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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Nickel

The Elephant in Your Wallet!

At a dinner with friends on this past Friday night, my curious, extroverted 8-year old daughter asked my buddy Snehah if she could have some money. It was an innocent request. Snehah was multi-tasking and transferring a wad of cash from her jacket pocket to her purse while patiently entertaining my daughter’s barrage of questions. I was mortified. Daggers were shooting out of my eyes as I quickly changed the subject and luckily, soon after, our delicious meal arrived.

But then I got to thinking…that innocent request was exactly what I do for a living on a daily basis. As a grant writer, a communications specialist and a development consultant, I am constantly asking for money. Granted, it’s done in a more formalized package, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts, I basically make a living asking for money.

When I came to this realization, I had a conversation with my daughter about societal and cultural values relating to money and the unwritten moral rules surrounding the topic of money. But honestly, navigating through all these “rules” can be confusing to a 3rd grader and really got me wondering about why most Americans (myself included) are hung up on the taboo of discussing one’s finances in public. I’d love to hear any stories you may have relating to this subject matter and how you handled your situation!

In late summer and early fall, I spent weeks designing holiday appeal packets for two of my local clients. Endorsing my belief that photographic images are one of the best ways to communicate messages, I developed designs that used actual photos from programs and participants in each agency. Below I have provided examples. Let me know if you like these colorful image-driven appeals better than the typical one-page letter that most organizations mail out around the holidays.

According to the website www.globalgiving.org, “on average, organizations throughout the U.S. raise 30 – 40% of their annual income during the last few weeks of the year.” Effectively asking for money can make or break an agency’s budget, especially important as all of us in the tax-exempt business industry grit our teeth and crawl slowly and steadily out of  our country’s economic crisis!


This is the front of the Millhill Holiday Appeal. Millhill is an agency located in Trenton, NJ working with children and families who are of low income.

This is the front of the Millhill Holiday Appeal. Millhill is an agency located in Trenton, NJ working with children and families who are of low income.



This is the back page of Millhill's Appeal, we decided to include a success story from one of the teenagers who has been receiving services at Millhill since he was a toddler!

This is the back page of Millhill’s Appeal, we decided to include a success story from one of the teenagers who has been receiving services at Millhill since he was a toddler!



This if the front of the UIH Family Partners Holiday Appeal. The size of the page is 11X14, we needed a larger paper size to accommodate the photo collage on the back side!

This if the front of the UIH Family Partners Holiday Appeal. The size of the page is 11X14, we needed a larger paper size to accommodate the photo collage on the back side!



This photo collage highlighted some key moments in UIH's past year was a lot of fun to create!

This photo collage highlighted some key moments in UIH’s past year and was so much fun to create!


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