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Selling Alone Can’t Close the First Sale

January 31st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

It is more difficult today than it was even five years ago to convince donors to give to a cause for the first time. Cygnus’ annual Burk Donor Survey that tracks changes in how donors manage their philanthropy has consistently found that donors are supporting fewer causes than before. And ours is not the only research alerting the fundraising industry to significant shifts in donor behavior. Blackbaud’s most recent analysis of direct marketing health reveals a serious problem: donor acquisition is down 3.4% in the last year alone and an accumulative 14.4% over five years[1].

In spite of these gloomy statistics, our research has found that donors remain open to contributing to a not-for-profit they have never supported before – if the cause and the fundraising approach are compatible with their interests and sensibilities.

The 2014 Burk Donor survey asked 23,000 donors in the US and Canada to consider the not-for-profit they began supporting most recently and identify the factors that persuaded them to start giving. These were their top two reasons: 58% said that their chosen not-for-profit’s mission was aligned with their interests; 29% said they had been considering this particular organization for support for some time. Only 11% said that the solicitation alone inspired their first gift.

This speaks to the symbiotic nature of fundraising and marketing and the obvious conclusion that, in a rapidly changing giving environment, not-for-profits will be more successful at donor acquisition when they don’t rely on appeals alone to do the job.

Every acquisition appeal plays a dual role – being a “last push” to prospective donors who are close to making a decision while simultaneously developing early interest among those who will become donors sometime in the future. While direct marketing and some events are inherently beneficial to building brand awareness, asks overpower whatever other information is included in appeals. Marketing and communications ensure that brand awareness is reinforced but also that complex information concerning what a not-for-profit is attempting to achieve is heard.

Time and variety are the keys to effective donor acquisition


Consumer research on the number of impressions it takes to convert a prospect into a customer (or into a donor in the case of fundraising) has remained relatively consistent since the 1970’s.  It takes anywhere from five to twelve contacts to get someone to buy (give) for the first time. And variety of impressions is just as important as frequency, which is why acquisition appeals alone should not be relied upon to convince donors to give. The same message delivered in the same way all the time causes potential donors to just stop paying attention. But surrounding appeals with marketing messages delivered through a variety of communications media, offers the best hope for maximizing the acquisition of new donors.

Of course, a diverse marketing strategy includes social media but a strategy that serves fundraising really well pays more than lip service to this critical communications platform.  The 2014 Burk Donor Survey found that while middle-age and older donors are narrowing their focus and becoming harder to reach, young donors are on a different path. 41% of donors under the age of 35 gave to more causes in 2013 than in the previous year and 61% gave more money. Young donors are today’s critical hope for rebuilding robust donor acquisition programs, but only if not-for-profits communicate with them through their media of choice.

by Penelope Burk  | January 13, 2015

What would Don Draper do?

January 30th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Marketing

For all of the introspection and reflection that goes into closing out one year and beginning one anew, resolutions to be better and do more are an important practice to frame what we want for ourselves, but also for the organizations we serve.  To make good on them, and make intention become habit, we must create plans and commit to action.

Don Draper is the fictional genius behind client-winning campaigns on AMC’s Mad Men, spawning the catchphrase “What Would Don Draper Do?”. So, what would Don do to help you win over donors in the next three weeks?

1) Thank all of your donors – by January 9.

Last month, donors old and new gave to your nonprofit.  Whether it was a new donor you picked up on #GivingTuesday or a renewing donor from existing calendar year-end activities, thank everyone that gave.

Make your letter mean something.

A timely letter that functions as a tax receipt is not good enough, especially when fewer than one percent of annual donors who give under $400 actually claim the deduction. 100% of your donors—even your family and friends—gave because they believe in your mission, so your thank you letter should have as much creativity and thought as the solicitation message that compelled them to give. Describe how you will leverage their gift to make impact—the anticipated result—and when you’ll be back in touch to report on progress.

Call them, leave a voicemail.

An unexpected and always welcomed touch is to call a donor to thank them for their gift — at any level.  Imagine the power of a call that gets screened, pushed to voicemail on a cell phone that is a simple “I am calling from…and I just wanted to thank you for your gift of … it means a lot to us.”  No script, no outline, just a list of donors, gift amounts, and thirty minutes a month set aside in your schedule to express gratitude.  You’ll be amazed at the goodwill this also creates and, in the event someone picks up, they often will be so surprised that they won’t know how to respond other than to say, “you’re welcome.”

