The Dance

Welcome to the dance! Many of the networking groups available today have a technique called the dance. The dance is when two members of the networking group get together and spend about an hour getting to know each other. Each person takes about half of the time and talks about who they are and what they need as far as referrals. This generally gives the participants a good insight into the other person and they are able to refer them to much higher level.

I like to take the concept of the dance a little further than just a networking technique. Over the years I have met and danced with the number of people. A lot of those people became good friends and the rest good acquaintances. I believe this technique is something that most people should do on a regular basis. Invite somebody that you want to get to know better have a cup coffee, and interview them, get to know them, and share a little of yourself with them.

This last Saturday, I had a dance Liz Tidyman. We set about an hour, at Tully’s, to share a cup of coffee and a few stories. As they say time passes when having fun, so three hours later Liz and I were still chatting. It was a delightful time, we talked about the three forbidden topics – sex, politics and religion. We also talked about our time in scouting, schooling, business and life in general. During our discussion, I got to know Liz an entirely different level than our time in Tuesday’s with Deborah. She is a wonderful, intellectual and caring person. I’m glad we had the dance!

My recommendation to all of you is welcome to the dance. Pick a person who you’d like to get to know better, set a time for cup coffee, and enjoy the dance.

Networking – The Best Promotion for Successful Business

Over the years I have found that a large percentage of business is found through networking!  Needless to say, effective networking is vital to your continued business success.  Rarely does business just “fall into our laps.”  Instead, successful business partnerships are created when we target potential customers, establish communication and cultivate long term relationships.

It has always mystified me when I hear people say they never received any business from the events they go to.  When closely questioned, they admit to just attending events hoping that they will “strike it rich”.  To win at networking you first have to master the basics of networking, the first step toward connecting you with other people.

There is no magic wand or group that will give you networking results only opportunities for those results.  Below are the top secrets for networking.  Feel free to adapt these basics to your own approach, and develop a networking style that feels most natural and honest to you.  You will be networking like a professional in no time!

The Top Secrets for Networking Success at Association Functions

Before the Meeting
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – 
Abraham Lincoln

  • Develop a memorable introduction for yourself. This is what we call your elevator speech.  In 5 to 45 seconds tell what you can do in terms of benefits for the other person.  Something that says to them that here is someone I need to listen to.  “Hello, my name is John Erdman and I help companies avoid becoming the “best kept secret in town!”
  • Put business cards only in one pocket of your jacket.Leave the other pocket free to put in the business cards from your new contacts.  This way, you will look prepared when you pull your card out easily from one pocket instead of fishing through a pile of cards.  As nothing is more unprofessional looking then someone digging in pockets and purses looking for a business card and then giving out a dog eared card as the only one you can find.
  • Check your appearance (also your breath). You only get about ten seconds to make a first impression.  You can only do your best when you feel your best.  This does not mean that you never network unless you’re looking and feeling great but if you have the choice …..Why take a chance?

During the Meeting
“If a man is brusque in his manner, others will not cooperate…If he asks for something without having first established a proper relationship, it will not be given to him” 
– I’Ching: Book of Changes

