This weekend, I’m sharing stories from Mary Holmes of the Cumberland Community Foundation. She often sends me wonderful emails in response to my posts, recounting her experiences as a fundraiser. She agreed I could share some of her tales in two posts, along with my commentary on what they mean for us. Thanks, Mary!Mary says…“Several years ago, our board member Ellie brought a synagogue friend to our Summertime Kids luncheon. It’s a free event, funded by board member donations. The total event cost was around $500– no decorations, no handouts, no perks, just a good, simple lunch. There was a board member seated at each table to provide community foundation information. A few grantees presented their stories, shared how children’s lives were changed, and thanked those present for their support. That friend donated to Summertime Kids the next year and has given every year since then. The friend opened a donor advised fund and made another gift. And then the friend told another friend about the community foundation.”Here’s a simple story about how and why people come to give with great loyalty. Note: there was no lavish event; no magic messaging, no glossy publication. That’s not what drives dollars. Instead:1.) RELATIONSHIPS: A board member introduced the friend to the foundation by bringing the person to an event. Learning about a cause through a friend or family member is the most powerful way to be introduced to it.2) EMOTIONAL, PERSONAL MESSAGING: At the event, the focus was on giving time for the foundation’s champions (its board members) and the people who had benefitted directly from the foundation to connect with the attendees. This did something very important: It gave donors the feeling they were part of an important cause.3.) GRATITUDE: The lunch focused on giving supporters the credit for positive change, and they were thanked for their accomplishments. This creates a great feeling among donors and makes them want to keep supporting the foundation. It’s critical for donors to feel their involvement is appreciated. When they do, they are happy to spread the word because they know their friends will also have a great experience as a supporter.Simple? Yes. Effective? Very.Don’t get so caught up in shiny tools and fabulous events that you lose sight of these basics! Ask Mary: they work.
FREDERICTON – The Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature plans to fight allegations of harassment “tooth and nail,” his lawyer said Monday.T.J. Burke says Chris Collins is devastated that an allegation has been made against him, and believes it may be a political stunt intended to keep him from running for re-election in his Moncton riding in September’s election.“We do believe that the person behind this may be politically motivated to prevent Chris from running in that riding again. Why else would a person sit on the allegations for more than two years?” Burke said.He said Collins has been given no information on the nature of the allegation; Premier Brian Gallant has said only it involves a former employee of the legislative assembly.“We don’t know whether the person is a male or a female. We don’t know whether this happened one year ago, two years ago, or three years ago. We don’t know if the substance of the allegations have any criminal content or civil content to it,” he said.Collins, who has been suspended from the Liberal caucus, voluntarily relinquished his administrative responsibilities to the deputy Speaker on Monday morning. He has not commented publicly, and Burke said his client won’t be commenting until the matter has been dealt with.The province’s Progressive Conservatives said Monday morning that a full public inquiry would be the best way to look into the allegations, and intended to seek one at a meeting of the Legislative Administration Committee later in the day.Stewart Fairgrieve, the Tory member of the legislature for Carleton, said anything short of an investigation under the Inquiries Act would be a coverup.But after the meeting, Fairgrieve said he and other committee members had agreed to have an independent investigator look into the matter.Victor Boudreau, the government whip, said the clerk of the legislature — with the help of the legislature’s solicitor — will choose the investigator and get the process moving as quickly as possible.“I certainly can’t speculate on how long the investigator will take. We simply asked that it be done as quickly as possible,” Boudreau said.Time is of the essence, as parties are all nominating their candidates for the Sept. 24 provincial election.The nomination process for Collins’ riding, Moncton Centre, has yet to happen.Gallant announced last week that Collins was being suspended from caucus, saying he had been made aware of potential allegations of harassment in February, but the individual only made the complaint last week.Fairgrieve is questioning the premier’s handling of the matter.“Other directives should have been taken,” Fairgrieve said.He read from the government’s workplace harassment policy that says “managers are responsible to take appropriate preventative or corrective action and put a stop to any harassment they are aware of, whether or not a complaint is filed.”While speculation is rampant about the nature of the harassment complaint and who may be involved, those details are being kept under wraps.Boudreau said the complainant’s affidavit has been seen only by the clerk and solicitor of the legislature, and the investigator will decide who else needs to know the details.Green Leader David Coon said he was uncomfortable making decisions in the Legislative Administration Committee meeting without knowing the details.He said the committee operates in confidence and should have been given all the information.Burke said Collins is prepared to fully co-operate with the investigation.“We want to get to the bottom of these baseless allegations,” he said.Collins was first elected to the provincial legislature in a 2007 byelection, after serving three years as a Moncton city councillor. He was briefly minister of local government under former Liberal premier Shawn Graham and was elected Speaker after the Liberals returned to power in September 2014 under Gallant.