New Year = New Possibilities

New Year = New Possibilities

As I welcome the next decade of my life, I give profound thanks for so many things, including that I am looking forward to the future with anticipation, and not looking back. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing in my modest role building a better world. I know that I don’t have all the answers, but more passionately than ever I am asking questions in pursuit of how I can better serve a magnificent non-profit sector and the countless inspiring examples of leaders — management, staff, board members, volunteers, donors and other supporters who tirelessly champion noble missions that touch, improve and save more lives. I consider my personal modest space in this universe is contributing to a spirited learning community by teaching, facilitating, making subject matter experts available and empowering the conviction that we all can help each other grow and become more effective in our respective positions. My personal priority is best merging the power of in-person contact and new technology which enables us to overcome geographic boundaries and make the very best use of the finite time with which we are blessed. I am convinced we have only just begun to envision and implement the strongest possible combination of in-person contact and exciting new technologies. Presented below are some of our preliminary plans for 2024 to continue our commitment to quality programming in the formats of webinars, podcasts, virtual town meetings, webcasts and new approaches yet to be labeled. In the finest spirit of learning community, I encourage you to share your best thinking on subjects, speakers, formats and other ideas so we can more robustly grow together and move forward together!

Preview of 2024 Webinars

It’s exciting to announce our schedule of webinars running through June 19th. Later we will announce the schedule of webinars for the rest of the year. We’re bringing back some subject matter experts who joined us in the past, plus we’re featuring some speakers for the first time. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the experts and topics that we will be addressing to stimulate discussion. Typically, we send out invitations on the Friday before the webinar which is scheduled for the Wednesday of the following week. We plan to host webinars every other Wednesday 4 to 5 p.m., Central time. Based on audience feedback, we’ve decided to keep away from the PowerPoint slide format so our speakers will appear much larger on the screen. Plus, this creates much more time for discussion. To receive invitations, you must be in our Constant Contact database. Feel free to invite co-workers, colleagues and friends to sign up for these free webinars plus our monthly Stratagems e-newsletter.

Jimmy LaRose

WEDNESDAY, January 24 | “Let’s Agree to Disagree,” Jimmy LaRose, Founder, NANOE

WEDNESDAY, February 7 | “Stronger Together,” Scott McAninch, CEO, The Nonprofit Council

WEDNESDAY, February 21 | “The Front Porch Revolution,” Dr. Robert Lengel, President, LeaderWork

WEDNESDAY, March 6 | “Making Good Impressions,” Kelli Newman, President, APR, Newman & Newman, Inc.

WEDNESDAY, March 20 | “What Foundations Want,” Cody Knowlton, President & CEO, Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio

WEDNESDAY, April 3 |”Fundraising Across The Big Pond,” British Fundraising Expert to be Named

WEDNESDAY, April 17 | “Monthly Means More Money,” Erica Waasdorp, President, A Direct Solution

WEDNESDAY, May 1 | “Winning Grants,” Alex Dunn, Millionaire Grant Lady

WEDNESDAY, May 15 | “All That Jazz,” Clint Maedgen, New Orleans jazz musician

WEDNESDAY, May 29 | “It’s A Small World After All,” Marjorie Hope, author, Connectiplomacy

WEDNESDAY, June 5 | “My Sis Knows Computers,” Barbara Eskin, Managing Partner, Barskintech

WEDNESDAY, June 19 | “First or Next Capital Campaign” Marv LeRoy, Founder & CEO, Institute for Philanthropic Excellence


Anybody who knows me, knows that I love presenting in lists of 10. So here is my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2024.

