Nonprofits pack $26 billion economic punch in Florida, new study says

Emon Reiser, South Florida Business Journal

Miami, FL – March 9, 2017

A new study from the Florida Nonprofit Alliance reports that the Sunshine State’s nonprofit sector provides an annual payroll of $26.63 billion and employs six percent of the state’s workforce.

Collectively, the nonprofits receive nearly $90 billion in annual revenue and hold assets of $205.7 billion according to the first-time report, which will be revealed Thursday at the Philanthropy Miami 2017 Conference at Jungle Island.

Overall, the state has 83,449 nonprofits and most are concentrated in South Florida. Five years ago, there were about 72,000 registered nonprofits in Florida.

“The contributions that the nonprofit sector makes are vital to the state economy,” said Florida Nonprofit Alliance Executive Director Sabeen Perwaiz. “The public and private sectors of the economy receive considerable attention, but this report demonstrates why the nonprofit sector cannot be overlooked.”

Of the 534,116 nonprofit employees in Florida, 44 percent are at nonprofits whose social function centers on health. The No. 2 top function is education at 20 percent. Not far behind education is human services at 19 percent.

The average hourly wage of those nonprofit employees is $23.98, according to the study, which was funded by JP Morgan Chase and will be repeated every two years. Its findings show that philanthropy has increased in Florida but is still lower than much of the U.S.

The Florida Nonprofit Alliance centers on research, collaboration and research for a statewide coalition of nonprofits and is based in Jacksonville.


IRS Drops Controversial Nonprofit Proposal

AFP News

Arlington, VA – January 13, 2016

Thanks to thousands of comments from nonprofits across the country, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has dropped its proposal to create a new substantiation form that could have had charities asking for donor’s Social Security numbers.

THANK YOU if you submitted comments to the IRS using AFP’s template submission system. Your input matters, and this successful outcome demonstrates that the process works. We can make a difference and help advance policies that support the fundraising profession while protecting our donors and their privacy.

To read the IRS announcement, click here

Last fall, the IRS had proposed new regulations that would modify its requirements that nonprofits obtain a “contemporaneous written acknowledgement” for contributions of $250 or more. Under current law, a donor claiming a deduction of $250 or more is required to obtain and keep a contemporaneous written acknowledgment for a charitable contribution.

The regulations would have created a new “optional” information form that charities would file with the IRS by February 28 each year, as well as provide a copy to each donor who had given $250 or more for their tax return. Most concerning among the form’s requirements was the mandate for the nonprofit to collect the donor’s tax identification number (their Social Security number in most cases), an action which would impose other legal requirements on nonprofits to retain and protect those Social Security numbers from identify theft.

But the IRS received enough comments from concerned fundraisers and nonprofits, including formal comments from AFP, that it has decided to drop the proposal. This move should end the matter, but AFP will alert members if additional action is required.

Questions can be emailed Jason Lee at

Thank you again for your participation in AFP and the public policy process!


10 Ways to Reward Your Nonprofit Staff When You Can’t Afford Raises

Mark Titi , Nonprofit Hub

Lincoln, NE – January 26, 2016

Different things inspire different people to work for nonprofit organizations. What is it that inspires you to work for a nonprofit. Maybe it’s the compensation, but you probably LOVE helping others; especially at an amazing nonprofit. After all, it’s in your DNA, right?

Living on a small paycheck isn’t easy. But sometimes service without much, or any, financial reward is an unofficial employer expectation. So, in return, you earn your “Badge of Courage.” Nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

There can be a lot of reasons why compensation is low. Perhaps wages and benefits are top weighted to leadership. Maybe there are other spending priorities. It’s possible that there has been poor management of funds. The culture may openly support weak compensation, as is unfortunately the norm for some charities. Employee turnover may be given little, if any consideration—allowing the cycle to continue. Or, the funds simply aren’t there to work with.

You know that there are many non-monetary rewards of working in a nonprofit, too. What is it worth, for example, to turn hopelessness to possibility? Homelessness to security? Hungry to fed? It’s impossible to measure this level of satisfaction.

But that still leaves one burning question—how can nonprofit employers increase employee compensation?

The short answer: plenty of ways. Here are 10 of them to enrich the employee-employer relationship.

