When You Believe, You’ll Be Believed

by Marcy Heim on October 13, 2017

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Oprah Winfrey said, “Our beliefs can move us forward in life, or they can hold us back.”

As we head into year-end, your beliefs will indeed play a major role in your results. I believe more than any other time of year if you believe in what you can accomplish between now and December 31st, you will attract an audience! Believe and achieve!

Let me share a story about the power of believing. 

As a faculty member in the new “Fundraising and Development for Nonprofits” course, Center for Nonprofit Leadership, School of Human Ecology (SoHE), University of Wisconsin, I was treated to a tour of the class site by Nancy Nicholas Hall. Bobette Heller, Associate VP of Development, SoHE led the fundraising for the $59 million project – $21 million to be raised from private gifts. SoHE is one of the smaller schools and colleges within the large UW-Madison. This goal seemed impossible. “We were not raising gifts at this level. We really didn’t have the numbers needed to take on a project like this.” There were those who said, “You can’t do this.” But take it on they did and Nancy Nicholas, a 1955 grad of the school, launched the drive with an $8 million lead gift. But now what?

An idea…a 100 Women Wall of Honor recognizing women who embody the school’s mission to improve the quality of human life. With a gift of $100,000, an honoree becomes part of the Wall of Honor.  But they didn’t even have 100 ideas!

Wall of Women

Today, instead of generating the hoped-for $10 million, over $37 million in gifts to the school have been received by adding women to this wall. This wall is displayed in the first building on campus named for a woman.  Each story is an amazing tale of partnerships forming to create the honor on the wall. Bobette has been in this spot for 17 years and stands next to the “campaign honor wall” created from generosity and seats from the original auditorium – if you look, you will see her name.

Why was it a success? Bobette, Nancy Nicholas and the two key Deans, Robin Douthitt and current Dean Soyeon Shim believed. 


When you believe Marcy

You have to SEE something and believe in what you see.

You have to believe that this is the best possible investment for your prospective givers to consider.

You have to believe that giving to your mission will give your contributors the chance to do something significant with their financial success – $25 dollars or $25 million.

You have to believe your results WILL compose a good world.

You have to believe your vision is right – not fixed, but right.

You have to stop being a victim and blaming your board, your database, your spouse, your ED, your multiple responsibilities, whatever – for your results or lack of results.  

You have to stop justifying your results with excuses like, “We aren’t getting the same federal grants we used to,” or, “Our key donor died.”  

You have to see the enhanced service you are delivering as a result of increasing giving.

You have to see where you can be and believe it is possible to get there!

But let me be crystal clear, believing is only the first step. Sitting around believing will not get the job done. It’s just the start.

It’s not enough to see the results private gift partnerships can create for your mission. It’s not enough to want people to invest.

You have to declare that you are going to create these results.  

You have to SEE something and SAY something.

That means that even if you don’t have many, or any, of the perceived puzzle pieces, and you can’t quite figure out HOW this picture will form, you press on anyway!  You must guide your mind.

You have to SAY that this will be amazing!

You have to tell, again and again, what these results will accomplish.

You have to ban the negative out of your head and your conversations, “You can’t really do this. This is going to be a challenging campaign. You really don’t have the pieces in place to get this done.”  

What you SEE, What you SAY, creates your focus and what you focus on you attract into your life; AND you GROW IN YOUR LIFE.

If you SEE only the challenges, the perceived limitations, the lack, and you SAY (complain) about these, you will grow them. You will attract more challenges, more limitations and more troubles into your life.

True story.  An ED client told me at the onset of our campaign work that we would only raise $1.2 million or so of the of the $3 million we needed. Best as I could do to push a new result into the minds of our givers, truly I witnessed her bringing expectations DOWN. She got her expected result.  That’s what I describe as not being coachable.

But when you SEE something and BELIEVE, then SAY something, it inspires you to take positive action – even when the “How” is not crystal clear! Your actions create your results.

SEE something. SAY something. DO something!

When you believe, you will be believed and others will join you on the path to your desired results.
Onward to incredible success!

Invest in Joy,

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Artful Asker

Marcy Heim is a trusted authority in the development profession and helps organizations and educational institutions boost their major gift programs through artful, long-term relationship building that dramatically increases fundraising success while promoting increased staff job satisfaction. To receive a free chapter from Marcy’s book, Empower Your Board to Serve as Effective Development Ambassadors, click here.

Questions:  Contact Cathy Yerges at Cathy@MarcyHeim.com




Are your barriers real?

by Marcy Heim on October 5, 2017

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For several months, our road has been torn up – beautiful old trees cut down, wires buried, bike path roughed in, and a round-about and medians added. We are just now about to lay the final new pavement.

The ROAD CLOSED sign has been my daily companion for almost 6 months. For my neighborhood, Lacy Road is our only way to get in and out. Period. My car is constantly dirty, the wait can be up to 10 minutes for the flagman to give me a turn, and the loose gravel and holes at times make the trek feel like a safari adventure. Only this week, as you can see, did the first layer of new blacktop appear!

Rd Closed

Every day as I slowly make my way down our ever-under-construction road, I consider how this mirrors our lives. What started out as something really annoying has honestly been tremendously empowering. You see, every day I DRIVE THROUGH THE BARRIER! Every day I drove over the bumps and gravel..now the rough new pavement. Every day I get to where I want to go ANYWAY!

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A barrier is defined as a fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access.

It is also defined as a circumstance or obstacle that keeps people or things apart or prevents communication or progress; “a language barrier”.

