Give and Take

Fundraising Strategy
Benjamin Case

The Right Question

Wouldn’t it be great in fundraising if we always knew the right question for every donor and fundraising situation we encounter? I-Robot with Will Smith will give you some clues.

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CEO Board Room
Viken Mikaelian

What It Takes to Become the CEO

Are you willing to give up weekends? Aspiring CEO’s are. Are you willing to work 7 days a week and often give up family life? Aspiring CEO’s are. Are you willing to work 16 hours a day and say no to happy hours? Aspiring CEO’s are. Are you willing to sacrifice family, friends, hobbies, and recreations? Aspiring CEO’s are. Are you willing to risk time, energy and your money to succeed? Aspiring CEO’s are.

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You have heard the lesson before, “It’s not just what you say, it is how you say it.” This lesson was reinforced for me twice in the last two weeks: 1. I was making a presentation, and I emphatically made a point to be sure everyone in the room understood its importance. As soon as I did so, I could hear how I sounded angry and immediately lightened my tone, while still stressing the point. 2. On another occasion, a colleague responded to an observation I made, stating I sounded angry. I did not think I was angry, but again, I lightened my tone while stressing a critical point. Below are some essential lessons to immediately put to practice when considering your tone: 1. Understand tone can be “heard” in your words delivered verbally and in writing: Pay attention to tone in all communication, including your written avenues, such as your emails, website, and publications. 2. Knowing this, consider tone as crucial as your words: When speaking, experts encourage a stronger, deeper tone, with less breath when you want to stress a point. In music, tone can also be heard in duration and intensity. Knowing this, I frequently slow down my speech, and am more deliberate in delivering my words to stress important points. This gives the signal that I mean what I say. Your audience will listen because this tone says—you should listen. In general, a more friendly tone is usually pitched higher. It’s not loud or assertive, but breathier, more relaxed, and at ease. The vocal cords are not as pressed (tightly closing), which allows the breath to flow more. My female readers take note: Research says that women’s voices are judged more harshly than men’s voices. The natural higher pitch and breathiness in a woman’s voice can make her sound less certain in a business environment. Thus, you may need to pay particular attention to this. On the other hand, the lightness and warmth of many female voices may be a reason why women are so successful in fundraising and relationship building. Men may need to learn from this. 3. Be aware of attitudes and potential tensions present within yourself: When others respond to you negatively or in ways other than what you want or expect (such as happened to me in my conversation with my colleague), rather than criticizing or attacking them, pause to reflect on how your tone (and therefore your underlying feelings at the moment) may have caused the reaction we received. I am a strong advocate of “emotional intelligence.” The importance of self-awareness is more significant when considering and using the right tone. 4. When planning a presentation or an important conversation, ask others for their thoughts on the appropriate tone for you to use: Practice achieving and maintaining that tone. In the past, I have recorded myself to evaluate my tone. You should consider doing the same. What do you notice? Highly successful fundraisers communicate with the right tone—verbally and in written communications. They have a tone in all communications that is appropriate to the message and impact they desire to make. Their mindset is one of wanting to connect and influence with their words and tone. They understand their tone matters as much as their words.
Benjamin Case

Your Tone Matters: It’s How You Say It

“The word is mightier than the sword.” And often, the tone can be mightier than the word. You have heard the lesson before, “It’s not just what you say, it is how you say it.” Highly successful fundraisers communicate with the right tone—verbally and in written communications.

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eBook Cover - 25 Ways to Influence Others

25 Ways to Influence Others

Influencing others is a skill that can be learned and developed into an art form. Here are some easy techniques to help you to develop your influence.