1. Extend Purchasing Perks and Memberships

Some companies will pass on discounts and special offers to a nonprofit’s employees. Approach your vendors to find out about this possibility.

2. Provide Staff with Cell Phone Service

Cut a deal with a carrier. Your nonprofit could buy the phones and the service. Add even more value with internet services.

3. Offer ‘Work from Home’ Arrangements

Help employees save time and money on commuting back and forth to their work location. Just be sure you have a clear policy to administer a telecommuting program.

4. Increase Continuing Education Spending

Create more budget space for investing in employees. Consider paying for certification programs, association dues, learning materials, conferences and/or publications. (P.S. Don’t worry about staff leaving, either. Your trust and confidence can pay big dividends over the long-term.)

5. Recognition Awards

An example could be a short paid vacation and special recognition. Surprise awards can carry extra power and meaning.Try to do this often. Make the award visible and give credit where due. Recognize outcomes that are aligned to results and core values.

6. Extended Time Off

Pay special attention to extending holiday time. For example, the Friday after Thanksgiving is not a day all employers consider a paid holiday. But if your family is out of town, that can be an inconvenience. Think about adding a paid birthday holiday, too.

7. Grocery Gift Cards

Food costs continue to rise. Help employees defray this expense in the form of a grocery store gift card.

8. Health Club Memberships

Bring more energy to the individual and the organization with a membership to a local gym. Compliment that with flexible scheduling.

9. Transportation Benefit

Consider a flat dollar amount for each employee. It could be used for gas, bus passes or routine vehicle maintenance.

10. Emergencies

Set up a special fund for emergency employee needs. Being able to step in when life deals a heavy blow is what many nonprofits already do every day. Now extend that benefit to your employees.


If you’re a nonprofit employer, give these 10 perks careful consideration. Find pro-bono attorneys and financial professionals that can help, too. Always seek out in-kind contributions first to boost the benefit.

If you’re a nonprofit employee, don’t be afraid to start the conversation. It’s a clear win for relationships, culture and finances.

Being creative can be less expensive and better received than a raise, so leave no stone unturned. Just remember that money alone will not keep employees around for long. Make sure employees are appreciated as a contributor to the mission. Combining both can be a recipe for success in a cash-strapped nonprofit.


Small Businesses Giving Back More: What Nonprofits Can Learn from It

Eric Groves, Philanthropy Journal News

Raleigh, NC – February 2, 2016

The bigger a donor’s bank account, the bigger their donation – right? This is perhaps true on an absolute basis, but, it turns out there’s a lot more to charitable giving than that.

Recent data collected by Alignable shows small and medium businesses and their owners give more charitably on a percentage basis than their corporate counterparts. With small businesses making up about 50 percent of the nation’s GDP, it’s important to shine the light on these overlooked entrepreneurs who understand the importance of giving back. Based on a recent survey by Alignable of charitable giving behavior among small businesses, below are some tips for how nonprofits can work with small businesses to make charitable giving a win-win proposition.

Giving Takes Many Forms

The local shop down the street might be more willing to give or help than you previously thought. In fact, 90 percent planned to give to local charitable organizations, while 10 percent planned to donate to national organizations. You just need to make the right request.

Of those surveyed, about 81 percent said they’d give cash. However, 75 percent said they’d give goods or services, and 67 percent plan to give their personal time. Accordingly, when making a charitable donation request from a business, have three requests in mind: cash, a service or a good, or a request of time. This way, if a business wants to donate, they have options that both help you out and make them feel good.

Recognize these local businesses in your marketing communications and you stand to increase your appeal to small business owners and the magnitude of their contributions.

‘Who’ Matters Just as Much as ‘What’

Arm yourself with a bit of homework before pitching. The Alignable data suggests that men donate more than women, with 58 percent planning to give more to charity this year, compared to just 39 percent of women. Men are also almost twice as likely than women to give 20 percent or more of their profit to charity.

