Checkbooks and Calendars

April 18, 2016



Written By: Bruce

By Bruce Berglund

As some of you may know, this past year has been really rough on the Berglund family and me personally. Over the last seven months I’ve lost both my father and my mother. I was blessed with wonderful parents and enjoyed a great relationship with both.

As the trustee of our family trust, one of my tasks was to prepare their 2015 taxes. My mother’s death was unexpected and sudden so gathering the necessary documents proved to be a sleuthing expedition.

I found myself on a Sunday morning gathering and summarizing my parent’s philanthropic contributions. My father used to say “look at your checkbook and calendar and you can tell what is really important to you.” For the first time in an informed way, I got to witness their wonderful generosity. Each of their gifts represented a story and relationship.

It struck me that this “checkbook and calendar” conversation is a crucial one to have with those donors and volunteers who are closest to our organizations.

  • Do you know what is most important to them?
  • Where do they spend their time?
  • How do they spend their time?
  • Where does your organization fall within their philanthropic priorities?
  • Is your organization one of their top three, top five, top ten charities they support?
  • Why do they support these organizations?
  • Why do they support your organization?

My father was so right. Our checkbooks and calendars really are an important mirror revealing our priorities. On a personal level, what does your checkbook and calendar say about you? Your priorities? Your interests? Your legacy?

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8 responses to “Checkbooks and Calendars”

  1. Mike Mike Bussey says:

    Thanks Bruce! Great message and reminder!

  2. I love this! I think I’ll spend some time today thinking about what my own checkbook and calendar mirrors to be sure it’s a true reflection of the person I want to be (or think I am). Great message – thank you!

  3. Greg Giles says:

    Bruce, thanks for sharing your personal life as a true reflection of what is important in life. You sometimes wonder if we are becoming a society that is running faster everyday but never seems to keep up and in many cases fall farther behind. We need to write more checks….

  4. John Alexander says:

    Bruce, your reflection brought back memories. My mom and dad have been gone 41 and 31 years respectively, and I also learned much about them AFTER they passed while going through their estate processes. Their priorities certainly have influenced and changed me….hopefully for the better. Thanks for the meaningful post.

    • Bruce Bruce Berglund says:

      Thanks John! I’m sure their life lessons will be with me and my family for life! Parents are so important.

      – Bruce