Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Friday, September 29, 2006

Rick Cohen muses on how to make philanthropy more democratic

This just in via the White Courtesy Telephone. Philanthropy News Digest has posted online an interview with Rick Cohen, former executive director with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Very juicy and definitely worth the read. Here are a few quotes:
"Philanthropy in the United States is still structured around a highly undemocratic dynamic, with few opportunities for the voices of communities, nonprofits, and their constituents to be heard."

"Philanthropy in general doesn't do that much to advance social justice, and by that I mean the serious imbalances in our society that have led to and perpetuated poverty and racism and other maladies in our society."

"The bulk of charitable and philanthropic giving goes to organizations that serve the needs and interests of the classes that are the sources of that giving."

"Foundations have been entrusted by the public to use their resources for the public good. And the public has a right and an opportunity to weigh just how much good they're getting from those dollars."


Thursday, September 28, 2006

$2.7M bequest takes Bay Area charity by surprise

Speaking of planned giving, here's a nice little reminder not to ignore your small donors. The best bequest prospects are not those who give ocassional, large gifts, but the long-time, small donor.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Starting a planned giving program: You don't have to be a tax genius

Planned giving is fundraising. This fundamental truth has at times gotten lost when planned giving is seen primarily as an exercise in presenting the irresistible tax and income benefits of gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts to your donors. A tax-centered approach, besides being inapplicable to most of your planned giving prospects, can make successful fundraising professionals feel intimidated and inadequate when asked to start a planned giving program.

That's a shame, because though technical knowledge is important, the skills you already have as a fundraiser rather than technical expertise are key to planned giving success. Please join me October 13 for San Francisco's Development Executive Roundtable (DER) monthly luncheon to put the fundraising back in planned giving, to demystify its technical dimensions, and to help you approach the task with confidence and success.

Friday, October 13, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Lighthouse for the Blind
214 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Presented by Planned Giving Coach Philip J. Murphy
Cost for Luncheon: DER members= $12, non-members = $20
(A calendar year membership is $40)

To RSVP please email "derrsvp AT" by Wednesday, October 11th. Lunch is included in your fee. Programs often sell-out, so it's "first come, first served!" Your reservation holds your spot. Please be prepared to pay at the door. Checks or cash only. No credit cards.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

The definition of New Philanthropy: giving without the gift

Capitalists who care
"Compassionate conservatism has been an expensive bust in Washington. But an intriguing alternative is emerging around the country: compassionate capitalism."

Google's philanthropy
"The end is socially driven, but the means are the beauty of capitalism carried out largely in the marketplace."

Virgin and Google: But is it philanthropy?
"It’s not charity, and it's certainly not philanthropy as it's commonly defined. For the second time in a week, a major international brand has made news with its 'philanthropy' but reserved the for-profit status of its commitment of funds."

Exploding philanthropy: What the Clinton Global Initiative meant
"The estimated $3 billion was not a gift; Sir Richard will invest the company in other companies, including one he already owns, to try and move the developed world to better energy policies."

Clinton's bullet point solutions
"Interestingly, most solutions focused on corporate citizenship, a kind of redefining of corporate social responsibility toward environmentalism."

How the new philanthropy works
"[The] Clinton Global Initiative brings together some of the world's best minds and problem solvers. It functions like a marketplace for global change, where those with the passion to make a difference--and others with the means to finance them--come together."

$2 billion in one day
"'The rich world is where the expertise is, so bringing those innovations and putting them in a form that can be applied globally, that's where people can make such a difference,' Gates told the summit, attended by 1,000 people."


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Project Inform's Evening of Hope

Please join Honorary Chair Dame Elizabeth Taylor in supporting Project Inform's Evening of Hope fundraising gala. Project Inform has been at the frontlines in the fight against HIV/AIDS since 1985--when reliable information about the disease and its treatment was nearly impossible to obtain. Today, it is one of the leading national, nonprofit, community-based organization working to end the AIDS epidemic.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Fort Mason Officers Club, Bldg 1, Upper Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006, corporate philanthropy the usual way

If you were only to read mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times and Slate, you’d think that’s for-profit philanthropy model is reinventing the concept of giving.
"Unlike most charities, this one will be for-profit, allowing it to fund start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists and even lobby Congress. It will also pay taxes."
"Google's willfully innovative approach to philanthropy has made the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seem like a 2.0 philanthropy in a 3.0 world."
But I think that White Courtesy Telephone has a better read on it when Glauco muses:
"It’s not a new philanthropy, it’s not a new way of doing philanthropy. It’s a corporate giving program not much different from any other."
Though Google's rapid market expansion has yet to cause the kind of blowback that occured to Microsoft and in the 90's with the browser wars (doesn't that now seem a lot about nothing), it is really only a matter of time, as demonstrated by the widespread negative reaction to its censored service for 1/5 of the world's population living in China.

When faced with such business challenges, conventional wisdom calls for publically launching a highly visible corporate giving program, while privately expanding government lobbying efforts, all in an effort to insure continued public good will.

