A day with Young Fundraising Professionals

I’m tired and I need sleep

But I just can’t put my head down without saying a deep, humble thank you.

Took the day off today to teach at Humber College Post-grad Fundraising Program on my two all time favourite topics : Planned Giving and LinkedIN

Special thanks to Dr. Bill Hallett, PhD, ACFRE who kindly asked me back.

Dear #HFVM12 you were engaging, curious and as always that energy of challenge and eagerness to do good was powerful. It is my hope that the time was of value to you – I know you inspired the hell out of me.

You ARE going to change the world. Thanks for taking me along for the ride….

A quick note on spending the whole day together…

And then we got in the ZipVan and went to #YNPCanada!!

One year, just look at the positive connections made. I hope you’re proud of yourselves Stephen Thomas – you’ve raised the bar yet again. So great that the whole team was out and the numbers were through the roof!

A note of wisdom right before my talk from @STPres Neil Gallaiford :
“know what I tell young professionals about what to do when opportunity knocks?”

“Say Yes”.

Yes to your excellence
Yes to the potential you know is there
You’re not cutting off a body part, it’s scary but don’t look back

Great advice Neil.

Just so folks can find the items I referenced in my talk:

@SusanCain ‘ s book Quiet : The Power of Introverts

@ShepaTweet‘s book Work the Pond

@ThisisSethsBlog book Linchpin

Managing Brand You

Most importantly, Dan Pink’s Flip Manifesto and his concept of “Uncommissioned Art”

Hope these messages were of value:

Lead without title – find a non-work skill and DO it daily

Don’t Fake it ‘Till you Make it / BE it until you ARE it.

You need people pulling you up, and pushing you forward.

Experiment with brand you, test it then make it your non-work passion.


As you go forward in life, know that I and thousands of others are here for you

Congrats again @ST_Digital on a great event!!

I leave you with the words of Neil G – Say Yes

Birthday networking #YNPCanada

March 29 – YNPCanada

We’ll be networking and raising a glass to one awesome year of connecting through #YNPCanada

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan since day one – this time I’ve been given the honour of speaking for a few minutes ( no powerpoint sorry, treating this like my first TED talk ) on the topic of the world-changing power of a career in non-profit and how a YNP can get the most out of it.

Fantastic venue choice, the Elgin & Wintergarden right downtown

No we won’t be playing hipster bingo but it may be the most pure non-conference networking event for the change-hungry, the up and coming, the futurists in this sector. No damn coffee, session fatigue, no 30 second conversations this is REAL connecting, real relationship building..

There are a few tickets left, this is ALWAYS a sold out event so MAKE the time and invest in yourself, your career, our sector – professional development will never be this fun again

As always, my hat tips to the pioneers at Stephen Thomas who sacked-up and stepped out in leadership, no one invests in young people – you did.

On this one year anniversary I will NOT be singing but I’ll leave the final word to our hometown boy……See you there!


Ps. If you use social media, please share!

#YNPCanada by @ST_Digital

I’ll RT if you include me @UinvitedU

What are you waiting for?

I know this sounds so trite.

But I’ve been arguing recently with a dozen young professionals I help, teach and serve – who are living for the future. Hanging on to it dangerously.

So I’ll put this rant out there, maybe it’ll strike a chord with someone.


I keep in touch with dozens of young people, in their 20’s who “can’t afford” to move out of their parent’s lush suburban homes.

They work in Toronto, the city I admire, love ( maybe lust over ) because of it’s endless ability to engage, delight, teach and BE in dialogue – BUT – they commute, for hours a day to come into and out of the city.

What are they living for? The sick dream of “owning” a shiny new 700 square foot condo – which will probably take them until their early 30’s. Doesn’t help that house porn like THIS and THIS and THIS is always on TV.

Now sure, many are the children of immigrants, so they have some ( weak ) excuse that it would break their parent’s heart to “throw away money on something you don’t own” – I believe this attitude is stunting the emotional and professional development of a generation.

My little argument, sure you’ll be paying down a mortgage, but I live by a code:


And so I ask leaders in my profession and life how they did it. The same baby boomers that preach prudence backpacked across Europe, hitchhiked across Canada and now they are telling YOU to stay home. To play it safe.

But the economy was different etc.. BS I say!
Change and uncertainty will always be the only constant for young people.
It’s about what you’re willing to give up, for what you want.
Yeah, cars, laundry, prepared food – these are the opiants of suburban life.

You are going to wake up one day, and the most vital dangerous time of your life – your 20’s – your opportunity to test ideas, different types of you, doing dumb things, knowing that you are going to eat or go out ( and you choose drinking or art, or service to another ) for you to choose LIFE on the edge – rather than go from your parents home, to your fiancee’s home.

I work in philanthropy, fundraising for over a decade.
It’s a profession that’s 80%+ women.
Talented, interesting, creative women.
Who are wasting their 20’s on buses, cars, transit – dreaming of condo life

Moving downtown, won’t be easy
Some times it won’t be fun
But as the economy shifts from the spoon fed to the self fed, you will find that you’re better equipped to hustle, survive, succeed.

I was watching a terrible vapid pop movie with Justin Timberlake called “In Time”
It posed a powerful question that made the movie worth watching.

IF time was life. How would you live?
If you woke up every day, with only a day’s worth of time to live then work would be your only aim, getting more time would be all-important

But we don’t live like that. Do we?
We can CHOOSE how we live.
Why ARE you alive?
What makes you alive?

Don’t get sold that your problems will be SOLVED by owning.
Life is not a problem to be solved.
It will never be “solved” if you’re someone who demands excellence

Love to chat about it sometime.
How about at the March 29
Young Nonprofit Professionals event?

That’s if you’re coming,
and not on your 2 hour commute home.


Ps. That whole hindsight thing? I did live downtown in my 20’s and it’s a big part of the secret of my modicum of success. But then I got swallowed the poison pill above and I owned a home for a while late in my 20’s and early 30’s, and yes it was kind of blissful but that mortgage eats at your soul. Phrases like “house-poor” and “cashtrated” were common in my peers. It was the unhealthiest part of my life, thousands of dollars in cash eaten up by the upkeep of this “investment” on which your life depended. Sleepless night, anxious days.

You want to see friends? Engage in life? Sorry, grass to mow, gutters to clean, work to do and maybe if you grew up in the suburbs ( I did, don’t know what’s wrong with me ) that’s the best part of life but it was living hell for me. Don’t want others to wake up to that reality unless they choose it ( which I respect, despite the rant ).

Owning = happiness is one of Toronto’s dirties lies.

And of course, if you haven’t seen this…