Be The Friend That You Would Want To Have

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Be the Friend That You Would Want To Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Be the friend that you would want to have, treat others the way that you would want to be treated. Just like the golden rule. It sounds pretty simple and yet so many friendships are challenged by jealousy and doing things to another that you wouldn’t want done to you.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Over the past few years I have been looking closely at my friendships but also my friends and how they relate to their friends. A few conversations have come out of this idea and overall the number one deal breaker was a friend that was either jealous and/or not supportive.

What makes a good and true friend?
1) A good friend is honest and when something doesn’t seem quite right they let you know.
2) A good friend is fun and interesting and you look forward to being together.
3) A good friend supports you with your dreams, goals and ambitions.
4) A good friend is someone that you can trust who won’t steal your boyfriend or husband or your children.
5) A good friend shows that they care about you.
6) A good friend sees you at your best and at your worst and supports you either way.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

What are the deal breakers with a friend?
1) Being dishonest and talking negativity behind your back.
2) Someone who always requires more attention and care than what they contribute. Not just on occasion but most often
3) A Debbie-downer, no matter what you want to accomplish they just can’t see it or are openly non supportive.
4) Someone who can’t be trusted, they steal your boyfriend or husband or your children.
5) Their actions tear you down and show that they don’t care about you.
6) They are only present if they can gain by being with you.

“But your back turned and the knife fell and you swear that payback is gonna be hell. Now you just can’t trust anybody cuz a friend was just a snake in the grass, can’t you see you can’t see tomorrow as long as you are looking back. Got your feet wet, got your heart broke, didn’t pan out like you hoped” As Long As Your looking Back by Gary Allan
Years ago I invited a friend over for dinner and the first question was, “Who else is going to be there?” That immediately struck me as odd; shouldn’t just being with me and my husband have been enough? This person turned out to be a social climber and not a friend at all.

I watched another friend who was openly proud that they had more access to her friend’s husbands’ business and business accounts. If there was trouble in paradise this friend was in it for the husband and not for her girlfriend. It seemed odd to me? It was weird the displaced loyalty or lack of loyalty and the open acknowledgement? All I could think was I wonder what the wife, your so called friend would say and think and feel if she heard that?

Another friend shared with me how their friend told them that they weren’t good enough to remain friends. Even if true, why would you say that to someone? Clearly this wasn’t a friendship at all.

When you have a friend who is happy and successful in their own right, they have no interest in being jealous or trying to tear you down. Friends that are accomplished want to be with others who are accomplished.

A good friend is that friend you can call when you get in a jam and they will drop what they are doing to come and help you. A good friend is invested in you r success both personally and professionally, your success makes them even happier to know you.

A good friend makes the effort, the effort to see you and be with you and be a part of your life and your milestone accomplishments.

A friend is not someone who tries to come between you and any of your relationships. They don’t tear at you to try and make themselves look good. They aren’t jealous of who you are and of what you have.

Having friends isn’t the same as having a husband or life partner, yes my husband is my friend he might even say he is my best friend but he doesn’t take the place of my girlfriends. Girlfriends lift you up; when you beam they are beaming too. When you are happy they are happy for you and when you are sad, they lend an ear and offer support.

A friend may see you do something they don’t agree with or like or even approve of but they don’t divide you from the ones you love over it. They don’t try to gain at your expense. That’s not a friend but rather someone who wants what you have and is jealous and self-serving.

In the end we learn forgiveness or as Jesus would say in Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Be the friend that you would want to have and if you can’t, excuse yourself and say goodbye.

In order to have a friend, you must first be a friend …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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And The Summer Became The Fall

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And The Summer Became The Fall
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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“And the summer became the fall I was not ready for the winter” from the song Nightbird by Stevie Nicks. I am never really ready for winter, I mean yes I have the coats, the hats, the boots, the gloves and scarves but mentally I am a summer and a sunshine girl.

I’ve come to appreciate the fall more and more each year, its harvest time. I like the cooler temps in the evening and “sweater weather.”