Furthermore, if your nonprofit involves working with immigrants or non-native people or causes, then the data is on your side. More than half (58 percent) of first generation immigrant-owned businesses planned to give more to charity this year, compared to 46 percent of non-immigrant-owned businesses. Immigrant-owned businesses also tend to give a significantly higher portion of their profits: 15 percent gave or planned to give over 20 percent of their profits, while only 9 percent of other businesses plan to give that much. Keep this information in mind when formulating your pitch: Not only do more of these businesses give, they give a lot more.

Location, Location, Location

On a grand scale, know where you might have the most success with small business solicitations, and where you might not. Regionally, the South is the most charitable, while the western United States was reported as the least giving. How can you use this data? If your nonprofit has multiple locations across the nation, think strategically of where you make your requests. Goods and services or personal time donations might be more likely than financial contributions in certain regions.

Where’s the Request?

On a (much) smaller scale, where in a retail store you make your charitable request might have an impact on the donation received. Point-of-sale donation requests did not fare well in Alignable’s survey. Nearly 75 percent of small business owners either opposed or had no opinion on cashiers asking for donations at checkout. By contrast, a survey of American consumers found that 71 percent of respondents have donated to charity at the register. Even though people might give, businesses may be reluctant to consider the request. Just like real estate, donations are all about location, location, location.

About Time

In addition to location, timing matters, too. The Alignable data showed that small businesses are solicited rather frequently; 20 percent report being solicited for donations more than 100 times per year. Consider this stat when timing your solicitation efforts – don’t wait until late November to start. However, the holiday heartstrings might help; 86 percent of small business owners say they are motivated to give back because it is personally meaningful.

They also think with their checkbooks; 28 percent cite tax deductions as a motivator. As a nonprofit, you can use this information to your advantage. Here you can find some tips on how small businesses can use charitable donations to their tax advantage. Use these tips to prepare yourself when pitching businesses that might want to give charitably for tax reasons.

The results from Alignable’s survey are enlightening, and at times, surprising. As a nonprofit, leverage the data to tailor your pitch to be as effective as possible in the new year.


7 Steps to Starting a Nonprofit

Nonprofit Hub, Matt Spitsen

Lincoln, NE – February 8, 2016

Starting a nonprofit isn’t an easy task to undergo. With so many steps to take in the early stages, it’s difficult to know where to start. Let us help.

The first step to starting a nonprofit is articulating the problems your organization will address. You’ll make the biggest difference when you’re specific about your scope and the demographic your nonprofit will serve. Most importantly: before you start your own nonprofit, make sure there’s a need for you, otherwise your organization won’t be sustainable.

Secondly, choose a name that communicates your nonprofit’s identity and mission. Make sure a matching domain name is free for your website, and check with your state to make sure your chosen name is available.

The third step is assembling your board of directors, which ought to consist of at least 3 to 6 people. The leadership of your founding board members will be essential to the rest of the startup phase, so choose wisely.

After recruiting your committed board of directors, your fourth step is completing the steps for incorporation in your state. Settle on your name, file your Articles of Incorporation and create bylaws.

Fifth, upon incorporation you can file for nonprofit status: expect fees and plenty of paperwork associated with your applications for federal and state tax exemptions.

Sixth, develop a sustainable fundraising plan and apply for foundation grants after being awarded 501(c)(3) status.

Our seventh tip is to create a marketing plan to recruit donors and volunteers for your organization. Work on your online presence, because your nonprofit web design and outreach on social media is especially important in starting a nonprofit.

After completing these steps, your nonprofit is ready to bring donations in and start making a difference in your community.

Have other tips for starting a nonprofit, or a question for our “In Kind” series?


A Recipe for a Perfect Fundraising Lunch

Joan Garry, Joan Garry Consulting

Washington, D.C. – February 17, 2016

For eight years I had a development director who was a total rock star and what I would call “best of breed.”

I use this phrase intentionally because she was a bit like a purebred racehorse. Put her in the starting block, fire the starting gun and she was off.

She loved to ask for money for her organization. In our early days of working together, I found her a bit impatient. There were times when I felt Julie might ask while the prospect was checking her coat.

So, what’s the right approach? What does a perfect donor lunch look like?


Do your homework. Let’s say the prospect came via a board member (we love when that happens). Be an investigative journalist, call your board member, and get the inside scoop. Who is this person? What makes her/him tick? What do we know about his family? Where did she go to college / grad / law school? It’s not just about charitable giving.

