- Find a reason for the intro beyond their wallet. No one will introduce you to their friend just because they are wealthy. Does the prospect care about special needs? The environment? Does the prospect own a particular set of skills or experience that would provide value to the cause? Do the research before you ask for an introduction, as it will greatly increase the odds of getting the referral when your friend understands why the introduction is meaningful.
- Reinforce your pitch with the role the common friend plays within it. Remember, your connection came through a common friend. Make sure you use that to your advantage. Opening a special resource room in your school? Tell your prospect how your common friend has been involved in that exciting experience.
- Don’t aim for a one night stand. Asking the prospect for money on the first date is the equivalent of asking for a quickie. You may get some instant gratification, but it will diminish the odds of you getting a long term relationship. Your ultimate goal should be to make the prospect your partner, and that requires your ability to listen and learn so you can provide them with a meaningful experience. An experience of value TO THEM.
March 16th is my twins’ b’nai mitzvah. That’s 4 days away. And as you know, regardless of whether the big day is a ceremony followed by a buffet brunch (like ours) or a booming blow-out that rivals the Vanity Fair Oscars party, there are a million things that need to get done in advance of it. So when I delegated to my son Jacob the design of the photo montage, which traditionally shows as many friends and family members as you’ve ever taken a picture of, matched with a sentimental and upbeat soundtrack, I was thrilled that he agreed to take it on. Until….
Until I realized that he thought pictures of his twin sister crying or in diapers should be well represented. Until I realized that his tolerance for low-resolution images was much higher than mine. And until I realized that his choice of music was, shall we say, more explicit than mine. I was about to take back the whole project when I remembered one of my own Secrets of Savvy Delegators: “Clarify expectations up front, plan for check-ins, then get out of the way”. In other words, rather than panicking that he wouldn’t do it the way I would do it (which he wouldn’t), I sat him down for an expectations conversation, where we covered a few ground rules: 1) No pictures that embarrass anyone; 2) if you can see pixilation in the photo, shrink it or skip it; and 3) no music with lyrics that would make a grandparent blush. With that start-up information shared, and a schedule of frequent check-ins planned, I put the montage out of my mind so that I could focus my mind on everything else I couldn’t delegate.
Here are four other secrets of savvy delegators:
- Delegate to the right person when the stakes are high. While many folks are more focused on the “bar”, we are more focused on the “mitzvah”. So while the party playlist might not be perfect or the decorations may not be sophisticated, getting the service as right as we could in terms of both accuracy and intimacy was critical for us. What this means is that we delegated the design of the service and the preparation of our children to one of our closest, most trusted friends – who also happens to be a rabbi. Anyone can be in charge of the balloons, but not anyone could be in charge of helping our kids’ embrace this day as a milestone, and helping us have the event feel special and sacred.
- Distinguish between responsibility and accountability when delegating. Even as much as we trust our rabbi and friend to deliver on his responsibilities, we are still accountable for making sure that the kids do their preparation. We are still accountable for making sure that the service is inclusive. And we are certainly accountable for making sure that our children’s interest in and commitment to leading a life of good deeds and loving behavior towards others and a belief in something lasts beyond 13 years old. None of those things can be delegated.
- Stop seeking positive reinforcement for being overwhelmed. “Deb, how are you guys DOING with everything going on?” has been the topic of most chats with my friends and family over the last few months. And while I appreciate the recognition that this is a crazy time for us, I am actively avoiding the desire to seem busier than I actually am. Yes, it is very tempting to play the burdened victim here, and hope that people would send me certificates for Massage Envy and some take-out dinners, but that’s not the truth, nor is it the message I want to send. Yes, it is a lot to do. But my husband has taken on a huge number of tasks, and our kids are carrying their weight. So I am very clear in letting people know that it is major AND manageable. And that I am important but not indispensable.
- Don’t give away all the fun stuff. Delegation is supposed to make your life and work easier, not harder. It kept my motivation up throughout the boring parts (like planning the seating arrangements – a task I couldn’t delegate but one that aged me by several years) to know that I got to pick the menu because I really, truly care about the food. Nobody was taking that off my plate, so to speak. So there will be bagels and lox and baked ziti and macaroni and cheese and rainbow cookies and…and….yum. How do you know that there’s something you should keep for yourself? When someone says to you, “I can do that for you,” and you think to yourself, “Nope – that’s mine.” Which is probably what I’ll say about anyone who tries to touch my rainbow cookie!
So whether you are planning next quarter’s business activities, your company’s annual staff retreat or a major family milestone, use the Secrets of Savvy Delegators to make your next project feel doable rather than dramatic.