Right now although we are still in August, some schools have gone back from summer break and I can see a few leaves that have already fallen from our trees. Recently I heard the weather man say that it is now becoming dark just before 8:00 in the evening.

I love pumpkins and making more “comfort foods” and taking advantage of the harvest.

Apples and apple pie making always makes me happy. It won’t be long before all the leaves have fallen and the days get shorter and darkness comes earlier, and we witness the fields plowed and in rest mode.

“And when I call, will you walk gently thru my shadow”

“And the winter is really here now and the blankets that I love, sometimes I am surrounded by too much love” Quotes from Nightbird written by Stevie Nicks.

Winter always feels like that like, the shadow of night after the summer filled with light. Let us pray that this fall and winter season is filled with an abundance of both blankets and love for all. Tis the season to remember everyone with love and warmth and light …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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8 Key Characteristics of Successful Nonprofits

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8 Key Characteristics of Successful Nonprofits
By Bernadette A. Moyer

What does it take to run a successful nonprofit organization? For more than 15 years I have been in nonprofit management and administration. I have witnessed highly successful organizations and others that were constantly struggling.

Times change and often so does support, how do you stay relevant when the financial purse strings tighten?

How important is the leadership both on staff and within a board of trustees? Who is in charge? And what roles do they play?

1. Qualified Staff Members

The key to any successful organization is its people. What is the composition of the staff? Does the leadership have an aligned staff and an aligned board of trustees; is everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals?

In my career it seemed that organizations with executives that had both a supportive staff (inside) and supportive board members (outside) were the ones that met their goals and often exceeded their goals while achieving success.

An organizational handbook and clearly defined job descriptions are paramount to assuring that staff members are informed. An organizational flow chair is imperative.
The more skilled the staff is the greater likelihood for achieving success. Is there unison and is everyone working in alignment and within budget will all determine the future strength of the organization.

Retaining staff is just good business sense. It takes time and money to train people to work together and to learn their job and to work as a team. Staff turnover is expensive and generally costs more than just dollars. It may decrease productivity and inhibit the ability to maintain and meet goals.

2. Cash is King

A nonprofit is no different than any business, regardless of how good your mission is, if you are out of money you are out of business.

Are there multiple revenue streams? Is the fund raising a priority? Is the work being done marketed properly and aligned with grantors requirements? Is the product(s) aligned with the demand?

Do all the members understand the difference between a “party” and a “fund raising” event?

Is the foundation reinvesting in itself? Is the equipment and are the systems up to date? Does the physical plant represent the mission well?

The most successful non-profits are aligned for success by reinvesting in their own products, their plant location, their people and their systems. Is education a priority? Staying ahead of the curve, anticipating needs and filling those needs require leadership. There is a big difference between maintenance and advancing the mission.

Budgets that have no real growth and development year after year are in “maintenance mode” and after a period of years maintaining that same budget is in essence losing money. All costs go up when salaries go up, products and services go up and a budget that is “flat lined” is one that is on the decline.

“It’s the economy” is one of the most overused statements/excuses because someone is always succeeding and growing and making money. Typically they are the organizations that are forward thinking rather than in “maintenance mode.”

Build it and they will come! Fill a need and make a difference in the community and add sales and marketing skills and the cash will flow again.

3. A Good Board of Trustees

A good board of trustees is one that is diverse in skill set, has a desire to help the organization move forward is willing to share their business knowledge and financial support. It is no secret that today’s grantors are looking closely at the composition of the board. They want to see a variety of types of professionals represented and they want to see that board members are 100% invested in the annual board drive. Simply put is the board putting their own money into the organization and are they personally invested.

Example: If you are running a capital campaign do you have contractors, lawyers, business people, financial experts and fundraisers on your board? Having the right people is often the difference between meeting your goals and succeeding or coming up short and failing.

A good board knows how to work together as a team, they come together for the common good and they support the board president as well as the executive director. With the right people in place trust is easily established and mutual respect is achieved.

Most board members are in it for the right reasons; they want to make a difference and to be a part of something that is bigger than them. The articles of incorporation will address the type of board that the organization is whether it is an advisory board or a governing board. Board members should be willing to participate in both orientation and training.

