Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Saturday, February 24, 2007

547 days and counting

Bar none, my favorite vlog is Chuck Olsen's MN Stories, produced out of my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While recently on the road covering the Edward's campaign, Chuck met up with this church group volunteering their time to gut flood-damaged houses in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Reuniting America: What unites us as Americans?

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reading is fundamental

If you're like me, trying to decide what books to read, let alone which blogs to track, can be a challenge in and of itself. There are simply too many choices. That's why I love to get recommendations from friends and other trusted sources. The upcoming Philanthropy Carnival with its focus on philanthropy books promises to be such a resource. I just realized yesterday was the deadline for submissions, so I maybe too late with this post, but these would be my suggested submissions for the list.

Hank Rosso, Achieving Excellence in Fund Raising, 2nd edition.
Nothing else really compares to this, the bible of fundraising. Hank is rightly thought of as the godfather of contemporary fundraising, and this book brings together the collected thoughts of him and his peers. Editor Eugene Tempel, executive director at the Center on Philanthropy, work on the updated 2nd edition simply builds on perfection.

Kim Klein, Fundraising for Social Change.
This is easily my most dog-eared reference guide. During my early years as a fundraiser, I devoured this publication with relish. If you are starting out new in the field, this is the one book you must get. Honorable mention also to Raise More Money, a collection of articles from the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, edited by Kim and Stephanie Roth.

Cheryl Clarke, Storytelling for Grantseekers.
When I began my career in this field I was primarily a grant writer. This was the first resource guide I found that made sense to me. Imagine my surprise when years later Cheryl ended up becoming a close friend. But even if I didn't know her, I'd recommend this book without reservations to any aspiring grant writer. Her follow-up publication, written with another friend Susan Fox, Grant Proposal Makeover, is also highly recommended.

Andringa and Engstrom, Nonprofit Board Answer Book.
This book isn't really about fundraising, but I don't know a single professional fundraiser whose biggest challenge isn't working with their Board of Directors. Here's where to go to when you need quick answers and recommended best practices to show to your Board. For example, do you want your Board to better understand their role in fundraising? If so, simply show them chapter 7.

David Allen, Getting Things Done.
Okay, this book is not about fundraising either, but if you are to manage the multiple campaigns and objectives found within any fundraising plan -- let alone find time to write that plan -- this book is for you. I'm not exaggerating when I say, more than perhaps any other publication I've read in the last decade, this one has changed my life. The book's sub-title is the "Art of Stress-Free Productivity." And you know what, David delivers on his promise. Forget the 7 habits, this is the one guide you need to help create balance in your life.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

The power of many small red envelopes

Wanted to share with you an email I received from my dear and beautiful friend Cecilia in response to my recent post on race and fundraising. I think she's on to something here.
"Interesting article. I am curious if you are including churches. I also suspect that the concept of giving varies from culture to culture. While some philanthropists engage in a fundraising plan that is fairly intentional, some cultures contribute equally as reflected in the building of new churches and temples around the world.

Take the Chinese culture for example, the Chinese New Year is a perfect example of 'planned giving,' it maybe in small amounts of 5 and 10 dollars within red envelopes, but lots of people benefit. Wealth- sharing is probably more common in communities of color than most people think.

A better question to ask is how to challenge people to give outside their own communities. If each Chinese family begin setting aside one red envelope for charity every year, I wonder how much money could we raise on Chinese New Year alone?"
Cecilia also included a link to a Black Enterprise special report on America's Leading Black Philanthropists, which includes the following important fact.
"Truth be told, African Americans give more than any other group, donating 25% more of their discretionary income to charities than Whites, reports the Chronicle of Philanthropy. On average, Black households give $1,614 to their favorite causes. In addition, many Black families embrace the practice of tithing--contributing 10% of their incomes to the church."
All of which points to the important fact: Much of professional fundraising today does not included within its scope vast amounts of traditional and existing giving. Valuable gifts of time, talent and treasure by millions of Americans go unreported because professional philanthropy is increasingly defining itself in the language of measurable outcomes, strategic giving, social entrepreneurism and return on investments. Qualities which are inherently biased to support the dominate culture's preferences.