Want to learn more savvy delegation secrets to help you manage your team, your work and your life? Join me for a one hour Virtual Presentation, “Delegate without Drama” this month, and 10 other topics throughout the year! Register here: www.myjewishcoach.com/webinar.html
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
At a certain point you get numbed by the stories, no matter how tragic they sound. Stop #1, a lady with a
can in her hand steps into the subway and begs for money because she has AIDS and 6 kids. Stop #2, another lady with a walker and a box attached to it, begs for money because she is blind and homeless. Stop #3, a young man begging because he lost his wallet and he needs money to get his next subway ticket to go home. Stop #4, a Vietnam veteran with a box hanging from his neck begging for money because he tragically lost both arms – he touched my heart and got some spare change! You get the picture, as one comes up the other goes down, and the people on the subway continue their journey while avoiding eye contact with the beggar, as if nothing is being asked from them. Once in a while, someone will reach out to their pockets and graciously but hesitantly will contribute to the cause.
And then there is stop # 5, a guy in his mid 50s joins us on the subway and changes the rules of the game. He sits on a huge speaker box and turns on his old electric guitar. He spots a sweet young boy who is sitting next to his mom, and he starts singing to him with a smile, while improvising the lyrics ”the boy in the hood” and speaking directly to him. Smiles now start to show up, people are no longer invisible to the rest. One by one, I could see smile after smile. We started looking at each other and staring at the man singing, it was a kind of a magical awakening that we all welcomed. Who doesn’t want to feel good? Who doesn’t want to feel the “hope” in the midst of all the sad stories we heard so far during our ride? Once the man is finished with the boy, he doesn’t stop, instead he turns to my beautiful daughter and starts singing to her, to “the white lady with the gloves”. Our smiles grow bigger; we look at him as he makes eye contact with each one of us. He is not rushed, he sings during stops # 6, 7 & 8. He stays with us, he engages everyone in a way that you don’t want the ride to end. This guy has a personal story too, but he chose to share with us a different side of him, and to show us how we can keep singing and bringing joy to our lives. He chose not to share one more sad story of a declining life with no hope. He wanted us to feel good, he wanted to remind us that there is joy that can be shared, he wanted us to see what he is capable of doing when he has food and a place to sleep. All of a sudden, people started opening their wallets, all with a smile on their faces. People were not looking for small change, they were going for bills, they were happy to give and it was contagious. This man wasn’t a talented entertainer or singer, he was too a subway beggar but one who understood fundraising!
All of those beggars who stepped on the subway before Stop #5, imploring for help with moving personal stories, made us feel compassion, pity, and even guilt when they stepped down taking nothing from us. We are generally not committed to stories that we don’t know whether we can trust, or to causes that we don’t know if our contribution will have any positive impact, or things that don’t make us feel the joy of giving. We usually don’t appreciate being pushed or rushed to give, or to feel invisible to the one asking us to give without even really noticing us. We don’t give very often or much because of guilt, or to every single sad story or cause we hear. We are selective in our giving, and the way we feel when asked will determine much of our philanthropic decisions, even how we distribute our small change.
Wikipedia describes begging as “the practice of imploring others to grant a favor, often a gift of money, with little or no expectation of reciprocation.” On that subway ride I was reminded of the many solicitations I receive year after year, when I’m begged by known non for profit organizations, who support great causes, but they choose to just get on the subway with their story and avoid eye contact. They don’t care about me but just about what they have to say, and then step down on the next station and let the next one step in. I’m numbed to those solicitations! If only they chose to stay longer on the ride and connect, if they just decided to share with me the joy of their impact in a more personal way, if they chose to follow up and deliver on a promise, if only…I would connect faster and stronger.
I always remember the prominent doctor I was soliciting for a capital campaign years back, who told me “I won’t belong, so I won’t give”. My frustration led me to ask him “I’m curious, do you belong to everything you give to, or do you give so others can belong as well?” It was the turning point to a major gift. The man stayed quiet for a while, and then he said that he never thought about how others will benefit and feel by having that building, and that thought made him feel good. It is selfish to think that we only give to causes that make us feel good, but giving also has the right to be selfish, as we decide to share what we earned with hard work. When we give, that’s what we want to get in return: a good feeling!
The guy on stop # 5 gets it. He took his time to develop a relationship and connect with us, his “prospective donors”. He told us in his own way that he cared about us as much as he wants us to care about him. He made us feel good and offered us the opportunity to start the day with a bright smile while doing good.
According to Wharton Professor Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take”, the world is filled with takers, givers and matchers. Takers are those who like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity — the mix of give and take — in their favor. Unlike takers, givers reflect a reciprocity style that is “other-focused”: they focus more on what others need than what they need. The final category of Grant’s three reciprocity styles is the matcher, who strives to achieve a balance between giving and taking. The guy on stop #5 took my bills and gave me a good feeling and a smile.