Funny, that’s just what Google is doing.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

10 + 1 essential program evaluation resources

  1. American Evaluation Association
    Primary professional association for evaluators.

  2. Building Evaluation Capacity
    Evaluation overview with activity examples.

  3. Evaluation Center
    Checklists of evaluation best practices.

  4. Evaluation Toolkit
    Comprehensive site of tools published by W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

  5. Evaluator's Institute
    Short-term professional development courses.

  6. Funder's Guide to Evaluation
    Tools for foundations.

  7. Funder's Guide to Organizational Assessment Tools, Process and Their Uses in Building Capacity.
    Comprehensive overview of organizational capacity assessment.

  8. Logic Model Development Guide
    Packet of tips on creating and using logic models.

  9. Multi-Cultural Evaluation
    Series of reports on multi-cultural health evaluation.

  10. Theory of Change
    Background, technical assistance and training on theories of change.
The above ten resources came from Steven LaFrance's information packed presentation at last Friday's San Francisco Development Executive Roundtable luncheon presentation. If you are interested in improving your chances of getting funded, learning more from your programming efforts, and building the capacity of your agency, run, don't walk, to LaFrance Associates website for more information about their valuable services.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Who needs People Magazine when we've got the wild and wacky world of philanthropy?

Opera company saves donor the agony of Europe trip
"Sometimes the service we provide our donors when we receive their gift is not what you expect."

Wedding off, jilted bride turns party into a benefit
"Six weeks before Kyle Paxman's scheduled wedding, a stranger walked into her office with e-mail messages and other evidence that Ms. Paxman's fiance was cheating on her--with the stranger's girlfriend."

Charities in forefront of drive to save Pluto
"A pair of scientists employed by nonprofit research institutes used an Internet petition drive and plan an alternative conference as part of a grassroots campaign to restore Pluto's planetary cred."

Pack up your guilt and leave it behind
"Travelocity has announced its Go Zero program--book your trip through the site, pay an extra fee, offset your carbon use, leave your guilt behind. It's a feel-good way to pollute."

Secret investigators examined leader of Getty trust
"Among the findings were that Mr. Munitz spent Getty money to advance the career of a German art student he hired as a "'senior adviser.'"


Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11: Press for Truth


Remembering the truth, not the dramatization.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Blowback: What happens when the left treats workers like they are on the right

Quick follow-up to my recent post directing you to Greg Bloom's In These Times expose on the outsourcing of grassroots progressive fundraising and how it is negatively impacting a whole generation of potential professional fundraisers who are leaving the field. Greg's been been continuing to cover this issue online in a series of follow-up posts.

Last week, many of these same canvassers started protesting outside of the Democratic Congressional Central Committee (DCCC), because they weren't getting paid minimum wage. Then it the hit the blogosphere. First, right wing blogs picked it up, followed by a 2004 veteran canvasser who commented:
"It was only a matter of time before the right-wing blogs caught wind of of Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated's workplace improprieties, its labor abuses in the name of the Democratic Party, and used them as ammo against the Left."
Yesterday the DCCC cancelled its contract with the canvasser's employers, Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated (GCI), the for-profit arm of the national nonprofit, Public Interest Research Group.

Unfortunately, the fact that the DCCC quickly tried to wipe itself clean of its arrangment with GCI, rather than advocating its contractors get paid a living wage, speaks loudly about the current moral state of our Donkey friends.


National AIDS Memorial Grove’s 15th anniversary Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

One thing I love about San Francisco is that you don't have to wait for Halloween to walk around the streets in a costume. Easter? Grab your bunny suit and head the Sister's of Perpetual Indulgence annual soiree in Dolores Park. Christmas? Make sure you don't miss the Bad Santa Pub Crawl in the finance district. Now, there's yet another reason to pull out your finest frock: the National AIDS Memorial Grove's 15th anniversary Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

It's a tribute to all who have helped create and maintain the National AIDS Memorial Grove. Taking place on Saturday, September 9 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Golden Gate Park Grove, it will honor the volunteers who have given their time and money to support the Grove, while raising funds for the Grove's operations and endowment.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Link-up of fundraising tips, trends and topics

What wealth transfer?
“Despite all the headlines heralding the Greatest Wealth Transfer Ever, nothing of the sort has happened … what philanthropy researchers predicted may turn out to be something of a hoax.”

Do you hate your donors?
“One reason nonprofits fail at individual-gifts fundraising is their secret--or not-so-secret--hatred of rich people.”

A new school year
“There seems to be a louder chorus of voices from parents revolting against school fundraisers.”

Giving back helps advance your career
"One of the great things about giving back to your community is that it really is a win/win situation."


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism

This incredible 30-minute speech of Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's taking President Bush to task has little to do with fundraising, but everything to do with activism. If you care about the future of the United States, please watch this and share it with your friends.
"We will continue to resist the lies, the deception, the outrages of the Bush administration and this complacent, complicit, go-along Congress. We will insist that peace be pursued, and that, as a nation, we help those in need. We must break the cycle of hatred, of intolerance, of exploitation. We must pursue peace as vigorously as the Bush administration has pursued war. It's up to every single one of us to do our part."
Read more on The Nation. Here's the complete text from his speech.

Might just make me move to Salt Lake City.

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