Category Archives: Nonprofits

Daddy! Is This Santa Claus?

Tired and with a negative attitude setting in, I walked up the dark sidewalk to yet another house in a part of town I wasn’t very familiar with.

My once positive thoughts about volunteering to deliver toys and food on Christmas Eve were shifting to negative.

So far, very few had offered a thank you, and I was feeling somewhat unappreciated.

As the front door opened and I stepped inside with the last delivery on my list, I was glad my task was nearly done and I would soon be on my way home.

“Daddy! Is this Santa Claus?” yelled two small blond high-energy boys with glee.  Immediately, my mood was transformed back into one much more in tune with the true Christmas spirit.

That night, I was Santa Claus to the families on my Talladega Jaycee Christmas for Kids list.  But I also received a special gift myself.

My gift was the reminder of what Christmas is really about:  Sharing, giving, and loving.  I realized that it isn’t about my feelings.  It’s about my helping someone else feel good.

I also learned that sometimes in the business of doing good, it can be easy to get cynical. You won’t always get an acknowledgement of your efforts.

During the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year, should you feel negativity creeping in as you take your time to help others, remember that it’s not about you. It’s about the people who are benefiting from the good deeds you are performing.

Know that while people may not express appreciation as openly as those two young boys, your actions are appreciated and your efforts are making a difference in people’s lives.

Thank You for what you do and Happy Holidays!

Speaker , Hardy Smith works with businesses, nonprofits and associations who want an ongoing culture of performance. Organizations across America have benefited from Hardy’s 30-plus years of experience working in the high-performance world of NASCAR racing. He is an Event Planners Dream! This is what they are saying about Hardy: “I really appreciated the careful thought and planning that Hardy clearly put into his course at the Institute for Organization Management. His warm personality was matched with his heart and experience for helping our industry seek excellence not only in our organizations but in ourselves. He would be a great addition to any conference.” – Katherine Morgan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce
To hire Hardy for your next event call 888-766-3155 or click here: Book Hardy Smith

 

 

Are Your Events Energizing Your Members and Volunteers?

Having a problem energizing your members and volunteers in your organization?

Are you taking full advantage of your events is to use them as a re-activation tool for inactive members and volunteers?

Here is an action list for making sure you have a re-activation plan for your events:

  • Make re-activation of people you haven’t seen in a while a priority goal.
  • Assign leadership roles for ensuring this undertaking is successfully implemented.
  • Have specific measurable results for your goal.
  • Identify a target list of names you want to reach out to.
  • Identify your active participants who may have a personal connection to those on your target list and get them involved with re-activation efforts.
  • Make personal contact and don’t make a big deal about previous lack of participation. My experience has been that doing so may push people further away.
  • Develop a list of tasks that can be done by those you are attempting to re-activate and ask what they would like to do. If the task list doesn’t appear to appeal to them, then ask what role they would be willing to play.
  • Involvement doesn’t have to be a major responsibility. In fact, too big a task may discourage them. The objective is to get them to participate in any way possible.
  • Get a  definite answer to your ask. Don’t settle for a noncommittal response like, “I’ll try to show up.” Get commitment for specific      involvement.
  • If the response is no, make sure reaction is positive. Asking if it’s ok to contact them about future activity opens the door for involvement later on. Follow up your visit with a note thanking for them their time.
  • Don’t delegate and forget. Provide any necessary information and instructions. Conduct supervisory follow-up as needed. Help people feel good about their participation by making sure they are successful.
  • thank you after the event will have added significance and will encourage a continued active presence.

Moving someone from inactive to involved takes effort. For desired re-activation results, persistence is critical. You get what you follow up on!

More about Hardy Smith:
With decades of experience working in the high-speed corporate world of NASCAR racing and advocating for nonprofits and associations across the country, Hardy can provide expert advice and develop effective strategies to help solve business challenges and drive the operational change needed to bring your organization to the next level. Hardy’s offerings include keynote addresses, seminars, workshops, leadership retreats and strategic planning sessions, such as, “Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed to Do?”  To have Hardy at your next event, call today at 888-766-3155 or contact us at:   Hire Hardy Smith

 

Nonprofit Caregivers Need Help, Too

NONPROFIT CAREGIVERS NEED HELP, TOO

Every day dedicated nonprofit professionals are working to help those who have suffered misfortune, aiding victims in need of care, and finding solutions to someone else’s problems.

