Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wish List

Would you like an easy way to help a five-star organization?

Becky Knapp, is the Job Placement Coordinator for The Autism Model School. This charter school is one of only two who received highest marks from the State of Ohio for the level of education they are providing the students. As with many institutions, The Model School got hit with funding cuts from the state. What this means to Becky is that she has NO BUDGET for projects that she organizes within the school walls. These projects help the students to learn skills that make them more employable outside the school walls.

I encouraged Becky to create a wish list of items that we could donate that would help to fund the micro-enterprise projects. By the way the school is a 501(c) 3 organization.

Here's the list:

Mosaic Tile Setting Grid (perhaps you were once into mosaics, but have moved on????)
Glass Mosaic Cutters (same as above!)
Tile Scorer/Nipper
Mosaic Mirror
Book "Making Mosaics-Designs & Techniques"
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Mosaic Techniques"
Book "The Mosaic Idea Book"
Clay Pots
Joint Compound
Wooden Plaques/signs/letters/numbers
Nails & Hammers
Wood Stain
Paint & Related Supplies
Beads and beaded jewelry supplies
Glass Tiles

Yeah, yeah, I know. Just another charitable ask, right? Well, let me give you some figures and also put a face to the figures.

Mary Walters is the founder of the school and she continues to lead it. Education was not her career focus. Then she had THREE autistic children. When her daughter Maria, now 18 years old, was diagnosed, the chances of having an autistic child were one in 10,000. Recently statistics were released by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention that the statistics have now changed. Now for every 100 children born, one will have autism spectral disorder. Yes, that is right, one in one hundred.

So look around. Do you have something to spare? If so, you will have a hand in helping the students to become contributing members of our society.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Back at Ya'

A few weeks ago I presented a training for my friend Deanna Tucci Schmitt, Executive Director of BNI of Western PA. My trainings are always a conversation - interactive with the group. I answered one question that was asked of me by saying, "What did that person say when you asked them about it?"

They laughed out loud and said, "Did Deanna teach you that?" And guess what? As a matter of fact she did. Whenever I complain about something that someone has done, she always turns it back to me. She makes me responsible for correcting the situation or at least addressing with the offender.

Now sometimes I just want to vent, as we all do. I want someone to be there so I can talk out loud to hear myself. Deanna is equally willing to listen and not give me her trademark phrase. She is a good friend. She is willing to be both a mentor and a listener. I guess if I think about it, a mentor is a good listener.

Anyway, networking is all about personal interaction. Keep it flowing!

Friday, October 23, 2009

From Pumkins to Manuals

A favorite article of mine is called, Charity Networking with a Princess. It is on page 69 of the book, Masters of Networking. To sum it up in a few words, it describes how several groups, individuals and organizations linked together to raise more money and more visibility for each of the entities involved than one group member could have done for themselves alone. Each of the members has both a need and also excess of something.

Buy or borrow the book to read it. Then you'll know what I mean.

So we come to pumpkins.

My friend, Patrick Abec, owner of Abec's Small Business Review, lives out in the country and for the fun of it grew a field full of pumpkins. He had an event earlier this month where his business clients were invited to an afternoon in the country which included the children all having the opportunity to get a FREE pumpkin. Even after this day, Patrick still had quite a few of the orange orbs left. He offered them to folks. I took him up on his offer because my family gets together for an annual pumpkin carving event. It's this weekend and I have nine nice pumpkins that will get funny or scary faces. Patrick wouldn't take any money for the pumpkins.

I have another friend, Becky Knapp. She is the job placement coordinator for the Autism Model School. Her job is to help their high school students find employment or internships. One job I have always hated is getting all the materials ready for my classes. This is the type of job her students excel at. So this morning I am picking up 17 manuals that are all ready for class. The best part is that they will probably be perfectly done and I didn't have to touch them. When Becky and I talked about a payment arrangement, I expressed that I didn't want to pay them as actual employees, but as a vendor. She didn't think they were set up to accept those types of payments, so instead, I will make a donation to the school. This is where the pumpkins come in. I will increase the amount of the donation to include what I normally would have paid to buy the pumpkins, probably around $25. While that increase doesn't sound like a lot, this charter school lost $50,000 in funding from the state, so any extra is welcomed.

How does Patrick win. Well, as Becky is out talking with various employers, she will be able to refer folks to Patrick to be included as a spotlight article in his monthly business paper.

This is a very small example of how this could all work. Read the article and then tell me who else you think could profit and also give something as part of this circle.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Aly Sterling is a friend of mine. We serve on the Leadership Toledo Board together. She owns Architectural Philanthropy, a company that helps non-profits to have sustainable fund-raising. She's doing some great things in the community.

Several days ago I received Aly's newsletter, but didn't have time to read it till last night.

Wow! What a message. Read it below.

I have to tell you about something that happened last Friday.

At just around 6:00pm, following the tail-end of a whirlwind week, my home phone rang. My caller ID said, "AAA Northwest Ohio". I hesitated, but then thought this one was OK to answer (yes, I too screen calls, especially on Fridays).