That ride on the NY subway to Time Square, became a reminder of the basics of fundraising: simple, personal, joyful, doable and when done well, beautiful!
It was a regular morning and I was listening to the radio before pulling into our local Starbucks. One of my favorite Beatles song was playing; “All the lonely people”. It is kind of a depressing song to start the day with;
”Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?” But nevertheless, it’s a Beatles song and I was caught in a sentimental moment. I got out of my car and still had that song playing in my head as I entered Starbucks and was ready to order my beverage. It was a busy shift and the line was long. I was looking around and all of the sudden an answer came to my mind “This is where they belong…the lonely people, right here…at Starbucks” most of the people who were sitting in the comfortable couches were sitting alone. They were, of course, plugged in to their smartphones, listening to music and with their eyes on the screen. They looked busy. While I was still standing in line a wonderful song from the 50’s began playing at the Starbucks speakers, pushing aside the Beatles song. Does anybody remember The Platter’s famous song, “The Great Pretender”?
It goes by “Oh-oh, yes, I’m the great pretender
Pretending that I’m doing well
My need is such, I pretend too much
I’m lonely but no one can tell…
And a “Eureka” moment occurred; I was looking around at the lonely people, trying to look busy, pretending they are not alone. I thought to myself, everyone here can drink their coffee at home (and for much less money), why is it that they come here and sit here in public to drink their coffee? To me the answer is, to either meet other people or to not be alone. However, being plugged to their devices, they are preventing themselves from creating these human interactions that will eventually help them not be alone.
I got my beverage and left the store, I kept thinking how attached we all have become to our smart devices and the “added value” these little things are bringing into our lives. It used to be a means to make a phone call, then it became our day-timers, calendars and watches, then it also became our camera, later it became our emails, internet, pharmacy, bank, games and so much more. But the biggest thing of all is that it became our friend! We are never really alone, as long as we carry it with us.
That is a scary thought to me.
A couple of months ago I was planning to take my daughters on a road trip to Zion National Park (only two and half hours drive from our house). We were meeting a girlfriend of mine and her kids and were ready to hit the road, but then, I realized that I couldn’t find my phone. I remembered that the battery was running low and must have died, which made it even harder to locate it around the house. I was looking everywhere but couldn’t find it. Being concerned about driving in the dark, I decided to go ahead and leave for our two-day trip without my phone. I called my husband and told him not to bother looking for me as I am off the grid. Wow, 48 hours without my iPhone (didn’t take my laptop either) was such a liberating experience. All the gurus are talking about being in the present, doing meditation, and all the techniques to get our brains to quiet down; it is all so very simple – forget your smartphone somewhere! Giving yourself a break from the on going and demanding relationship that we have with these devices can generate a great sense of Zen and much more.
Not having my iPhone for 48 hours increased my attention to the magnificent nature I was surrendered by and elevated the depth of conversations that I had with my daughters and friends. Now I will be lying if I told you that I wasn’t a bit itchy from time to time, looking for my phone, wondering who might be needing me and what updates I might be missing, but being truthful I also knew that in the moments of “needing” the phone, I was also trying to avoid something else. For some people this “something else avoidance” could be having deep conversations, having to listen to other people’s opinion, doing some soul searching, reflecting on events, planning ahead, connecting with strangers, and even feeling an emotional pain. For some people, as soon as there is a glimpse of an emotional pain (a memory of a negative experience), we want to shut it down quickly. Almost like swallowing a “happy pill” to take the uncomfortable feelings away; our smart device is doing just that. I wonder what an impact we can have over our lives, if we don’t shy away from these feelings. If we do let ourselves be vulnerable and exposed. Being in the moment, even if it is sad and lonely. Feeling the real feelings without sugarcoating them. My two cents on this matter is that we can actually do miracles in our emotional progression. Being in a Starbucks alone and unplugged will invite other people into our lives. It can be a smile from another person, an eye contact, an expression, maybe even a conversation. If only we take the time to look at other people and initiate a connection, we might have a huge impact on a stranger’s day and perhaps even a stranger’s life. The power of human interaction can never be replaced by our smartphones. Having a stranger smile and say to us “Good Morning”, cannot be done by our phones. (No. Siri doesn’t count).