Board members are often recruited for their specific skill set and for their sphere of influence as well as their ability to financially support the organization.

4. A Clear Concise Mission Statement

Everyone associated with the organization should be in a position to clearly communicate the mission of the organization. Who do they serve and why? Who is the target market audience and what sets your organization above others? What makes you unique and/or different?

Often going back to the founder’s intent helps to define the mission and create a clear concise mission statement.

5. Filling a Need

Is the organization doing good work and are they filling a need? Today just about all the buzz surrounding nonprofit work leads back to health and wellness and education. And no matter what the core mission of the organization there is usually a way to tie it back to wellness and education.

Health and wellness and education are never going to become dated and go out of style, they will always be relevant in any community.

Why should your organization be supported? Most thriving relationships are built upon win-win choices. How do you align your organization with helping to serve the community and at the same time succeed and grow?

Who is your identified target market audience?

6. Public Relations and Sales & Marketing

Is the community aware of your products and services and do they feel welcome to become involved with you? Getting the word out has never been easier with so many social media sites and avenues. The challenge may be in the presentation of the materials. What makes your organization stand out? What niche market are you promoting that needs to be sold and properly marketed?

A good story and doing good work sells itself! If you have a community paper and your organization is doing good work that paper will want to share your news. Making pitches and constantly keeping reporters and key community members abreast of your activities will assist greatly with your public relations campaign.

Not everyone sees everything or hears it the first time. Be willing to promote your message and your story over and over again. Most people don’t hear it or take it all in the first time. Beat the drum! Share your successes and your challenges.

A nonprofit that is filling a need and doing good works is an easy sell.

7. A Strong Supportive Volunteer Base

Recruit volunteers and train them and treat them well. A good volunteer is invaluable to most organizations. Build a diverse volunteer base.

Young high school students and college aged students are looking for real life work related experience. Build a program for interns that support young people and the community and watch your organization refresh itself.

Retired community members have the time and the talents to share and are looking for a sense of community and belonging. They bring wisdom and support to the organization.
Having a variety of volunteers with different skill sets and abilities can help fill a void. Value your volunteers and they will value the work that they do and the organization that they serve.

8. Adjust and Adapt

Strategic planning is great and having outside professionals come in and assess your organizations gives new eyes/insight and a chance to help you grow again. Be willing to adjust and adapt. If a program or event is no longer working or relevant, discard it. Creating something new creates new buzz and new excitement.

If your staff is tired and worn out make every attempt to bring them back to life or look at replacing them. Sometimes an organization will hang on to a staff member or a board member because they believe that the organization will fall apart without them. This is seldom if ever the case.

Not long ago I witnessed a board that was so tied to a particular staff member, this person had the board completely “hood winked” they really believed that she walked on water. Yet the people on the inside of the organization, the ones that actually worked with her, saw it completely differently. Without going in the details this person is now a convicted felon. She stole more than $160,000 by writing checks and taking cash that was not hers to take, she stole from the nonprofit that she pledged to work for and no one on the board or the hired auditing firm caught on until the damage was done.

Sometimes what appears to be a setback is often just an opportunity to adjust and adapt and set the stage for new growth and development.

In 2008 when many businesses and nonprofits were feeling the financial crisis hit and taking a loss, I witnessed one nonprofit that grew substantially. How did they do it? They grew their mission and their target market audience. They grew from being a special needs school and added new programs that included addressing the needs of kids with autism. They had boy’s group homes and added a girl’s home. They expanded their grant writing and their special events fundraisers to meet more programs and fill more needs.

They became more and more relevant in the community by serving more and more needs in the community, they had a leader with a vision and he was surrounded by a well-trained and an educated staff and by a board of trustees that not only believed in him but supported him. They all worked together in alignment and all worked toward the same goals and together they achieved them.

At any given time and in every economy, somebody is always growing and doing good works; be willing to adjust and adapt and that “somebody” just may be your organization!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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Asking Her Father

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Asking Her Father
By Bernadette A. Moyer

It’s nice to see that some traditions have staying power and still ring true for so many young couples wanting to marry. Yesterday I was at my nail salon getting my nails done when I began talking with the young lady next to me. Later that afternoon she was going ring shopping with her soon to be fiancé’.