The woman on the other end asked who she was speaking to and then proceeded ... yes, hold on to your seat ... to ... THANK ME FOR BEING A MEMBER.

That's it. She just wanted to let me know how much they appreciated my loyalty, and that if we're receiving their monthly magazine (think newsletter!) there's an entire page of benefits listed that I should be sure to read (think outcomes! stories of impact! testimonies!).

She thanked me again and told me to have a great weekend, and then she hung up. Again, that's it! Eureka! What if every non-profit took five (5) key donors a week and made a call like this?

I know I'll be renewing next time ...

Have a great weekend,


Even though this message is directed specifically to the non-profit world, certainly we who are trying to make a profit can take this message and use it to our advantage. Think about it.

What would your company look like if you called five clients ever Friday at 4 PM just to thank them for being a customer?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


My friend David Trisel, owner of Graf-x-cape and Grab Bag Marketer, led a networking exercise at the GreaterFindlayInc. morning meeting last week that was ingenious.

With a very creatively developed worksheet, he asked each of us to quickly list five skills that we possess. We then had to trade our worksheet with someone else at our table. That person had to write suggestions of how we could reach out into the community to share out skills.

I quickly wrote five skills: Listening, Making Eggplant Parmesan, Gardening, Assembling Teams and Reading.

My partner was our featured speaker for the day, Hiroaki Kawamura, Ph.D. the chair of the Department of Language and Culture at the University of Findlay. The voices inside my head were nay-saying the value of this exercise. "How in the work would my skills equate to anything in Dr. Kawamura's world."

The voices have been silenced.

When I got my paper back, his suggestions were:

1) Organize a cooking group for internationals (especially housewives.)

2) Organize a conversation table for international wives.

3) (This one made me laugh!) Please feed me with your delicious eggplant parmesan!

I am interested in talking with Dr Kawamura, to discuss further the idea of a conversation table. I can tell you that I would NEVER have thought of it myself.

I suggest you try this at your next event where you want people to get to know each other better. It will also begin to weave those skills into the community fabric.

If you try it, come back to this post and tell your experience in a comment. Also, if you want a copy of David's worksheet, I can introduce you to David.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That's Not Possible

I have some really neat people in my current Certified Networker class that I am teaching in Findlay, Ohio. One such person is Ernie Lewis. He owns E.A. Lewis Consulting and is really really good at helping companies to do better. But that's not why I'm writing.

Here's the deal.

Ernie ran 100 miles all in one fell swoop last weekend.

Yep, you got it, 100 miles. And it was not just your usual road race. No sire-e-e. It was at Titusville, PA in Oil Creek State Park. It was on rain-soaked trails. It took him 30 hours and he climbed 17,000 feet during the run, but he did it! Ernie was back home Sunday resting his sore feet.

I have not talked with Ernie, yet, (hopefully tomorrow that will happen), but his friend Rod Cundiff, sent an email out to everyone letting us know that Ernie had completed the race. We were all worried because the website that was supposed to track his progress stopped tracking about ten hours in. We didn't know whether he had been pulled out due to hypothermia (a fear of his) or just technology not working. Luckily it was the latter.

What's really neat about this was that Ernie carried 104 names of people who have been affected by cancer and also he raised over $5600 to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He had told us in class that the people on the list helped him to keep going when he wanted to quit.

Thank you, Ernie for pushing yourself beyond reason. Thank you for giving.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The other day at our BNI meeting, a guest was asked to introduce himself toward the end of the meeting. His explanation was, "You guys, already know what (mumble, mumble) is and I've visited one other time, so you all remember me."


I guess it might have been a day that I had a substitute attend in my place, as I don't remember this young man.

Additionally, because he was unclear with his introduction, I still don't know who he is or what his company name is.

At the end of the meeting I got caught in a conversation before I made my way across the room to meet him, but he was gone already.

Lesson learned here?

Don't ever assume.

That young business person wasted a prime opportunity to have the focus of 35 or so people on him.

It's cliche to say this, but it is like paying for a Super Bowl ad and having nothing in the spot. Well, I guess it didn't cost him 1.5 mil, but you just never know.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Taking Responsibility

Many times I hear from acquaintances that something is not working for them. Typically it might be membership in an organization or even a referral relationship with another person.

What I always find interesting is when I ask, "So tell me what you've done to make it work."

More times than not, the person complaining, has focused on the negative and has not moved away from that point of view. That colors everything about the situation.

For example, getting referrals is so wonderful. Giving referrals and not ever getting any in return is not so wonderful. Instead of focusing on who's not giving, change the viewpoint to why you're not getting what you want.

Usually what I find when I ask is:

The person who wants referrals has not explained exactly what they need, instead just saying, "Send me anything."

The person who wants referrals mistakenly assumes that since they've given a referral to someone that the person will automatically know to send a referral back.

Changing these two situations will probably mean that something different will happen. And what is for sure is the negativism is gone.

What have you done to change a bothersome situation?