When Transitions Meet Traditions

Posted by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth on 2/1/17 10:26 AM

On January 20, 2017, the United States experienced a transition in leadership as Barack Obama completed his second term as President of the United States and Donald Trump took the oath of office as our forty-fifth president. The transition process began when the two men met at the White House on November 10, 2016, and even though the actual transfer of leadership has happened, the transition will continue for some time.

The reality is that transition takes lots of time, energy, and patience, and ironically, it is often steeped in tradition. The Presidential Inauguration was a perfect example of an entire day carefully orchestrated but almost entirely prescribed by tradition. This is because change doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Transition is informed by the past, happens in the context of the present, and impacts the future. Transition challenges us to recognize that a decision has been made, a direction has been set, and the “point of no return” has been reached. Thus, a new context and framework has been created. 

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Topics: Donor Development, Donor Relationships

Want Real Change? I Dare You to Dream Big and Take Risks

Posted by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth on 12/28/16 8:50 AM

Although December may not be the end of the fiscal year for everyone, it is still a time to look at what has been and to create some hopeful expectations for the new year.  All of us are concerned about our very important year-end giving campaigns. At least this year we can assure our donors that the IRA Rollover Provision for Charitable Giving is in place and here to stay.  December is a time of peace, goodwill and small and large acts of generosity and kindness. January is a time to reap the harvest of generosity and invite ourselves and others to recommit to the mission of making the world a better place for all people.

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Fundraising Lessons from the Presidential Campaign

Posted by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth on 12/5/16 8:12 AM

In the aftermath of the campaign there is much discussion about the accuracy of the polls and questioning once again, the early voting projections made by the media.  Although the polls always claim a considerable margin of error in predicting election outcomes, still it seems both major parties were caught by surprise by the election results.  Since we are talking about lessons learned, with tongue-in-check, one might think the proverbial “Don’t count your chickens until they are hatched,” might be apropos.

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Read a Good Story, Tell a Good Story, Further Your Mission

Posted by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth on 8/25/16 9:57 AM

Last week I boarded the Pentagon Station Metro at 6:30 AM and found myself seated by a man intently reading a novel. Not wanting to appear intrusive, I glanced at the title of the book he was reading in the train window’s reflection — it was “La Peste” by Albert Camus and he was reading it in French. When I stole a real glance in his direction, I noticed the novel was sitting inside a well worn English-French dictionary.  From time to time, he stopped reading to look up a word and then continue reading.

When I arrived home I pulled out my own copy of “La Peste” and leafed through it, glancing through the underlined passages and margin notes I had written.  I admired my fellow traveler’s tenacity in wanting to understand precisely what Camus meant in the original French since I myself had thought how important that is when reading Camus in order to fully appreciate his genius.

Albert Camus first became known during World War II when he wrote for the underground French Resistance newspaper during the Nazi occupation of France.  As part of La Résistance he risked his life for the sake of liberté, équilité and fraternité. Many others involved in the newspaper lost their lives.  La Peste is an allegory in which Camus uses the story of a plague-stricken city in Algeria to describe the destructive nature of tyrannical political ideologies such as Nazism and Fascism.  It truly is a story for all times, explaining clearly and meaningfully what the world needed to know.

But back to my fellow traveler for a moment. He caused me to think about a few things that morning, in terms of how we communicate to our donors:

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Creating Community: What Fundraising, Development, and Mission Advancement Are Really About

Posted by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth on 8/4/16 8:30 AM

Four years ago, I was in Grand Central Station in New York City when “ImprovEverywhere” got 150 people to freeze in place at exactly the same moment. Some stood frozen in mid-step. One man was in the middle of picking up papers he had dropped. Some were eating or drinking. Another was tying his shoe. One couple was kissing. Suddenly, everyone was pulling out their cell phones, taking pictures and videos of what was happening. Within minutes everyone in New York City and the world knew what was happening at Grand Central Station. They held their positions for five minutes and then at exactly the same time, unfroze and just moved along in the crowd normally, causing spontaneous applause in the station.

Two years ago, 17 million videos were shared online of people dumping ice water on each other in the ALS Association’s incredibly successful “Ice Bucket Challenge.” People across the country challenged each other via social media to participate.  Although the idea was to either make a donation to ALSA or have ice water dumped on you, most people did both and $115 million was raised to fight this terrible and often forgotten disease. Recently, the ALSA reported that they have identified the gene that causes the disease; the Ice Bucket Challenge gave the scientists the funding they needed to find that gene. This is the third discovery of its kind ALS researchers have made, using the money raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

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Sr. Georgette Lehmuth

About The Fundraiser's Outlook

The Fundraiser's Outlook is a blog by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, president of the National Catholic Development Conference. 

The blog covers topics intended to help your Catholic nonprofit, from donor development to writing appeals to the most recent nonprofit news. 

About Sr. Georgette Lehmuth

Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, OSF has been President/CEO of NCDC since 2001.

She is a noted speaker on the ministry of fundraising and has spoken at the conferences of: the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the National Association for Treasurers of Religious Institutes (NATRI), the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Independent Sector. She has also presented at the Ascension HealthCare Council on Philanthropy, Catholic Charities USA Ministry Conference and at the Caritas gathering of charitable fundraisers in Lima, Peru, which represented 24 countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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