Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of learning 2009

I am a work in progress. So are you.

At the end of the year it is a useful exercise to stop and ask yourself: What do I know now that I didn’t know last year?

Answering this question can provide reassurance that progress is in fact in process!

It is also useful to write down your learning so others can benefit from it. My post last year about 2008 has received most traffic on this blog so far. So I’m sharing my list with you again. The challenge is that I learned too much in 2009 for one blog post. Here is my abridged list. A few will become their own post in the coming weeks. But for today this is what I know now that I didn’t know last year.

1. Twitter works.

2. SOFII is transforming how we learn and share together.

3. If you have given all you can – find a new challenge.

4. 5 KM isn’t that far. Run it!

5. You kids will talk to you more if you have an msn account. Learn their language. My daughter's self portrait:
6. Be grateful when someone cares enough to criticize.

7. Burn out is real.

8. The Global South is the new fundraising frontier.

9. Budgets absolutely MUST be driven by a manageable work plan.

10. The more I learn the less I know.

People who influenced me the most in 2009

1. Craig MacKenzie (Ontario) – he tolerates me with calm pragmatism

2. Skye MacKenzie (Ontario)– pays more attention than I think

3. Chase MacKenzie (Ontario) – always full of empathy

4. Ken Burnett (UK & France) – inspirational and challenging at same time

5. Marie Burnett (UK & France) – a magnificent and patient editor

6. Gayle Wood (Ontario) – sensible, wise and fair

7. Mark Phillips (UK) – a generous and charming resource

8. Nisia Hanson (USA) – unfailingly enthusiastic and supportive

9. Jackie Mendoza (UK) – calm, encouraging and makes me laugh

10. John Lepp (Ontario) – generous and honest

11. Ram Kapar (Nepal) – His unfailing determination and for teaching me that humanity is one family and the world is one home

12. Sudeshna Kukherjee (India) – Beautiful. A bright light full of positive energy

The book that had the biggest impact on my work in 2009

The Influential Fundraiser
Bernard Ross and Claire Segal

(Watch this space for more on some of these points. Numbers 1, 7 and 8 are coming soon.)

In order to advance the sector and improve the world we must keep learning and asking ourselves and others ‘Why?’. We must constantly challenge ourselves to do better.

Take a moment now to think about your list of learning for 2009? It would be great if you felt like sharing it and left a comment here. We might all learn something that way.

The most important thing though is to do it. Write it down so you can see how you evolve year after year. You won’t regret it.

Thank you for spending time here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A blog for my Dad

As fundraisers we read a lot of letters. Every year there is one I look forward to the most. It is from my Dad. He doesn't even put my name on it, but I know he wrote it for me (and a few others) all the same. Here it is for you:

Christmas 2009

Dear family and friends,

It’s always pleasant to communicate at Christmas and we love your cards and letters. The big change to this year’s letter is I increased the font because most of you are getting so old.

We had a great six week vacation in the south of Spain again this year. We took the opportunity to visit Sevilla this time and saw where Magellan set sail for the first circumnavigation, the church of La Macarena, Carmen’s tobacco factory and the fabulous historic cathedral. We bought marmalade from the nuns but I did not get a haircut. We cruised to Casablanca in Morocco. The tour guide’s first words were: “If you came here because of the movie you should have gone to Florida where it was made.” Then off we went to see a huge mosque and a city of five million impoverished Arabs.

The big event while we were in Spain was a three night trip to Liverpool!
It was totally unplanned and a real magical mystery tour via John Lennon Airport and the Adelphi Hotel. After all those cathedrals and mosques we got to go to the Holy of Holies; Anfield Park where Liverpool play. We were inside the house I lived in as a small child (above) but unfortunately they left it out in the rain and it has shrunk dramatically.

We were also in a building I lived in as a teenager and met old friends for a trip down memory lane. Liverpool looks great and the scousers are still very warm hearted so you can stop not going there.

Back in Fuengirolla, Spain it was fiesta time for our local church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. We attended an open air Flamenco Mass and procession; 72 young men carrying the statue and the whole town in flamenco dress with hundreds of AndalucĂ­a horses in the streets. It was again magical and lasted a week. We were up till three dancing some nights.

Back home the grandchildren visited again and we had a wonderful time with them in the forest, on the beaches. They grow to fast! They were an absolute joy and we have cause to be proud.

Pride still covers our grown children as Peter, Kim (that's me - you are not allowed to call me 'Kim') and Michael are all progressing in their careers and enjoying a healthy life.

We are both busy at our respective Rotary clubs and that is fun and fulfilling within the community. Dana devotes herself to bridge and Peter sells condos and houses quite successfully. We love life in Victoria.

In short our life is good and we hope yours is too.

(aka My Dad)
Thanks Dad for your letter and thank you dear reader for spending time here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A letter from Roger Craver

I got this letter from Roger Craver of the Agitator today. I'm one of his closest professional friends. How cool is that!

Roger wrote:

Dear Kimberley,

Today you’re one of my 7, 499 closest professional friends.