A quick anecdote: I once made an assumption that a particular prospect wasn’t as generous to progressive causes as he could be. (Mistake #1: judging). In a lunch with him, I basically told him he ‘should’ be more generous (Mistake #2: hubris). Later I found out that he gave millions to his alma mater. People give to all sorts of causes. Don’t be a jerk and assume that a wealthy progressive should give to your progressive cause. P.S. After that lunch, I received a $1,500 check and a note that put me right in my place. Lesson learned.

Do not assume. Unless you are clear about the reason for the lunch – that you want to meet, update her about the organization’s work and talk about how she can be more engaged – you have duped your prospect. Very bad idea. It probably took you some time to secure this lunch; double or triple that amount of time before you get in front of that prospect again. In addition, be very clear about who is attending the meeting. If it is the E.D. and the Development Director, say so. Bottom line: no surprises.

Strategize and rehearse. Set time for a rehearsal before the lunch. Do not do it while you are rushing to get there on time. Please, I beg you. Take the time. If two of you are attending the lunch, determine who will ask. Figure out a range of an amount. The exact amount will be determined by the asker over cappuccino.

Pick the right restaurant and decide what you are having ahead of time. Shouting “WOULD YOU CONSIDER A $10,000 GIFT?” is poor form. You need the right restaurant and a table that offers some privacy.

Here’s a little trick: I go to the restaurant website and figure out what I’m having before the lunch. I will be nervous at the lunch and may find myself indecisive. Donors invest in organizations with strong, decisive leaders. Also, the time I might spend perusing the menu is time better spent engaging with the donor.


The appetizer. Don’t spend too much time talking about weather or traffic or subways. Just enough because that’s what people do. Then a soupcon of discussion about the restaurant, the chef and the menu.

Care for anything to drink? I cannot tell you how many times I have ordered a glass of wine at a prospect lunch for one reason only – to hear these words “Oh, are you having wine? That sounds so nice. I think I’ll have one too.” I am Irish. I know that a prospect with the warm glow of wine is a better prospect than one without. (Note: I suppose this could backfire, but it hasn’t yet for me). The other plus is that I am a motor mouth when I am nervous. Wine can slow me down.

The main course. If you remember only one thing, it is this:

A prospect lunch is not a monologue about your organization. It is about building a relationship. It’s more like a date – getting to know one another and the fit. You are not “selling”. You are sharing your passion about the organization and what it does. You are attempting to ignite the prospect to share in that passion and join you in the work as a donor.

Time to make the ask. The wait staff is clearing. Order coffee. If the prospect orders dessert, that’s a homerun. Even more time.While clearing, begin to make the financial case. You have asked and answered a lot of questions. In the previous hour, you have learned a lot. Now you can tailor the ask based on what you learned. Complete the financial/passion case and ask firmly and with confidence.For example:“What I have heard during lunch is that you are passionate about our cause. You asked great questions and I think we had a terrific discussion about the overarching issues ahead. We would like you to join our family of major donors. Would you consider a gift of __________? Then shut up. And wait. It will feel interminable. Whatever the person says, the first words out of your mouths must be ‘THANK YOU (for the commitment, for the consideration, for your candor). If the answer is “let me think about it,” ask THEM when and how you should follow up. Tell them being a pest is the worst part of fundraising. Don’t let them say “I’ll get back to you.” Let them give YOU permission to lead the follow up efforts.

Who takes the check? The prospect should take the check. You run a nonprofit. But they often don’t. Let it sit just long enough to be sure that the prospect isn’t going to pick up the check. Don’t let it get awkward. Then just go ahead and pick it up. If at that point, they fight you for it, give in with gratitude.


Take out your iPhone and open Voice Recorder. What did you learn? Who else do they give to? What is their dog’s name? Do they have an aging parent? You need life stuff and charity stuff. You need to include the ask amount and the follow up plan. Then send that voice memo to the staff person who enters info into the donor database. Send a text to your assistant to calendar the follow up.

Send a real live handwritten thank you note that goes into the mail that very day. Attention to detail is one of the single most effective ways to illustrate your commitment to your donors.

