Mission Impossible…STILL!

by Marcy Heim on October 13, 2021

You are STILL unstoppable. Period. No doubts. No matter what.

Unstoppable quote
Marcy & RJ at 13ft Quandary Peak

Yet, listen up….you may also feel less sure about your relationships – personal and professional – than ever before.


Donors, friends and even family, often react now in ways that totally surprise you – this throws you off to be sure! When you could count on a certain reaction to your calls, invitations, conversations or meetings – now you just can’t be sure. 

Yes, you know it’s the world we live in now…but here’s the thing. As list makers, goal-setters and planners – even though you KNOW your work is not faulty – stuff just keeps changing. The same task is checked off and then it’s back. It’s not rational but you begin to wonder, “Can I organize anything?  Am I getting anything done?”

Here I am with son, RJ, 13,000 feet, above the trees, on Quandary Peak – the pure physical challenge was a tremendous reminder of what you ARE able to do. I AM UNSTOPPABLE!

Those I coach have this sense of “spinning their wheels” and don’t feel as productive even though they ARE working hard and they ARE moving forward. I find the time to rework travel and meeting details is exhausting. Vendors are agreeable – you don’t pay fees – and I’m grateful and all… but that doesn’t help this nagging feeling I can’t feel certain about anything. On top of that come the daily reports – numbers up here, this country is done with lock-downs and opening up, this family member still will not join in a family gathering…..

These uncertainties can have us feeling disorganized and insecure about our relationships with others – including our major givers. Acknowledge your feelings – don’t bury them. But I KNOW you – and that you are resilient. Climb that mountain and don’t stop.

Marcy’s DON’T STOP list!

1.    Don’t stop believing in your abilities.

You are really quite remarkable. You’re caring. You’re determined. You are organized, flexible, patient and empathetic. Say it, “I am organized flexible patient and empathetic.”

2.    Don’t stop talking to your donors.

“Let’s connect now! I want to be sure we have the time we need to talk through any year-end giving you want to accomplish.”  This reminds them and helps them focus on the year-end gifts they really do want to make to YOU.

Of the $324 BILLION given by individuals in 2020 in the US, 1/3 or a whopping $108 BILLION was given in the last three months of 2020. Your givers are in the 2021 year-end giving. Check in with your donors – best first – even if it feels like they aren’t responding. Change it up – a note, email, call, text. Help them do what they want to do.

3.    Don’t stop being optimistic.

You have a calling to do good in the world. You have a choice in how you walk through your day. ‘I create my life!’ Yes, you do and you can use every day to lift up someone else.

4.    Don’t stop talking about the impact of gifts to your organization.

Big donors like big visions – stress how their gift will support the program, organization’s work AND what their generosity REALLY DOES – takes fear away, builds self-esteem, feeds, comforts, inspires.

5.    Don’t stop finding joy.

What are you thinking? What you think – you become. As much as possible, talk about what is right and good. Watch Disney. Stay excited! Avoid talking about those emotionally-charged issues – be the escape from it all for your givers. Find the joy!

In these times, what works is not necessarily what’s right…even when you can get away with less, even when the wrong thing seems like no big deal, even when no one is watching.

Sophocles, the ancient Greek playwright said it best…“Ill gotten gains are the work of evil people with evil intentions.”

Embrace this year-end with honor, integrity and good character. Foster those principles and values that give your life greater meaning, direction, pride and significance.

You are really quite remarkable. Especially now!

Invest in JOY®


Let the GIVER lead the IMPACT connection!

by Marcy Heim on September 22, 2021

It’s September – and that means Stewardship. Sharing sincere thanks NOW and showing donors the tangible results of their giving – even if it is intangible – sets the stage for COMFORTABLE year-end asking conversations. Of course we are constantly thinking about how we can be grateful recipients….but sometimes it gets away on us.

Check out my last two posts for tips for providing meaningful thanks and also to read what major donors say is meaningful for them….

Today I want to turn the tables and share two wonderful stories of DONOR generated stewardship.

The Daughters of Demeter – Caring for their award recipients.

