Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Friday, July 27, 2007

Partnering with board members in the end of year push

Successful fundraising requires engaged leadership at both the staff and board level. Are you looking for strategies to create a more effective partnership between these two groups at your nonprofit? If so, join me for a free Development Executives Roundtable Fundraisers Anxiety Buster (FAB!) workshop entitled Partering with Board Members in the End of the Year Push, which I'll be facilitating at the San Francisco Foundation Center on Aug 8, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Together we’ll clarify expectations, address obstacles, identify resources and discuss effective strategies that you can use in creating successful partnerships between staff and boards. Learn what you need to have in place to inspire your these two critical groups, and insure a successful end of the year fundraising campaign. Strengthen your own network with others doing similar work.

FAB is a free, peer support network for intermediate and seasoned fundraisers, and nonprofit staff and volunteers with development responsibilities (3 or more years experience requested), to share fundraising strategies and tactics, meet challenges, and solve problems. Peer leaders with expertise in each session's topic will help address issues identified by the group. Light refreshments will be served.

Peer Leaders
Julie M. Ver Steeg, CFRE is Associate Managing Director of Brakeley Briscoe, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading specialists in fundraising consulting and nonprofit management. She has over 25 years experience in nonprofit fundraising and management, including significant experience in capital campaigns, development assessment studies, major gift strategies, annual fund development, membership programs and volunteer and staff training.

George Clark is the Chief Development Officer of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which promotes the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or visually impaired. George is also the current President of the Development Executives Roundtable. Like Julie, he has several decades of experience in the field.

To Register
Please email fab[at]dersf[dot]org. Attendance is limited to 25 participants, so please register soon!

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Giving: The key to long-life and prosperity

I'm off to have lunch soon with my friend Regina , but first wanted to share with you an article she emailed me yesterday from the Christian Science Monitor. For it is now a proven fact, "researchers say giving leads to a healthier, happier life."

This according CSM and Dr. Stephen Post, who has recently written a book titled, Why Good Things Happen to Good People. For the past five years, he has been funding research projects that test how altruism, compassion and giving affect people's lives and well-being. As head of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (you gotta "love" that name) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, he has sponsored more than 50 studies by scientists from 54 major universities.

His studies have clearly demonstrated that love and caring expressed in doing good for others lead people to have healthier, happier, and even longer lives. According to Dr. Post, "Giving is the most potent force on the planet (it) will protect you your whole life."

Having a hard time cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your life? It's not easy surrounded in a world populated by Eeyores. One practice is to start a gratitude journal. Another is to start paying attention the synchronicitic elements of your life. You know, when details start to line up without the effort of you or others. There as many opinions as to why this happens as there are bloggers, but finding the cause isn't the point. What is important is that you simply say "thank you." With these two simple words we begin to acknowledge that we aren't on this mortal coil alone. Don't know about you, but knowing that makes my life a lot easier.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ever wanted to tell a foundation what you really think?

As many of you are aware, there’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere lately around the issue of “foundation transparency.” Today the NY Times joins the conversation with an article, Foundations are Facing Up to Failures, which leads with the Carnegie Foundation’s mea culpa on its own failures in Zimbabwe.

The Times article references a podcast my friend Sean over at The Tactical Philanthropy did recently with Jim Canales, CEO of the Irvine Foundation. In the follow-up comments, Jim asks for additional feedback from the field about how they can improve foundation transparency. So if you’ve ever wanted to tell a foundation what to do -- particularly one of the large “gorillas in the room” -- here’s a great opportunity to voice your opinion.

Since starting his blog less than a year ago, Tactical Philanthropy has fast become one of the most important places online fostering dialogue around emerging trends in philanthropy. In my opinion, Sean's one of the few bloggers who's making a concerted effort to bring all voices to the table, not just his own. You can support him in this good cause by joining in the conversation today.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fundraisers like you

I've mentioned before I'm a big Kay Sprinkel Grace fan. She's the high priestess of value-based fundraising, and we should all be her acolytes. If you don't have a dog-eared copy of Beyond Fundraising within arms reach of your desk, I just don't know how you can call yourself a fundraiser.

Now for the last few years Kay's been helping the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's revise its entire funding strategy. For as our dear federal government continues to reduce funding for open discourse, public television is increasingly turning to "viewers like you" for support. Traditional telethons soliciting millions of individuals for small donations can no longer fill this gap. So like other agencies that have traditionally relied on large membership bases -- the YMCA comes to mind -- CPB is shifting its focus to major donors and planned giving.

Fortunately for you and me, they've published all of their campaign tools on two public websites, Major Giving Now and Planned Giving Now. I doubt there are two more comprehensive, comparable resources available online. From planning, prospecting, cultivating, soliciting and stewardship, its all here with detailed case studies and worksheets for you to use, whether you are fundraising for public television, a community college or an animal shelter. If you are familiar with Kay's work, it doesn't take long to see her hand at work in all of these materials.

If you like what you find, why not consider making a donation to your local public television station today?


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Getting the greatest possible impact from your annual report

An important fundraising tool is the annual report. Does your organization produce one? If so, has it been effective effective in leveraging larger gifts? If you'd like to work with your organization to produce its first annual report, or improve on last year's efforts, please join me this Friday, July 13, noon -1:30 pm, for DER's monthly San Francisco luncheon.

Mission Minded founding partners Jennie Winton and Zach Hochstadt will lead a discussion about creating annual reports that get results. Learn more about how to select and work with consultants, important design basics and critical questions to ask before you begin. Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring professional designers and writers, Jennie and Zach will help you determine what’s important in creating an annual report that builds your reputation, drives donations and reports on what’s most important inside your organization.

For more information and to register, simply visit the DER website.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fundraising for Nonprofit's festive and fiery fourth of july fireworks (and a poem)

Seven Advice of Mevlana

In generosity and helping others, be like a river
In compassion and grace, be like the sun
In concealing other's faults, be like the night
In anger and fury, be like dead
In modesty and humility, be like the earth
In tolerance, be like the sea
Either appear as you are, or be as you appear.
-- Rumi