Last note: if the words “Would you consider a gift of X?” come out of your mouth, regardless of the prospect’s response, it’s a good day at the office. Remember: the victory is in the ask.


Do you know fundraisers and nonprofit development people? Send them this article — perhaps it will help.


Charisma is the Key That Can Open Any Door

Harvey Mackay, StarTribune

Minnesota – February 29, 2016

Some people walk into a room and all heads turn. When they begin to speak, people are mesmerized. They instantly gain respect and trust. In a word, they have charisma, one of the most desirable and enviable qualities in the world.

What is charisma? It’s hard to define, but it is many things, including likability. If you want to influence people, they must like you and respect you. But charisma is so much more. I believe the definition is found in the ­letters of the word itself.

Confidence: Confidence doesn’t come naturally to most people. The good news is that you can develop confidence, just like any muscle or character trait. Charismatic people believe in themselves and share that confidence with the people around them. Don’t ignore obstacles, but focus on what you can achieve.

Happiness: The happiest people I know are not the richest or the most attractive or even the best at what they do. The happiest people are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing are the same things.

Authenticity: Be real, be yourself, be consistent. When people know what to expect from you, they are more comfortable approaching you. Even if there may be disagreement, they know whom they are dealing with and that you have values and standards that are constantly demonstrated.

Respect: Charismatic people command respect and offer it in return. You will never meet a charismatic bully. One of the most important skills to master is learning how to respectfully disagree with someone. Show that you respect their viewpoint, and they’ll more readily listen to your ideas.

Interest: Are you the person who walks into a room and announces, “Here I am!” or are you more likely to say, “It’s so good to see you!” Putting the emphasis on others is not only charming, it’s a wonderful way to acknowledge they are important to you.

Smile: It’s so simple, yet so significant. People like to be around pleasant people, and nothing communicates a sunny disposition better than a smile.

Mannerisms: Body language must match speech. Watch how charismatic people walk into a room, how they shake hands, how they hold themselves while listening to others. Confident body language can win people over on a subliminal level.

Attitude: The late Steve Jobs, the computer genius who co-founded Apple, was a very charismatic leader of technical people. When his group was designing Apple’s Macintosh computer, Jobs flew a pirate flag over his building. Its purpose? To signify his team’s determination to blow the competition out of the water. He demonstrated the kind of can-do attitude that is contagious — with confidence in the people around him to produce successful results. Such validation makes a leader very charismatic indeed.

“The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people,” President Theodore Roosevelt said. I have never met a successful person who hasn’t figured out how to get along with others.

Norman Vincent Peale, author of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” said, “Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.”

Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” said: “You can win more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

Mackay’s Moral: Charisma is likability on steroids.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail


How a New Generation of Business Leaders Views Philanthropy

Paula Goldman, Harvard Business Review

Boston – March 7, 2016

Andrew Carnegie’s advice in the 1889 essay “Wealth” was to spend the first part of your life getting as much education as possible, to spend the second part making all the money you could, and to spend the last part giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

Today, business leaders are not only trying to address community and global problems earlier in their lives; they are also questioning the traditional divide between commerce and philanthropy. As prominent hedge fund manager Bill Ackman told me, “When I graduated from business school I thought business was about making money and philanthropy was about doing good. Now I think both can be used as methods for changing the world.” Sir Ronald Cohen, the father of British venture capital, agrees. “We are on the verge of a revolution,” he explains. “Just as technology and entrepreneurship have transformed the way we live, applying investment and business tools to social problems is disrupting everything from philanthropy to governments to investing.”

At Omidyar Network, we’re excited by this shift in thinking. Determined to explore how today’s philanthropists are harnessing market forces to make a difference in the world, and what they are learning, my team and I conducted interviews with several of the most prominent: from Ackman and Cohen to Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn. From those conversations, a few themes emerged: invest for impact in both non- and for-profits, measure results (but not at the expense of taking risk), and shape your existing business around social good.

Invest for impact in both non- and for-profits. In December 2015, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their intention to commit an estimated $45 billion in Facebook stock to improve the state of the world via a limited liability company (LLC) instead of a traditional foundation. The approach is similar to the one eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar took over a decade ago when he launched Omidyar Network (where I work) with both an LLC and a foundation arm. Like Zuckerberg, he wanted to broaden the range of tools he could apply for social change — including not just grants to nonprofits but also “impact investments” into mission-driven, for-profit companies.