  • Smile! Be friendly and show enthusiasm. No one wants to chat with someone who looks like they have been sucking on a vinegar bottle.  Enthusiastic people inspire other people to do great things.  People are drawn to pleasant people.
  • Ask questions and above all, listen to answers. Most events are also a social function.  Give and get information.  Ask other participants how long they have been involved in their occupation, what other groups do they belong to, or if they have heard the guest speaker before.  Find out what interests them and keep on that subject.  The key is the listening part of this pointer.  When you listen your way in, you don’t have to talk your way out.
  • Do not sell…Do not sell…Do not sell! This point cannot be emphasized enough!  Networking is a means of giving and getting information; it is a mutually beneficial exchange.  It is not a one-way street for you to make sales.  It is not making one party feel intruded upon at an event that was intended to be fun.  This is a great opportunity to find out about a person’s interests in a relaxed atmosphere, and to let them know how you can help them in the future; but do not try and close the deal at an event.  There is a time for everything, and this is not the time to sell.
  • Treat the event as your opportunity to make friends, not clients. It can take little or no time or effort to make a friend, but can take years to make a client.  Friends are much more likely to use your services over your competition and are likely to be repeat customers.  You get the added bonus of creating lifelong relationships and having fun.
  • Hand out your business card wisely. If it is not suitable to the conversation, or if you have not even really had a conversation, keep your card in your pocket.  Use your business card as a means to follow up on a personal exchange and as a way for that person to remember you.  Make sure there is a reason to give them your card.  Add value to the card by ensuring that there is a reason for it.
  • Moderate your eating and drinking. Amazing as it may sound, the more you indulge, the less intelligent you seem.  If you plan on drinking more than a glass or so – do it at another location where you are not networking.  Good manners still matter a lot, especially when you are making a first impression.
  • Sit with someone new. People are drawn to sit with the people they know and are most comfortable with at events.  If your goal is to meet new clients or forge new relationships, sit with someone you don’t already know.  This will give you 30 minutes to one hour to network with a potential new client.
  • Slow Down.  Don’t try to break the world record for how many people you can talk to in one hour.  Holding a memorable conversation with five people will almost always benefit you more than simply saying hello and handing out your card to sixty people.
  • Make eye contact.  Looking off into the horizon or down at the floor will tell the other person that you are talking but you are not listening and don’t care.  Don’t look like you are trying to scope out the next sale.  Making eye contact will show you are listening and that you care about what they are saying.

After the Meeting
“Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time”. 
Chinese proverb

  • Follow-up with contacts you have made. So many people meet and network with someone but then never get back to them.  Listen to what they want and need, then in the next few days show them how you can make it happen.  If you told them about a new product they would enjoy, send the information immediately with a hand written note.  Did you see a magazine article on that product the other person was talking about?  Mail it to them with a personalized message.  Such small courtesies are remembered for a long time.

Remember, the follow-up contact you make after the meeting is just as important as the initial encounter.  Treat the potential customer or client as you would like to be treated, and you will definitely be on the right track to increased sales.  In order to successfully network your business you need to always be aware of the old railroad crossing saying – Stop, Look and Listen then Proceed.  Practice networking skills and your business will boom.

 

See, I’m right

This is not a guide to social DIY-ing.  It’s a quick statement.

Late August 2011 I approached some target companies with a proposal to get them up and running with regularly published, internally generated, social content.  I’m going to call it “social content,” because quite frankly, all social content is marketing.

One part of my criteria for targeting a company was that they had to have a physical product: a box on a shelf, a unit in a showroom – – something that their end users could actually touch.

If you would like a very simplified version of my August 2011 proposal, which includes step by step instructions, metrics for ROI, and things like that, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you. NSA.

Today, I read this article that reinforces my opinions and theories, which I came to after several months of intensive careful research.  Here’s an excerpt (parts of this quotes George Mason U economist Tyler Cowen),

…the Internet is a wonder when it comes to generating “cheap fun.” But because “so many of its products are free,” and because so much of a typical Web company’s work is “performed more or less automatically by the software and the servers,” the online world is rather less impressive when it comes to generating job growth.

It’s telling, in this regard, that the companies most often cited as digital-era successes, Apple and Amazon, both have business models that are firmly rooted in the production and delivery of nonvirtual goods. Apple’s core competency is building better and more beautiful appliances; Amazon’s is delivering everything from appliances to DVDs to diapers more swiftly and cheaply to your door.

By contrast, the more purely digital a company’s product, the fewer jobs it tends to create and the fewer dollars it can earn per user — a reality that journalists have become all too familiar with these last 10 years, and that Facebook’s investors collided with last week. There are exceptions to this rule, but not all that many: even pornography, long one of the Internet’s biggest moneymakers, has become steadily less profitable as amateur sites and videos have proliferated and the “professionals” have lost their monopoly on smut.

