A few thoughts during this season of gratitude, peace, and generosity …

Every year at this time I do a special reflection on the abundance of things in my life I am grateful for.

The list is long, and spans from the physical (health, food) to the social (family, friends, colleagues), to the mental, emotional, spiritual, and entrepreneurial. The people I get to work with every day — talented changemakers in a wide variety of fields, professions, and specialties — round out the list.

I also have been thinking about the refugee crisis our world is facing at this moment in history. The bottom line seems to be that we are all part of a human family; if we can’t accept refugees and migrants fleeing from hardship, what have we become?

I come from immigrant stock myself (my father is a Persian Jew and my mother’s parents come from Jewish communities in Eastern Europe). I am eternally grateful that we are safe, supported, and able to pursue our dreams in this country. (Unfortunately, that cannot be said for all of my country men and women but it is true for many.)

For centuries the U.S. has been a beacon of hope for those in search of a safe harbor. This season of gratitude, peace, and generosity seems like the perfect time to live up to that tradition.

PS: If you would like to sign an open letter to the US Congress about this issue, please go HERE.

The letter ends with this paragraph:

“Refugees are not the enemy. Refugees are our spouses, our parents, our grandparents. Some among us are refugees themselves; others have experienced the violence of war. But we are all writers. As such it is our duty to bear witness. Together we call upon the government of the United States to take in Syrian refugees, to act with humanity, and to honor Emma Lazarus’s words, chiseled on the Statue of Liberty: ‘A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.'”


ENCORE: Free Webinar 11/11: How to Assemble Your Ideal Nonfiction Self-Publishing Team

Yes, you’re thinking of self-publishing. But how can you prepare your emerging manuscript to take on the world? What kind of help do you need, and how can you get it?

It can be very confusing to sort out the dizzying array of options available these days. True: The barriers to becoming an author have never been fewer. But the publishing journey can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Where do you start, and how can you evaluate the professionals who can help you along the way?

Join me for a free webinar that will demystify the process by offering clear guidance to move you forward. This webinar is about becoming an educated consumer of professional self-publishing help (I’ve been on both sides of the desk)! It was inspired by a publishing colleague who said he didn’t envy first-time authors trying to figure out how to navigate the system.

Lots of people are entering the self-publishing arena these days. And as an author you need to do your due diligence to find people you can trust, who have your best interests in mind. Who can you trust with your “baby”?

Webinar participants said it best:

“It’s a big job and we need support.”

“I realized the magnitude of considerations required to actually produce a book beyond just producing the content!”

Continue reading


Last time in 2015: Web Copy “Writing to Make a Difference” working session: 11/4 in San Francisco

Have you been putting off making needed changes to your website copy? Not sure what will make the most impact? Need some detailed feedback?

Of course, you know that your website is an essential part of your company’s marketing. It needs to speak to your readers their way. But actually cranking out that copy can sometimes be a challenge.  This hands-on working session is NOT just another workshop where you take time out of your busy schedule, learn about great ideas, but never implement them. Instead, it’s an opportunity to finally get that needed web copywriting project moving!

In a small group setting, you will get:

1) Initial guidance and inspiration: planning fundamentals, insights about today’s web users, web-friendly writing tips

2) Dedicated time and space to write (with prompts if you need them) or to ask specific questions of the facilitator

3) Real-time feedback from the “focus group” in the room

By working alongside your colleagues you can share ideas and motivation to finally get those webpages written. The result? You walk away with copy you can start using right away.

Bring your laptop or tablet loaded with any content you already have, and get ready to get your hands dirty (figuratively speaking)!

(BONUS: Participants are eligible for a special discount on a professional website audit.) Continue reading


Calling all Seattle-ites: Attend My Session at the Puget Sound Grantwriters’ Assn Conference (10/22)

Thinking about attending the 2015 Puget Sound Grantwriters’ Association Conference in Seattle this October 22?

The theme is “Impact” and the lineup offers something for everyone in the grantwriting community. My session is no exception, and the title is: “So what? Who cares? Zero In on Your Impact and Tell Funders About it!”

Here’s the description:

All grantwriters know the answer to the question, “What does your organization do?” That is, you are clear on its activities, services, and programs. But can you really identify your organization’s impact? If you’ve been asked to put together a Logic Model or an Evaluation Plan, you may have been stumped a bit on this question. In this session we will dig deep to find out what lurks beneath your services and programs. Come prepared to discuss your organization’s work; leave with the knowledge of what lies at the heart of your “impact” – and how to communicate it to grantmakers.

What you will learn:

  1. How to move beyond an understanding of what their organization does, to what difference it makes in the community
  2. How to get and use client stories and feedback to underscore that impact
  3. How to act as a leader to help other staff evaluate the organization’s impact (to improve grant proposals)

Learn more about the entire conference and register (if you haven’t already) right HERE. I look forward to meeting folks in the Seattle area!


Check out my latest journal article: “Watch Your Language!”

Have you heard of The Philantrepreneur Journal? Published by The Philantrepreneur Foundation, this quarterly digital publication contains informative articles on timely topics, features industry leaders, and offers great resources.

I have a full-length article In the Fall 2015 edition, titled  “Watch Your Language: Develop Messages that Speak to Today’s Readers.” Check it out on pages 26-28!

(To get you started, I reprinted the first several paragraphs below.)

Are you and your organization prepared for the big changes underway, as our world becomes more collaborative, open, and blended?

Or do you find yourself stuck in the conventional model of philanthropy: asking wealthy institutions or individuals for ‘donations’ and ‘gifts’ in closed, one-way transactions with little interaction?

Today’s social entrepreneurs are not interested in handouts, and neither are their supporters. Both groups are looking to contribute to an evolving world of partnerships, social enterprises, and even crowdfunding. They recognize that they are all components of a healthy system that turns resources into community outcomes and impacts. They each contribute unique value that makes the organization much more than the sum of its parts.

You can join this “changing landscape” by making a few simple mindset shifts, reflected in the words you use. (Hint: You’ll find some of these keywords in italics below.)

I’m talking about a new way of thinking about and expressing our collective place in the world. That is, a new kind of positioning, outreach, marketing.

But before we get there, let’s clarify that “marketing” is not a nasty word or a sleazy necessary evil (read: snake oil salesmanship). Rather, it’s about entering into an exchange where everyone wins. When you express such an exchange in writing, I becomes all about sharing information and passion about your work with interested readers so that they, your clients, and your larger community can all benefit. Through this exchange, you will have become true partners in the endeavor.

Your job is to show that your organization is a trustworthy, inspirational partner. And you need to demonstrate how your reader’s investment (of money and/or time) will get real results that they can be proud of.

To do that, your copywriting must position your work as cutting-edge. It must start to engage new and varied audiences. And it must help your organization become a respected thought leader in your field.

I call it the ABCs of Copywriting for the Social Sector:

Read the rest of the article on pages 26-28…