Monday, November 30, 2015

Reviewing Tempel, Seiler, and Aldrich's Achieving Excellence in Fundraising

During the summer of 2013, I took a grad class for school administrators called Institutional AdvancementAchieving Excellence in Fundraising was one of three books I read for this class at CIUAchieving Excellence in Fundraising is not a small book (500 pages), but it's organized into eight manageable parts consisting of 41 short chapters. Below is how the book is divided.

Part 1 - Fundraising: The Art of Relationship Building
Part 2 - Structuring Your Fundraising
Part 3 - Discovering What Donors Value
Part 4 - The Art of Solicitation and Stewardship
Part 5 - Involving Volunteers in Fundraising
Part 6 - Managing the Fundraising Process
Part 7 - Ethics and Accountability
Part 8 - Your Career in Fundraising

You'll also find:

  • A one page of essential texts for nonprofit and public leadership and management
  • An instructor's guide that is available free online
  • Numerous tables, figures, and exhibits throughout the book
  • A 15 page glossary of fundraising terms
  • 10 pages of references
  • An 18 page index

If you are looking to cast a compelling vision, creatively build a professional network, and ethically fundraise large sums of money, I believe you'll find Achieving Excellence in Fundraising to be of help. The editors are leaders at the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, headquartered at my alma mater, IUPUI. They explain the major truths, theories, and techniques of fundraising and share what other top leaders in the field have said.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Family Devos During Advent - The Wickersham Way

During the Advent season, Wickersham family devotionals look a little different. The focus of this special time is the celebration of the birth of the Son of Man in His first arrival, and the anticipation of the return of the King of Kings in His second arrival. Beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, we bust out a pewter wreath (we pretend it's an evergreen) and five candles (three purple, one red, and one white). This year our purple candles are super short so we substituted them with sweet pink ones. I suppose one can find purple taper candles on Taobao, but I'm going to say pink is close enough to purple for the rest of the year. Once we position the candles on the dining room table, the kiddos pass my quiz about the different Advent symbols before we begin reading Scripture:
  • The Advent wreath is a circular evergreen wreath and has four purple/red candles around it and a white one in the center. 
  • The circle of the wreath reminds us of the Eternal Father and His endless mercy. 
  • The green of the wreath points to the hope that we have in the Father, the hope of newness, renewal, and everlasting life.
  • The candles symbolize God's light coming into a dark world through the birth of His Son. 
  • The four outer candles represent the waiting period during the four Sundays of Advent symbolizing the four hundred years of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the First Noel.
Each Advent Sunday and Christmas Day we read two Old Testament passages (often from Isaiah) and two New Testament passages (mostly from the Gospels). The readings from the first Sunday focus on the hope the Father provides, the second Sunday focuses on His peace, the third Sunday on His joy (red candle), the last Sunday on His love, and on Christmas there is no specific theme, but everything points to the all-powerful Prince of Peace (white candle).

On each day of December until the 25th, Rose, Grace, or Josiah opens a window in an Advent calendar during or after dinnertime. Sometimes some arguing takes place concerning who will open the window, and I try to remember that I'm simply being given an opportunity to teach about the Son of Man. Unfortunately I do not always pass the test. Last year we started reading Ray Pritchard's Let's Go Straight to Bethlehem every evening, and we'll continue using this solid Advent devotional.

After I read the devotional, we might discuss it a little before Megan reminds us about what we can pray for. Rose starts off the prayers, and I am always the last to pray. We pray about what we learned during the devotional, we praise our Father for who He is and how He blesses us, we pray for others, and we confess our sins. Even Josiah takes part although sometimes he has trouble focusing. I cut him a bit of slack since he just turned four; however, I'll be expecting way more from him when he's the big five.

So there you have it - Wickersham family devotionals during the Advent season. What about music? We need to work on that, and I'll be giving it some serious thought in the next month. Below are some links that can help you worship our Wonderful Counselor during this Advent season. Merry Christmas from the Wickershams!

desiringGod Advent resources

The Gospel Coalition Why Celebrate Advent?