So when the Center of Philanthropy reports such low figures for fundraisers of color, it is important to note that this is "among fundraisers who join professional organizations." Volunteers have been, and will continue to be, the heart of fundraising within most organizations and communities.

So while the racial disparity among the professional ranks should be a concern for us all, the continued generosity of all people, including People of Color, should be something for which we are very grateful.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Have you driven a blog recently?

Like most bloggers, I'm always interested to see how this blog's subscriptions stats respond to a particular juicy post. It's beeen less than five hours since this morning's post, but they're already down 20%. I expect them to drop farther as the day proceeds.

What does that say about me? What does that say about those who left? What does it say about you who have decided to stay?

If you have any comments, I'd love to hear from you, for dialogue of course is the illusive goal here. Feel free to respond directly to the contents of my earlier post, or answer the following question. "What are the prospects for philanthropy's future to create truly positive social change in the world, when mildly challenging comments are championed as revolutionary, while truly challenging topics like race are systematically ignored?"

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White supremacy, fundraising and you

I was saying good-bye to one of our guests at last Friday's DER luncheon in Oakland when another man came up to him and gave him his card. "I come to a lot of these gatherings, but you're the first Black man I've ever seen at one of these things, and I just wanted to introduce myself."

And he's so right. Oh, I could name a few other Black men I occasionally see at fundraising trainings throughout the Bay Area, put on by DER and other organizations, but the point is the fundraising profession --both here and across the country -- is overwhelmingly dominated by White-identified European-Americans, like me.

According to my Center of Philanthropy Certification in Fund Raising Management 2004 training materials, in past years "there has been no significant change in the ethic backgrounds of fundraisers, at least among fundraisers who join professional organizations." In 1982 and 1990 CASE surveys, People of Color represented 4.5% and 5.6% of their membership respectively. In a more recent survey [1999?] sent to a random 2,501 members of AHP, CASE and NSFRE/AFP, all but 4.1% of the respondents were White.

Now one could quibble and say there are so few Black men in our field is because it is dominated by women. That's true, to a point, as that same survey of 2,501 documented the number of women in our field has surpassed the number of men. (Though not in the higher-level and higher-paying jobs. Naturally.)

Yet there simply is no denying the fact that whatever the gender, there is a huge gap between the actual number of fundraisers of color versus the communities we represent and serve. According to the 2000 Census 68.7% of the folks living in Oakland are People of Color. The gap between this number, and the actual percentage of fundraisers of color, can only be described as a statistical measurement of racism.

How such a gap cannot leave anyone feeling angry and frustrated is beyond me. If one were to argue there were say, even 2 or 3 times as many fundraisers of color in the Bay Area or nationally than identified in recent surveys, we would still have a long way to go toward creating equality within our profession.

So while I know that talking authentically about race can be challenging for many, I want to point you to a handy resource you might find helpful in engaging your own community. It's Damali Ayo's free guidebook I Can Fix It! Here's the Cliff Notes:
White People
Do you want to change racism in the world? Guess what? You have to start with yourself! Cause you know what? If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem! Here are five easy things you can do starting right now (and continue for the rest of your life)!
  1. Admit it. You have a race.
  2. Listen up. Honoring People of Color and believing their experience is eye-opening.
  3. Educate yourself. Read a book or get on the Internet.
  4. Broaden your experience. But not until you've successfully completed steps 1-3.
  5. Make a plan. Take action. Become visible.
People of Color
Are you sick of racism? Of course you are! But you want to do something to help move things forward without going crazy from frustration. Here are five easy things you can do starting right now (and continue for the rest of your life)!
  1. Get real. It's not that easy being "green."
  2. Speak out. "You didn't really just say that, did you?"
  3. Educate yourself. You don't have to teach White people, but you do have to educate yourself and other People of Color.
  4. Build ties with others. There is power in numbers
  5. Take care of yourself. Racism and combating it take their toll.
Here in the Bay Area, I've found the anti-racist training I've done with Untraining to be very liberating. Other area resources including SOUL, Catalyst Project, Center for Third World Organizing, Data Center, HiFy, CoAction, Project Change, CWC, and Applied Research.