That’s right. We’re part of a special circle of 7,500 fundraisers around the world who each month spend time with SOFII—The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration. And individually and collectively we benefit from SOFII’s rich offerings of case studies, tips, and techniques.

And today, SOFII, run by volunteer fundraisers for fundraisers, needs and deserves our help and support. Let me explain.

So far SOFII has raised 50% of the funds it needs now, thanks in part to the Big Give that doubles the contributions of friends like you.

BUT…we have only 48 more hours left to cash in on the Big Give matching money before their time limit expires. That’s why I need you to do your part – and to do it today if at all possible. (Please scroll down for Important Note* first.)

Let me tell you why I just made my own contribution and why I think every fundraiser who cares about our craft and wants to do their best work possible should give too:

* There’s nothing like it. “A smogasbord of fundraising innovation, creativity and excellence…a place where people can share and get concepts that are indeed worth copying…and she’s free.” — Greg Fox of Donor Power Blog.

* The world’s greatest swipe file. “And SOFII is yours to access online, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week – for free. All because you belong to the SOFII family of fundraisers. How cool is that?”—Lisa Sargent, Editor, The Loyalty Letter.

* Life is really nice when someone else holds the football. “A one hour tour through the pages of SOFII will harvest more great ideas than three days of attending conventions.”—Jerry Hunstinger, Copywriter and SOFII Contributor.

Here’s the deal. Even though SOFII is run by volunteers they’re not asking you or me to give up our vacations or weekends to help.

Rather they need us to make contributions – contributions that will be doubled in the next 48 hours –to raise the funds necessary in 2010. Funds given by fundraisers, for fundraising – to help build a new, improved, more user friendly website…to build bigger more diverse collections of amazing content, and to reach out and involve fundraisers from around the world.

You, more than most, know the value of not only giving but of giving back to your profession. So please do your part today.

Thank you.

Roger M. Craver

P.S. Today, I’m giving an extra contribution as a holiday gift in honour of Tom Belford, my Co-Editor at The Agitator. We both love SOFII and we write often about its value. Time to put some money where our mouth is.

PPS. If you have already given to SOFII’s appeal in the last few days, THANK YOU! (and please ignore this second email request. Ken will write to thank you properly soon)

Thanks Roger! Your one of my closest professional friends too!

Thank you for spending time here,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Raise more money for ALL charities - Donate to SOFII today!

If you’re like me, every time you receive a SOFII update from Carolina, you know it comes with just the boost you need to raise more money for your charity.

You know, too, that every great resource on SOFII is always free... for all fundraisers around the world. We won’t be changing that.

But SOFII, like any organization, isn’t free to operate. So in order to keep serving charities like yours and mine, we need to start doing what we do best. To ask for money.

For a very limited time – ONLY 96 hours and it’s all over – when you donate to SOFII your gift will be doubled at no extra cost to you, through the Big Give.

That’s right. Any donation you give starting at 10.00 am UK time (5.00 am EST) on the 7th Dec will be matched dollar for dollar, pound for pound, by The Big Give, a UK philanthropic foundation. But only if you can get in quick...

Your donation can be matched only until their limit of funds runs out.

SOFII is competing for the doubling money against other, staffed, larger charities all lining up to secure limited Big Give funding. But because we are run by volunteers we don’t have the infrastructure in place to compete. Our only competitive edge is YOU. Please make your donation now, here:

If you’ve seen the video or slide show, you know that SOFII is at a turning point.

Next year we’ll be re-launching the website to make it easier to use, to offer more opportunities for you to get involved, to add more exhibits to help you promote your cause and to reach more fundraisers. But to take this next giant leap, we need your support now.

Our goal is to raise $80,000 before the end of the year. And in the past few months many organizations and individuals close to SOFII have already come forward to help. In fact, we now only have $30,000 left to raise by December 31st.

With your help, we can get there... especially if you can donate through the Big Give Campaign soon, because all donations received in the next few days will be doubled.

And if you can, forward this email to your friends, write a blog post and tweet incessantly. Whatever we can raise in the next few days – up to a total of $20,000 – will be doubled by the Big Give!

Remember, any gift you can give to SOFII now will double in value... but only until their limit of funds runs out. So please make your donation at 10.00 am UK time (5.00 am EST) on Monday 7th December or as soon after as possible, to double your money.

For the past two years the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration has been helping us all be better at our jobs. With more than 750 pages, SOFII is driven by content, and fundraisers write in every day to tell us that it’s truly useful. Just imagine SOFII next year when we take all that great content and place it inside a website that’s truly user-friendly. (The fundraising world will never be the same!)

Won’t you come forward with your donation today? You’ll be making a huge difference for SOFII, and for the advancement of your own good work, too.
Thank you so much – for believing in what SOFII is and can be. With your support, SOFII will get even better. For you, for me, and for all fundraisers, everywhere.

Thank you for spending time here and for donating to SOFII!

Kimberley MacKenzie
Honorary head of fundraising
SOFII, The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration

PS To affirm for you and your colleagues why SOFII is so vital and valuable to fundraisers around the world, please read Julia’s story, In praise of a good swipe file.