Monday, December 24, 2007

Wishing You a Joyous Holiday Season


Dear Friends,

I wish all of you a joyous holiday season and a blessed New Year. I offer my prayers and best wishes for you and the nonprofits all of you work so hard for all year long. Right now I am taking a break from cooking a traditional Christmas Eve feast and looking forward to sharing some of these "once a year" dishes with family and friends. Later I will also enjoy the Christmas Eve Vigil service in our 102 year old church that was restored/updated (yes, both)just a few years ago in anticipation of our 100th anniversary. Our church is small, beautiful and welcoming. We have had guests of other faiths join us on Christmas Eve and they agree it is inspirational!

Writing this blog has been an inspiration for me during the last year. As I learn something new I have been eager to share it with all of you. Those of you who visit and return to visit again and again keep me blogging. If you don't blog, I highly recommend it - it causes me to think a little deeper about those issues I write about. I have made new friends through blogging and found some other great blogs that I love to visit.

Next week, or right after the New Year I will blog about New Year's resolutions for nonprofits.....I'm still making a mental list. Send me an email or reply to this post with your ideas for the list.

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings,


Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tis the Season - A Great New Opportunity to Get Involved with Online Giving

Today the Case Foundation (like in Steve Case, Founder of AOL) announced America’s Giving Challenge. Oh guess what - they use Guidestar to determine qualified charities (See previous posts on this subject). The Challenge will distribute $500,000 in two online efforts - one at and one on Facebook causes. The challenge starts today and ends on January 31, 2008. People who recruit the most donors will receive $50,000 for their charity. The 100 charities that garner the highest number of online donations will each get $1,000. This really is an innovative project to attract more donors to online giving and promote philanthropy among new givers.

Network for Good provides charity badges and processes donations as will GlobalGiving. You can sponsor a cause simply by developing a charity badge at Network for Good.

Facebook causes....Charlie Crystle posted a reply to my post on social networking recommending Facebook. It was just a matter of time until a great possiblity for Facebook causes like this one came along. Those of you who set up a cause should jump in right now and promote America's Giving Challenge among your cause members. Facebook users can donate and have their donations and causes displayed as part of their personal profiles. My son has set up a Facebook cause for my favorite charity and I am asking him to contact his friends for this challenge.

I have registered my favorite charity, Community Agencies Corporation of NJ, whose board I am on for America's Giving Challenge. You can find my charity badge - which is the way your contribution is registered - by giving through the badge - in the column at the right. You can find out more about CAC at:
Community Agencies Corporation of NJ

Please join me supporting CAC and having us become one of the 100 agencies receiving a grant from $1000 to $50,000. $50,000 - Wow! We would put that to good use! Another great idea.....visit and make your charity badge for your favorite charity right now! Don't forget to reply to this post and let us know all about your favorite charity.

Marion Conway Consulting

Friday, December 07, 2007

Visionary Leadership and Becoming an Effective Leader

On Wednesday, I was the keynote speaker and morning program facilitator for the Brain Injury Association of America’s State Affiliates Leadership Conference. My keynote topic was Visionary Leadership and this was followed by a series of related group activities. I had a great time and enjoyed the enthusiastic feedback I got from participants.

Today I’d like to share some of the key points of my address with you. I started with this definition by Burt Nanus - “Leaders are people who have their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.” I talked about how there really is a lot of “hard thinking” that goes into visionary leadership and used Bill Gates as an example. Bill goes off to his isolated cabin in the woods twice a year for a week and reads and thinks about the future. Microsoft employees submit white papers with their ideas for the future of Microsoft and along with this and published books, Bill spends his days concentrating on the future. Bill Gates gets it – being a visionary leader requires taking the time to do “Hard Thinking.” That really is different than just dreaming, although there should be a healthy dose of dreaming also happening.

I go on to talk about how the connection between Visionary Leadership and being an effective leader is related to our ability to turn our vision into a shared vision for the organization – and to let go of it as ours as we see it shaped into a shared vision. Once something becomes a shared vision then it is on the road to becoming a reality. The importance of being able to express our vision in such a way that people can visualize it cannot be underestimated. The next important step on the path to being an effective, visionary leader is communications. In my remarks I use a detailed example of John Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the 60’s. I also discuss how all of this causes and requires commitment and the huge financial and human commitment made to putting a man on the moon.

There’s more of course, but there is only so much you can say in a blog post. I thoroughly enjoyed working with BIAA and the wonderful warm weather in San Antonio, Texas. They are a great group of visionary and committed people who do have their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

If you would like to have me deliver a Keynote at your event, please give me a call!


Marion Conway Consulting

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Network for Good's New Gift Cards for Charity and the Link to Guidestar - One More Reason to Update Guidestar Today

Ever year there are new opportunities to give to charity online - and frequently many charities don't even know about it. Last year American Express sent me an email letting me know that I could charge my gift to charity to my credit card. They linked directly to the Guidestar database and Voila! you could instantly charge your donation to any charity in the Guidestar database.

This year I have just received an email from Network for Good letting me know that I could donate online to the charity of my choice and I could buy a gift card for charity. Its called a "Good Card". You could have the gift card sent via email or they will send you an actual gift card that you could give to someone. What a great idea! Do you realise that gift cards have become the most common gift in the United States? Oh by the way...they link to the Guidestar database.

There is a $5 fee per Good Card for processing and handling. The fee is tax-deductible and it covers processing, credit card and PayPal charges so that 100% will be donated to the charity of your recipient's choice.

I assume that Network for Good sent this out to everyone on their mailing list so maybe you got their email also. Or you can just go to their website -

Network for Good

and the opportunity fills their home page.

If it has been on your list of resolutions to update information about your organization on Guidestar this year, don't wait any longer. You have no idea who may get a "Good Card" and when they go to Network for Good to browse and decide which organization they will "spend" their gift card on... what will they be reading about yours....whatever you have provided to Guidestar. Nothing you say?....Oh yes you have provided whatever you put on your 990. That's right you might have let your accountant rather than your development office describe your organization to potential donors. Are you sweating yet? You can update and expand your profile beyond the 990 information. Visit Guidestar today and make that update. After all...that may be a pretty good list of potential donors that Network for Good has.
Marion Conway Consulting