Impact investing has an array of champions — from Pope Francis to the White House — and is gaining traction in sectors as diverse as education, financial inclusion, and alternative energy. Some observers worry that it diverts money away from worthy nonprofits. But Omidyar argues that it’s more about finding the right solution for each problem: “It’s important to invest in the best change-makers you can find regardless of what legal form their organization takes. It’s about using everything in your toolkit.”

Measure results, but not at the expense of taking risks. Another key business principle that the new generation of philanthropists bring to their social change initiatives is their emphasis on rigorous, results-focused metrics. Effective altruism, for instance, is a growing movement to use evidence and reason, rather than emotion and intuition, to drive funding decisions. It has been championed by people such as Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, who have used the approach to identify less celebrated causes (such as iodine deficiency in the developing world), where studies show their money can make an outsized difference.

The drive for more and better data and analysis on the efficacy of programs is now widely accepted as best practice. As Jean Case (who started the Case Foundation with AOL co-founder Steve Case) says, “Moving more toward a dashboard approach is important where there is available data. Where there isn’t, you need to invest in getting the data or ‘being the data’ by innovating and breaking new ground to help those that come after you be farther up the learning curve. Don’t let [the lack of existing data] be an excuse to not take risks.”

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman sees this as another principle brought over from the business world: “In the for-profit world, the ventures that tend to have the most impact in the long term are the ones that are so unconventional that a lot of people initially believe there’s no way they can work. … It turns out that many social impact ideas also have that unconventional aspect to them, which makes many people doubt their potential.” He points to, which was founded by Ben Rattray in 2007. In the early days of the internet, many people dismissed online petitions as “feel-good clicktivism that didn’t really accomplish anything,” Hoffman explains. But then the site showed that it could stir people to action, affecting real-world corporate and government decision-making. “I’d encourage entrepreneurs interested in social impact to think as boldly and imaginatively as possible,” Hoffman says. “Test your ideas in small, measurable ways, and find out what works.”

Shape your business around social good. There are now more than 1,000 B Corporations, which are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. From Method to Warby Parker, they list positive societal impact alongside profit as a top-line goal.

But such formal certifications are just one way in which corporate leaders are leveraging their enterprises for greater social good. Sir Richard Branson, for example, has pushed for Virgin and other companies to take a stand on issues that align with their values. Working with Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, he helped found the B Team to persuade more executives to make pledges that protect basic human rights. This isn’t just good for the world, he says. It’s good for business. “If companies become a force for good, the people working for them will be that much more motivated and their brands will shine that much brighter amongst others,” he explains. “Customers care about these things, and they will vote with their wallets.”

Mohammed Dewji, CEO of the Tanzanian conglomerate MeTL (and Forbes’ 2015 Africa Man of the Year), also stresses the importance of “a business strategy that sees the economically disadvantaged not as charity cases but as willing and able consumers for products that match their needs — and pocketbooks.” His company offers a variety of affordable consumer products to lower-income people in East Africa who might traditionally have been priced out of such access.

The opportunities to harness the power of markets for social good are enormous — especially for the next generation of change-makers who can build on these ideas. Richard Branson sums it up well: “If you put charity on one side and for-profit business on the other, we see the beautiful hybrid models in the middle as the greatest opportunity of our lifetime.”

Hoffman agrees: “Organizations with very few resources can now achieve a reach and scale that once would have required hundreds of employees and millions of dollars. It’s never been easier for good ideas to achieve massive impact.”


What True Leadership Is All About

Matt Mayberry, Entrepreneur

Chicago – March 15, 2016

Here is a fact about leadership that no one really wants to talk about — it’s a lot bigger than just yourself. Sure, leadership can bring bigger paychecks and a whole lot more notoriety in most cases, but that’s not even remotely close to defining what true leadership is really all about.

True leadership is much more than authority and recognition from the outside world. Instead, leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies to not only maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the uncertainty of the future.

