Author: angie.

Last year, Armbruster Consulting Group had the pleasure of working alongside the fabulous team at African American Youth Harvest Foundation (AAYHF). Their mission is to advocate, to strengthen, and to provide culturally relevant, family centered educational, health and human services, and economic development opportunities to African American youth, their families, and other at-risk populations that reside in the Greater Austin area.

The AAYHF youth short film project, “The Perfect Stranger” has been accepted for representation at the Cannes Film Festival. This project represents a collaboration between Midiam Films and Krew12, a long-standing AAYHF Program. Krew12 serves high school youth by providing weekly hands-on training in difital and traditional media including photography, film making, radio, graphic design, music, poetry and more. According to AAYHF, 99% of the youth enrolled in their weekly programs like Krew12 were promoted to the next grade level or graduated.

Congratulations to African American Youth Harvest Foundation and the kids involved with Krew12 on this extraordinary honor!

More and more communities across the country are participating in 24-hour Giving Days to recognize and energize your city’s nonprofit organizations. These Giving Days are great opportunities for to raise funds and awareness for your organization. Check out these ideas to maximize your impact:

  • Plan Ahead

How are you going to communicate to your supporters the purpose of the day and how they can get involved?

Determine where your supporters “live” and how can you best reach them. For some organizations, this may mean a direct mail piece, for others online communications might be the best way to promote the day.

  • Ask a board member for a matching donation.

If donors know that their gift will have double or triple the impact, they will be more likely to donate!

  • Create SMART Goals

We encourage all organizations to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable , Realistic and Timely, especially for something like Giving Day.


Specific—What are your goals? Don’t think only about fundraising, consider “friendraising”, too. How specific can you be?

Measureable.-“We want to raise a lot of money” is not measurable (or specific). Put a dollar amount on how much you want to raise. It can be an increase over last year’s Giving Day donations and/or the number of new supporters you gain.

Achievable—If your organization hasn’t raised $1M in one day the past, you are probably not going to raise $1M on a Giving Day. Here’s the hard part-your goal should be something that you strive for, and also something that is in reach.

Relevant—How will the gifts from your giving day affect your organization? Use this as a starting point for communications.

Timely—This piece is done for you! You know when the Giving Day is and that there are 24 hours to raise the money.

  • Communicate with your supporters. Let them know what is going on, your goals for the Giving Day and how they can support you. If supporters can’t donate money, create other ways for them to be involved like volunteering or sharing the day with their friends and family. Make sure that your Facebook posts and tweets are easily shareable.
  • Thank your donors and the community

How are you going to thank your donors? Make sure you have thank you notes set up to be emailed automatically with donation receipts. Consider giving public thank yous on your social media or website or have staff make short videos (think Vines) to show your gratitude.

  • Review and Evaluate

Did you meet your goals? Determine what worked for your organization and what didn’t. There may be many variables here, so answers may not be crystal clear. These answers (or estimates) may help you to plan not only for next year’s Giving Day, but also for future fundraising campaigns.

Even though these Giving Days come around once a year, make sure to take full advantage of it!

Do you have any tips to add? What has worked for your organization? Let us know in the comments.


Interested in developing a plan for your next Giving Day? Let us help! Contact to get started.

Author: Molly Heinsler




There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter

Summertime is the perfect time for creative fundraising that encourages community building and fostering a love of the outdoors. This summer our families are participating in a variety of programs that we believe will inspire us, raise funds and awareness for causes we care about, and give us a reason to surround ourselves with people we love. Take a look at what’s happening this summer for Team Armbruster:

1. Great American Backyard Campout benefiting National Wildlife Federation – ( – Families in the Steiner Ranch neighborhood in Austin spent the night in our backyard. We played games, searched for bugs, took a hike in the greenbelt, and made s’mores. The kids enjoyed their time outside and the parents were glad to be only a few steps away from the A/C and running water.