She shared the story of what it was like when her boyfriend “asked her father” for her hand in marriage. They had been dating for several years and the parents openly accepted him. But … dad wasn’t so quick to say “yes” but replied with “I will let you know after I discuss it with her mother.” It wasn’t long before the much anticipated answer was “yes.” She talked about respect, the respect her boyfriend had for her and for her father and mother. She knew that this would translate to the best possible start to their married life.

Later that day I attended a wedding myself and this young couple also began with tradition in “asking her father” for his daughters hand in marriage. As I sat through the church service and later the reception you could see all the friends and family support for this newly married couple. They definitely have all the markings for making it and staying together and I have to believe it begins with respect.

“Over the years I have counseled many young couples and the couples that begin the marriage process with “asking her father” are by far the ones that manage to stay together.” Father John

As a wedding officiant myself I see it too. When a man loves a woman and respects her and her family of origin enough to “ask her father” it sets the stage for a healthy and happy beginning. This single act lets the family know that this is a good start to a life that is beginning with inclusion and with love and with respect.

In a world that is ever changing it is so refreshing to see that some traditions survive the test of time.

On the way home from the wedding yesterday I couldn’t help but ask my husband about it. What would you think if someday you were in the position where a young man came to you for the sole purpose of “asking her father” and his response was without thought “it’s still the right thing to do!”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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The Importance of Proper Alignment

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The Importance of Proper Alignment

By Bernadette A. Moyer

Organizational alignment just like our own body needs to be properly aligned to function at the highest and most productive levels. Last week I pulled a muscle in my lower back and I am fairly certain this came from sitting in a new desk chair that wasn’t suited for the computer station that I was using at that time. I wrote for hours in a position that literally pulled and strained my lower back.

I haven’t been in this much pain in years and it caused me to want to overcompensate by using the other side of my body in an unaligned way which only put additional stress on my legs and other body parts. Once I got moving around I found some relief but after sitting and sleeping it was excruciating to get moving again. My body experience reminded me of the importance of how everything must work together and in harmony and complete and proper alignment for maximum and best results.

Organizational strategic plans are often derived from the same concept where all efforts must literally line up and face one common goal to achieve that corporate goal. When each created staff position supports the next position inline it creates a direct line to the identified goal. An unaligned organization where staff members are pulling in their own direction is like six people pulling on a wagon each for their own direction. That wagon is basically immobilized as a result of the lack of alignment. Those same six people working together and pulling together for the same goal/direction have a higher degree of probability to attain that goal and make it to their desired destination.

These same analogies can be found in our current state of political affairs. With a country that is literally divided in half between a Democratic party and a Republican party you have equal parts pulling in opposite directions whereas it is nearly impossible to achieve any real goals. When the majority of people get behind a single goal that is when we will see our country move forward. As long as the wagon is being pulled in two completely different directions no real success can be attained. I am not afraid of change I am much more concerned with the effects of division rather than what can be achieved with proper alignment.

Alignment is so important in how we live our lives. If we want something and have set a goal for ourselves have we done what is necessary to line up all our efforts to achieve that goal? We can manage to move without proper alignment and often we do this by putting undue stress on other areas. It is only when we have identified our mission and our goals and properly aligned ourselves and our support team that we can achieve highest and best results. When we identify and make our goals a priority, and line up all our efforts, there is a higher probability for success.

We should never underestimate the importance of proper alignment in our own bodies and in our health as well as in any goals that we set out to achieve. Personal and professional alignment gives us a direct line to fully functioning and achievable results. My back is not 100% but a new properly aligned desk chair has been ordered and I am reminded of the importance of proper alignment in all that we do as we set out to achieve our goals.

This Presidential election I hope that enough people come together in a majority and align themselves on a single mission where we can accomplish goals and attain success for the majority of people.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Leader and his team. 3D rendered image.

Leader and his team. 3D rendered image.

