Bringing back the Fab

It’s been a little quiet here on the Fablanthropy site. Certainly not for lack of activity, as I’ve been on the road quite a bit in the past year. The last year also had me firmly in capital campaign mode, and I was lucky to see the project I was working on make it to groundbreaking day.

And then I moved about 400 miles east and returned to higher education fundraising. It’s a big change, but a good one…one which will give me more time to focus on giving back to the profession which has given me so much. And I’m asking for your help to get the Fablanthropy flowing:

1. A bevy of blogging. Expect to see more here on the site. In addition to resharing great content, I’m also looking for suggestions, particularly in the themes below (but not limited to this schedule):

  • Mission Mondays: for those moments where the mission and philanthropy make a perfect match.
  • Technical Tuesdays: back to the basics … how has a technique made fundraising life good for you lately?
  • Women Wednesdays: female fablanthropy featured here 🙂
  • Thankful Thursdays: stewardship … how are you thanking your donors?
  • Fabulous Fridays: the sky’s the limit! Your brag moment of the week, a personal success or anything covered above is fair game.

2. Bring Fablanthropy to your organization. I’m not traveling for the rest of 2017 (I’m doing plenty of travel for the new job!), but I am booking ahead into 2018. I’m also available to work with organizations virtually, or within a few hours’ drive of New Orleans. Ways we can bring the Fablanthropy to you:

  • Presentations for professional association meetings/conferences
  • Webinars
  • Volunteer trainings
  • Writing/editing content (print/email/social)
  • General consultation

I look forward to hearing from you! Email me at with feedback or referrals.


Guest post: Pear Tree Planning with Marcy Heim, The Artful Asker

Our first Women Wednesdays post comes from Marcy Heim, known as The Artful Asker. If you haven’t had a chance to hear Marcy speak, add it to your continuing education calendar! She’s great at making fundraisers think about what they can do to advance philanthropy, and she’s known to break into song while doing it!

Here’s Marcy’s post: “Pear Tree Planning”:

Here’s a lesson from my pear tree.  The fruit varies year to year, but this year, as early as the blossoms in May, we knew this would be a BIG year.

Thousands, I mean thousands of baby pears filled the tree. At one point a 5-inch-thick limb broke off from the sheer weight of all the pears.  And even as they were still developing – they had great flavor. This would yield quite a harvest!

And so went the summer – talking about the pears coming, hearing about canning and freezing, recipes and smoothie combinations. And, while I was determined I would not waste this abundant opportunity….. I did.  Most of the pears were bagged up and hauled to the dump.

I saw the opportunity. I talked about the opportunity.  I even took a few steps in the right direction gathering information and buying freezer bags.  And, yes, (victim thinking here) it was also our daughter’s wedding just as they really ripened.  And, yes, I had pear smoothies, pears for breakfast, lunch and dinner for weeks and accosted everyone I saw with a bucket of pears for over a month, but I didn’t follow through on the opportunity I saw.  Now these steps will be “good enough” by default.

And so it goes in our honorable and noble profession. We see milestones coming, events that offer more personal connections, a congratulations that could be shared or another program in town or at our organization that will bring in a plethora of folks we might touch.  If only.  If only we had taken action in time.

Sometimes my clients complain they are not given enough lead time to properly prepare for an opportunity.  Ok, “sometimes” this is true.  More often, and let’s be honest here, it looks far off and we let more urgent (generally not more important) tasks eat up the time between making something out of an opportunity, letting it slip by…or doing a schlocky job of it.

There is a place for “good enough” in our lives for you who share my perfectionist tendencies.

But here’s the deal. Life presents us opportunities.  It is always our choice what we make of them.  Our success and satisfaction is measured this way.

  1. See the opportunity
  2. Intend what could do and they decide what we will do
  3. Plan the action – laying out what by when
  4. Take the action!
  5. Celebrate the results

Simple, right?  WRONG.  But it is worth seeing your patterns and making small changes.  Here are 5 things you can do to make better use of your “opportunities.”

  1. Plan ahead for what you KNOW is coming – personally and professionally. You know your kids birthdays, holidays, etc. – why do they “sneak up” on you?  You know your event date – why are you tying ribbons on table favors at midnight the night before?  You know a big gathering in town will be a chance to network with several prospective givers – why do you let other work deadlines creep into the space until you feel like you really can’t go?  Stop and think about the opportunity.  Reflect. How do you want to use this opportunity?
  1. Make a Decision on your “good enough” action.  You can’t do everything. In fact, sometimes we go over the top and the action is really “too much” for the situation.  “Simple, yet artful.” (“I can buy cookies, not make them, and it will be ok for donor Joe’s visit to our organization.”)  What is at least some action we can accomplish that will help us take advantage of this opportunity?  Then embrace that this plan is “good enough” and set up the time to take the step.
  1. Determine what the “Best Action” is.  If you were really going to maximize this opportunity, what would that look like?  (I’d have a freezer full of pears.)
  1. Be open to the last-minute. “If it weren’t for  the last-minute, nothing would get done. “  While not a quote to live by, certainly it brings in the creative energy we get as a deadline approaches.  Use it in a balanced way.
  1. Celebrate. Learn. Plan and plan again. So that wasn’t quite what you wanted.  Ok, celebrate was DID work.  Enjoy the feeling of the little action you took that was a hit!  YES!  Say, “I create my life and I LOVE my life!”

Some opportunities get away on us.  The pears are spoiling and collecting bees.  But I DID enjoy many of them, give many of them away and at least learn about what I could have done to make better use of them.  For this year, that’s “good enough” and I am grateful for the opportunity to see what next year brings.  May you enjoy recognizing opportunities and turning them into “wins” for you, your family and your non-profit mission.

Invest in Joy!

Marcy Heim

The Artful Asker

Office (608)238-4024

Cell (608)772-6777

Toll Free (888)324-0442

© 2015 Marcy Heim and The Artful Asker LLC.
Marcy Heim, CFRE, PLCC
life and development coach, author and speaker, empowers deans, executive directors, development staff and key volunteers who are transforming the world by encouraging philanthropy for their missions. With over 20 years of in-the-trenches experience, she is a trusted authority in the development profession helping organizations and educational institutions uplevel their major gift success – forever.  Her workshops have a double track promoting both positive mindset as well as best-practice methods producing both dramatic fundraising results and confident, happy teams. Her monthly Artful Action newsletter inspires leadership and staff to embrace the real power and joy of philanthropy. You can sign up for a complimentary subscription at

Where Should You Avoid Meeting with Prospects and Donors?

Where do you meet your donors for visits?

Michael Rosen Says...

Whether you want to cultivate or ask for support, a face-to-face meeting with a prospect or donor will usually be the most effective approach. To ensure the success of your meeting, you need to carefully plan for it. That includes knowing where to avoid having that meeting.

Two types of locations make particularly poor choices for meetings:

Katz's Deli by Matt Biddulph via FlickrRestaurants/cafes. Such locations can be problematic for any number of reasons. Your guest might not feel comfortable discussing personal matters in a public setting. The noise level of the restaurant might not be conducive to conversation. Servers will inevitably interrupt your discussion. The choice of a specific restaurant could even be problematic. Consider the following true story that I shared in my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing:

The development officer picked up the donor at her home and drove her to the Four Seasons Hotel for lunch in the very lavish Fountain…

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