Great American Backyard Campout

2. Annual 4th of July Family Olympics – My husband’s birthday is on the 4th of July so I always struggled to find a way to celebrate that would be fun for the whole family. The answer came after reading about a 4th of July picnic with a field day. The competitor in me couldn’t wait! I sent out the first official call for teams a few years ago. We usually have about 20-30 people participate and games range from the three-legged race to a pool kid-toss. The crowd favorite is always the eating contest – last year was ice cream! After trophies and medals are awarded we relax by the pool, talk about highlights from the day, and laugh. This year, in addition to being awarded a trophy, we made a donation to Armbruster Consulting client, No Marine Alone in their honor. Check out Buck and his amazing journey at

Annual 4th of July Family Olympics

3. Children’s Birthday Party with a Twist – This summer, Angie’s daughter was invited to a jungle-themed scavenger hunt birthday party. The 8-year-old birthday girl asked guests to bring donations for Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, in lieu of gifts. It was a fantastic way to teach young children the importance of giving back while also having lots of fun. The money raised supported the nonprofit’s adopt-a-cat program, as well as provided enrichment items for the cats.

4. Mobile Loaves and Fishes Kids Camp – Mixed in with the football, swimming, and soccer camps, my boys attended Camp Mobile Loaves and Fishes. The camp is focused on serving others and teaching empathy. The kids collected food for the food pantry, learned about poverty here in our community, and most importantly discovered ways that they can help those in need. It was a great week and I look forward to nurturing their sense of mission and community involvement as they grow. Learn more about Mobile Loaves and Fishes at

5. Party with a Purpose – Just before school starts, Angie and her 8-year-old daughter are hosting a fund-raising children’s clothing swap. They are inviting friends to bring gently used clothing items and accessories to trade with guests, along with a $25 cash donation. The cash donations and leftover clothing and accessories will be donated to Children’s Home Society of Missouri. Learn more about the Children’s Home Society by visiting

While these activities are not your traditional event fundraisers, they do have the potential to produce much needed revenue and awareness for a variety of organizations. You still have a few weeks left before school starts and the weather starts to change. Schedule something TODAY that will make an impact on your life, your community, and the causes you care about. Encourage your volunteers, donors, and community to support your organization in their own unique ways. Good luck and stay cool!

In the News
Armbruster Consulting, Inc. has been blessed with the opportunity to partner with two new clients; The Toby Keith Foundation and EMDR Research Foundation. We are excited to help both organizations make a difference.

The Toby Keith Foundation recently announced their newest project, The OK Kids Korral – a home away from home for pediatric cancer patients and their families to stay while they are undergoing treatments for cancer.”

The EMDR Research Foundation is a charitable foundation dedicated to the promotion of quality, unbiased research in EMDR. Their mission is to promote the health and growth of human beings through the support of quality research, evidence-based practice and compassionate, well-informed clinicians.

Connecting the Dots

The object is to keep busy being something…as opposed to doing something. We are all sent here to bring more gratitude, more kindness, more forgiveness and more love into this world. That is too big a job to be accomplished by just a few. ~Richard Nelson Bolles

Does anyone remember that scene from Working Girl in the elevator where she quickly explains how she got from a newspaper article to the idea to buy a company? She connected the dots and saw an opportunity. When I read this month’s post from my friend and client, Charlotte Benson from Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, I immediately saw an opportunity – the potential to get organizations to stop focusing on DOING and think about BEING. Charlotte’s story is focused on children and encouraging them to BE instead of DO. I was inspired and humbled by the words. I started to think about our organizations as children. We all spend so much time DOING work that sometimes I think we forget to BE the kind of companies and nonprofits we envisioned from the beginning.

Charlotte wrote, “I went to the poetry recital expecting to see and be proud of what Garland can DO, but instead left with a beautiful picture of who Garland can BE.

What if our donors and clients left meetings with us and felt the same way? Excited to see what we do but more motivated and inspired by what we can BE. And more exciting than that, how they might be able to become part of who we are and who we become.