Nonprofit professionals deal with situations that can range from the simple to the complex and, often to the tragic.

The daily pressure and stress can be mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging. Even the most compassionate and consummate professional can feel the cumulative impact of such a demanding career.

Unfortunately, the intensity of this already stressful workplace environment is growing. While budgets are being cut and calls for help are escalating, staffs are being pushed to do more with less.

So who props up those who prop up others? The answer could be You.

As a high school basketball player, I was barely good enough to make the team, and my prospects for actually getting into a game were close to nonexistent.

In spite of my bench warming role, my three younger sisters showed up at games to loudly cheer for their brother. Their pleas to “put Hardy in” didn’t persuade the coach but did totally embarrass me.

Through the years, my sisters have continued their encouragement. They recognize a need and offer support. My once youthful embarrassment has grown into appreciation and the realization of how fortunate I am to have such great cheerleaders in my life!

You too can have a positive influence on those you work with by being a cheerleader who provides co-workers with a much needed boost.

Help create a supportive environment that will assist in re-charging those whose batteries are running low. Offer words of encouragement to those dealing with a particularly difficult situation. Recognize when someone may be struggling, and help find a way to temporarily lighten his or her load. An act of kindness will go a long way toward deflecting frustration, fatigue, and even burnout.

Acknowledge those who are making a difference. The feeling of being appreciated is a powerful motivator.

Champion the effort to get everyone working together as a team. Celebrate the individual and collective successes your organization is having so each person can share in the glow of accomplishment.

People who work to meet the needs of others are indeed special. But even those who help others need help and deserve recognition and encouragement themselves.

A sister can be a great cheerleader. And you can too!

Speaker Hardy Smith is your Go-to Resource who works with NonProfits and Associations that want an Ongoing Culture of Performance. Organizations across America have benefited from Hardy’s 30-plus years of experience working in the high-performance world of NASCAR racing. His extensive involvement with nonprofit, volunteer-based, and community groups nationwide gives him a keen understanding of nonprofit and association needs. Hardy’s offerings include keynote addresses, seminars, workshops, leadership retreats and strategic planning sessions, such as, “Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed to Do?; leadership training; strategic planning; and innovative and results-oriented consultation.  To hire Hardy for your upcoming event ct 888-766-3155.

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

All event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, an accredited speakers bureauAll event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is, the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, that means reaching out to an accredited speakers bureau and leveraging their expertise.

For those who are not as calibrated in their process, an internet search for ‘motivational’ or ‘professional’ speakers may start the process. Perhaps a visit to YouTube for clips of speakers is the preferred route, with an obligatory click on cute puppy videos along the way. For some a query to colleagues gets the ball rolling.

While both methodologies may result in booking the same speaker, not all paths are equal. For those who opt to do the legwork and cut out the middleman, the road is longer, uphill and full of bumps. Speakers’ bureaus are like Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus; at your disposal, designed to make your job easier, staffed by professionals and not fully utilized or understood.

It is critical to remember how we are offended when other people think they can do our jobs. Let’s not be guilty of that same mistake by imagining that if we can search the internet we can find a speaker just as well as a professional can.

To better understand why a professional speakers’ bureau really is the way to go, I interviewed Sue Falcone, founder and CEO of, “Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau.” Here’s the first of three excerpts from our in-depth and enlightening conversation.

Christy: Why should I use a speakers’ bureau rather than find a speaker via Google or references?

Sue: I believe that communicating what speakers’ bureaus really are, and the value they bring is key to being able to be the “go to” resource for securing the best speaker for an event. Here are three questions we ask perspective clients:

  1. Do you want to save time, money and resources?
  2. Do you want peace of mind with less stress knowing your speaker is going to be remarkable and you will be a rock star for choosing to work with a speakers’ bureau?
  3. Did you know that speakers’ bureau fees are paid by the speaker – not you – so therefore all the time and services a speakers’ bureau provides is free to you?

