Spread Appreciation and Clap for yourself!

by Marcy Heim on June 22, 2022

Marcy sunset on Union Terrace

Cheers to YOU as the sun rises and sets on the longest day of the year. (I am writing this June 21). Today brings 3 hours and 17 minutes more daylight and I got to see it start to finish! Wohoo!

This day was a full one – not a crack in the calendar. I made a point to notice the many times my clients – fundraisers, CEO’s and Board members – made some reference to appreciating me – my counsel and my friendship – throughout the day. It happens a lot and this is a big deal!  It’s easy to get focused on the challenges and tasks… and work REALLY, REALLY hard….and do good work. Then, exhausted at day’s end, wonder if anyone appreciates what you did, including you.

Here are THREE Steps to YOUR recognition and appreciation

 – finding the right mix as part of doing your job.

1. ASK for it – recognition and appreciation.

This comes from a place of sincere desire to know that what you’re doing is effective. “Was this call useful for you?” “What’s your impression of how my work is going this year? It feels good to me, and I wanted to check in with you – boss, Dean, CEO, ED, team.” This conversation can often end with, “It means a lot to me to hear you feel my work is valuable and appreciated.” Let’s put this messaging out there!

Ask for Appreciation

Our non-profits struggle with staff appreciation. It’s almost a badge of honor to work yourself into the ground. (It’s not.) And, we tend to feel obligated to focus on what went wrong. This past week, my consulting colleague, friend and 26-year non-profit ED, Sheree Allison, wrote in her blog, “Something I know for sure is people place more value on recognition from their associates and peers than they do a gift, or even a salary raise. It has deep meaning for people. I see now how important it is for there to be a mechanism in nonprofits where people are rewarded for innovation, creativity, growth, reaching new goals, and even tenure.” 

Sheree Allison

Sheree suggests organizations can show appreciation by investing in better tools for staff to do their work, providing paid-for professional development and team building experiences and giving gifts that are meaningful – not a plaque. (You can find her blog here”  https://shereeallison.com/wise-words-blog)

2. Clap for yourself!

Mary Grate-Pyos

I now clap for myself! I first heard this from Mary Grate-Pyos, MBA, CFBS who is a rock star at personalized retirement, insurance and financial advice. She says, “Love on yourself! Clap for yourself! Every day I live out what my creator has set up for me!”

You see, your feelings about being appreciated are really an “inside job.” It’s a reflection of your self-esteem. It’s not constantly pointing out what you have done in a “Look at me!” way. That’s a signal of a needy, insecure person who is struggling to set up boundaries and priorities. When we look to others to value our worth, we will often be disappointed – they just don’t appreciate all the time we put in, how hard we work, the sacrifices we make. It puts us in that “poor-me” victim space. Are we eager towards our work or constantly complaining about being overwhelmed? Our self-talk determines our accurate evaluation of our own performance – do we make excuses or take responsibility?

Clap for yourself

Yes, keeping a file of praise you receive, notes of appreciation from others, and the strong review is a great idea. These are tangible testimonies to what you already know – you’re doing a great job. But the one person whose opinion really matters — is yours. Honestly reflecting on how you manage your days, how you show up for and with others, how YOU value what YOU do gives you the confidence to own your good results and provides your opportunities for continued growth.

3. Practice genuine appreciation of others – ALL others.

We place a lot of attention and focus on thanking and appreciating our donors, partners, influencers and funders – and FAST! And that IS important! I say constantly that especially for major donors – my expertise – feeling appreciated far outweighs recognition pieces and events for most. Your sincere and authentic appreciation is a strong anchor in a genuine giving relationship.

We need to extend this to our colleagues.  This goes beyond the obligatory, “Thank you for your help.” It’s the genuine, “Wow, I am really glad and grateful for your ______. I appreciate it!”  That comes from making appreciation a consistent thing – a habit, BEING AWARE of what others are doing and doing well.

Everyone appreciates

So thank you….

Thank you for being a role model for your family and loved ones. (Happy Father’s Day!) 

Thank you for your commitment to showing up day in and day out to live out your highest standards and be the best you can be. 


So you can appreciate YOU!

Invest in JOY®


Connect to what the money DOES!

by Marcy Heim on June 8, 2022

Ken & Marcy Yellowstone 2022

Have you ever been in total awe of what you were seeing?   

The Y2Y Board Retreat in Montana provided my first chance ever to visit Yellowstone National Park (and Ken joined in!). This experience was so amazing because of the newfound connection I have made to nature – grizzlies, bison, elk, moose, and so much more since I began working with Y2Y. What I was connecting to was what the money DOES – and really does– in person.

It is what the money does.
Y2Y 2022

Y2Y is the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative – one of the largest wildlife connectivity projects in the world running about 3,400 kilometers (2,100 miles) from Yellowstone (USA) to Yukon (Canada). The Yellowstone to Yukon landscape still supports much of its native biodiversity — Y2Y’s goal is to keep it this way. That was clear at our Board Retreat and “Let’s get Wild!” donor appreciation event.

Do you focus on the money… or what the money does?  And REALLY Does?