2) Engage all of your prospects – by January 16

While there are many creative ways you can engage and cultivate prospective and lapsed donors, the best way is to do it now instead of when you can implement a more perfect strategy.

Send them a one-page letter.

Wish the people that have supported you in some way a Happy New Year and then, explain one thing that donors enabled in the last year for which you are grateful.  Then, explain your bold, new and practical plan for this new year and how you not only continue to uniquely address a need, but how many people you plan to reach in the next twelve months — and how you’ll know you’ve made an impact.  Think of another way to say thank you before you make an ask and express your excitement about the coming year.

Send them a two-paragraph email.

You can further re-purpose content from the preceding one-page letter, but edit to be no more than two paragraphs and include an image of people being helped by your organization’s mission. The latter makes a powerful statement about what you do and why you do it. Remember: Donors don’t give to your organization, they give through it.  Payroll, pens, and paperclips (operating expenses) make your mission come to life, but that is not as important to a donor or prospect as the impact of your mission on the people you serve — the ones for whom they’re donating to help you serve.

3) Create a 12-month plan to retain and increase – by January 23

Fundraising in its simplest form is creating and maintaining relationships with the people who support you, and this requires an intentional and ongoing investment.  The steps above to take in January create a strong foundation for 2015, but what about the ten months in between now and December’s year-end campaign?

Without a plan to keep you focused, busy schedules and growing to-do lists will quickly crowd out building relationships. Ultimately, this leads to existing donors seeing your next appeal as transactional, and you wondering where the new donors will come from.

To turn your best intentions into monthly activities that generate long-term support, your 12-month plan should:

- Support a unique, measurable goal for each segment of donors/prospects
- Allocate the required time from board and staff each month
- Identify materials needed to support each communication
- Schedule communication at regular intervals, matching message to segment
- Assign board, staff and volunteers responsibility for each individual task

The underlying value of creating a plan is it reveals challenges that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.  Now, you might be asking…

- How do I measure my retention rate to set a goal?
- What’s an appropriate message for special event versus new donors?
- How do I engage my board in making time to build relationships?

We know these will be tough questions to answer, but Brian Lacy and Associates can provide the coaching and tools to meet challenges along the way. And we are uniquely positioned to help get the many recommended thank yous out to donors.



Philanthropy among high net-worth donors

January 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

Last year’s report on philanthropy among high net worth donors, published by the U.S. Trust and the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy revealed some findings that might nudge us to update some of our assumptions about the correlations between wealth indicators and giving capacity.

  • 85% of wealthy individual donors plan to give at least as much in the next 3-5 years as they have in the past.  The chief reason cited was financial giving capacity.
  • 81% of wealthy individual donors expect the organizations they support to spend an appropriate amount of their budgets on general administration and fundraising.
  • 57% of wealthy individual donors have used a giving vehicle or plan to establish one to achieve their charitable goals.
  • Average annual giving as a percentage of income is about 8%.


Posted by APRA, January 5, 2015 · 8:08 am

Mobile Email Now Rules Email Response Rates

January 28th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email

The email marketing benchmark is set. Among 8.7 billion emails sent in Q3 2014 by 140 marketers in 13 industries, open rates rose while click rates fell. “Both trends [are] likely the result of an increase in mobile device usage,” according to Irving, Texas-based marketing firm Epsilon, an Alliance Data company. However, the “Q3 2014 North America Email Trends and Benchmarks” report announced on Wednesday doesn’t list the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices vs. desktop. Target Marketing asked for that answer on Wednesday.

Email open rates climbed 6.5 percent above where they were in Q3 2013 and click rates dropped by 0.5 percent, to rest at 4 percent.

In what Epsilon terms “business-as-usual” (BAU) emails, financial services and banks saw the highest open rates at 52.1 percent, retail 41.4 percent and general financial services 38.8 percent.

Those open rates rose even higher when “deployed based on a consumer action,” or a trigger. Financial services and banks saw 69.1 percent of their trigger emails opened, “consumer services telecom” marketers got 65.5 percent, and travel and hospitality earned 64.4 percent.