When it comes specifically to fundraising, locally there's CompassPoint's Fundraising Academy for People of Color, as well as AFP-Golden Gate Chapter's Multi-Cultural Alliance, which will soon be rolled out nationally by AFP. But the best organizations I know working today to change the face of philanthropy are GIFT and Grassroots Fundraising, which are in the process of merging. If you are concerned about the future of this field, please give them a look and consider offering them your support.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Be the change you wish to see in the world

Peggy Rockefeller Dulany, Founder of Synergos Institute, is one of the many thought leaders highlighted in Peter Karoff's recent book, The World We Want. I suspect she'd understand why this little blog is sub-titled "Inspiring Gifts that Transform," when she says:
"I don't think that the whole system is going to shift until there is a transformation of the human heart. That means starting with ourselves and then working outward, in mostly small increments. Mary Oliver, in one of her poems, talks about saving one life you have to save, meaning your own. And she doesn't mean survival; she means self-transformation. So when I start to feel desperate about the entire world, I try to focus on whether it's possible for me to transform anything about myself and how I relate to other people that might make it more likely that other people might work on their own transformations and the way they relate to others. That is what it is going to take really to get to the bottom of this."

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined

Dear readers, how could I have been so wrong? Several of you have noted that "Guffett" is a much more logical nickname for our leading foundation team than Biffett. Plus, it creates space for Ms. Guffett. So after extensive market research, I move that "Biffett is dead, long live Guffett!" Can I get a second?

So if you think GatesGate was the most talked about Guffett story of recent weeks, I'm sorry to say you'd be wrong. No, if a month of Google Alerts is any indication, there is no long tale to this puppy. Here's what people are really chatting about online:

Guffett Sr. "follows his own path not only in investing, but also with his diet, salting his food with a farmhand’s gusto, drinking lots of Coca-Cola and regularly visiting his favorite Omaha steakhouse, Gorat's."

Recently while in Scotland, many were impressed by Guffett Jr's puntuality. "Journalists were briefed that a press conference would last 14 minutes and he departed just 19 seconds late."

In a startling online confession, the 51-year-old Guffett Jr. has admitted he's not a great Halo 2 player, but is a fair Uno, Project Gotham and online bridge aficionado. Though I'm willing to bet his twin is quite a gamer, given his love of boy toys.

While many believe that an audience with Guffett Sr. is "on par with that of a philosophy student conversing with Plato," it seems a few disbelievers are still not on the bus. For the elder Guffett was recently presented the prestigious Cold, Dead Fish Award. Hopefully he got his unruly eyebrows trimmed before he had to give his acceptance speach.

Now here's a creative new idea for how to give away their combined wealth:
"The $60 billion Guffett Foundation could, in theory, employ a 4,100-man air and ground-mobile brigade for a year, using only the foundation's annual investment income. Such a brigade of former special forces men would have the capability of removing just about any government in Africa, many in Asia, and more than a few in Latin America. When Guffett seethe with frustration over the corruption, incompetence, and tribalism that interfere with their public health efforts in Africa, one wonders whether the thought of more direct measures ever enters their minds."
And say it's not true, but reports are beginning to surface that the younger Guffett may have Aspergers, which has prompted celebrity Medical Ethicist Arthur Caplan, Ph.D. to ask "Would you have allowed Guffett Jr. to be born?"

