Thursday, May 21, 2009


Do you know the number reason people do not give to others? No one asks them. Plain and simple - no one asks them. Even though I am in the business of asking others to give, I have never felt very comfortable with the word and concept of "giving". Sounds too much like nothing is required other than forking something over. I prefer to think of it as offering an opportunity - an opportunity to support, an opportunity to achieve, an opportunity to make a difference.

Every day I am humbled by the way people make it possible for LIFT to achieve the goal of teaching adults to read for free. I am always amazed at the way people step up and literally put their money and their time where their mouths are.

Yesterday was the launch of DonorBridge, a new resource for non profit supporters in North Texas. Our supporters and partners were all abuzz about the possibility of LIFT receiving matching funds. When the site was launched at 12:01 a.m. several supporters went online to make their donation and as the day progressed, LIFT friends called to tell me they were making their donations on line. A college friend who lives in Florida e-mailed that she had made a donation. Before 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, LIFT partners were calling me asking if I knew how much in matching funds we might be receiving. DonorBridge generated excitement for LIFT, excitement that is needed in these, shall we say, challenging economic times. People were excited to be part of something. Those of us who stayed up late (and for me, midnight is really late - I am typically asleep even before the evening news broadcast) were attending our own little on line party, complete with texts and phone calls to keep up with our progress.

Several of our donors made DonorBridge gifts to LIFT in addition to their regular, yearly gifts. And all we had to do was ASK! We sent out two e-mails, a postcard mailing and included information in our newsletter. But what probably was the most effective tool was the fact that we shared information about Dallas Giving Day one on one with our volunteers and supporters. We talked to each personally about how the program would work and how they could make a difference. Many of those supporters then forwarded the e-mail to their friends and in the world of six degrees of separation, those friends forwarded it on to other friends. LIFT went viral. In addition to garnering us new donors, DonorBridge gave us the opportunity to remind people why LIFT is here and why the work we do matters.

Goes to show that all you have to do is ask. And you just might be surprised.

Monday, May 18, 2009

DonorBridge is Coming

DonorBridge is a new online resource for non profit supporters in North Texas. Information on area non profits, including LIFT, will be available to supporters at Sort of like a clearinghouse where you can find tax returns, programs, budgets, staffing - anything you might want to know about your favorite non profit or a non profit you might be interested in funding.

In honor of the launch of this new resource, on May 20th, any donations made to your favorite non profit (which I hope is LIFT) online at can be matched dollar for dollar. You want to get your gift in early though - only $200,000 is available for matching funds and with 400 are non profits all vying for this money, it will go early.

In these tough economic times, area non profits have seen funding fall dramatically at a time when more and more people are asking for services. LIFT is no exception. We have seen foundations who have funded us for years unable to fund this year due to a decline in the value of their investments. At the same time LIFT logged over 1,000 phone calls in a two week period in January from people wanting information on our classes.

Even though all LIFT classes are taught by dedicated and fabulous volunteers, it takes money to run these programs. With 8,500 adult learners in a year, the majority of whom ask for homework, you can imagine the amount of paper we run through alone. Then of course you can't have class in the dark - we have to pay the light bill. Not all students can afford a textbook - those are $20. Many of our adult learners cannot afford a bus pass to get to class. If $2 towards a bus pass is all that stands in the way of getting someone to class, then LIFT is going to make that happen.

If you only make one gift to LIFT this year, make it May 20th at and double your impact.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All Things LIFT

I realized my last post was April 27th - time has a way of getting away from you, especially when things are hopping like they are at LIFT. Today's posting is a conglomeration of all things LIFT.

Tomorrow we have the 3rd Annual Adult Spelling Bee. Corporate teams compete to see who will be named the Stellar Spellers. This year we have nine teams competing. It is a fun event.

May 20th is a very big day for LIFT - that is the launch of DonorBridge, a new online resource for non profit supporters in North Texas. In honor of the occasion, the Dallas Foundation and the Communities Foundation of Texas are matching dollar for dollar, donations made to LIFT on that day at the DonorBridge website, This matching program will be a long needed lifeline for the 400 area non profits who are part of DonorBridge. We all have the opportunity to double our gifts - that is a much better rate of return than the stock market, plus donors know they are truly helping someone make a permanent fix by learning to read. So, I encourage each and every one of you to log on to on May 20th and make your gift or call me, give me your credit card information and I will log it for you. My number at the office is 214.824.2000, ext 230.