The Weekend Briefing

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I was visiting on the phone last week with John Doyle, Director of Advancement at Madonna University in Michigan. The thought I took away from our conversation, other than the great quote above, was “Man, you’re not missing a beat these days.”
John and his team have met their annual fund goal for the fiscal year. Thank you letters go out the day a gift is received, or the following day. They are realistic about the challenges we all face now, but are raising money and looking ahead.
I was blown away, actually. I hung up the phone and thought, “Talk about adapting to the new normal.”
Friends, the days of being hesitant about asking are over.
This welcome message came last week from Judie Moore Green, Chief Development Officer of the famous Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.
“Rob, I just wanted to share a tidbit from the Auditorium.
“We sent out 100 jigsaw puzzles to our top donors with a message signed by our CEO and me. One puzzle was of our iconic interior, the other of our logo. The donors love them and are all taking pictures of their progress and sharing the fun. Now they have no choice but to think of us!”
How cool is that?!
From Eileen Heisman, President and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, speaking of the recent surge in giving from Donor-Advised Funds:
“The flood gates opened with such force that we had to redeploy staff.”
I saved this article for a few weeks so it could have the space it deserves. Among all the words written about the Great Pandemic, these thoughts rank right up at the top.
“I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad.
“As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel Covid-19 is really doing to us:
“It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should too. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.
“It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.
“It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.
“It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet rolls.
“It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine) as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.
“It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and strengthen our family unit.
“It is reminding us that our true work is not our job; that is what we do, not what we were created to do. Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.
“It is reminding us to keep our egos in check. It is reminding us that no matter how great we think we are or how great others think we are, a virus can bring our world to a standstill.
“It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after only ourselves. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.
“It is reminding us that we can be patient, or we can panic. We can either understand that this type of situation has happened many times before in history and will pass, or we can panic and see it as the end of the world and consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.
“It is reminding us that this can either be an end or a new beginning. This can be a time of reflection and understanding, where we learn from our mistakes, or it can be the start of a cycle which will continue until we finally learn the lesson we are meant to.
“It is reminding us that this Earth is sick. It is reminding us that we need to look at the rate of deforestation just as urgently as we look at the speed at which toilet rolls are disappearing off the shelves. We are sick because our home is sick.
“It is reminding us that after every difficulty, there is always ease. Life is cyclical, and this is just a phase in this great cycle. We do not need to panic; this too shall pass.
“Whereas many see Covid-19 as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a great corrector. It is sent to remind us of the important lessons we seem to have forgotten and it is up to us if we will learn them or not.”
Bill Gates
Have a good week, my friends.
Rob Cummings led development shops through the 1987 Black Monday crash, 9/11 and the Great Recession. If you would like to talk about how Rob can help you and your team today, you can reach him at

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