The internet is free, and the content is going to be more and more self-generated, and catching eyeballs will require being more and more ENGAGING and AUTHENTIC.  And SHORTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Get to the f-ing point in 10 seconds!!!!!!!!!!!   The more you need to tell me about your product or service, the less I need it!!!!!!!!!!!!  Don’t convince me, I’m already doing that myself!!!!!!!!!

As I sat behind the camera taping a 2 hour ppt presentation given by a 70-year-old retiree a couple weeks ago (to be archived for future use….hahahahaha), my one overwhelming thought was, “If I have to sit through something for 2 hours, it better be Avengers quality.”

AND, this comes back around to my current thoughts on the massive culture shift that we’re going to be experiencing in 5 years, stretching for the next 10-20 years as the boomers retire and transition to those pleasant sunny acres in the sky:

  • Creating online content is not intuitive to most boomers.
  • Creating online content is very intuitive to most gen-y-ers.
  • Gen x is the fulcrum around which these two massive generations will transition during this culture shift.  It’s the generation that will allow relevant knowledge and processes to pivot from the old school boomer way of doing things to the new wave of no-attention-span nu skool gen y way of doing things.
Simple example:  right now I have to explain, to clients of a certain age, how to download email attachments, how to properly extract files from zipped folders, those kinds of things.
Technology may or may not change to simplify this sort of task, but the people who will be doing the task will most certainly be changing.

What are you thoughts on the upcoming culture shift?

What are you doing right now to be engaging, authentic, and are you GETTING TO THE POINT!?!?!?

Some additional food for thought:  right now you can have media content online within a couple hours – – or in most cases a couple minutes – – of creating it.  You can have media content on broadcast channels and publications within about a day of creating it.  As long as you have the money to create and the money to pay for the schedule.  Rapid internal ideation is key key key.

If you would like a very simplified version of my August 2011 proposal, which includes step by step instructions, metrics for ROI, and things like that, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you. NSA.

btw, just for fun, my favorite campaigns right now are on the radio, and the only product name I’m recalling is Cabot Stain:

http://washington.wgu.edu/billboard

Cabot Stain “How did this DIYer turn so pro?”

The hot dog commercial that talks about springtime being adequate grilling weather, and taking off your jacket to: put on a lighter jacket.

 

Big dreams, little steps..Rotary makes dollars & sence.

Big dreams and little steps, has been on my mind lately. Rejuvenating the health and POWER of a Rotary club has it’s challenges, but it took big dreams and little steps….over a period of time to do it. ONE step at a time…one dream and goal at a time. Day after day after day…..after day…..until we had a winning combination of projects and an awesome fundraiser, the Coup de Cascades.

Just like the little engine that could, we kept chugging along to rebuild hopes, dreams and projects for others. It is with gratitude and determinations that I have been able to endure this kind of dedication for 3 years. All the people that have joined the club in the past 2-3 years have inspired me to continue to keep pushing forward. An we did, and we won awards along the way. I am immensely proud, just like a mom with A+ kids.

Opening hearts, making big sacrifices and being the underdog, is not foreign to this Redmond Rousers ROTARY club. We have always been the loud rowdy ones at meetings….It’s the comments like WOW, I thought you guys were a BIG club, not just 15, that makes us smile with pride for the many awards we possess. Our responses are always the same…”Small but Mighty”…. & “WE Make a Difference”.

Come see us…bring a friend, or bring your business cards…network with other business professionals….get your name and business out there to do SERVICE to others….SERVICE ABOVE SELF…that’s what Rotary is ALL about. Come see us at the next Redmond Derby Days on July 13th & 14th. We will be making money at our hot Buttered CORN booth, or sign up to ride in our Coup de Cascades cycling Rides and or the 425mile RACE at Www.CoupdeCascades.org . You can find us walking in the local parade….at 10 Am on Saturday at Derby Days too…..  Join us in the FUN!!!!  Come see us any Tuesday, hear a great speaker, eat dinner, learn something new…make friends. Rotary…we have it all.

Limiting Logins on a WordPress Site

This post explores one easy way to hardened a WordPress site from possible exploitation.