What are the barriers we come up against? Perhaps the better question we need to ask ourselves… “Is this really a barrier?”

Let me give you an example.

I recently had the privilege of keynoting, “Cumbre Iberoamericana de Desarrollo Institucional” (CIDI) in Mexico City at the invitation of Carlos Madrid, the President of the Junta De Asistencia Privada Del Distrito Federal. AFP Mexico Foundation sponsored my talk, “The Power and Joy of Philanthropy” as part of this conference. The conference presented many barriers for me.

  • I can say, “Hola.” (After the first day I figured out it is really “Ola” no “H”) When I was introduced at the opening ceremonies the guy next to me jabbed me so I knew to stand up and wave a greeting.
  • How do I sing, “People love to give me Money!” and my other songs? How do I slow down enough for interpretation? How do I share my slides in a meaningful way? Yikes.
  • As part of our arrangement, my book, “Empowering Your Board to Serve as Effective Development Ambassadors” was to be translated into Spanish and given to the conference participants. This proved to be a bigger barrier than first anticipated as there aren’t really even words for some of my key phrases!
  • The night before my talk the earthquake struck and folks within our conference family were not alive to be with us. How would I deal with this?

There were certainly barriers of the “circumstance or obstacle that keeps people or things apart or prevents communication or progress” definition variety!

But here is what I learned. 

  • No barrier could keep down my passion for sharing my message of positive mindset and the power and joy of giving.
  • No barrier could prevent my music from energizing others.
  • No barrier could stop a smile and a hug from being returned to me.
  • No barrier could stop us from staying the course at translation of my book and my slides. (Thank you, Rose Sandoval, AFP Mexico.)
  • No barrier could block the support we get from sharing with each other….even with an earthquake in the middle.
  • No barrier could keep me from communicating even with “Hola” as my only Spanish.
  • No barrier could take away the sincere gratitude I felt for speaking (even without being able to read the plaque).
  • No barrier could block my determination to share a sincere and honorable purpose.

We encounter barriers every day.

  • Perceived tight budgets.
  • Staff out on leaves or vacant positions.
  • Not enough major donor prospects.
  • Too many things on our plates.
  • Illness.
  • Program staff and leadership that doesn’t “get” fundraising.
  • Competition from so many non-profit causes.
  • Lack of technology or equipment.
  • Changing grant funding.
  • Flat tires.
  • Increasing costs of building mid-campaign.
  • Leadership changes.
  • Even…..hurricanes and earthquakes.

I’m sure you can add your own barriers to getting done what you want to do.

Barriers exist. But how tall, or wide, or menacing, or scary, or impossible they are…? That is ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE to determine. How frustrated, angry, discouraged, down, or ranting you get….? That is ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE to determine.

You can take a detour, drive through the barricades, ask for help, plan in some extra time for the delays, stay upbeat and use your amazing minds to create new ways. Get going! Year-end is just around the corner and your missions need you to be ready to navigate the barriers.

Let me hear you, “I create my life!”

You do. And I know that there really are no barriers that can stand in your way.

Invest in Joy!

Marcy sign



Artful Asker

Marcy Heim is a trusted authority in the development profession and helps organizations and educational institutions boost their major gift programs through artful, long-term relationship building that dramatically increases fundraising success while promoting increased staff job satisfaction. To receive a free chapter from Marcy’s book, Empower Your Board to Serve as Effective Development Ambassadors, click here.

Questions: Contact Cathy Yerges at Cathy@MarcyHeim.com


Are You ON FIRE With The Possibilities?

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No Fundrasing Close Involves Just One Person

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Consider every action you ask someone to take – call, write, volunteer, give–as a contract of sorts–an agreement. It is a partnership between you and them. BOTH of you are part of making it happen. 4 Actions to Improve Fundraising Results 1. Always have these questions in mind as you think about your prospective givers overall […]

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Creating the Best Relationships Includes Others – Our Partners

July 28, 2017

You CAN’T, and shouldn’t, do it alone. I used to try to do it all myself.  I’m smart, dedicated, passionate and pretty darn talented at creating sincere relationships that benefit all involved – personally and professional.  And for sure….by the time you get someone else involved, you could do it yourself THREE times over, right?  […]

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Creating White Space in your Life – Part 2

July 14, 2017

The bad news is time flies – the good news is you’re the pilot. In the last Artful Action, I gave you eight take aways to create WHITE SPACE! White space is the open space between blocks of copy or graphics. The amount and location of white space gives you a feeling that reading a piece […]

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Creating White Space in your Life – Part 1

July 3, 2017

Do some days feel too packed to even begin?  Do your “smile” muscles hurt? Have you fallen asleep in a movie?  (Be honest here – my 19-year-old son has.)  Are you pushing through a fog all day? Do you feel like you’re ON all the time? Is it summer, but you feel like you’re drowning? […]

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Must Have Skills for Rock Star Fundraising Success

June 16, 2017

Do you have these fundraising success traits?  Some things you just have to “be” instead of “know.” Here are 8 Personal ‘Must Have’ Skills for Rock Star Development Success 1. A Healthy Ego A healthy ego – that is – a mind that directs its thinking – gives us the ability to withstand the many […]

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A Tale of Two Non-Profits

June 9, 2017

Everyday you are a leader! Leaders live life on their own terms. They don’t let circumstances plunge them into contracting. Leaders maximize what they have. They influence others to join in and can persuade others because they are confident they are on the right path. Let me share a tale of two fictional non-profits.  Let’s […]

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