Each month, Margaret May features a person, place or favorite thing that inspires her, with the hope that it will inspire you, too.
If during these unprecedented times, you find yourself unhinged and at odds as to what to do with idle time while waiting to get back into society—welcome to the club! It’s a big club, and no doubt each of us has a favorite story as how life is changing and how we are coping. The lack of the rush that comes from the hustle and bustle of a rigorous time schedule as well as the isolation from friends and family is both a blessing and a curse, depending on your outlook. This definitely presents a situation to ask, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” A Welcome Opportunity for Reflection Being an optimist at heart, I began to look [...]
One of my favorite books on women’s leadership style is The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnston (2010 Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA). As they write in their Forward, “The Female Vision draws on the latest research (comparing women’s and men’s perceptions) to illustrate why what women and men see can be so different.” They go on to illustrate with very compelling stories what these differences are, why they matter, and how the inclusion of women’s vision and leadership is beneficial to an organization’s culture, mission, and sustainability. Relevant for Non-Profit Leaders Although the authors limited their research to women in the for-profit sector, the information is as relevant to women working [...]
Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing reviews of books that inspire me in the hopes they will inspire you too. Happy reading! Experts say that the best way to teach a lesson is to tell a story. Indeed, through the ages fables have enriched our lives by their moral lessons. How can we forget fables such as Aesop’s The Tortoise and Hare or The Ant and the Grasshopper! Short, Profound Modern Tale In the 21st Century, fables continue to be life-changing for those who choose to read them. And this is certainly true in the field of Philanthropic Leadership. One such modern tale is the short yet profound book, The Art of Influence by Chris Widener. In a [...]
Bookmark: Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni Cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, author P.M. Forni reminds us, "Just about the most important thing we do in life is interacting with other human beings." Not only does he remind us how important such interaction is, but also how far we have strayed in our everyday lives from being civil and polite in all we do. With a gentle reminder that "All we have to do is stop, think about it, and then act," Forni provides the reader with a step-by-step guide to rediscovering good and sensible manners for a more stress-free and enjoyable life. This gem of a book is a must read. [...]
Bookmark: The Generosity Network by Jennifer McCrea and Jeffrey C. Walker with Karl Weber The Generosity Network weaves a web of generosity and collaboration, which is a win-win for everyone and every cause -- from local to global. The authors' ability to define and humanize the relationship building process that can move a person from transactional to transformational philanthropy makes this a must-read for donors, funders, nonprofit executive and fundraisers. This book gives insight into how our personal attitudes about money and giving may inhibit our generosity. It also provides realistic insight and the road map to be the philanthropist we can be and how to turn dreams into reality and results. If you want to tell a compelling [...]
In this topsy-turvy world, who among us has the luxury to sit down in a quiet place and think about the life we want to live? Author P. M. Forni makes an extremely compelling case as to why we must find the time to make an earnest self-examination of the important things in our life. Why? Because, "If life is valuable," says Forni, "it only makes sense to attend to it constantly." And giving attention to the present moment is one way to seek relief from the frenzy and inefficient acts of multi-tasking that seem to be today's norm. In 12 short chapters, the author packs a lot of solid advice and reflective questions to put the reader on a [...]
Q: What is the Women's Funding Network? A: The Women's Funding Network celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014. The network of funds was originally started by a group of 20 leaders who believed that philanthropy and social changes needed to recognize and include women and girls issues. The WFN is now a network of more than 160 Women's Funds in 30 countries. Today, the Women's Funding Network is the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to improving the lives of women and girls. For more information, visit www.womensfundingnetwork.org.
Q: How do you define eudaimonia? A: Eudaimonia is the Greek word used by philosophers that translates to "well-being of the soul." According to Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, the wellbeing of the soul is achieved through arête, defined as living in excellence and virtue. He identifies the moral virtues as prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. A virtuous life according to Aristotle is a balanced life with neither too much nor too little of each virtue.
Q: Are there websites with information on how to volunteer? A: Absolutely. In addition to contacting your local United Way or Community Foundation. These sites offer some wonderful volunteer resources. visit www.networkforgood.org, www.volunteermatch.org, www.pointsoflight.org and www.encore.org.
Q: Is there a resource for children's gifts and books to learn about giving? A: Yes. The National Center for Family Philanthropy has an excellent website, www.ncfp.org. I encourage you to visit the site for both children and adult resources. Correction to last month's "Ask Margaret" book recommendation: Shel Silverstein (not Shel Silverman) is the author of The Giving Tree. Thank you, Lori E. Gold, for bringing this to our attention.
Q: Can you recommend a children's book on the topic of giving? A: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverman, published in 1964, remains a favorite with children and adults.
Q: What do gift planners mean by the "ultimate gift"? A: According Debra Ashton, author of The Complete Guide to Planned Giving, the ultimate gift is "not the method a person uses to give the gift, but rather the magnitude of and the motivation for the gift." She goes on to say, "Ultimate gift fundraising, then, depends on our ability to build and develop long-term relationships with a few special givers."