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The Latest From The Fire Starters Blog

The Thank You Letter That Shocked Me

The Thank You Letter That Shocked Me

I’m old school and I love to receive thank you notes. The handwritten kind that show the person who wrote it took some time to think about what they would say to me. While I do receive handwritten thank you notes that make me smile and feel great, it’s not often I receive a computer printed thank you letter that stands out. Most often they are form letters that are pretty ho hum. Most thank you letters I receive are simply letting me know the person or organization is doing their due diligence by adding a few words of thank you to the tax-deduction notification for the IRS. But I got a letter last week that caused shock and awe in our house. I recently purchased a monthly service for my business. We’ve been working to get a new free training webinar up and online (coming soon!) and so I really didn’t think about the company after we got logged in to the service and started our work with them. Just a few days after the online sign-up I received a thank you letter from the owner of the company. Take a read. . . I read this letter twice through immediately because it was so authentic and fun. And I’ve shared this letter with five other people. Yes, I do understand that lots of people probably receive this same letter. But I have to tell you, I don’t care. I felt great when I read it. It felt fun and personal. And like it mattered to this company that I became a client. My questions to you: 1.... read more
Your Actions May Be Disempowering Your Nonprofit Board

Your Actions May Be Disempowering Your Nonprofit Board

Have you ever heard a young child emphatically say: I. Can. Do. It. Myself. when you attempt to help them with a task they are truly invested in completing themselves? Because you are in a rush to get out the door you “help” them put on their boots or zip their coat or you tug those mittens on for them. Then the tears or temper tantrum show up, right? The tears or temper tantrum show up because they’re feeling disempowered. You’ve asked them to do things on their own. You’ve even patiently shown them HOW to do that exact task. Yet, in your rush to get somewhere, you take over. What does this have to do with your nonprofit board? A long-time mentor once told me, “When you rescue someone, you disempower them.” Let me give you an example (based on a true story). Lois is a retired nonprofit executive who offered to tackle the project of getting some materials completed (final copy written, proofed, and printed) for a small arts organization. The $5+ million campaign is the largest the organization will ever undertake. Lois, in her professional and volunteer work, has successfully completed all aspects of many multi-million capital and annual campaigns. She was delighted to take on the project management of this small, but important project. The organization’s staff of four, all program positions, had never handled a project of this type for a capital campaign. Taking the project off their hands made her proud. It made her feel as though she was making a significant difference. Lois is a good writer. She’s excellent at follow-up and... read more
I Often Take Care of Others Better Than I Take Care of Myself. Do You?

I Often Take Care of Others Better Than I Take Care of Myself. Do You?

I’m proud of how many people and nonprofit organizations I have the honor to work with each year. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been a “helper.” I’m the oldest of four children and was the best babysitter in my neighborhood for years. Families would call me in July to book me for New Year’s Eve. True! I get an amazing feeling of gratitude inside when I help others. And I crave that feeling. What I found though, over the years, is that I put myself last on the “taking care of” list. As frequent readers of this blog know, I was very sick about four years ago. My cancer health scare SHOULD have knocked me upside the head to include myself in the caring category. But alas, it did not. Immediately following my surgeries and throughout the next couple of years I kept a pretty steady pace of doing, traveling, and rushing through my day. I overextended myself even more by volunteering my time and providing pro-bono coaching hours, often. And then in January 2015, my spouse Mark, fell and broke his back. HIS health scare totally rocked my world. And while it took months to get into a less frenetic pace, (there are a lot of steps to caring for someone who is healing a broken back!) I believe and feel at peace with how much better I’m taking care of me these days. What I learned the hard way when Mark was needing care was, if I was not adequately fed, rested, and healthy, I was no good to him OR me. So today nearly... read more

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