1. Cherish family, friends and other loved ones, like this is my last day.

2. Innovate, innovate and innovate. Relentlessly pursue new and better ways of doing things.

3. Commit to a healthy lifestyle based on rigorous exercise, proper diet and nutrition and a positive attitude.

4. Don’t let old friends disappear.

5. Make new friends from all different demographics and ideological beliefs.

6. Welcome opportunities to mentor.

7. Celebrate victories and sweet moments.

8. Never waste an opportunity to thank, recognize and get others within my hug.

9. Reflect each day on how family, friends, mentors and others who have passed on have touched and enriched my life.

10. In the words of the immortal Winston Churchill: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never!”

Power of High Tech and High Touch

Ask for money and you get advice, but ask for advice and doors of opportunity open. Eskin Fundraising Training is grateful to the NANOE website for featuring our article on Virtual Hall Meetings. This spells out a customized approach to moving non-profits ever closer to the hearts and heads of their donors, prospective donors and other friends. We are exploring if non-profits of different sizes and representing different missions would be interested in partnering with us to harness the power of this new donor engagement process. The deliverables include a customized agenda, expert third-party facilitation and executive summary of discussion highlights during a 60-minute video-conferencing session. Just let us know if you want to learn more about how this initiative can advance your mission, engage donors and prospective donors, identify key messages — all to raise more money.


Thanks to our partnership with TVSA — San Antonio’s public access station — the door is now open to televised programs that can be both broadcast to local San Antonio market audiences, while shared with our learning community via videoconferencing. The inaugural broadcast featured our event planning diva, Dona Liston, owner, Lambermont Events. Our topic was “Holiday Parties on All Budgets.” We don’t know anyone more savvy in planning and executing special events, putting more smiles on guests, getting the most bang for your buck and maximizing messaging opportunities regardless of the gathering, venue and budget. Our gratitude in particular to Frank and Leon Burns with all production issues and making life so easy for us. We are excited about embracing the webcasts format when appropriate to fit content and speakers to be highlighted in 2024.

New Video-Conferencing Platform

On advice and counsel of our producer, John Largent, CEO, Gameday Media, in 2024 we will be shifting from Zoom to the Sessions platform. The primary motivation is to provide a more interactive experience for our learning community. This feature allows us to create and modify content right in the meeting room. What sets Sessions apart is its integrations with other tools. With Sessions, we will be able to directly integrate 19 different tools into our programs. This means that we need to share our screen or use any extra software to collaborate with others during programs. Another value-added feature is the opportunity for learning community participants to tag one another for the purpose of continuing private chats after the webinar is concluded. Of course, participants will continue to have one click access to programming. Finally, Sessions runs on its cloud platform. This means that you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues or lag times. You can connect to the Session cloud and instantly collaborate with others.

Lunar Power

We are excited to announce the addition of Rhanda Luna to our team to provide stronger and more creative programming in 2024. With her arrival, we’re excited to leverage her expertise in expanding our webinar series and launching Virtual Hall Meetings. Rhanda’s diverse perspective (based in Austin) contributes to our efforts towards generational and gender balance, enriching our approach to empowering professional and non-profit leaders. Having met when we served together on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – San Antonio Chapter, I have watched Rhanda’s career blossom. She has continuously proved herself as a resourceful and passionate non-profit professional, especially developing resources in the challenging arena of performing arts organizations. One of the immediate updates will be introducing Rhanda’s Corner in our webinar series to offer diverse perspectives, enriching our discussions with a broad range of experiences.


As demand for services has increased, the number of Americans who volunteer has continued to decline, leaving many non-profits across the country straining to provide services. While the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated shortages, volunteering has actually been on the decline for the past 13 years. According to a report released by the Census Bureau and AmeriCorps, the number of volunteers in America dropped about 7% between September 2020 and 2021, and in that same year, a little more than 23% of Americans formally volunteered with an organization, the lowest percentage of volunteering since tracking began in the early 2000s. The largest decline is mostly concentrated in suburban and rural areas, where volunteering rates had been the highest. Last month, the Do Good Institute in the University of Maryland School of Public Policy released a study which found that numerous factors are fueling a decline in the number of volunteers. For example, older volunteers who were more vulnerable to COVID-19 decided it was too risky to continue volunteering, and company policies allowing employees to work from home meant fewer people went into cities where much of the need still exists. Moreover, the study found that people with higher levels of education are more likely to volunteer, as are married couples and parents who have children living with them, so potential factors for volunteer shortages include people waiting longer to marry and have children, as well as the student loan burden that many college graduates carry.