But don't worry, it's not all work and no play for team Guffett. Recently they were presented with Hooters VIP Cards at a Hooters Restaurant in Kansas City. The cards entitle them to free food at any of the chains 435 locations in 46 states and 20 countries -- but they do have to pay for their own drinks.

Party Fun Fact: The birth of Guffett has now been determined to be one of the seminal events in the history of capitalism. Who knew? You do now.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I got the music in me

I'll let you in on a little secret. I've always wanted to dance in Carnival, but I suspect this is as close as I'll ever get.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

More on the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving

In addition to facilitating the Development Executive Roundtable's quarterly FAB workshops, I'm also the Board Secretary, Governance/Recruitment Chair and Event Registration Coordinator for DER. I'll be wearing the later hat this Friday, February 9th, sitting behind the welcome desk for our monthly luncheon presentation. Would love to see you there! This month's topic is "Planned Giving on 5%-25% of Your Time" with guest expert Greg Lassonde, CFRE.

Please note, this month's event is at a new location for us, the East Bay Community Foundation's James Irvine Foundation Conference Center in Oakland, and is co-sponsored by our new partners the Center for the Community Benefit Organizations. Tickets are only $12/members or $20/non-members. Lunch is included in your fee. For more program information, location directions or advance registration, please visit the DER website today.

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When is the right time to move up, move out or move on?

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join me this Wednesday, February 7th, from 3 pm - 5 pm at the San Francisco Foundation Center for Fundraisers Anxiety Busters (FAB), a free forum for intermediate and seasoned fundraisers, nonprofit staff and community volunteers with development responsibilities (3 or more years experience), to share fundraising strategies and tactics, meet challenges and solve problems.

Co-sponsored by the Development Executives Roundtable (DER), this month’s discussion topic is "Career Planning and Professional Development." I'll be facilitating this workshop, and am very excited to share with you that our two guest experts are Pamela A. Cook, ACFRE, Development and Search Consultant and winner of the 2003 Hank Rosso Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award; along with Dee Dee Mendoza, Associate Director of Development at University of California Berkeley College of Engineering and Young Nonprofit Professional Network Advisory Board Co-Chair.

There are only a few seats left available, so to reserve your place today please send an email to fab[at]dersf[dot]org. For more information, visit the DER website.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Be generous and raise money

It bares repeating. There are three levels of fundraising: transactional, relationship and transformative.

Most people view fundraising as a simple market transaction. In exchange for your gift of $250 we will send a Water Buffalo to a Chinese family -- or not. Given the capitalist Kool-Aid our world has downed with gusto, it is no wonder this is fundraising for many. Donors as ATM machines.

Now if you ask, most professional fundraisers will tell you that "We raise relationships, not donors." But unfortunately, the majority of organizations fall short on the final important step of "ask, thank and include." Many staff I've met have little time or interest in engaging donors (let alone Board members) in their work beyond the minimum required to secure funding.

But there's a third level, transformative fundraising, that few recognize and fewer still reach. It build on the former two levels and adds to it. Yet it is clear that Anne Firth Murray, the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women, operated at this level. Reading her new book, Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Social Change, makes me glad to say I'm a donor to this important organization. In it she writes:
"When we started The Global Fund for Women, I initially though that we were raising money for our simple and straight-forward reason: we were raising money for our program; we were raising money so we could give it away to women's groups around the world. But over time, raising money and working with donors revealed itself to be much more multifaceted and every bit as interesting as giving the funds away. We made what were learning part of our program. We began to speak of and think of "donor activists" and of blurring the distinctions between givers and receivers. We began to see that money, like leadership and power, grows when you give it away. Donors began to feel connected with The Global Fund and to initiate programs themselves. We weren't simply raising money to support our programs. We were offering people the opportunity to be giving, to be included, to have meaning in their lives. In became increasingly obvious over the years that be encouraging people to be more giving we were offering them empowerment and a sense of connection and inclusion."

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