Your Call to Action

by Marcy Heim on September 1, 2020

Hey! It’s SEPTEMBER 1st Day 245! That means 121 Days Left (Leap Year)

Listen up, my friend, YOU have this wonderful last trimester of 2020 to SHINE!

Are you going to finish this year strong? Knock the ball out of the park?

–       Covid or no covid?

–       Election or no election?

–       Working from where ever you are working from?

–       Social distancing and relationship building?

Come on, now…….

2020 has elevated DISTRACTION to a whole new level!

To help you right now, I created the FINISH STRONG FOCUS FORM! Download it now.

I get it. The health concerns are real. The new protocols are real. Homeschooling is real. Concern for family is real. And on the lighter side, now I have to find my keys, my purse AND my mask before I leave the house!

But our core values..

….our love for family and country,

.…our respect for those who have served our country,

….our passion for changing the world with our work,

.…our bond with each other-all others, and

.…our faith that God is using this for good, have not changed.

Highlights at David's Graduation Party

While I rarely do this…the past two weeks have been so powerful for me in realigning  who I am and what I believe.  Both of my boys were home and my band played 4 gigs – one in celebration of David’s graduation from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. At David’s Graduation Party show (he’s been in my band since age 13) the first arriving guest ask, “Where is the card box?”  I hadn’t even thought about it.  The outpouring of generosity to my son was overwhelming and SO needed.  Covid hit musicians hard. At another gig, outside, over 300 folks, sun setting, I just stepped offstage and sang, “God Bless America.”  EVERYONE was on their feet joining in. At our last gig, son, RJ, sang “God Bless the USA” as the audience stood for a color guard from the local American Legions and VFW’s and waved flags.  This is just such a remarkable time. Where ever you are – whatever country – may you recommit to the values that make you and your country great.

Thank you


Be about actions, not distractions.Here are three simple, effective and empowering strategies to step up the quality, quantity, and intensity of your efforts in these final 121 days. Implement them immediately and you’ll quickly close any performance gap.  These, combined with the FINISH STRONG FOCUS FORM!  will help you power through! 


You have 121 days left. Take the next 7 days to…

… set crystal clear goals for what success by 12-31-2020 looks like.

….decide on the drama you will tolerate in yourself. How does watching the news make you feel? How does being curious about your donors’ year-end giving plans make you feel?

With a finite period of time breathing down your neck, you have no choice but to get serious. Be clear by next Tuesday, September 8, 2020, after the Labor Day holiday in the USA. Execute like your life, career and future depend upon it.  I assure you…they do! 

Decide that what you want is BIGGER and far more important than any fear, excuse or self-defeating behavior which prevents you from achieving it. 


Each day is ticking away. Success is an ongoing game of cause and effect, and by accelerating the cause…you can and will dramatically accelerate the result. 

Your ability to compress and shorten the amount of time it takes to turn any goal, idea, project or problem into a successful outcome will raise your energy. Don’t put it off…put a fire under it! 


Big donors want to fund big visions, yes even now! Get clear year-end giving options in place NOW. Pick your theme. Set goals for your year-end appeal. Define your segments. Write your major donor asks now and set your year-end giving intentions for your top 40 NOW. 


See it, say it, believe it, DO IT!

Click here to get your free downloadable FINISH STRONG FOCUS FORM!

Don’t tell yourself you want to do your “best.” Tell yourself, “I want to do better today than I did yesterday.” Each day you learn and grow by the victories and failures you experience. All these experiences make you better….and better…and BETTER!

For the next 121 days be better today than you were yesterday. 


Be of Comfort…Now

by Marcy Heim on August 12, 2020

You are bombarded now with messages, free webinars and more on how to pivot, work from home, take your event virtual and, goodness, even build major giving relationships faster than when we could sit down and talk in person! (really?)

But what about September and fall ….and football….and school starting…and church picnics…and sweater weather….and homemade soup…..and apple-picking?

Summer has ended, but what of all those traditions and joys?

I’m sensing a real grief setting in. 

As our lives changed abruptly this spring, at least the days were getting longer and lighter, the air warmer. Outside is easier to manage this. Now we are looking right into fall with darker, longer days and day-after-day announcements of things that just won’t be happening this fall or happening the same.

As development professionals and partners, I’m asking you to be of comfort to others – right now – these next few weeks. There will be a feeling of loss, and for some real loss as the changing of the season pushes us closer together, but with less traditional activities to experience together.

Comforting holding hand

I’m asking you to have your antennae up for those around you who are in need of comfort.  We grieve loss – and now that can well be what we have always done at this time of year.

Comforting one another can be a complex, sometimes clumsy business. “How are you feeling as we head into fall?” gets the conversation started. I’m getting cues through less energy and sighs. Sometimes it’s a verbal, “I’m feeling a bit down – not sure why.” Or, you may know someone who lost a loved-one. With many not even having the traditional funeral services and gatherings, grief can be harder to manage and your need to comfort even greater.

So, here are some tips to help you comfort another:

1. Be intentional: comfort is no accident; when you comfort someone let them know you want to be there for them. If this is sitting quietly across the room, across the picnic table or on zoom, no matter. If this is written, “Sending you my warm hug of comfort.”  “As you begin a very different fall, sending you comfort as we miss so many of our traditions.”