Epsilon differentiates between click and click-to-open rates. So for the former category, business publishing and general media earned the highest numbers, at 6.7 percent, retail got 5.3 percent and consumer services telecom saw 4.8 percent. As for click-to-open rates, again the business media and publishing category topped the list at 27 percent, consumer publishing and general media reached 21.8 percent and consumer services telecom earned third place, at 20.9 percent.

Epsilon says this report has a few messages in it for marketers:

1. Use Triggers. This 3.9 percent of the 8.7 billion emails sent in Q3 2014 performed the best, according to Epsilon. “Triggered open rates were 76.7 percent higher than BAU” open rates, reads the report. Click rates were 151.9 percent better, Epsilon says.

2. Use Retargeting. “Many consumers open emails on their devices but don’t follow through on purchases because of factors such as the mobile shopping experience or the fact that they’re on the go,” reads the report’s conclusion. “This means that marketers need to become savvier and find new ways to engage with their customers based on insights and an understanding of their behavior, including using triggers and retargeting when they know consumers are most likely to be at their desktop for an optimal shopping experience.”

3. Optimize for Mobile. See Tip 2. Epsilon suggests the mobile shopping experience may not be the greatest. In IBM’s reports about Holiday 2014, the company repeatedly says, “smartphones browse, tablets buy.” That means even on mobile devices, shoppers currently need bigger screens to make conversions happen. “Mobile traffic accounted for 45 percent of all online traffic for the 2014 holiday season, an increase of 25.5 percent [year-over-year],” IBM announces on Jan. 5.Opens in a new window “Mobile sales accounted for 22.6 percent of all online sales for the 2014 holiday season, an increase of 27.2 percent YoY.”

By Heather Fletcher
January 8, 2015
Target Marketing Magazine

Personality traits found to be superior indicators of academic performance

January 27th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Education
Why Personality Is A Better Predictor Of Success Than Intelligence

When it comes to academic achievement, intelligence is an important factor — but it is certainly not the only, or even the most important, factor.

According to a new Australian study, personality is a better predictor of success in school than intelligence as measured by traditional standardized tests. Specifically, students who were more open and conscientious performed better academically than those who were merely intelligent.

Australian researchers compared measurements of the “Big Five” personality traits — extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience — to college students’ grades and test scores. They asked students to complete personality self-assessments, and also asked others who knew the students well to complete assessments of them. They found that the students’ self-assessments were as effective as intelligence in predicting academic performance, and that the reports from those who knew them well were nearly four times more accurate in predicting academic performance than intelligence.

The researchers found that openness and conscientiousness factors exerted the largest influence on academic success, in accordance with previous research which has linked these two traits with various types of achievement. Studies have shown openness to experience — which has to do with intellectual curiosity, and how excited we get to acquire new information — to be the number-one predictor of creative achievement. Conscientiousness, on the other hand, is the only one of the Big Five traits that is consistently predicts success.

“In practical terms, the amount of effort students are prepared to put in, and where that effort is focused, is at least as important as whether the students are smart,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Arthur Poropat of Griffith University’s School of Applied Psychology, said in a statement. “And a student with the most helpful personality will score a full grade higher than an average student in this regard.”

The findings come as an important reminder that children who may not be considered “smart” by traditional measures may still become highly successful, both by traditional measures and in their own right. And since personality may be more malleable than intellectual capability, helping struggling students to cultivate beneficial personality traits — particularly intellectual curiosity and a strong work ethic — may be a powerful means of improving academic performance. Fortunately, high-IQ students who struggle more with attitude and social skills can also learn to cultivate these qualities.

“Personality does change, and some educators have trained aspects of students’ conscientiousness and openness, leading to greater learning capacity,” Poropat said in the statement. “By contrast, there is little evidence that intelligence can be ‘taught,’ despite the popularity of brain-training apps.”

The research was published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences.

The Huffington Post  |  By

How SMS saves money in mobile marketing

January 26th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Texting

Did you know that half the global population will own a smartphone by 2017? To companies invested in mobile marketing, this statistic sounds like a win-win. However, the truth is that the booming needs of consumers are so diverse that companies are making the mistake of trying to fulfill every need with a new mobile app – and in doing so, losing money. Instead of building a new app for every type of consumer, companies should meet people where they’re already at, with a channel that they already use: text messaging. announcement: SMS is the best mobile marketing strategy

Why relying upon mobile apps is inefficient

As a new report by Forrester Research titled “The State of Mobile Technology for Marketers, 2014″ points out that marketers “rely too significantly on trendy mobile technologies” because they are in love with the latest buzz in technology. It’s a classic case of oversight. Getting caught up in these mobile marketing trends results in many companies forgetting to cover the basics – like SMS. The needs of the mobile consumer are diverse – as a result, marketers tend to splinter their approach with a myriad of mobile apps. But this approach often runs into two problems:

trends fade but SMS is here to stay!

