By Blair Rosenberg | Development coordinator, HCI Care Services/ Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa

Judgment can be dangerous, but discernment can be life-changing. Knowing the difference is the trick.

Being a local development coordinator for years in Des Moines, I've learned there is no place for judgment. All donors, regardless of their level of giving, are an invaluable part of the work nonprofits do. All believe in and want to support your mission the best they can.

My dad recently told me a story of a gentleman who gave $100 each year to a charity out of state for the majority of his life. He was thanked modestly, had little contact with the nonprofit and continued with his yearly donation until he died. After his passing, the charity learned of a $30 million gift he left them in his will. Due to his annual gift amount and a judgment made about his capacity to give, a relationship was never fostered with the gentleman who ended up donating the largest gift this nonprofit had ever received.

Judging others is easy. It puts them in a category that makes us comfortable, it gives us excuses to either do or not do something with or to a person, it helps us convince ourselves we "understand" people better this way. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking of truth. It asks you to listen, learn and think, rather than making an instant judgment.

Whether you're doing development for a nonprofit or cultivating business for a large corporation, make it a point to get to know someone. Use discernment when developing relationships, rather than judgment, because you never know who could leave you an unexpected $30 million gift.

Blair Rosenberg is a development coordinator at HCI Care Services/ Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa and co-founder of The Standard Manner Etiquette and Communications Consulting. As a proud Des Moines native, she knows this city will always be her home and is committed to making it an even brighter place to live! Rosenberg can be reached at