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Tag: business

Education for Life…continues.

It is certainly easy now and then to get comfortable in your surroundings, especially when you are relaxing for your birthday weekend in Seaside, FL – sun, fun, family and great food abound.   

While reflecting on the last 49 years this past weekend, education came to mind many times.  I know I wouldn’t have traveled this far professionally if it hadn’t been for the public education I received and for the scholarships I earned.  The generosity of others came into play greatly, but none more than Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF) – where I received an “Education for Life”.  Read more about SSF here 

As many of you know, running a successful business requires much and I was fortunate to have learned many tangible and intangible skills while living with fifteen young men in a SSF scholarship house.  Together, we governed, budgeted, cleaned, cooked, cooperated, planned, and lived every day – willing to listen, learn and debate.  We succeeded and we failed, together. 

Aiming to be a resource for businesses today, these skills gelled with years of experiences across business sectors – consumer finance, credit unions, consumer and business banking, nonprofit organizations – and a habit to expand horizons through readings, conferences, seminars and the like.  There is always something new to learn, but I never stray too far from the realization that education was the change agent in my life.

Over the last few years my family and I have been “House Champions” for my former scholarship house.  While attending FSU, I lived in the SSF Mode L. Stone scholarship house – named after one of the founders at SSF.  Today, we visit with the gentlemen of the house during the semester for dinner and to donate needed supplies and/or pantry items.  More importantly, we get to listen and to learn about them – where they are from, what they are doing now, and where they want to go in life.  Yes, it is therapeutic to a degree because I can relate to them in so many ways.  If asked, we certainly share stories, advice, guidance and mentoring as a means to further connect with them.  Additionally, we feel our sons can learn a great deal from these young men.  We are fortunate that our sons are in a better starting place than I was many years ago and we are confident this unique experience – and the students’ perspectives – will benefit them in the long run.

Gentlemen of Mode L. Stone scholarship house!

For over 60 years, SSF has changed the path for generations of deserving students – those with academic merit, financial need and good character.  I am blessed to have sheltered under the Stone House roof, to have reaped the benefit of an “Education for Life” and to have built so many meaningful relationships over the years.  Moore Business Strategies is better because of it. 

Thanks for reading this today and for more information on Moore Business Strategies visit here

Moore to Hurricane Michael?

Much more to Hurricane Michael!  According to Tallahassee’s Mayor Gillum this morning, this is the largest hurricane to hit our area in over a century!

We wish everyone the best as this huge storm approaches.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your families and the communities in its path.  Much gratitude goes out to our government officials and employees, our first responders, the hundreds of volunteers and our neighbors who have helped prepare for Hurricane Michael.

Hold on tight to those you love and care about and let’s be ready to help those in need after Michael moves on.  We are #TallahasseeStrong!

Moore to a high school reunion?

My 30th high school reunion is this coming weekend – NSB Barracudas class of 1988!  During a bike ride last week, I pondered on the similarities of relationship dynamics in high school and our places of work.  Being a part of a team, in school or at work, provides a chance to build lasting relationships and to make a difference in the lives of others.  While pedaling along at 16 mph that morning, I focused my thoughts on the following similarities: 1) remember and celebrate; 2) authentic communication; and 3) cheerlead and congratulate.

1) Remember and Celebrate.

Life through our high school years and in the professional world are challenging for varying reasons.  Successes and failures seem to alternate on a regular basis.  Turned down for a date for prom?  Didn’t get a promotion you felt you deserved?  You made the varsity team!  You surpassed your sales goal for the first time!  With these and other happenings over a span of 30 years, you should make time to remember the moments and to celebrate them.

As classmates or colleagues, we are constantly challenged to do more, to be more and to go further.  Making it worse, there are leaders that put more focus on blame than improving the behavior required for potential success.  Be the one that takes time to remember the ups and down for what they were and to celebrate them in unique ways.  We get one trip around – enjoy moments a little more and stress over them a little less!  Celebrate mistakes, remember lessons learned.  You, your team and your friends will all be better for it.

2) Authentic Communication.