Accomplished …

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Accomplished …

By Bernadette A. Moyer

Every once in a while I get hung up on a word where I can’t stop processing it and thinking about it and all its meanings. My new word is accomplished, a colleague recently referred to me as “accomplished” and for days now it has stuck with me.

How do we define “accomplished” does it change and grow as we do? I’ve always believed that to truly become accomplished you have to love what you do and have the discipline to practice and stay with it. Like a muscle that needs to be exercised our talents and our gifts need to be exercised if we are ever to be truly great and therefore, accomplished.

“Most of the important things in life have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” Dale Carnegie

For many of us I think the word “accomplished” can be intimidating as if only a Ballerina is an “accomplished” dancer or a Grammy Award winning artist is considered to be an “accomplished” musician/singer.

I want to believe that if we are living true, true to ourselves and our hearts and in keeping with what God wants for us in this lifetime, then indeed we have accomplished much.

Christians believe; “God has a plan for your life and if God’s word is believed and obeyed God’s will can be fully accomplished in one’s life.”

Whether or not you “believe” in a higher power, a God source, I think most of us would agree that we know in our hearts and our souls when we are living true to ourselves and therefore are feeling and living an accomplished life.

Each one of us defines “accomplished” as it relates to us and our journey in this lifetime.

My own personal best definition of an “accomplished” life models this Henri Nouwen quote; “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love?

These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bits of love that I sow now will be many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”

How do you define “accomplished?”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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The Importance of Truly Great Mentors

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The Importance of Truly Great Mentors
By Bernadette A. Moyer

This piece is “prompted” by a request for submissions on mentors. I originally wrote about my mentors in an essay included in my book, Halfway Home The First 50 Years.

I’ve had a few teachers all through school that took an interest in me. There were numerous teachers that said things that resonated with me and impacted my thinking and my desire to learn and to uncover my own gifts and talents.

As an adult professional career woman, I had two significant mentors. In real estate it was my office manager Marianne. She took a real interest in my success and in me as a woman and as a mother. At that time, my mid-twenties I had never known anyone quite like her. She was a socialite and a southern belle. She had adult children and was a part of Junior League and other elite social community groups.

Marianne believed in me, she was different from my family and other teachers in my life. As a strong and successful female corporate executive she was also one of the most diplomatic people I ever encountered. The take away for me with her was that I was worth it, I was good and I was good enough. She supported me and in her support I was truly successful. Marianne was genuinely happy for me when I did well and sympathetic and supportive when I struggled. She was everything you would want in a female role model.

Because of her I was a better Realtor and a better friend and a better mother. Her support trickled down to my child as she attended “grandparents” day to support my daughter and she was there when that same child graduated from high school. She was successful and came from a place of strength. Marianne had a lot to offer and I was easily mentored by her.

The next very important person in my professional life was the President and C.E.O. of a special needs school; Dr. Ross. He was my mentor into the world of not for profit work. He taught me to think differently and he taught me that even the most broken people in our society, those with educational and emotional challenges had value. Unlike much of my Italian and Catholic upbringing he didn’t judge people. He lifted them up. He never lost his childlike enthusiasm and the “I can do that” mantra for challenges. Dr. Ross took an interest in my success which ultimately supported his vision and the organizations success. He was both driven and disciplined.

Dr. Ross and Marianne both shared one common trait in their ability to lift others up, and mentor them. They had such a high opinion of you and of your value and worth that you never wanted to let them down. In that single common trait they both brought the best out of the people that they managed, supported and mentored. They are positive, upbeat and driven. They come from a place of strength, placing value and challenges on the people that they work with. They are positive people that lift up every single person around them.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to do more and to do better and to become more accomplished because of the mentoring support I received from both Marianne and Dr. Ross. They supported my success in two completely different worlds. One was total for profit business, real estate and the other the true social work model in not for profit work in a special needs school. Great mentors are so important and without mine I would never have known the career success that I enjoyed.

Paying it forward; as a result of the mentoring I received I have mentored many young people through the years. Young adults who worked as volunteers and as interns. I did my best to lift them up and to help give them the confidence to soar with their own strengths.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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