In order to make changes to a WordPress site, a user must first be able to log into the site. Without the ability to login, no changes can be made to the site.

Why there is a vulnerability

Currently, out of the box, WordPress has no limitations on the number of password attempts allowed to login to a site. You may think, “big whoopee, who is going to take the time to type in all those different password attempts?”

Well, the answer is no one in their right mind would do that. Hackers/crackers are, fortunately, in the right mind. Unfortunately, not to be political or anything, they are in their far right mind.

If they are trying to get into your site, they are not going to type in a bunch of passwords and hope one matches, they are going to automate the process. They are going to run a program that will likely be able to try 10’s to 100’s of attempts a second. If they find a password that works, Bingo! they’re in. They can now make changes to your site.

Theory to beat this vulnerability

What if there would be a way to limit the number of attempts? After so many attempts from a certain computer, that computer would be locked out from making more attempts. This would foil automated attacks on your site.

From Theory to Practice-Limit Login Attempts Plugin

The WordPress Plugin, Limit Login Attempts, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/limit-login-attempts/, will carry out such limitations. Limit Login Attempts does among the following:

  • Locks out an IP address after a set number of failures.
  • Keeps them locked out for a set period of time.
  • After 4 login failure cycles, that IP address is locked out for a longer set period of time.
  • Tracks the total number of login failures.
  • Make allowances for direct connections or from behind a reserve proxy. I discuss this further in the Settings section.
  • Will also block login attempts using cookies. I discuss this further in the Settings section.
  • In the login window, will notify the user the number of login attempts left.
  • Notify user if they have been locked out.
  • The option to log failed IP addresses and email for locked out Ip addresses.

A Look at Settings for Limit Login Attempts Plugin

This is setting screen for the Limit Login Attempts Plugin. Its can be found in Settings Tool in the Dashboard when logged in as an administrator. Here is what it looks like.

limit-logins-2012-05-9-10-02.png

I am going to run down the different options and offer my suggestions.

Total Lockouts– This keeps a watch on the total number of lockout since the last refresh. Clear this at any time.

Lockout

Allowed retries– This is the most important and least important field at the same time. As long as there is a value here, this site will no longer be easy to hack/crack. For that reason, automated attacks will stop. They will move onto easier targets. I would suggest a value less than five. I am a horrible keyboarder and still I can make my fingers crawl on the keyboard well enough to get my password by the third time. Additionally, on the first lock, the user will only be locked out for a short period of time.

Minutes Lockout– This is the length of time for a lockout if the allow retries are exceed for the first time. The default here is great enough to frustrate crackers but not great enough to frustrate a user in the rare cases where a they did not type in there password correctly.

___ lockouts increase lockout time to ____ hours– This is the teeth of the plugin. This is what will stop hackers/crackers. When a hacker/cracker is locked out for the long period of time, They know their automated attack is a waste of time. They will be off to easier targets. The default values here are good values.

Hours until retries are reset– Again, this field as little significance. It is the count of the lockout failures. In this example it is four. The important thing is a hacker/cracker isn’t going to try three times, wait x hours and try again. They will be long gone finding easier targets. I would make this as large as the hours lockout in the previous line.

Site Connection– If you do not know what a reverse proxy is, select the Direct connection radio button. If you know what a reverse proxy is and your site is behind a reverse proxy, select the From behind a Reserve Proxy radio button. This would be a relatively geeky setting.

Handle Cookie Logins– Many times, a user, who has recently visited their site, re-enters without needing to re-enter their password. This is because there is a cookie, a small bit of text on the users machine that is put there by the website. When the user returns, the website uses this cookie as a form of validation and the user can re-enter the site without a password.

Make sure to select the Yes Radio button here. Otherwise a hacker/cracker could automate the process of trying different cookies, hoping to get lucky. They have about a one in 4 billion chance. :^)

Notify on Lockout

Log IP-This will keep a log of failed login attempts. It is informational and not to important. I’m a geek, so I would have this on.