To read Charlotte’s full post, click on the link provided below. Enjoy!

In the News

Armbruster Consulting Group, Inc. has been blessed with the opportunity to work with three new clients; Fara Foundation, Safari Club International Foundation, and ACTIVE Life.

The Fara Foundation is an American non-profit based in Austin, TX that provides resources to support the needs of Matagalpan families and aids in four areas: medical care, food assistance, educational opportunities, and elderly care. To learn more about their mission, visit

Safari Club International Foundation funds and directs worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education.  To learn more about the work they do,

ACTIVE Life’s mission is to make healthy the new norm by generating a persistent demand for healthy living among all sectors of society. They envision and are committed to creating an American culture which values, demands and supports healthy for all. To learn more about their vision, visit

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 

Presentations 101

Having an opportunity to share your ideas and thoughts with people is a tremendous gift. The idea that your words can impact people in so many different ways is so energizing for me. Whether it’s about branding, personal development, how to presentations or just reviewing a case study…I LOVE IT. I also love hearing other people present and always walk away with pages of notes that influence my personal and professional life.
Whenever I am invited to speak, I ask a series of questions to help me determine what to focus on.

  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • How can I help them?
  • Who is their audience?
  • Where are they coming from (backgrounds, experiences, knowledge of the topics, etc.)?
  • What presentations have they enjoyed the most in the past?

Then I start asking about the goals of having me there.

  • Is it simply to motivate and rally people?
  • Is it to help provide a sense of direction and set priorities?
  • Is it to tell my stories so they can learn and do it bigger and better?
  • Is it to provide actionable directions for a specific project?
  • Is it to create a stronger sense of team?

The next round of questions usually involves the format and time available.

  • Will we have several days or just minutes together?
  • What is the agenda?
  • Where will this presentation fit, and what comes before and after?

Will I be presenting with someone else or going solo?

Once I have these answers, I can start to determine the main points that should be covered and the level of interaction with the audience (team building activities, small group discussions, etc.). My brain automatically starts thinking in PowerPoint even if I won’t be using it during the actual presentation. It is an easy way to outline the presentation and focus on key points. Once I have the PowerPoint constructed, I create the intro and summary notes and add notes to every slide. I think back to books I have read that might be helpful to this audience or quotes that might trigger a new thought or inspire someone. I try to provide a new tool they might not be aware of that can help make them more efficient (Google alerts, VideoStar, etc.)

After the presentation is complete, I rehearse it and adjust the number of slides, flow of material, and speed. My rehearsals tend to be very content based and straight-forward. The part I enjoy most is bringing the presentation to life with the audience. It really isn’t complete until you are with the people who you are working with. They are the missing piece, and when you are all gathered in the room it just feels right. This is where I take liberties to add a funny story or tell a personal challenge and how I learned from that mistake. It is a great feeling when people ask questions, take notes, and get involved – when they don’t think of it as me presenting but more of ‘let’s learn together’.
Receiving emails and feedback after my sessions is very rewarding. It’s wonderful to hear from people to hear how and if they were impacted.

“Thank you for all that you did to make the Leadership Empowerment Institute a success. You were the star of the conference. I really appreciate your wisdom, energy, and your magnetic smile, and I hope to work with you in the future.” ~ Greg Gibson, National Black MBA Association-Austin Chapter, Conference Chair

To me, the most important thing is to think back to the presentations you have enjoyed most. Ask yourself…

  • What did you like about them?
  • What presentations did you not like and why?

Always assessing the value of what I am presenting is important. If I were sitting in the audience, would I walk away feeling like my investment of time and resources was used wisely or wasted? Were there a few ah-ha moments that I can point to and learn from?
Having the opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with others is truly a gift and not one to be taken lightly. Whether you are presenting this week’s status report or ideas to change the world, do not take the opportunity to stand in front of a captive audience lightly. Be clear, concise and passionate. One of my new favorite words is ‘enthusiastic‘. It means having or showing intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Speak ENTHUSIATICALLY and you will be great!