What do I mean by that?  Well, if you focus solely on money your results will be limited and lackluster. And your work will be hard. When you make the jump to sharing what the money does your results and your retention will change dramatically – all up!

Let’s look at Y2Y.  While Y2Y has a variety of specific ways you can help – crossings over major highways to keep animals (and people) from colliding, trash containers to keep wildlife out and away from unsavory encounters with folks… and more. These are tangible results of what the money does. And when we fully embrace what the money REALLY does, our connection is deepened beyond what is tangible. 

For Y2Y, this is what the money does: Connecting and protecting habitat from Yellowstone to Yukon so people and nature can thrive

This is what the money REALLY does: We believe in hope for people and nature.

Your vision for what the money REALLY does inspires a deeper connection for your board and staff and they, in turn, inspire generosity by sharing this connection they feel with donors and beyond. During our time together this was profoundly powerful in the attention paid to every bird, bison, or beaver dam as part of the success of the large vision.  

Christian Living Communities Our Vision

Let’s look at Christian Living Communities in Denver. We are in a dynamic, first-time-ever major campaign.  Yes, we have specific goals to provide funding for staff, facilities, and programs for seniors who live there.  That is what the money does.  What the money really does is stated in their vision, “Creating communities where aging is honored and celebrated.”  

Always Remember

For Georgia-Cumberland Academy, growing from $200,000 to over $20M in 5 years funded new buildings, scholarships and more. What the money REALLY did was to empower donors to have an eternal impact in the walk with Jesus experienced by GCA students and the broader GCA family.

There’s this combo you need to bust major gift success wide open.  Focusing on what the money does and really does, and doing so in ways that creates and deepen connectivity.  A popular tweet can connect – and standing alongside the road taking in 14 baby bison makes you gasp!

And here’s the best part of all.  As you zero in on what the money does and really does – your ‘work” to create connections at all levels with others to share what you value and believe in is no longer work!  It’s your day-to-day opportunity to forge, with positive energy, an almost spiritual connectivity.  And that, my colleague and friend, will conserve more than just the Y2Y Region for the grizzlies. Thank you for being part of this honorable and noble work. I appreciate you.  And…

Welcome to, and enjoy, YOUR. BOUNDLESS. JOY!

Invest in JOY®


Get excited NOW! Your life and major gifts success right now!

May 25, 2022

It’s almost summer! Get excited! This is my life right NOW (and I’ll bet yours too!) And we need to GET EXCITED! Listen up…. Get excited about the weeds you pulled in the garden this afternoon.  And…get excited about how the garden will look when it’s all done! Get excited about raising $5,000 and $10,000 […]

Read the full article →

Can you be TOO passionate?

May 11, 2022

Together. Again. Wohoo! It was just the BEST! Three incredible and passionate IN PERSON experiences! Congrats to The Volunteer Center, their passionate Executive Director Sharon Bass, and her team for a wildly successful Celebration of Service event! The hall was ignited with hundreds of energetic high school students through seniors who lend a hand and […]

Read the full article →

Your board-Are you sharing these Key Messages?

April 27, 2022

Ok, I confess. Being in a room with Board and Leadership is THEE BEST THING I DO!   Leading a Board Experiences is an opportunity for me to: clear confusion address distaste for the “f” word (fundraising, you silly) plant seeds for BIG VISIONS and,  provide a self-selected road-map of how to help with fundraising ……….and […]

Read the full article →

Cultivating in Uncertain Times

April 13, 2022

Have you ever been around a farmer in spring? It’s a worrisome time.  Will there be enough rain, too much rain, the right temperatures and ???? YET….. every year THEY PLANT AND CULTIVATE their crops to bring us food – important work to be sure. Your work is important, too. And even in these uncertain […]

Read the full article →

Change your thinking, Change your Board

March 23, 2022

If you’re thinking your board and volunteers still prefer to zoom, change your thinking! When I look at my most successful clients RIGHT NOW – the ones who are having the greatest success with NEW major gifts – all are effectively and personally bringing people together. Meet Jill Vitale-Aussem. She’s CEO of Christian Living Communities in […]

Read the full article →

Be Prepared!

March 9, 2022

Some people just have that Midas touch! The story goes that King Midas was obsessed with gold and when granted a wish by the gods he quickly asked that everything he touched be turned to gold. As his wish played out, a rose, his breakfast and his beautiful daughter – all turned to gold upon […]

Read the full article →

Share your experience. Are you Efficient or Effective?

February 23, 2022

Automate, set up systems, create distribution lists, batch, group like tasks – in other words – be efficient! Make the most of your ever-so-limited time. And certainly we have more tools, and a wider acceptance for using them, than ever before. But what if all that efficiency isn’t leading to the best result? What if […]

Read the full article →

Six Simple Fun Donors Loves

February 9, 2022

Laughter and Love to YOU! It’s almost here! Valentine’s Day! Here are six simple and fun ways to show your donors love: 1. What Valentine’s Candy is never on time? Yep, ChocoLATE   Yet remember you can really never be late.  What if you sent an email on February 15th that said, “You’re support and caring for […]

Read the full article →