Customers love SMS already – so use it!

When you look at the big picture, SMS is the most obvious solution to a successful mobile marketing strategy. SMS is already the most widely used mobile app –according to a recent report by SAP, 74% of adults use it on a regular basis. The same report found that 64% of consumers believe that businesses should use SMS to interact with customers more often than is currently the case. Customers are ravenous for SMS SMS already comes equipped with a plethora of custom features that fulfill many of the same functions of a mobile app.

Text messaging also allows direct engagement with the consumer, much more so than the comparatively passive push notification. Text messaging campaigns can be tailored to a consumer’s specific schedule and interests, meaning more targeted content that leads to better results. Say, for instance, that you’re an ice cream store. You can ask your customers to text in their favorite flavor, then target your messaging towards them next time your company runs a promotion for that flavor. Or if your company is selling a product that appeals particularly to teenagers, you can segment your mobile list based on age and text out a promotional message to consumers within the relevant age range. tree SMS is, in short, just as flexible as a mobile app, while remaining much more simple. As the Forrester report states, “It is thus urgent to move away from the quixotic quest for the latest shiny objects and from dabbling with new technology. Marketers should focus on delivering useful experiences that meet the growing expectations of customers on their most intimate devices.” So when considering your mobile engagement and outreach program, ask yourself: why are you spending more money on something that you’re not sure customers will use, when there’s already a solution that you know they enjoy?

Interested in learning more about adding text messaging to your mobile marketing strategy? Contact us at


Converting Your Social Media Triple-Fs: Friends, Followers and Fans

January 25th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Social Media

I’ve heard many gurus, marketers and publishers brag about their social media followers. They’ll say things like, “Isn’t it great … I’ve got 10,000 fans on Facebook” or “I have more than 15,000 followers on Twitter.” Then I’ll ask them how many free e-newsletter subscribers they have. And they’ll reply, “I haven’t had time to build a list yet. I don’t have an e-newsletter.”

Well, in my opinion, they’ve won only half the battle …

It’s fantastic that they have a following on social media—people who seem to be interested in their messages (posts) and their overall philosophy. They can certainly cultivate these relationships to assist in their marketing efforts. However, I remind these gurus that the “fans” are following them. It’s a passive relationship. And there’s an awful lot of background noise in a news feed that can distract their fans.

If you don’t have fans’ email addresses, then you cannot have one-on-one communications with them. Building and cultivating a list is a fundamental business strategy for sales growth.

In the publishing world, a list (email addresses of free or paid subscribers) is sacred. It’s one of the most valuable things you own. You protect it and treat it with care, because your list is your financial bread and butter. It’s made up of people—customers and subscribers—who can make or break your business through their purchasing power or lack thereof.

Your list is also your leverage—what you use when reaching out to other synergistic publishers and friendly competitors to do reciprocal JV (joint venture) swaps and revenue share deals.

So, if you’re an online publisher, guru or business owner who has social media followers but no list, you’re at a disadvantage. Initiate a plan to capture your fans’ email addresses immediately and get permission to open up the personal lines of communication.

I recommend that you make a special conversion effort to encourage social media followers to give you their email addresses, or, as we say, “opt in” to receive your marketing messages.

This typically involves creating strong promotional copy and a lead-generation landing page (also know as squeeze page), where the goal is to capture the email address of the friend, follower or fan.

The offer should be something that will resonate with your fan, such as a useful and relevant free bonus. Some popular examples are a whitepaper, e-newsletter or e-alert subscription, audio download, bonus video, webinar or teleseminar..

Some marketers also offer coupon codes or gift certificates in exchange for an email address or the option to be in a “VIP club,” where you’re the first to hear about special offers.

