the kind of fundraiser he or she wants to be. Do I permit the “stuff” that appears every day to dictate how I spend my time? Or do I make visits, growing relationships and inviting investment my priority? Do I wallow in endless events and direct mail because “we don’t have any major donors,” or do I invest the effort to begin those relationships? How many times do we hear, “You can be whoever you want to be?” We just have to decide

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The Worst Thing You Can Do Right Now

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You’re not going to like this very much. In fact, it might upset you. Why? Because many fundraisers believe it is their responsibility, their duty, to be stressed at this time of year. In just the same way as many nonprofit organizations and their CEOs believe it is their duty to be “doomed to struggle.” They like struggling. Revel in it. More about that tomorrow. For right now, do you feel stressed? It is the worst thing you can do. Stop it. Three very bad things happen when you allow stress to take over. And yes, being stressed is a

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“Winning: The Five Truths of Fundraising”

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From the Foreword to “Winning: The Five Truths of Fundraising:” “‘Rob, there’s a book in there somewhere.’ “In 11 years of writing the Weekend Briefing I heard that gentle nudge from many of my heroes in our profession. “So I set out to find that book. It took a while, but I did. ‘Winning’ brings together the best of the Weekend Briefing with the most important fundraising lessons I’ve learned in the last four decades.” From the moment I typed the first story to the last edit I kept nodding my head and saying to myself, “Yep. This is it.

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