The best leaders to ever live not only succeeded at helping their team win championships or organizations reach new milestones and dominate the marketplace, but they deeply cared for people and understood what a privilege it is to be a leader.

Think about it for a moment. As a leader, you have the incredible opportunity to change someone’s life every single day. It could be something as simple as saying hello and remembering people’s names when you greet them. It could mean you being passionate about helping your people achieve and pursue all of their personal dreams and ambitions just as much as their professional one’s. It could mean you forcing everyone around you to grow and develop into stronger and wiser human beings that will end up taking them to a place they never thought was possible before they met you.

There are a plethora of qualities that one must need in order to become a fantastic leader. However, I strongly believe that one of the most important traits that all leaders must possess is a passion to develop and maximize the potential of others. When you begin to transform people individually, you then begin to transform your organization or team as a whole.

Transforming people is a quality that every memorable leader has thought about every single day of their lives, because they understood if they could transform their people, they would then be able to advance their mission. The leaders that are too caught up in egotistical gratification rather than the development of their people will surely fall short in the long run. There is a major difference between true leadership and authority-driven management.

Just as athletes have to take daily reps and constantly work to elevate their game, leaders also need to have the same mentality on finding ways to become more efficient in touching the hearts of their people, inspiring others to take what their doing to the next level and unlocking the barriers that hold others back.

Your commitment to going the extra mile to care for your people, lend a helping hand and inspire them will determine the results you receive. When a leader fully understands what true leadership is all about, not only will their organization never be the same again, but they as individuals will be changed forever as well.

There is nothing easy about true leadership. It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but it also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Whether you lead a team of five or 5,000, focus more on being a developer of people and helping those you lead become all that they can possibly become. That’s true leadership.


The Necessity of Persuasion

Harvey Mackay , UExpress

Kansas City – March 24, 2016

We are in the thick of the most unusual political seasons I can remember. Who would have imagined the slate of presidential hopefuls that spans the spectrum? And what will it take for the candidates to convince voters that they should lead the country?

Qualifications? Sure. Campaign promises? Perhaps. Appearance? Doesn’t hurt. The best opposition research? Not necessarily.

But the one factor that will always make the difference? Persuasion — the same sales skill that sets the successful apart from the competition.

Simply said, it doesn’t matter who has the best ideas or the most workable plans or the nicest smile. It all comes down to persuasion. Who can get their point across and bring others over to their side? They could all take a lesson from my favorite president, Abraham Lincoln.

One of Lincoln’s most valuable skills was his ability to persuade others to his point of view, no matter how entrenched their position. Lincoln described the art of persuasion in an 1842 speech to the Springfield Washington Temperance Society:

“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. … If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great high road to his reason, and which, when once granted, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one.

“On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself … you shall no more be able to reach him than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.”

An eloquent argument, for sure, and it is timeless advice. You can bully your way into power, but your effectiveness is greatly reduced. Lincoln understood that you must demonstrate respect for the other party or your efforts will be wasted.

Here are some persuasion techniques that have served me well.

— Speak their language. Listen to how people express themselves. Acknowledge their concerns and use the same language to respond to them to let them know you hear their concerns. It will help them accept your point more readily.

— Use their names. What’s the sweetest sound in the world? Your name on someone else’s lips. Just don’t overdo it. For a new acquaintance, make sure you’re pronouncing it right, and don’t use it before you’ve established some sort of rapport.

— Use action words. Be direct. You’ve got to ask for the response you want. Don’t ask someone to try to do something or to think about doing it if you need an immediate response. But if you are negotiating for the longer term, give them time to think about your request so they don’t feel pressured.

— Get your foot in the door. You don’t have to lead off with your main point. First get the other person’s attention, and then apply some persuasive techniques — offering an additional benefit, changing your request to what you really want, or letting him or her turn you down now while leaving the door open to agree with you later.

Two key words will make you more persuasive, according to Jerald M. Jellison in his book “Overcoming Resistance.” Those words are “if” and “then.” Whether you are trying to sell a car or an idea, the message that works is: “If you will take this action, then you’ll get this reward.”

Let me phrase that another way: If you want to be persuasive, then don’t be evasive.

Mackay’s Moral: Persuasion is an art. The tongue can paint what the eye can’t see.