Colorado Gives Day

Protect and nurture the quality of life in Colorado on December 6, just a week away. It’s Colorado Gives Day. 100% of your donation will go straight to the nonprofit of your choice, and there are hundreds to choose from. Check it out at

Leave a Comment November 29, 2011

In Your Corner

The 2011 Colorado NONPROFIT Association Fall Conference and Exhibition is right around the corner. And I’ll be there. In the corner. The Consultants’ Corner, that is.

Here’s how it will work. It will be a little like speed-dating (from what I hear). We’ll have 20 minutes together. I’ll listen carefully to your greatest concerns about your organization, we’ll talk more (fast), and after a quick assessment, I’ll give you my Top 5 Suggestions for Success that you can begin to implement immediately.

I’ll answer to the best of my ability any questions you have about fundraising, strategic planning, board development and just about anything regarding nonprofits that you can throw my way. If I don’t have the answers right away, I will get back to you within the week. Promise.

Hope to see you there from 3:30-5 pm on Monday, October 11. Bring caffeine. For more detailed info, check out

Leave a Comment September 30, 2011

Be a great–not just good–board member

Are you a member of a nonprofit board of directors? Or, have you been approached by a member of a board, but aren’t quite sure if you want to take on this commitment?

In my 20-plus years of nonprofit experience, I’ve been privy to (and have led) a great deal of board meetings, retreats and workshops, and have served on a number of boards myself. Oh, how they vary! The effectiveness of boards can range from general apathy (“WHY oh why am I here?) to outstanding, motivated groups of people (YAY! I love this organization!) who achieve amazing things.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you want to be a great–not just good–board member:

1. Are you clear about your motivation in becoming a board member? Do you want to be a leader in your community? Do you just love the mission of the organization and want to help it grow? Do you have specific skills (fundraising, marketing, law, finance, etc.) that you want to offer the organization? Effective boards are comprised of people who know why the are there and what they can offer.

2. Are you dedicated to the mission of the organization? No one is going to ask you to be the type of person who jumps out of bed every morning, aching to get to a board meeting. But are you so excited about the nonprofit that you talk about it with family, friends and colleagues? Are you willing to recruit new members for the board?

3. Are you an innovative, creative thinker? The best boards have people who can think outside the box. They create new fundraisers, do unique, interesting methods of outreach and are willing to go outside their comfort zones in order to make “asks”–for money, for in-kind donations, for, well, just about anything that the organization needs. (I’ve watched board members ask local hardware stores for wood for scenery and bakeries for donuts to approaching bank presidents for corporate sponsorships of up to 50K a year). Can you do this?

4. Do you have the time to devote to the board? Usually, at the very least, this means quarterly meetings that can last a few hours. Sometimes boards meet once a month. Imagine the good you can do in the time it would take to drive to a theater, order popcorn, watch a movie and get home! Of course, great board members volunteer a great many more hours to the organization than just attending board meetings. Just like in life, ‘anything worth anything’ takes work. Are you up to the challenge?

5. Do you have money to donate to the organization? Now, the amount of money that board members donate varies greatly depending upon the size of the organization and the ability of the board member to give. I’ve seen board members write checks for $10 and others for 10K. Generally speaking, a board member is expected to give something and each year increase that donation by 25%. And just so you know, for most grant proposals, 100% board giving is required.

It can be extremely rewarding knowing that your efforts as a board member are furthering the mission of a nonprofit organization. The boards are often the very heartbeat of a nonprofit. The next time you get asked to be a board member–or you hear of an organization that could use some help–I hope you’ll “get on board”.

Leave a Comment September 20, 2011

Philanthropy and Kids

Each day, for almost two years on our way home from school, my daughter Marin and I would see a man standing on the corner. Sometimes he had a sign, asking for help, but most afternoons he sat and smiled at people as they stopped at the red light near his “spot”. Over the months, we’d open our windows and speak with Donnie. We gave him winter gloves, energy bars, juice, or just shared a short, pleasant conversation. We knew he lived at the nearby Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. His eyes were sky blue, sometimes bright, other times vacant, distant. On the rare day that we didn’t see Donnie, we’d wonder aloud where he was.

Last July, Donnie passed away. A cardboard sign was placed in his “spot”: Rest in Peace, Donnie.

For her 8th birthday in August, instead of asking for gifts for herself, my daughter asked her friends for donations for the Shelter in honor of Donnie. Her friends came with checks and pennies and tubes of toothpaste, helping Marin to raise $111.43. When she delivered this to the Shelter, not only did the Executive Director and Development Director personally greet us, they spent a good half hour giving us a tour of the Shelter. A good friend of Donnie’s, Chris (seen here with Marin) joined us and gave Marin this photo of Donnie, as well as one of Donnie’s favorite hats. It was an afternoon–and an experience–that neither Marin or I will soon forget.

Think about instilling in your kids a sense of philanthropy. You could get a piggy bank that not only has room for “spend” and “save”, but also a space for “give”. Show them that it’s okay to open their hearts. Allow their innate sense of compassion to blossom. Encourage them to start a food drive, a collection of pennies, or simply share a smile with someone less fortunate. If children learn to share and give and love without limits early in their lives, imagine the changes that the world will see.

7 Comments September 9, 2011

What’s your deal, anyway?

What do YOU care about? Solar energy, global warming, rainforests? Is it clean water for all, or fighting hunger and starvation? Maybe you are passionate about education, finding a cure for breast cancer, or children’s health. I have yet to meet a person who does not care about something…

Here’s what you can do today to make a positive contribution. And, it’s FREE. Visit and simply click away. It works because advertisers fund the pages. You click, they pay. It’s a win-win.

I hope you will visit today, visit often, and pass it on.

Leave a Comment November 27, 2009

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