Email to admin after ____ lockouts– The default value of 4 is fine, here. Again, being a geek, I would want to have this option checked so I could snicker at people who tried to hack/crack my site.

If you made changes to any of the settings, don’t forget to click the Change Options Button. This will save the changes.

Finally, there is the Clear Log Button. Sometimes log files can get big and unwieldy. For this plugin, this would only be the case if you had thousands and thousands of failed attempts. Still it would be worth while to clear this log as part of a quarterly cleaning

In closing, out of the box, a WordPress site is open to the potential of automated attacks to try and figure out passwords on a WordPress site. The Limit Login Attempts Plugin will close down this vulnerability. Using this plugin, is one step a WordPress site admin can take to further harden their site.

Baseline Checkup for Integrity of your WordPress Site

It’s 11:45 AM. Do you know how many administrators are on your WordPress site?

Unfortunately, WordPress, at its base is a piece of software. Any piece of software has the potential for exploits. With WordPress exploits, nefarious people could be using your site to inflict evil on other people. A major case and point happened recently. The largest piece of malware to ever effect the Mac has happened in the last few months. This piece of malware got spread through WordPress sites that had been exploited.

If you ask me, exploits and keeping your site minimally exposed to hackers are the number one reasons to keep WordPress, Plugins, and Themes updated. Often these updated fix exploits. With these fixed exploits, this lowers the potential of a WordPress site getting hacked.

WordPress exploits are well known. Have any doubts? Check out this list. By not having the most up to date version of WordPress, a WordPress site is open to any exploit on this list targeted at that version of WordPress.

One of the most valuable hacks, at least as far as the bad guys are concerned, are exploits that allow them to add an administrative user. This exploit allows for a hackers to do just that thing. Notice, the version of WordPress effected by this exploit is 3.3.1, the second most recent version. Anyone not updated to the most recent version, 3.3.2 is potentially vulnerable to this exploit.

Step back and think about it a second. What would be the problem if someone unknown suddenly could administer another WordPress site, potentially yours? As an administrator, they could make what ever changes they wanted to the exploited site. They could add code, users, posts, comments, all at their free will. If they so desired they could even delete the exploited site! That wouldn’t buy them much, but it is a possibility. They would much rather have a site up and infected. Then they can continue to use the exploited site for whatever purpose they wanted.

Beyond the direct affect on the exploited site, there is an even larger potential problem, the site’s SEO. One thing web search engines do while crawling sites is look out for malware. I have and maybe you have too, clicked on a link in Google only to be warned that you are going to a site that may be infected with malware. That alone, would be a scary enough for potential customers.

Google’s search engine will also keep a watch on an infected site. The longer the infection lingers, the lower the rank the infected site will receive. Any ranking the infected site had built up with Google could soon be lost without a timely fix.

So, what can be done to protect a WordPress site? One of the easiest things that can be done is to keep a watch on the number of administrators on your site. If there are more administrators on your site than you expect, you could have been hit by an exploit. Thankfully, when logged on as an administrator, The User Panel will show the number of administrators. This panel shows three administrators; the expect amount, by the way.

PastedGraphic2-2012-05-4-11-42.tiff

If the Administrator count is larger than expected, click on the administrator link to show who the administrators are for the site. If the numbers of administrators are less than the count of administrators, that is a problem. There are obscure problems that can allow the count of administrators to not be reflected in the list. More likely than not, the rogue administrator has been hidden, A very easy thing to do. If you find yourself in this predicament, you will either (1) have to get your hands dirty with SQL or (2) find someone who will.

Unfortunately, WordPress sites are vulnerable to exploits. These exploits can be used to cause harm to people who unknowingly visit they exploited site and also damage the sites reputation. One basic way WordPress site owners can keep an eye on the integrity of their site, is to make sure there is not a sudden increase in the number of administrators. This is an obvious sign that a site has been hacked.

In closing,

It’s 1:45 PM. Do you know how many administrators are on your WordPress site?