In The News

Armbruster Consulting Group is excited to be partnering with two new clients, Project Open Hand and Run Just For Today, and look forward to helping them achieve their missions.  To learn more about them, visit their websites. and

Rachel was recently interviewed by Lipstick Unplugged where she talked about, “How to Build a Respected Brand.” To listen to the interview, visit

To check out Rachel’s key take-a-ways from RWR 2013, visit

Resource Links

Below is a list of resources we hope you will find helpful.  Each month, we will provide links to resources that we have come across and enjoyed. If there is a link you want to share, post it in the comments section.

  • – Inspiring videos from people who have ideas worth spreading through events in their communities.
  • Join Toastmasters – A non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Take a PowerPoint class – Lessons to help do the things you typically do to create and prepare a presentation. Have a designer make your presentation beautiful.

“The best businesses are those that have figured out how to combine profits, passion, and purpose.” ~Tony Hsieh

It is always exciting to see when a company, of any size, decides to make a positive impact in their community – for their customers and their employees. One barrier to using cause marketing for many companies has been truly understanding how to implement a campaign and having the technology resources to make that campaign efficient. When I met Sandra Morris from CafeGive I was excited to see that the technology previously reserved for large corporations is now affordable and available for small and medium sized businesses. CafeGive is providing some ideas and recommendations for cause marketing in this e-newsletter. No matter what your passion is, how small or large your organization is, or your company goals, cause marketing can help! Learn how to get started or enhance an existing program.

Whether we call it community involvement, strategic philanthropy, cause marketing or purpose based branding – when businesses and nonprofits successfully partner — change happens. It’s good for the community, the business and its employees, and the mission of the nonprofit. Businesses are increasingly seeking nonprofits that have the ability to raise their own brands by association, as well as foster loyalty and turn stakeholders and customers into advocates.

As the nonprofit, if you are seeking funding, think about what you can do for your business partners versus what they can give you. A well-executed cause campaign that reaches your highly educated and caring clients, donors, and event participants is a new frontier for your business partner. You should leverage this asset to establish a more significant, long-term and sustainable partnership.

As a business, you give back to the community. Your unique giving story is part of what sets your brand apart. And your customers want to hear that story: At least 53 persent of consumers choose to do business with companies they believe are focused on giving to the greater good. Beyond encouraging employees to get involved in the community – or writing a check – what if you could implement a giving strategy that would directly engage your customers with your cause?

Adding social media to giving programs turns a good program into a great one by creating strong relationships and trust. If done well, social media marketing can rally employees, consumers, customers, and others around key issues they are passionate about. It can be a very effective and efficient way to increase the positive impact on a community.

Here are 6 recommendations to make your cause-related campaign impactful:

1. Keep it simple – Define a simple goal to start. Are you trying to build awareness, get people involved with an action or commitment, build your audience, or raise funds? All of these activities are valid, and each may require a slightly different approach.

2. Play to your strengths — A brand, its partners and causes all have resources, ideas, and assets. Maybe one of your partners has a great email list, or an event coming up that is a perfect place to launch a program. Use these opportunities, and the creative energy of the teams to heighten the impact of your campaign.

3. Tell a story — Storytelling connects in an authentic meaningful way. Find the story that powers the campaign and resonates with your audience.

4. Create opportunities for engagement — Consumers want to engage. Social cause marketing campaigns use voting, contests, or online donations to engage an audience. With a strong call to action, the social nature of the campaign can multiply the impact of cause campaigns.

5. Know your audience — Who are you trying to reach? What do you want from them, and what do they want from you? In a social media campaign, our messaging can engage across the business and the cause while informing you of what your audience’s expectations are and what excites them.

