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While in the planning stages of Choices Fundraising Support, I attended my first business network meeting. I was inspired by the positive responses I received when sharing my plans. People asked how they could help. I smiled as I appreciated the community spirit and said I needed to talk to a website designer. I was given two names by several people. The experts recommended were Brent Allan and Scot Gallup.

I received a phone call from Brent Allan the following day. I explained some of my needs and he suggested we meet. I further explained that Choices Fundraising Support is a platform to help non-profits thrive and that I had absolutely no income, thus would not have money to pay for services. Brent cheerfully said that was ok, he would be happy to meet with me. At first, I thought he was motivated to meet with me because of my ideas. While this may be partially true, Brent meets with people because he is a giving and caring person. He is also extremely smart and knows that value of getting to know people and their businesses.

We set up a meeting and met at a coffee shop. Brent listened, made notes and asked questions. He quickly grasped my concept. He told me that all the things I had on my wish list for a site would take many hours of programming. He told me that he would be happy to take on my project and provided me with a quote. I was in no position to hire him and he understood that. Brent did not put away his note pad and depart. Instead, he continued to share knowledge and make recommendations. I too made notes and have followed much of his advice. I thanked Brent and he told me that he enjoyed meeting me and learning about Choices Fundraising Support.

Scot Gallup also reached out to me. We set up a meeting which was very similar to the meeting I had had with Brent Allan. Scot gave me wonderful advice as well. Some of the advice was the same, some was slightly different. I got a boost of confidence hearing that my ideas were new and intriguing. I had been up front with Scot about my lack of funds but like Brent, Scot enjoyed meeting more people and learning about what they do.

Months later, my friend Kevin built this website. Kevin works in IT but is not a web designer so he and I both learned things in the process. There were times when I thought I knew how I wanted something to look but it wasn’t the same when created. There were times when I knew what I meant but did not convey it quite right to Kevin. And, there were times when Kevin used a bit of creativity and got me great results. The site has been tweaked here and there but essentially has not changed.

I’m very grateful to Brent and Scot for the advice they gave me and extremely grateful to Kevin for his many hours of hard work as well as his patience with me. I think that if I were making a quilt for someone and they changed their mind and I had to re-do some of my work, I may not be as patient as Kevin. You may have noticed that I have not given Kevin’s last name. He is modest so I will not divulge that. Probably a few of you reading this will know who he is. If so, give him a pat on the back and acknowledge his great job.

A few months after meeting Brent Allan I was invited to a learning lunch Stand Outwhere Brent was the presenter. Brent Allan is an author. This was not something he shared with me at our meeting. At that time, he actively listened to me and focused on my needs. Brent’s book, “Stand Out – How Your Business Can Attract More Clients, Get More Referrals, and Make More Money” quickly jumped up the Amazon rankings, becoming a #1 bestseller in its category. I gladly accepted the invite. The luncheon was held at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce. It was a cozy event with about 15 attendees. As Brent spoke to the group sharing his marketing expertise, he interjected our names and businesses into the examples. In this way, we not only learned about marketing but we learned about each other. I found his memory and finesse to be remarkable.

It was a no brainer for me to want to include Brent Allan’s autograph as one of the 64 author autographs in the Thank You Reward quilt “Fall in Love with Books.” While most of the autographs I’ve collected are for fiction, I don’t want to limit it to that. Just as I often say that all giving is good, all kinds of books are good. Variety is important. Books such as “Stand Out” are helping business owners succeed and are very important to our economy. I contacted Brent and asked him. He seemed surprised, even touched and said yes, of course.

After Brent signed the fabric I asked him what charities he supports. He told me St. Baldricks’ as his eyes moved up to gesture to his bald head.

Please view the Thank You Reward page for more information (and pictures of the progress) on the quilt “Fall in Love with Books.” Earn entries to win this quilt by making donations to Saint Baldrick’s, the charity that Brent Allan supports ~OR~ to a charity that is near and dear to you.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.

Brent Allan’s book is available at:

All the Best,

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