Demeter Corn Roast

This group originally consisted of University of Wisconsin faculty wives who created the Daughters of Demeter to socialize and support the University. They would hear from their faculty husbands about students struggling – financially, socially and academically, and were determined to help. They began raising money for an endowment to provide student support. I had the honor of helping them set up their endowment during my 23 years at the UW. But what they wanted next was a bit different. They didn’t just want to meet their scholars at the classic donor/student luncheon; they wanted to KNOW these students.  Thus began what has been over 25 years of these DONORS sending their RECIPIENTS birthday cards, care packages, special cards of encouragement and treats at exam time, and dinner invites to the kids who couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving or Holiday break. 

Demeter Scholars 2021

Last week I was able to attend the annual Corn Roast. All the scholars attend and share what the scholarship means to them – and thus begins a year of surprises they will start receiving from their scholarship providers.  Today the Demeter organization boasts a vibrant and diverse membership of women  faculty, staff, professionals and leadership.

Madison Christian Giving Council – Inspiring partnerships.

Marcy & Linda -Madison Christian Giving Council

The MCGC supports a large group of shelters, programs, food kitchens and more for those facing homelessness, abuse and real challenges. Those they support are required to attend period gatherings to talk about how they use the money.  Most times the audience is largely recipients.  As they gather they become aware that these other programs exist! They celebrate how they are each unique, but also get ideas for how they can partner and be even better together. Yep, you guessed it, the MCGC provides grants for these new partnerships. What looks like an event to “report in” to the donor, really is the donor’s way of inspiring these passionate folks to know each other and be lifted up by the possibilities!

Madison Christian Giving Fund

Do you have donors who take charge of their own stewardship?  Help them connect and look out! Great things will happen!

These are also times to listen to what really is meaningful to your donors so that you can plan your year-end ask conversations for real success!

Invest in JOY®


What’s BEST to say Thanks!

August 25, 2021

We pay lip service to stewardship – yet it is the most important piece of any and every relationship! Why? The donor deserves to enjoy their giving! In my last blog I shared tips for how you THINK about stewardship.  So In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) check out  Marcy’s 8 Key Ideas to Trigger […]

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Thank you very, very, very much!

August 11, 2021

“Thank you!”  Seems like ‘thank you’ came right after ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ as you learned to speak! And throughout your early years how often were you reminded, “Now what do you say?” “Oh, right. Thank you.” In your work inspiring generosity, (and by the way, THANK YOU for what you do to inspire generosity!), there […]

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WRITE Right – Raise More!

June 23, 2021

Your written word has power ONLY when it is read, remembered and/or acted on. With your words you lift up, inform, share, tear down, heal, love, inspire and teach. As you build relationships with current and prospective major givers, what is important in your writing – handwritten, letter, email, text whatever?  Here are 10 tips…for […]

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Let me hear you…”I love Tech!”

June 9, 2021

Do you enjoy that zoom feature that lets us “improve our appearance” on zoom?  Works great  – try it if you haven’t yet. You have a tremendous opportunity now to rebuild your life as we re-enter from the Land of Covid.  Whether you continued to come into the office this past year, spent months remote, […]

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3 Tips for Events that Make Sense

May 26, 2021

There is a lot for you to think about as you consider doing again what you’ve always done when it comes to events that make sense – especially for major gifts! But first – ENJOY the LONG WEEKEND here in the States! That means do something that is FUN for you!  Stop and smell the lilacs! […]

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You can’t be replaced!

May 12, 2021

“For every thing, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn turn turn. A time to be born, a time to die.”  (The Byrds – listen here.) For Simone Joyaux, “one of the most thoughtful, inspirational, and provocative leaders in the philanthropic sector worldwide,” that time was May 2, 2021. She died from a massive stroke […]

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Fundraising Ambassadors- aka – YOUR AMAZING BOARD

April 29, 2021

Your Non-Profit Board is key to your success…in these remarkable times and always. I know that you care about engaging them in a way that makes this a win for all! In my several board fundraising workshops over the past few months – virtually and in-person – it’s clear that HOW to do this isn’t […]

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Spring into ACTION

April 14, 2021

SPRING into ACTION! How and What to do..NOW Each new quarter – especially the Spring quarter – empowers you to renew your determination to achieve your goals! One wheelbarrow at a time, I will spread 15 yards of mulch sheltering scores of beautiful plants! (my current quest) Your mission – should you decide to accept it – […]

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