Freebies will vary based on what you have to offer in exchange. Ideally, this is something that has a perceived value and is immediate and relevant. You run the campaign for a two-week period at a time, mixing your conversion messages with your regular, organic daily posts. It’s ideal to drive traffic to specially coded pages so you can track traffic and conversions. You can also make sure your sign up box on your website’s home page is up and ready for stray organic traffic. Then you monitor email sign-ups and website traffic (via Google Analytics), to ensure list growth and traffic source referrals.

Aside from captivating copy, many variables come into play to make sure the effort is successful. These include making sure email collection fields are at the top, middle and bottom of the lead-generation landing page being used, as well as in a static (fixed) location on your website. There should also be links to your privacy policy and an assurance statement alleviating any concern about email addresses being rented or sold to third parties.

It’s also critical to clearly disclose before users submit their email addresses that opting in to receive your freebie also gives them a complimentary subscription to your e-newsletter (if applicable), along with special offers from time to time.

Finally, you should follow up with a series of autoresponder (targeted messages) emails welcoming your new subscribers, reminding them how they signed up, offering strong editorial content and special new subscriber offers.

These emails facilitate bonding; validate that the correct email was sent; ensures that the user is aware of the sign up; helps reduce false “do not mail” reports, email bounces and general attrition; and most importantly, improved life time value.

So before you get enamored with your Facebook following, realize that to monetize these names takes a conversion strategy. Once you start building your list, you’ll add a whole new value to your businesses valuation.

By Wendy Montes de Oca | Posted on December 16, 2014
Target Marketing Magazine

Study warns of effects of excessive cell phone use among students

January 24th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates

The increasing use of cellphones could be affecting the well-being of young people, say some experts. A new study from Baylor University, published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, found that women students spend on average 10 hours a day on their cell phones, and men 8 hours a day. Most of that time is spent texting, followed by sending email, checking Facebook, and browsing the Internet. The survey also raises questions about whether or not cellphone use can be classified as an addictive behavior, as well as about the impact of such extensive use on students. “We have young people whose brains are literally being rewired according to digital technology. They are losing skills that have been anthropologically significant and developing others that may or may not be significant,” said Neal Berger, an addictions consultant. Sybil Harrison, Director of Learning Services at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus in Victoria, said that there is “a whole spectrum of tolerance and acceptance of cellphones” on PSE campuses, but noted that “increasingly it’s hard to say ‘Leave the cellphones at the door, don’t use that.’”

The hazards of cellphone use are clearly demonstrated on the stairs built decades ago at Camosun College, educator Sybil Harrison says.

“Last year, we had three students fall down the stairs because they were texting at the same time,” said Harrison, director of learning services. “Nobody ever fell down the stairs before.

“I just have to look around the campus to see the amount of cellphone use there is,” she said. “And it’s not just young people, because I see it with my colleagues when I go to meetings. People are always looking at their cellphones.”

Harrison’s story of the stairwell is almost funny, albeit dangerous. But educators and clinical psychologists are now recognizing that cellphone use is going beyond the realm of modern convenience. Increasingly, it is recognized as a wasteful distraction, even a harmful addiction.

A recent study at Baylor University in Texas found women students spend an average of 10 hours a day, men eight, on their cellphones, putting their academic performance at risk.

The study, The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students, was published in The Journal of Behavioral Addictions. It was based on an online survey of 164 students.

Those students reported the top cellphone activities were texting, an average of more than 90 minutes a day; sending emails, nearly 50 minutes; checking Facebook, nearly 40 minutes; and surfing, 35 minutes.

Respondents were also asked to respond to statements such as “I get agitated when my cellphone is not in sight” and “I find I am spending more and more time on my cellphone.”

The study authors called for more research to determine which cellphone activities are likely to push the device from being helpful tool to one that undermines personal and social well-being.

Neal Berger, a 40-year addictions consultant and director of Cedars, a treatment centre in Cobble Hill, said he has no trouble calling cellphone use an addictive behaviour.

“I think we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg and I don’t know what the iceberg looks like,” he said.

Berger said he regularly sees clients, checking in for treatment to deal with addictions to substances such as alcohol and narcotics. But one of their first hurdles is leaving behind their cellphone, part of treatment regime.

“There has been a few times where [leaving behind the cellphone] has been a greater source of anxiety than anything else,” he said.

“If they don’t have the ability to keep texting, keep Facebooking, keep doing their thing, they will get really uncomfortable and agitated.”

“That’s pretty well the same thing as any other addiction,” said Berger.