Nominate Your Non-Profit North Star

We’ve now completed the recording of nine podcasts saluting a diverse group of heroes from the non-profit sector, representing different parts of the country, wide array noble missions, and all possible professional and volunteer leadership roles among senior administrators, staff, board members, volunteers and other champions of non-profits. We will be releasing these podcasts in early 2024. But we still need your collaboration in nominating those you see close-up and in action promoting good works, typically without fanfare. Here is our simple nomination form. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and return it to us so we can share the stories of heroes you are witnessing in your parts of the non-profit sector.

On Bookshelf: The Enchanted Path

In an eclectic memoir about the storied career of a high-powered Washington, D.C. media lawyer, Steve Lerman provides an insider’s view of the broadcast industry and his exploits with some of its most interesting personalities, including Howard Stern, Don Imus, Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, Joe Madison, OJ Simpson, Mel Karmazin, and Les Moonves, all of whom appear in Steve’s never-revealed stories. Growing up in Brookline and Newton, Massachusetts, Steve had a daunting start, losing his father at age twelve and two stepfathers not long thereafter. But what didn’t kill him emotionally made him stronger. His confidence, good fortune, and determination, coupled with a major dose of serendipity, allowed him to sneak into The Wharton School at UPenn, to accidentally become an attorney, and to establish and grow Lerman Senter PLLC, a world-class boutique communications law firm. Through luck and pluck, Steve became a noted communications/entertainment lawyer for major media companies, and the outside General Counsel of CBS Radio’s 180 broadcast stations, which gave him the opportunity to defend, represent, or rub elbows with some of the most fascinating people in the media. Steve’s memoir contains unique perspectives on the inner workings of the U.S. government and some of the most well-known media executives and performers, all embedded within hilarious, sad, uplifting, and otherwise compelling vignettes from throughout Steve’s life. The Enchanted Path culminates with his intense devotion to philanthropy, which he refers to as “the search for my continued relevance.” Steve’s robust philanthropic agenda will be featured in an upcoming podcast.


We’re nearing the finish line for the 2023 holiday shopping season, and as shipping deadlines approach, more shoppers may end up streaming into physical stores to grab the last gifts of the year. So, what do physical retailers need to know this year? Staff up in the afternoons but be ready for mornings, too: More than one in three holiday shopping visits (36%) occurred between 1 and 5 p.m., while 28% came before 11 a.m., according to an Ipsos survey from the beginning of the 2023 holiday shopping season. While small businesses remain a key part of the holiday shopping experience, small business owners grew more pessimistic about the economy toward the end of the year, according to the latest MetLife/U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index. One major factor: The difficulty of finding employees. More than half of businesses who have looked for employees say it’s hard to find candidates with the right experience (54%) or skills (52%) for the job.

Quiz: Most Charitable States

Forbes Advisor compared all 50 states and District of Columbia across seven generosity metrics, highlighted by that state’s charitable giving rate. Match the following states with their respective percent of citizens who give annually to charity. Answers are shown at the bottom of the page.

1. Calif                      a. 29%

2. Ind.             b. 39%

3. Iowa                     c. 44%

4. N.M.            d. 52%

5. Texas           e. 58%

Stratagems is published monthly by Jim Eskin, Founder of Eskin Fundraising Training, LLC. We offer workshops and customized training sessions for board members, staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations of all kinds and sizes. For details about our services and information, or to find out how to schedule a training session for your organization, visit our website. Follow our events on Facebook, and read more articles about philanthropy on our LinkedIn page.

Jim Eskin

Jim Eskin, Founder

Eskin Fundraising Training

Email: [email protected]
Cell: 210.415.3748

ANSWERS TO THIS MONTH’S QUIZ:  1=b, 2=d, 3=e, 4=c, 5=a

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