6. Have a plan and well-defined metrics — Campaigns succeed or fail based on your marketing plan, your goals, and your measurements. Have a plan and goals that are realistic and fit with your abilities. Track the day-to-day feedback on how your cause marketing campaign is working and make adjustments when warranted. Don’t wait until the campaign is over to reassess. Make revisions as you go!

Social media is fast becoming a marketer’s most powerful tool. So why not harness all that power for good and lift a brand by lifting your cause? Below are a few examples of current cause-related marketing programs and partnerships. Share your cause-marketing tips and insights on the Armbruster Consulting Facebook page or at

Mobile Donate App

10×10: A Campaign to Educate Girls in Developing Countries: The campaign is designed to raise money every time the trailer is shared and collect donations on mobile and the Web.

* View Mobile Donate App (view on a smartphone) (

Like Us Give Back App

Using the Like Us Give Back app, Credit Union 1 Alaska is giving Alaska’s Poultry in Motion food bank $1 for every Facebook like. This campaign combined with other branch efforts build brand awareness for Credit Union 1 while at the same time provides critical financial support and awareness for the food bank.

* View Credit Union 1’s Like Us Give Back Campaign

Photo Contest

Using the Photo Contest app, CafeGive is driving community involvement and giving at the same time! To help Hurricane Sandy pet victims, CafeGive is running a pet contest and the owner of the winning pet will direct a donation to an east coast animal shelter. Please Vote!

* View #Petelect Photo Contest Campaign

Make the Match

Using the Make the Match app, Patelco Credit Union is engaging support from their community to support disaster relief and help hurricane relief efforts.

View Patelco Make the Match Campaign

About CafeGive

CafeGive combines social media apps with online fundraising apps to increase the impact of cause-related campaigns. Our set of apps and platform, CafeGive Social, helps businesses, nonprofits and marketing agencies quickly execute and measure branded social campaigns. Examples include Like Us Give Back, Contests, Social Impact Map, Giving Apps, Custom Apps and more. Visit to learn more about how we can help your cause initiative!

In the News

Armbruster Consulting Group, Inc. has been blessed with the opportunity to work with three new clients; The Andy Roddick Foundation, Make-A-Wish® Foundation, and The Reach Foundation.

The Andy Roddick Foundation works to develop and inspire underserved youth through education and sports-based mentoring, and preparing youth to succeed in the game of life. They are committed to the growth and development of tomorrow’s generation. To learn more about their mission, visit

Make-A-Wish® Foundation has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish granting work since 1980. World Wish Day is a celebration of the first wish, the first act of kindness that has inspired the world for over 30 years. To learn more about World Wish Day, visit

The REACH Foundation has partnered with Martial Artist Leif Becker, “The Fastest Board Breaker” in the world, for the Breaking Barriers project. Leif will attempt to break 100,000 boards in 24 hours, each board representing barriers which face children today. Organizations, famlies, and individuals can “adopt” a board and will be given a personal “Breaking Barriers” pledge page where they can address the barrier which faces them or others in their life. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness of the barriers young people face on a daily basis and to raise money to fund programs which will assist children in breaking these barriers. To learn more about the Breaking Barriers project, visit

“Show ’em you’re a Kubicki!” ~Jerry Kubicki

Anytime my brothers and I left the house, performed in a play, sang with the choir or played sports, my father would always say “Show ’em you’re a Kubicki!” He always expected the very best from us. He let us know that we represented not only ourselves but our family and that we needed to be an example to those around us. Great leaders can be born and they can be made. One important aspect of every great leader I know is that they are constantly seeking to improve themselves in order to serve others more effectively. Recently a long-time friend and colleague, Doug Hauth, provided an assessment of my leadership abilities.

The results were revealing and extremely helpful. As I continue to grow the company, serve clients and be a leader for my own family and community, I need this type of on-going guidance and insight to keep improving. While my last name has changed, the motto is still as relevant as ever and I hear my father’s words every time I start a new project, speak with a client or begin a presentation on stage – Show ’em you’re an Armbruster!

