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Unlocking Growth for Organizations and Idealists Like You

Is Your Team Working Harder Not Smarter?

Depending on your sport of choice, there are different ways to improve. For example, as a tall swimmer in high school, learning better technique was how I improved. As soon as I refined my stroke in a way that took advantage of my height, I propelled myself (pun intended) to qualify for more challenging heats, and win more races. I could have practiced constantly, but without a great technique, I likely wouldn’t have gotten much faster.

Of course, the main avenue to improvement varies by sport. In many, it’s about technique, but in others it’s pure endurance. Still others require building more muscle and strength. Though all of these factors are important, there’s often a primary one that can take take an athlete  and a fundraising program  from good to great.

Topics: Strategy

An Attitude of Gratitude

When we are thankful for what we have, we invite more to come to us. Its just how the Universe works.Turning our focus from wanting what we don't have to appreciating what we do is a profound and powerful re-frame. Being grateful and showing it, creates peace, connection and more happiness - within ourselves and for others. Recent scientific research shows that people who practice an attitude of gratitude have:

  • Stronger and more resilient immune systems;
  • A higher state of happiness and wellbeing;
  • Better sleep and higher performance;
  • More positive emotions and experiences; and, 
  • Less depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.

So, what can you do to practice an attitude of gratitude?

Topics: Inspiration

Your Team's Ticket to Succeeding

Scientists are becoming increasingly convinced that Darwin, the English natural scientist best known for his contributions to the theory of evolution and “survivor of the fittest” philosophy, may have left out a key driver in his theory.

It is not so much survival of the fittest individual as it is survival of the most fit group. Research now argues that the tribes that collaborate and contribute to the common good will win out over tribes who are less collaborative. Evolutionary biology supports the idea that groups with advanced social lives are actually better off than otherwise skilled and talented individualistic groups. 

Topics: Strategy

The Problem with Brand Positioning

When we discuss brand development with our clients, we typically see their team laser in on two questions. First, “What does our brand represent/mean?”, and second, “What makes us different from our competitors?”

More often than not, the latter question – the question of positioning, or “why are we special?”– comes first. And that’s understandable. C-D maps, SWOT analyses, messaging templates, and charts of all shapes and sizes exist to help brands find their niche in the marketplace. Unfortunately, these tools exist in a realm where your brand is competing for the same people, the same space, the same market share as everyone else – in other words, a realm where you’re playing a zero sum game. And with that mentality, it’s no wonder that many of our clients start a brand conversation by listing out all the reasons why they can’t live up to the hype or expectation set by a competitor.

Topics: Strategy

The Real Campaign

Like many of you, we awoke today in dismay and disbelief — in shock and in sadness. Our feelings pervade any one viewpoint or position, extending to the divisiveness and despair we see all around us. That the world's symbol of freedom and democracy chose as its leader a person who offends, ridicules, judges, blames, and shames so many is truly hard to understand. And stepping beyond that, the fact that the choices offered to us were so limited and riddled with compromises raises questions about how any of us can make our voices heard in such a loud, tumultuous time. 

Topics: Inspiration

Featured Idealist Spotlight: {she crew}

Do you remember what you did in your spare time when you were in the seventh grade? If you were anything like me, you were busy taping photos of cute boys to the inside of your locker or onto your bedroom walls while singing Shakira songs into a hairbrush microphone. However, if you cut to the seventh-graders currently involved in the programming of the Chicago nonprofit {she crew} you will be pleasantly surprised (and impressed) as they have ditched the hairbrush microphones to instead, have thoughtful round-table discussions on social justice movements like Black Lives Matter, and then go on to turn those discussions into plays with impactful messaging and narratives.

Topics: Inspiration

The Gifts of Gratitude

The month of November is marked by one of our favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. It is a day surrounded by family, food, and friendships that nourish my body, mind, and spirit. It is a holiday with no presents or material gift exchange but rather one with a deliberate focus on gratitude that extends far beyond the feast. Thankfulness and generosity make up this holiday experience, and invite us to have a mindset of gratitude and giving throughout each day of the year.

Topics: Inspiration Wellbeing

The Link Between Fundraising and Gratitude

As a parent, I think a lot about gratitude. There are many things I aspire to teach my children, and being grateful is high on the list. They are lucky kids with a lot of family and love on their side, and I want to help them understand how important that is.

So I started with simply teaching them to say “thank you.” Whenever they are handed something, told something nice or given a gift, the polite response is “thank you.” At various times I’ve been told that my kids are good at saying thank you, and for a while it seemed like I was accomplishing my goal. But over time I also realized that I was teaching an automatic response more than a true feeling of gratitude, which is ultimately what I wanted them to learn. How do I help them understand that the important thing about a gift is the relationship behind it? That the special part of a birthday present is not the toy itself, but that your sister was thinking of you?

Topics: Funding