The Weekend Briefing

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With props to Mary Schmich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune who does this every so often, here are ten things I like right now:
The SECURE Act: If we read up a little, it gives us something to talk with our donors about and makes us look kinda smart.
Green Fundraising: Reusing our best stuff; a testimonial from an alumnus, great photographs, a heart-tugging letter, is a very good way to save money, time and effort.
Two-color publications (black and white and one other color, like a rich red): A simple and cost-effective way to make your next publication look incredibly classy.
Bequest Marketing: For organizations that don’t have the number of major gift prospects in the pipeline to meet annual fund goals, bequests will literally be lifesavers. Ignore at your own peril.
A “date” book: Mine is 29 years old. 3 inches by 3 ½ inches square. Birthdays, anniversaries, any date I want to remember, it’s all there.
The Stelter Company: I’m breaking a long-standing rule here by mentioning them but honestly, they have the best planned giving stuff around. Clueless about a charitable lead trust? Want quality marketing? Go to their website and enjoy.
Smiling: Try this. Walk into your next three donor meetings with a genuine smile on your face and see what happens. Smile in the office more often and your stock will rise. Guaranteed.
Email videos: Now, try this. With your cell phone, videotape your President saying, “John and Mary, I was walking on campus this morning and met one of your scholarship recipients. You should know, you’ve changed that young person’s life. God bless you.” Then email that 20-second video to John and Mary and see what happens. Well, you know what will happen, don’t you.
LL Khaled and Joe Burrow: The first guy is a music mogul, producer and DJ. Somewhat successful, I’m told. The other guy won the Heisman Trophy and led LSU to the NCAA football championship. When asked how their success came about, each immediately said the same two words: “Hard work.”
It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, with Tom Hanks. Not what you think it would be. Everything you’ll want it to be. A message our world desperately needs right now.
I’m not sure what to say about next Sunday night’s Briefing other than I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and really hope you’ll tune in.
Until then have a good week, my friends.
Rob Cummings guides capital campaigns, coaches teams and gift officers and helps nonprofit organizations build strong, sustainable fundraising programs. You can reach him at

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