When the Platters and Beatles wrote their songs (back in the 50s and 60s) they couldn’t possibly have imagined that their songs will be “meeting” on a random morning in a Starbucks. However, they did raise awareness about the human need to feel connected to another. There are so many great things that technology has brought into our lives, including the smartphones, but let us be cautious with the emotional dependency that we might develop toward them. After all, as Thomas Merton said, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”
Twas the 8th night of Hanukah and I looked at my menorah and realized something was missing from this holiday. I lit the menorah each night, check. I said all the prayers, check. I sent some gifts to my youngest family members, check. So what was missing? I was cooking dinner and I realized there was a lack of latkes this holiday season. Every year I complain about the amount of fat, oil, and yummy fried potatoes I eat but not one has crossed my lips this year. I wish I could say it’s because I’m on a diet and have lost a few pounds but no that holiday weight creep has already found me thanks to a brownie recipe I made from Pinterest. I had a moment of deja vu back to Erev Yom Kippur when I was sitting in synagogue thinking about what life was going to be like in the upcoming year with my new career. I was prepared for challenges but what came to my mind I wasn’t prepared for.
It dawned on me that my job as a non-profit Jewish professional afforded me a level of engagement in my religion that was easy and comfortable. Over the past 20 years, I never once thought about things like what will I do for Sukkot, Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Hanukah. My Jewish identity was wrapped up in my job. I was fully engaged in Jewish culture through activities, holiday observances and weekly kabbalat Shabbat at our JCC. I lived and worked in the Jewish world but only attended synagogue on occasion. I felt fully engaged and full from all the latkes!
As I sat there thinking, the Rabbi began his sermon. I was fully expecting the usual ask for money, political speech or why we need to be behind Israel sermon. It was not any of those things. To my surprise, he began speaking about engagement at the synagogue. My first thought was “Ok, this is weird!” My second thought led me to start thinking about “now what?” I no longer work at a JCC and will have to actually “work” at finding ways to be engaged in Jewish life. I realized this is actually what most Jews have to do and shouldn’t be that difficult. Right? Wrong!
There’s a lot competing for my time. Now that it’s not my job to be at the Havdallah Hayride or Chanukah Choopla, will I make the effort I wondered?
Rabbi Robinson said it beautifully. “You want to be here, you want to make a connection. You’re good at connecting with others—you have a circle of friends and loved ones, and have no trouble schmoozing in your given circle. But when you come here, you’re alone, and miserable. Not because someone treated you explicitly poorly, and not because you’re not committed to the idea of being a part of the synagogue—you’re here, after all. But there’s a lack of engagement, a lack of comfort, a lack of connection. So you come, you have some chitchat, and you leave disappointed rather than renewed.” It was like he was talking directly to me. So where do I belong? I’m an intermarried gay Jew with no children. If you have a group that fits that description, please call me, I’d love to hear from you! I’ve read a lot of the articles written about the Pew study and all I keep thinking is “I am the Pew Study results”. I’m intermarried and my Judaism is based more on culture than in religion. Since I have no children, I don’t need the synagogue for Hebrew school. So why should I join? I’m not my parent’s generation who believed that we as Jews should belong just to belong. I believe it’s important to be involved but I’m not going to join just to say I’m a member.
Hanukah was my first Jewish holiday not working at a Jewish organization and I had so many opportunities to engage or even make latkes at home (Oy, the smell of oil is too much for me to deal with) but I didn’t. I realize now that I’m going to have to make a serious commitment to myself to engage in the community where it once was just easy and frankly part of my job. I’m calling this a HanukahFail but only temporarily as I know my next opportunity to engage comes every Shabbat.
. “It feels that I’m doing everything by myself. My support staff is either new, they all have an attitude, or I simply can’t trust them to do things the way I need. The systems in place are not working. I can’t even see anymore where I’m going and when I do I feel I will never get there because I get distracted by other things that I need to take care of!”.
Hold a contest. Engage not just the board but the full staff, clients, stakeholders in the community, in writing a new mission statement. Find a great prize (donated, naturally). Get some good old fashioned public relations on the project (remembering that PR is free). This project would serve several purposes as it could possibly be an opportunity for a local reporter to visit your organization and really see what is going on (all good stuff of course) and it will get the word out about your work in a new and different way. Added benefit….more positive responses to your fundraising efforts!
Have a board retreat. Begin the retreat by looking at exactly what it is that you do. I call this “filling in the mission wheel. Do all of your retreat work. Then end the retreat with the rewriting of the mission statement.
Institute a “Mission Moment” at the very beginning or the very end of every board meeting. This is a three to five minute slot on the Agenda where either a client, a staff member or a volunteer (leadership volunteer or just one with a good story) shares that story with the whole Board. The beauty of the “Mission Moment” is three-fold: it gives everyone a new elevator speech, it will, over time, be so special that Board members will arrive on time just to be sure not to miss the moment (or they will stay to the end of the meeting to not miss the moment…You get to use it to help the attendance issues of your organization by putting it first or last to fix those late-comers or early-leavers problem that you might be experiencing), and of course it will begin to point out to everyone just what the organization’s mission really is….thus helping that whole rewrite of the mission statement thing we have been taking about!