Essential Learnings

I was looking through my computer files and found a list that was written years ago.  It was a list that I wrote down during a session with a client.  I don’t remember all the details of the session, how we got to this point, but there we were.  She was a Kindergarten teacher, and had been for a long time.  I had a sense that she was doing a pretty spectacular job, and not totally aware that she was.  What I asked her was:”What is it that you want your students to learn?”  This was her list:

 

That they are worthy of being seen and heard

That they feel respected

That they know they have gifts and the time and space to pursue and share

To learn to focus on what they can do

To have a feeling of self-improvement

The ability to set their own goals

The ability to self-evaluate (not rely on someone else)

To be able to speak up, in a way that will be hear, when something doesn’t feel right

To Know they all have something to contribute

To know that it wouldn’t be the same w/out them (as good)

To be curious about each other

 

I sat in awe for a couple of minutes, imagining what it must be like for a 5 or 6 year old to have their first experience in school with a teacher that was holding this list in her heart.  After all, this was the year that for most children set the tone for the rest of their education.    A child who learned all this in kindergarten would be starting their education with some powerful tools.

I asked her permission to share the list.  When I shared it with others that were teaching, in a variety of venues, they were all quite impressed.  All of us who teach want this list for our students, no matter what their age.    It is what I want for all my students, although until I asked my client the question, I hadn’t thought to make a list, to set that intention.

I learn some of my most valuable lessons talking with clients.  This was one of those moments.  This list has stayed with me, in my mind and my heart ever since that session.  It is what is most important to me in the creation of a learning environment.  I teach NLP to adults, and this list helps me keep clear on what is most important.

This list is also a roadmap for all of us.  Take a look at this list.  Have you learned all of these things for yourself?  Are you unsure about any of them?  If so, these are the places in your life that are worth paying some attention.  We are all capable of learning these things, and we all deserve to know them.  Now, take another look at the list.  Do you affirm this in your interactions with others?  Can you see and know this about anyone you interact with?  I wonder, what our lives, what the world would be like if we did.

Carla Camou, NLP Trainer and Personal Change work:  www.nlpinseattle.com

Bite Size Strategy: Marketing With Heart – Cause Marketing Partnerships Should Provide Benefits For Both Parties

I co-delivered a pilot workshop today on cause marketing and ’Benefits To Both Partners’ was a central theme.

We gathered a small group of for profit business people and not for profit directors to experience a portion of our workshop content and provide feedback to help us shape future workshops .  When we presented the topic of benefits in general, and provided a short list of benefits to businesses and began to talk about Revenue and Brand exposure, an interesting shift happened.   The not for profits chimed in and said that historically these were not subjects or even words that they brought up when talking to businesses.  In fact, it went a bit deeper into a conversation about how, over the years, not for profits tend to show up already undervaluing themselves and as a result possibly get about one third of the dollars they could have received.

Having been on the business side of the table for years, I so appreciated and valued the openness of this conversation today. I will tell you that I have been in many awkward conference room conversations related to cause marketing.  Typically, it is during or at the end of an intense business planning or budgeting meeting and the HR director or Director of Marketing or fellow executive brings up a recent lunch or cause they would like the company to support.  In those rooms, there is a similar shift, except it is not always so altruistic.  After rounds of negotiation on hard costs, revenue projections and tough decisions to produce profit – the subject of supporting a favorite cause often is perceived and presented as a ‘we should do this because it will feel good’ rather than a strategic imperative to extend brand and produce revenue. Many times, these campaigns and relationships are treated with kid gloves, are supported by only a small group within the company, are not selected based on their merits and are not measured well for value. All of this magnifies the gaps.

The not for profit people shared that they did not want to offend donors or maybe their board members and went to great lengths to avoid looking or sounding like a business.  Fascinating to me, because most board members are active or former business leaders as are many donors and not for profits fight for a bottom line and budgets – just like their business counterparts, every day.  The for profit business wants to work with a not for profit that will help them increase brand exposure, increase customer loyalty and ultimately to produce revenue and reach new markets. All of these are business issues.