2. Be empathetic: comfort means you understand, they are not alone, you accept their feelings and problems, and even share in the suffering.

3. Use non-verbal behavior: closeness, availability, listening, and safe-touching signal “you can count on me.” Non-verbal behavior is crucial and signifies “truth” and includes eye contact and forward body lean. Acknowledge that this feels different 6 feet apart.

4. Don’t offer advice or material/tactical help: While you may think you understand the pain, refrain from telling them what to do. You may try asking, “Are there things you do when you feel like this that help you?” Let them suggest their own action.

5. Get personal: If you know the person always came to your event and will be missing it, send a photo from the past at the event and remind them of the joy of being together then and that you will be again…but leave the specifics on when out of it.

6. Be tailored and caring: if you want to comfort someone, consider what they need and what makes them feel cared for – not what you would need or how you feel cared for when upset. “Just happen to have one of your fav chocolate chip cookies.”

7. Be safe: in addition to intentional, empathetic, tailored to the other, and caring, comfort happens when there is a clear distinction between self and other. When you comfort someone, you carry your love and good intentions in the same basket as your empathy for their pain. This demands clarity and self-awareness.

8. Finally, Messages to AVOID: “I know how you feel.” People experience hardship in their own way, at their own pace. While empathy is a good thing, this is about them, not you.  “Just let me know how I can help.” Offering help is great, but leaving it up to them can feel overwhelming. Instead, simply let them know that you are there for them. “Everything happens for a reason.” This implies there is a good reason for your loved one’s pain. Don’t shrug off their hardship; recognize it with a gentle, “we’ll get through this together.”

hugging dog

While I am generally a pretty upbeat and positive kind of gal, fall without football is going to hit me hard!  And to be honest, I am MISSING PEOPLE – the hugs, the conferences, the connections.  Sincerely, it is real to grieve what you can no longer do – the people you can not see right now.  And while you can focus on what remains the same – the dedication of our donors, the value of our missions, family, faith and love, there is a sense of loss you can help others get through.

How are you feeling now as we enter fall? What have you found comforting? Have you lifted up another who was grieving what we used to have and do as September approached?  Please reply and share your experience!

You are a gift to your colleagues and donors. Know that when you comfort them, they do feel better and they appreciate you. And know that our very work – inspiring generosity – allows our donors to provide comfort in so many ways.  Ah, that’s better.


The Secret to working well with others

July 22, 2020

Does if feel harder to lead? Harder to feel part of the team? Harder to get along? Some days a good old boring staff meeting looks pretty good during life “behind screens.” At least to me. How are you doing? (Hint – start with, “Terrific!” You’ll feel better, I promise. I’m sending you sunshine!) Before […]

Read the full article →

6-Month Celebration Check-In

July 8, 2020

Congrats to YOU! It’s July! The first-half of 2020 is behind you – and the second half is ahead. What comes to mind?  YOUR mind? “Thank God it’s over — so much for the promise of THIS new decade.” OR “What a remarkable time to be alive and experience the human spirit shining on!” You […]

Read the full article →

Plan….NOW! Pear-Tree Planning in a Pandemic

June 24, 2020

Pear Tree Planning in a Pandemic You might be feeling, “How can I plan for anything when everything is so up in the air.” I understand. And I am here to help! Let me tell you a story about my pear tree.  It was loaded with buds and now it’s loaded, I mean LOADED, with […]

Read the full article →

How to make giving to you “essential”

June 10, 2020

You show appreciation and respect to major donors when you talk about the legacy they leave with their gifts.  Honor Clubs, Societies, elite events and personal conversations with the leadership are all benefits you may provide your major donors. These are wonderful and build good relationships!  While I believe we have instinctively adopted this, I […]

Read the full article →

How to Make A Decision and Take A Step

May 27, 2020

These are remarkable times. With an avalanche of information flooding you in the email, live-streaming on Facebook and bombarding you on the news, how do you make a decision about what to do next? How can you make a decision when you have no certainty about how this current COVID-19 environment will unfold…or when? In […]

Read the full article →

Hoping to help you with these success stories and advice!

May 13, 2020

You know it was a ‘Proud Mom Moment’ with son, David…in his cap and gown…graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston – a day I had looked forward to for a long time. Well, he WAS in his cap and gown, but he was actually on our couch in Madison, Wisconsin.  Two laptops were […]

Read the full article →

Stop feeding on the bottom. Major Gifts are at the top of the pyramid!

April 22, 2020

You are capable of great work now. Yes, now.  COVID 19 is unprecedented and uncertain. In “times like this” you can bet folks will: 1- Cut discretionary spending. 2- Reduce costs – hunker down. 3- Reduce risk – even if they are guessing how to do that, and, 4- Follow the Herd. What are others […]

Read the full article →

Tools for you- This too shall pass…now would be good

April 8, 2020

TOOLS for you to USE Right now! I. Say these affirmations out loud every day! “Something Gooooooodds Gonna Happen to Me!” “I Create My Life!” “We become what we think about!” “People love to give me money!” Your biggest tool to get through this comes from within.  Monitor everything you read and hear and see.  […]

Read the full article →