What a difference 30 years should make when it comes to our ability to communicate with classmates or with your colleagues in the workplace.  There is no doubt that all of us can improve how we speak to each other.  Being authentic in your communication mean letting people know what is expected of them, where they stand with you, and how much you value them.  Talking around corners and skipping critical conversations doesn’t build trust.  Avoiding confrontation doesn’t allow for valuable exchanges on improvement.  Saying what needs to be said – time and place appropriate – can be done with empathy, emotional intelligence and firmness.

A colleague shared once that she gives others the benefit of the doubt at the initial stage of conflict.  She trusts in the human condition and believes that inherently people want to do their best for the cause.  While I agree, it is necessary as leaders (and friends) that we not shy away from difficult conversations.  It’s also necessary to personally – and sincerely – engage in praise for others.  As proof of my dedication to Authentic Communication, here is my first blogging effort in 2008  I credit my Leadership Tallahassee experience with helping me commit to authentic communication as a leader.

3) Cheerlead and Congratulate.

I am guilty here – if you know me, you know me to be charismatic, energetic and positive.  As a player-coach leader, I strongly value team dynamics – especially in giving credit to the team and having their back when things don’t go so well.  Maturity over the years helped me realize that laying blame isn’t the first step in a crisis and that a leader should share good news (results) as a collective effort – not an individual one.  Cheering others on is a job of a leader – most people need that extrinsic support to stay motivated and to exceed expectations.

Admittedly, in my younger years (high school through early career) there was a drive to be recognized and given credit for any and all things I did.  Through mentoring, education, experience and some failures, the sense of satisfaction in seeing others succeed quelled my own personal interests.  Recognition is verbal respect.  Congratulate others in special ways to build relationships and loyalty.  Success is relative to the individual and aspirations vary from person to person, but the recognition should still be meaningful and as personable as possible.  Be attentive and curious!  The more we know about our classmates and our colleagues, the more unique our congratulations can be!

I am looking forward to my 30th reunion in New Smyrna Beach – a time to remember and celebrate, to communicate in authentic ways, and to cheer and congratulate classmates.  Take time to do those same things with your team today.

Moore to donor retention?

In the article here, details a small percentage increase overall from 2016 and an improvement in the donor retention rate from 2016, but the retention rate is still hovering around 45%. Retention is one of the hottest topics in fundraising, and it should be.  So what can we do about it?

Fundraising success is rooted in relationship building with your donors.  Today, much of the focus on poor retention centers on efforts around stewardship – that is, actions after the gift has been received.  Stewardship has to be consistent, personable and periodically face-to-face for it to work best.  Additionally, much of the retention struggle should focus on the effective cultivation efforts before the first gift is made and the entry point the donor used for your organization.

Long term relationships take time and require a proactive, consistent approach.  Making a strong connection with a donor requires more listening and learning than simply “selling” your nonprofit’s mission.  If a majority of your fundraising results are tied to your annual fund (mailing, email blasts) and special events, challenges will exist in establishing a strong connection prior to the gift.  As an entry point, special events certainly bring prospects and donors into the fold of your organization, but don’t ignore the likelihood of these gifts not recurring the next year.  Your retention rates are negatively impacted by a heavy reliance on special event fundraising and annual appeals.

Connectivity and participation with donors has to be a clearly defined expectation for your team and it has to be executed consistently across your development plan.  Identifying meaningful ways for your donors to participate in your organization’s mission strengthens their connection and increases the likelihood of repeat gifts.

Does most of your fundraising revenue originate from special events and your annual fund?  If so, re-focus and re-balance the contributed support scales.  Your retention rate will increase if you spend more quality, relationship-building time with prospects and donors before they make a gift, and if you can acquire multi-year commitments with pledges and/or online giving.  Yes, it is necessary to spend time to get to know potential donors without receiving a gift at your first meeting or two.  In the long run, you will make lasting connections and identify more meaningful participation options for donors.

To become known, trusted and liked as a nonprofit requires proactive and consistent effort from everyone on the organization’s team.  Establishing a Culture of Philanthropy doesn’t happen overnight, but in time your donor retention will improve!