A few days ago, a memory of a 2015 Facebook post popped up on my timeline — and unlike many other memories that I ignore — I took a look at this one and decided to share. The topic was “The Front Porch.”


To narrate is to provide a spoken or written account of an event or series of events.

As do-gooders, as those looking to have a positive impact on the world, and as nonprofit fundraisers — it is our responsibility to provide a spoken or written account of the situation, the problem, the programs or productions — the who, what, when, where, why and how of our mission.

The trick, though, is to ensure that — as narrator — we don’t drown out the voices of the active characters involved. Let’s not be afraid to let individuals narrate their own stories…


Folx in the nonprofit sector often reject the notion that they “should operate more like a business.” The problem with the assertion to be “more like” a business is that it fundamentally ignores the reality that a nonprofit IS a business. You can’t be “more like” something you already are! A nonprofit is a business that operates differently than a for-profit business — that’s all. And, for that matter, not all for-profit businesses operate alike!

To successfully achieve your vision and fulfill your mission, to avoid mission creep, and to exist with purpose, you need to manage your mission. Remember…


“The world is filled with people living their backup plans.”

I don’t remember when or where I heard this line in the last year or so — but I remember feeling like it was meant to be both a judgment and a motivating call to action. I couldn’t help wondering — Am I? Am I living my backup plan?

My earliest “plan” — of memory — was “going to heaven.”

I have vague memories from early childhood, when arguing with my 7 siblings, of shouting, “You’re just mad because I have to go to heaven and you don’t.” …


A few months ago, I realized “Narcissa,” whom I’d considered a friend, did just that. Each time we got together, she shared story after story about her life and why she knew more than those around her. When I first noticed, I thought maybe it was a fluke. The last time we got together, I took closer note. During our two hours together, I barely spoke, and never once did she initiate interest in what was happening in my life. Of course, we all lend a listening ear when a friend is in need or simply needs a sounding board…


A few weeks ago when I hopped back into what I hoped would be a regular, consistent blogging practice, I began with a post Quick Notes Saved for Later where I briefly recapped ideas I’d had that never became full blogs. [Of course, I’ve missed a few weeks now — maybe a month — but I’m still eager to get back into the regular swing of things.]

One of the topics from those notes that I didn’t include was, “Why I’d wear a grey hoodie if I ever presented a TED talk.”

I’ve wanted to do a TED talk for…


Many do-gooders — board members, volunteers, and even fundraisers — operate under the myth that fundraising is ALL about asking for money. This emphasis on asking for money leads to reluctance and hesitation.

But, a good deal of building relationships with donors to your organization or supporters of your cause is about listening to what others are saying — and even hearing what is left unsaid.

Many years ago when I was studying the Chinese language as a student and teacher in Taiwan and Hong Kong, I was struck by the character strokes of the word for listen — and…


Once upon a time…just the other day…you won’t believe what happened…you see, what happened was…

We’re all familiar with the first line of a good story. Our bodies lean in, we focus our attention, and we follow along eager to hear what’s next and how the story will end.

A story has the power to captivate an audience. But more importantly, a story has the power to ignite an emotion.

The question is, in our role as fundraisers, what emotion are we trying to ignite?

Some might say “sympathy.” We want people to feel sorry for someone in need. But…

Janet Mary Cobb

holistic living; diversity & inclusion; parenting; cooking; women; midlife; challenging the status quo — author, editor

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