Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

December 24, 2014

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

This week, legendary British singer Joe Cocker lost his fight with cancer and died. At Woodstock in 1969, he famously covered the Beatles song “With a Little Help from My Friends”:

What would you think if I sang out of tune

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song

And I’ll try not to sing out of key”

As I reflect back on my own battle with cancer in 2014, I know I won, in part, because of the help I received from my friends.

Wordle_Merry_ChristmasMy personal friends were always there for me whenever I needed a distraction, supportive conversation, a joke, a ride, a dinner, a hug, etc.

My professional friends around the world always stood by me as well. Folks kept reading my old blog posts and returned once I resumed fresh blogging. Clients returned. My professional friends checked-in with me with cards, calls, visits, and prayers.

My wife and I were touched deeply by the support we both received from all of our friends.

You never walked out on me. As I continue my recovery, I’ll try not to sing out of key. (Okay, I’m being figurative here. In reality, I can only sing out of key. 🙂 )

So, my friend, thank you for your ongoing support. I appreciate it.

I hope you and yours enjoy the holiday season with health and happiness.

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December 6, 2013

Impressive Statistics v. One Good Story

As Christmas draws near, imagine what the holiday season would be like if it were reduced to a set of statistics:

One 5’10”, 300-pound man will fly around the Earth between December 24 and 25. He will visit approximately 91.8 million households, about 822.6 per second. To accomplish this, the jolly man will have to travel at 650 miles per second, which is 3,000 times the speed of sound.

Fortunately, Santa Claus has some fast flying reindeer; this is important since the average reindeer has a top speed of only 15 miles per hour, way too slow to get the job done. Santa’s reindeer are not just speedy; they are also mighty which is essential since the sleigh they will pull will be initially weighed down with approximately 353,000 tons of presents.

When Christmas and Santa Claus are reduced to a bunch of statistics (courtesy of Linda Harden’s article Is There a Santa Claus?), the result might be momentarily interesting, but hardly memorable or inspiring.

Part of what makes Christmas special are the stories. There is the story of the birth of Jesus. There are the movies such as The Miracle on 34th Street. There are the holiday songs that tell a Grinch and Max by Chuck Jones via Photobucketstory including The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolf-the-Red-Nosed Reindeer. There are television shows including A Charlie Brown Christmas, Yes, Virginia, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

A good story draws us in. It stimulates our intellect and our emotions. A good story, well told, teaches and inspires. We remember great stories.

By now, I suspect you’ve already forgotten how many miles per second Santa must travel to deliver his presents. However, I bet you remember the plot to Rudolph or the Grinch. I bet you remember the nativity story.

My point is that, while statistics can be interesting and even compelling at times, people are more likely to be moved by stories. When we do fundraising, whether via direct mail or face-to-face, we should use fewer statistics and tell more stories.

Consider the following true story:

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December 14, 2012

#GivingTuesday: Hype or Hope?

A headline at Bloomberg excitedly gushed, “Why GivingTuesday is the Social Innovation Idea of the Year. 

We’ve had Black Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. We’ve had Cyber Monday on the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving. Now, on the heels of those two days dedicated to consumerism, we have Giving Tuesday, as a way to promote philanthropy on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

It’s certainly a seemingly good idea. But, is the Bloomberg headline true? Does #GivingTuesday offer the nonprofit sector great hope, or is it just well-intentioned hype?

#GivingTuesday is an initiative created by New York’s 92nd Street Y which has served as the catalyst and incubator for #GivingTuesday. Early on, the United Nations Foundation joined as a partner, bringing its strategic and communications expertise to the project. Eventually, over 2,000 additional partners were attracted. The initiative’s official mission statement is:

#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.”

But, so what? While it’s nice that #GivingTuesday “celebrates and encourages charitable activities,” what has the first #GivingTuesday really accomplished?

On the #GivingTuesday website, Rob Reich, Co-Director of the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University is quoted as saying:

#GivingTuesday has a simple aim: to establish a national day of giving during the holiday season of gratitude and generosity of spirit that will inspire Americans young and old, online and offline, red and blue, urban and rural. I joined #GivingTuesday because the aim is simple and the mission undeniably good: to increase charitable giving by all Americans.”

While time will tell if #GivingTuesday helps “increase charitable giving by all Americans,” I contacted The Associate: Jewish Community Federation of Greater Baltimore to gain some insight regarding the impact of #GivingTuesday.

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Associated was #GivingTuesday’s “most successful charity,” having raised over $1 million.

MoneyLeslie Pomerantz, Senior Vice President of Development at The Associated, told me she learned about #GivingTuesday and was immediately intrigued. The Associated, at the height of its campaign season, was looking for ways to excite donors, and was looking for fresh reasons to involve people. #GivingTuesday presented a great marketing opportunity for The Associated to remind its community of its philanthropic values.

Through email and advertisements, The Associated promoted #GivingTuesday. In addition, it scheduled a massive phonathon for November 27. The effort attracted over 100 volunteers and engaged 30 staff members. While not as large as its autumn Super-Sunday phonathon that involves hundreds of volunteers, the #GivingTuesday outreach contacted previous donors who had yet to renew their support. The effort also reached out to some non-donors who had some type of connection to the organization.

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December 23, 2011

Amazing News about Nonprofit / For-profit Partnerships

This is the Hanukkah and Christmas season. It’s a time of great spiritual meaning.

For Jews, it is a time to celebrate religious freedom and the survival of the Jewish people.

For Christians, it is a time to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ.

For retailers, this is economically a make or break season.

Now, there is stunning news concerning nonprofit/for-profit partnerships. Cause-related marketing is something that can significantly help both nonprofit organizations and their for-profit partners more than ever before.

According to a study from Cone Communications, a public relations and marketing agency specializing in cause branding and corporate responsibility, an overwhelming 94 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands, about equal in price and quality, to one that supports a social issue. This purchase behavior is at an all-time high since Cone first began measuring consumer purchase trends in 1993, says Craig Bida, Cone’s Executive Vice President of Cause Branding and Nonprofit Marketing.

“Over the years, consumers have been increasingly expecting companies to support social causes. Now, we’re seeing Americans demand companies address issues by speaking with their wallets,” said Bida.

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