From the business attendees, the light went off as well when we talked about adding cause related marketing to your overall marketing mix to recognize cost savings as well as brand extension. Even if the business partner stands to take more financial risk, studies show that consumers are more likely to purchase a product that is tied to a cause, in some cases up to 41%. “I’ll take those odds”, as my dad used to say. The businesses also avoided using business terms AND also avoided using not for profit terms, in order to not offend or look less knowledgable to their not for profit counterparts. The thought kept echoing in my head from my Toastmasters group – if you want to connect to, motivate or persuade your audience – speak their language.

That is why I love the area of cause related marketing because it is based on a business deal tied to doing good, and is not philanthropy.  It also lays a great framework to support a shift in the conversation, the presentations and eventually the negotiations towards making a sound business decision for both parties.  It empowers a not for profit to identify, articulate and be recognized for the valuable assets they bring to the table.  It also forces businesses to approach cause related marketing conversations as opportunities to build partnerships based on  revenue generating, sustainable relationships and away from half-hearted, soft, we really should do this attitudes of the past. If we continue to seek common ground, common language in these conversations just think of the powerful partnerships that can be created.

And this is not easy stuff.  Lots of history, lots of need, lots to work on all compounded by constant changes to navigate in the marketing world today. Not to mention, the economy. No matter how you look at it, not easy. But, worth the time? Yes. But how?

One of the best tools I have found for principled negotiation of win-win partnerships is “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In ” by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury.

Their method of principled negotiation is based on four propositions:

Separate the people from the problem. Focus on interests, not positions. Invent options for mutual gain. Insist on using objective criteria. Another element of the method talks about knowing when to walk away.  It is referred to as knowing your best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA. This is a confidence builder and a powerful tool for both sides. If you have done the prep work to understand and present your value AND know when to walk away – you can be more selective and confident in the end result.

Next Post:  Foundation #2: Identify not for profits that align with your business and personal goals and connect with your consumers.

My not for profit co-pilot for these conversations and workshops is Jane Kuechele from Kuechle Consulting. More to come…

Joni Kovarik | BizDev Consulting | Blog

Is The Economic Recovery Lifting Non-Profit Fundraising?

“Economy grew…sales improved…spending picked up…economic activity expanded…manufacturing activity grew.” Growth is happening in all areas of the U.S. economy according to the 12 Federal Reserve district banks. Recent reports say that job growth and unemployment levels are at lowest levels in six years. All encouraging news.

Are we seeing improvement for non-profits? As I troll the internet looking for signs of recovery it would appear that individuals are finding a little more in their pocket books. Research reports I read say that non-profits are finding their fundraising efforts are at least holding steady if not improving. Very few report fundraising down and if they do it usually is slight.

From the experience of colleagues I talk with in the Seattle area it seems that renewing donors have tried hard to at least maintain their giving level during this period. If they have to reduce the amount they contribute they do still value the work of their favorite charities and make a commitment, even if it is not at the level of support they would prefer. But this has not been a time to acquire new donors.

One special event I have followed very closely started out six years ago with exponential growth year over year for the first three years, then experienced a decrease in revenue for two years. Donors who were giving the requested $150 at the breakfast fundraiser, were giving $100 and those at the $1,000 level reduced their contribution to $500. The number of attendees remained flat.

This year, although the number of guests was the same as the previous year, the results approached the amount raised from the 3rd year. Those donors who had reduced their gifts were back up to $150 and the number of $1,000 donors increased.

Foundations and corporations are still saying they have far more requests then they can handle and grants are usually for less than requested. Highly dependent on investments for income, they are finding the amount of money available for granting programs reduced. It also appears that most foundations are sticking with non-profits they know and have supported in the past. Very few dollars are available for new applicants.

Although my observations are antidotal and based on my reading of the landscape, I’d appreciate hearing from readers of this blog about their own experiences. Have donors to your non-profit remained loyal while reducing their average gift or have they gone away entirely? Have you found it difficult to secure new donors? Have gifts from foundations and corporations been down? Are you experiencing a recovery? And please, when you are responding, tell us in what region of the country you raise funds and the mission focus of your non-profit.