Christy: Is it more expensive to use a speakers’ bureau?

Sue: Cost is the biggest concern about the perception of using a speakers’ bureau. Many bureaus structure the pricing so their commission comes out of the speaker’s fee. Speakers are willing to pay the bureau out of their speaker’s fee to cover the representation, negotiations and follow up work.

To note: some bureaus do charge a fee, so ask up front whose responsibility it is to cover booking fees.

Christy: What is the difference between one speakers’ bureau and another? Are you all selling the same thing?

Sue: Many speakers’ bureaus have become “speaker listing bureaus” rather than ones who actively work to secure events for all speakers they represent.

Christy: What should an event planner – or a speaker – look for as differentiation in a bureau?

Sue: I have a screening process and require the speakers I represent to sign an agreement as to how I will represent them, and what we agree to do. Knowing they are marketable and are booked through my bureau they not only represent themselves, but also my company.

Did you enjoy Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!? Check back in on Thursday, May 10th for part 2.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

Golden Rule for Nonprofit Leaders!

As a nonprofit leader, you are faced with a tremendous challenge.

In addition to being tasked with providing leadership during a time of major change, you are also confronted with the demands of delivering results in a difficult economy.

These two circumstances can cause a lot of frustration. Why? Because you are feeling the weight of providing help for the people you want to assist or the cause you want to make a difference for.

This type of stressful situation can be emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. When these negative influences are triggered, your professional performance and ability to provide positive leadership can be compromised.

Many nonprofits have respite programs to offer relief to overloaded caregivers providing care for a single beneficiary. You have the same need as a compassionate caregiver, only yours is multiplied many times over.

So how do you deal with the proliferation of personal and professional pressures created by change and challenging times?

My suggestion is to apply Hardy’s Golden Rule for Nonprofit Leaders: Do for yourself what you do for others.

You need to benefit from the same commitment to compassion and caring that you give to your priority cause.

It’s not about being selfish. If you aren’t performing at your best, your organization’s all-important mission won’t be achieved.

Just working harder isn’t always the answer.

Here are four action steps that can provide relief to the stress that could be impacting your performance.

  1. Ask for help. Often we are our own worst enemy when faced with a difficult problem. Letting ego and pride get in the way of asking for help is counterproductive. For example, members of the National Speakers Association are encouraged to participate in master mind groups of colleagues that offer problem solving, performance accountability, and professional support. Likewise, you should identify peers whom you can turn to for advice, mutual support, and collaborative effort to develop needed solutions.
  2. Benefit from life balance. For maximizing your personal productivity, there are essential basics you must commit to: such as, exercise, good diet, and actually taking time away. Allowing for personal rejuvenation is a stress buster and stimulates creativity in a time when innovation is critical. Consider possible nonproductive habits you need to eliminate, and good habits you need to capitalize on better.
  3. Utilize a team strategy. Share the load, and benefit from the strength of individuals working together. Take advantage of the experience of others in your organization and their diverse ideas: solicit input and recognize contributions members of your team are making. Help your team help you by eliminating barriers that restrict productivity, and instead, cultivating creative thought from them. Practice effective communication techniques to keep everyone informed and focused on responding to the challenge at hand.
  4. Take a small-actions approach. Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Switch, write that sometimes a problem seems so overwhelming that the solution may be paralyzing. They advocate taking small incremental actions that ultimately produce a cumulative effect. The Heaths also encourage celebrating small successes – your own and others’. It generates personal motivation to do more.

Apply Hardy’s Golden Rule for Nonprofit Leaders: Do for yourself what you do for others. You will be much better equipped to effectively respond to the pressures of change and challenging times that are now affecting nonprofit professionals.

Speaker Hardy Smith is your Go-to Resource who works with NonProfits and Associations that want an Ongoing Culture of Performance.  To learn more about Hardy and have him speak at your next event click here:  More About Hardy Smith