Special thanks to Doug for providing the following inspiring thoughts on leadership and making a true impact on those you lead! Enjoy!

Me and my father, Jerry Kubicki

You’re a Leader
(But where are you leading your followers?)

There is no denying it. Everyone is a leader whether they know it or not. Everyone understands that the CEO or President is the leader of the organization and that good leadership is critical to the success of any team. But that kind of position title is bestowed by the organization and says nothing about the leadership abilities of the person in that position. We tend to forget that leadership is not a position but rather a quality and that we’re all leading, all the time. If we’re not in a leadership position, we’re peers, parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and yes, even a stranger to someone who is watching how we’re interacting with the clerk at the register. Even if we never leave the house and interact with anyone, we’re still leading our own lives. We’re all leaders, but the question really is – what kind of leaders are you? Do you inspire others to be more than they ever thought they could be? Do people seek you out to be a part of what we’re doing? Do others share honestly their successes and failures with you as a learning experience without fear? Do others feel good in your presence? Are you changing people’s lives for the better? Are people happy when they’re in your presence? Are you happy in their presence? Do others trust you? If you’re a positional leader in your organization, is your organization aligned with your vision? Are you achieving your goals? If your answer to each of these questions wasn’t an emphatic “YES!” then perhaps you’re leading yourself and your followers down the wrong path.

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. So very true! I would add that President Adams was describing what we now call transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is not what is taught in business school, in the military or in any school I know of for that matter. James MacGregor Burns first used the phrase “transformational leader” in contrast to a “transactional leader”. A transactional leader uses reward and punishment to motivate – if you do this, I’ll reward you by giving you this bonus, promotion, etc. A transformational leader motivates by example, by their personality and by allowing their natural gifts to emerge which inspires others to “dream more, learn more, do more and become more” as so eloquently spoken by Adams. Unfortunately, our world is dominated by transactional leaders, but you don’t have to follow their lead!

Just imagine how becoming a transformational leader might impact your event, your volunteers, your donors, your employees and yes, even your bosses! The June 19, 2012 issue of this newsletter highlighted some “lessons” from clients:

Lesson: A major roadblock to local event management success is allowing yourself to get focused on the production details and not focusing on the relationships. Whether it’s recruitment of new participants, stewardship of sponsors or working with volunteers, by creating a day-by-day action plan for relationship development, a group can see tremendous results.

Lesson: Be sure your event’s success does not rely on one single individual. By diversifying the management of the event production, the relationship management, and the volunteer support, you can ensure that the event will continue to be strong when turnover occurs with staff and/or volunteers.

Lesson: Be sure you and your board of directors have a clear vision for your programs.

Can you see that these could all be considered leadership issues? Whether it is the need to build relationships so you don’t have to do it all yourself, or defining and communicating your vision, you have people waiting to follow your lead. Will you choose transactional or transformational leadership? I hope the answer is transformational, because those are the leaders we all want to follow.

The good news is that there is a transformational leader inside of you just waiting to be. You can facilitate greatness that will achieve your vision. You can be the inspiration that makes the difference. It may take practice, and sometimes the help of a coach who can help you become aware of blind spots and other blocks preventing your leadership from emerging, but it is worth the effort. Imagine what you and your followers will achieve!

About Doug Hauth

Doug Hauth is an experienced corporate and non-profit leader, fundraising expert, leadership coach, and former sales executive. He is the founder of INPowered Coaching Group and is a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index – Master Practitioner.