Reviewing Ray Pritchard's Let's Go Straight to Bethlehem

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, November 28, 2015

12 Ways Tianjin Transpo Has Changed During My 12+ Years Here

1. When I arrived in Tianjin in 2003, most of the taxis were red compacts and not the roomier turquoise Toyotas that we have now. 5 RMB and not 9 RMB ($1.40) was the starting fare.
2. We used to be able to hail a banana yellow van called a miandi. I think they lacked shocks, but I liked how you could throw your bike in the bumpy ride.
3. Today I usually use my iPhone to get a private driver and pay with a credit card. Now I don't ever have to be concerned about not getting a taxi and whether I have the RMB for the trip.
4. Back in the day there were far less vehicles on the road, and almost every car was an expensive black German sedan. You see lots more color and car styles on the road nowadays.
5. Because Tianjin has so many cars on the road, it takes us longer to get to the train station than it does to take a train to Beijing.
6. I once took a three-hour train from Beijing to Tianjin for less than 10 RMB ($1.25 in 2003). Today a BJ to TJ bullet train ride takes less than 25 minutes.
7. Once in a while we would see donkeys pulling carts of watermelon on the big roads. That is definitely a thing of the past.
8. Bikes used to be everywhere, and no one had electric bikes. E-bikes are now common on the road and bikes less so. A few bike riders might have expensive Giant mountain bikes.
9. We didn't ever see motor bikes, but now we occasionally see motorcycles. We have a Harley dealership just around the corner.
10. Prior to my motorbike purchase four years ago, we owned a sanlunche (three wheel vehicle). Unfortunately these electric tricycles are no longer permitted in Tianjin without special permission.
11. I once rode a bus that had a hole in the floor allowing me to see the road from a new angle. Today many city buses have comfortable bucket seats, TVs, and air conditioning.
12. Tianjin has several subway lines that are cheap, comfortable, and convenient. The subway lines didn't exist or were being renovated when I arrived twelve years ago.

To read more about Tianjin's crazy mega growth and change over the years, click here.

A bicycle repairman near my first apartment - April 2004

My Amazing Four-Year-Old Foosball Player

My four-year-old Josiah has become quite the foosball player. Recently he has surprisingly defeated a few adults who have agreed to his foosball challenges, and this afternoon one of Grace's fourth grade friends became his latest victim. Although Josiah hasn't scored more than two goals against me in a match, he can claim being ahead of me in a couple of matches. This is something many TIS middle schoolers would like to be able to say. Josiah's foosball skills have surprised me not only because he's a four-year-old who can barely say foosball, but because he competes with only one hand. I don't know why this should surprise me when I've seen so many people with missing limbs do amazing things.

Sometimes I see others stare at Josiah because he's missing his left hand. A couple of days ago a little kid grabbed Josiah's sleeve and was confused as to why Josiah only had one hand. A little over a week ago one curious girl asked why Josiah was missing a hand. I'm sure Josiah is having these kinds of experiences much more than I'm aware of and that he'll continue to face these tests as he gets older. The dad in me wants to protect Josiah from these awkward moments, but I know this is all part of the Father's plan. I'm thankful that our Father's love for Josiah is far greater than my love could ever be. God is good, and His love endures forever. I'm also thankful that Josiah is finding success as a foosball player, and I look forward to the day (not anytime soon) when he starts beating his pops.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

1. I have a job (that I enjoy). Nearly 8 million Americans are unemployed.

2. I have a home (with heat and hot water). Over 500,000 Americans are homeless.

3. I have friends (that pray and laugh with me). Loneliness affects 60 million Americans.

4. I have a family (that supports and loves me). There are 20 million orphans in the world.

5. I have insurance (to help pay for great medical care). 33 million Americans lack insurance.

6. I have a healthy body (which enables me to run and jump). Diarrheal diseases will kill over 2,000 kids today.

7. I have Internet access (to show me what is happening in the world). Billions are excluded from the online domain.

8. I have an education (that gives me access to countless opportunities). 775 million adults are functionally illiterate.

9. I have issues (that show me my weaknesses and how much I need Him). 1/3 of the world's seven billion people claim to follow the Son of Man.

10. I have the love of the Father (giving me purpose and everlasting life). Do you know His love?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18