But what especially worries him as an addiction treatment specialist is the way young people are taking to cellphones. Addictions initiated at a young age, say 12 or 13, are far more difficult to kick than ones begun in adult years.

Berger dismissed the notion they are learning to “multi-task.” The reality is that every activity attempted while using a cellphone just gets diminished.

He said it’s also well known all brains, but especially young brains, will change and adapt their neural pathways according to stimulus and activity. Cellphones, like all digital devices, offer stimulus, invite, even demand, a mental response and provide instant gratification. It’s unlike just about everything else in real life.

“We have young people whose brains are literally being rewired according to digital technology,” said Berger. “They are losing skills that have been anthropologically significant and developing others that may or may not be significant.”


Victoria addictions counsellor, Sue Donaldson, of Pegasus Recovery Solutions, said doctors diagnose addiction based on whether the patient corresponds to specified criteria including:

• Addicts continue to engage in a behaviour even after negative consequences become apparent. Donaldson noted diminished academic scores are an identifiable negative consequence.

• Addicts experience strong cravings to engage in an activity and will neglect other activities or obligations, like family, work or school to satisfy their craving.

• Addicts experience withdrawal.

• Addicts find it hard to curtail the use of a substance or activity.

• Addicts will also express the desire to cut back on an activity or substance.

“And cellphone use absolutely falls into some of those categories,” said Donaldson.

Nevertheless, she worried about the over-use of the word “addiction.” In some ways she wondered whether as a society it’s time to devise social etiquette to govern cellphone use in the same way we govern smoking.

Most people now, at minimum, will ask if anybody minds before lighting a cigarette. Also, texting while driving is becoming seen as irresponsible as drinking and driving.

“I’ve run a lot of groups and invariably everyone has their cellphone at hand,” said Donaldson. “People will ask if they can eat or bring their coffee into a group but there is no thought about a cellphone.”

Meanwhile, back at Camosun College, Harrison said the use of cellphones is now being left to instructors and the students. They are, obviously, all adults.

She said some instructors even favour the inclusion of cellphones in class.

For example, allowing students to make tweets can add an interesting element to a lecture or discussion.

Also it’s hoped a lecture, or class, will be engaging and interesting enough so students will want to put their cellphones away.

“There is right now a whole spectrum of tolerance and acceptance of cellphones,” Harrison said.

“But increasingly it’s hard to say ‘Leave the cellphones at the door, don’t use that,’ ” she said. “And to be fair, there have always been students who sit in classrooms and are completely disengaged.”

By Richard Watts / Times Colonist
December 15, 2014 02:02 PM

Disappointed Donors Increasingly Ask For — and Get — Refunds From Charities

January 23rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

For most people, giving money to charity feels great. Asking for the money back is a whole different story. Yet philanthropy experts say donors increasingly are doing just that: requesting “refunds” on gifts they feel have been misused, ignored or spent in a way that strays from their original reason for giving.

The ease of accessing financial data on the Internet, as well as a string of high-profile court battles involving donors seeking refunds, are behind the shift, experts say.

By Charlie Wells
Monday, 15 December 2014
Wall Street Journal

An Ode to the Non-profit Professional

January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

You are a nonprofit professional. I’m sure you don’t pat yourself on the back everyday for the good you do, but you’re pretty special. You have dedicated your life to giving back; to helping the world’s disadvantaged, filling the gaps in social services, nurturing arts and culture, and saving the environment. You resisted pressure form your parents to become a lawyer or a corporate accountant in order to serve more altruistic ends, often with little pay, long hours, and little recognition. This is an ode to you – the nonprofit professional.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday, and loose sight of the bigger picture: the good that you have done and the impact that it has on the world, but you should step back every once in a while to see how great it is. A research study conducted by Michigan State University and published in the European Journal of Social Sciences in 2010 examined a simple act of altruism – the act of opening a door for someone – and the effect it had. The research found that when a door was held open for someone, that person was more likely to hold the door open for the next person. So, altruism begets altruism.

If the simple act of holding a door open can inspire others in such a way, you can imagine the wave of good that your service has had on the world. So, whenever you get frustrated because you haven’t quite met your goal, or your heart feels heavy thinking about those still is need, remember what you have done, and rest assured knowing that the good you do stretches far beyond what you can possibly see.

Published by Sumac