In the News

Mark your calendars for upcoming speaking engagements:

BrandCauses Podcast with Rachel Armbruster. Join me on September 12, 2:00-2:30p.m. when Brian L. Martin, BrandCauses host; and I discuss cause marketing topics such as “How Your Charity Partnerships reflect on Your Brand.” To listen to the podcast, visit

Texas Nonprofit Summit Conference in Austin, Texas. I will be speaking about “Harnessing the Power of Corporate/NPO Relationships to Raise Revenue and Awareness” on September 20. To register today, visit

PPAI Professional Development Webinar. On September 26, join me while we discuss, “Cause Marketing: How to integrate Cause Marketing for your Business and Your Clients. To register for the webinar today, visit


Resolution is defined as a resolving to do something. My guess is that many of us have plenty of things to do. There never seems to be a shortage of action items, to do lists, next steps, and plans to be completed. I encourage you to take a few minutes today and make an anti-resolution list.

The list should consist of things you are NOT going to do anymore. I think going through this process will free up some time for all those resolutions you made January 1st and will more importantly, free up time for meaningful relationships. Whether those relationships are with donors, clients, friends, or family or if you just use the time to be alone and think, use the time wisely!

There was a challenge on Facebook this week that said you should start acting as though everyone in your life was going to pass away before the end of the day. What would you do differently? How would you prioritize your time? What would you decide to skip that day?

A while back I read Getting Things Done by David Allen. One of the most profound exercises in that book for me was making of list of how I want to spend my time and how I spend my time currently. Then I was able to cross-reference the lists and see where there were major contradictions. Spending time with my kids was on the ‘want’ list and shopping was on the ‘doing’ list. Now, each time I decide to hit the stores I ask myself if this is really how I want to spend the next few hours. Sometimes the answer is YES! But, it does give me pause and allows me to be purposeful in my actions.

What should you stop doing in 2014? Making this list and sticking to it are much easier than a new diet or fitness plan and great results have been shown!

Share your anti-resolutions with me on LinkedIn at or post them on Twitter using #antiresolutions and tag me @rarmbruster.

Here’s to a happy and purposeful new year!


Run Walk Ride had over 300 participants this year. Lots of familiar faces but some new ones in the crowd too! As I reflect on the past couple of days here are the things that are sticking with me as I board my flight home…

1. People love networking and having a chance to talk to each other, learn, and problem solve together. Attendees were most engaged when they were just chatting in the hallways or grabbing a cocktail after hours. Makes me wonder how much time we budget for our fundraisers to just get to know each other and share ideas? If we like it so much they probably do too! How can events and programs help facilitate that networking time?

2. Content needs to be applicable to all groups. At the conference there is such a huge range of attendees (national staff, chapters, local groups, vendors, etc) so before jumping into the content it is good to talk about how this might apply or be relevant to those different segments. As a speaker it is our job to help people connect the dots, and we can’t just hope it is clear after 25 slides.

3. The gift shop in the lobby was awesome. Baby gifts, new pair of shoes and some jewelry all in one quick stop. Finding a place for it in my carry on is another question.

4. For a bunch of event people I felt the event lacked that special ‘on event feeling’ we all strive to create. What can we do to spice things up next year? Do we each bring event t-shirts and hang them on a display wall in the main session? Do we need more balloons? More music? I feel like there is a sponsorship opportunity for the right company to blow us all away.

5. I love my clients! I got to see Hannah from Project Open Hand, Christie Madsen at Make-A-Wish®, the whole team from National Marfan Foundation, and my friends at ALS Association including my fabulous co-presenter Natalia McNeil. These are amazing, passionate, and smart people; and I am blessed to know them!

6. Travel highs and lows… I love that ATL airport only serves Coke but not happy that people like to take their shoes off in the airport/on the plane.

7. It would be great to have a panel focused on the biggest failures and flops from the year. What did we try that didn’t work? What never got off the ground because of staffing, budgets, or leadership? What will we NEVER do again? I know we would all have something to add. If we don’t, you need to ask if you are trying hard enough!

I am sure there were more ah-has that will come to me as I settle back into my work. I know I will be there again in 2014 and am thankful that David brings us all together once a year.

Be sure to comment on this post, share your key take-a-ways, and tweet them too using #runwalkride. Good luck implementing the new ideas, and pat yourself on the back for things you realize you are doing that are spot on!

See you in 2014!