Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Friday, September 28, 2007

37 fundraising tips for the price of 1

One of my favorite philanthropy bloggers is Rosetta Thurman of Perspectives From the Pipeline. This young woman is going places! Her post today, The Friday Four, inspired me to share with you a similar blast from the past. Below are four links from this humble little blog's first month, July 2006.
5 things to know about direct response fundraising

8 things to know about women donors

10 common mistakes in selecting donor databases

14 free (or almost free) major donor research tools
P.S. Ever wondered what I looked like? No, I didn't figure you did, but one of these links contains my photo. So click away!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Radio, podcasting and fundraising, they go good together

A belated shout out of thanks to Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein and Sean Stannard-Stockton. I was interviewed on Stephen’s radio show and podcast, Fundraising Success, earlier this month. Sean asked me to pinch-hit for him when other duties called him a way at the last minute. Really enjoyed my chat with Stephen on the joy of fundraising and other topics. If you want to take a listen, my 10-minutes of fame starts at a little before 29 minutes into the cast. (Note to self, when you're excited and nervous, remember to breath.)

For those of you who have not yet discovered this podcast, I would encourage you to subscribe. This weekly, 1-hour show is professionally produced out of the studios of WXEL, south Florida’s public radio station. Stephen has smartly put together pool of regular experts and special guests, many of whom are among today’s leading bloggers. In addition to Sean from Tactical Philanthropy, other regulars include Beth Kanter of Beth’s Blog and Peter Panepento of Give and Take. The show I was on also featured Michael Weinholtz and Jennifer Mayhew of CompHealth, Stephen Rockwell of Management Consulting Services and show regular Jesse Carter from ProfitQuests.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Peace, one day at a time

Please join with me, and millions of others around the world today, in dedicating this 1 day out of 365 to peace. Sound a little overwhelming? Perhaps you can find inspiration in these commitments your neighbors have made?

  • Bryony, 13, United Kingdom. I will say sorry to everyone I have ever hurt.
  • Allyssia Atkinson, 23, Canada. I will forgive myself for everything.
  • Roberto, 20, Brazil. I will not let fear beat love.
  • Kelly, 18, United States. I will write a letter to an old friend to show I love them.
  • David Deslauriers 30, Canada. I will surprise my wife for being great.
  • Omar Hisham Taha, 13, Egypt. I will help a lot of poor people.
  • Thomas Lewis, 23, Canada. I will show younger children right from wrong.
  • Brittney Gibbons, 21. United States. I will smile at everyone all day.
  • Micah Sewell, 23. United States. I will plant a tree for the world to make a fresh start.
  • Rupert Sutton, 60, Greece. I will paint a picture today that symbolizes peace.
  • John, 17, United States. I will not make fun of somebody because of the way they are.
  • Ed, 17, United States. I will say "I love you" to my father because I should.
  • Amin, 41, Iran. I will not invade any country for peace.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Then there are times when fundraise is all that bad, and then some

As I mentioned earlier this week, when "done well," fundraising has the power to inspire transformative change. But when done badly, well, things like this happen:
"Federal prosecutors in New York today unveiled criminal charges against Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu for allegedly operating a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded victims across the country out of more than $60 million... Hsu is accused of pressuring investors to contribute ten of thousands of dollars to various candidates in presidential and congressional races in an effort to raise his public profile and thus encourage more victims to invest in his scheme."
Though specifically a political scandal, don't think for a moment that the backlash of this, and other fundraising scandals, isn't going to impact the nonprofit sector. Increased regulation is part of our future. Have I told you that here in California I'm already legally prohibited from soliciting on behalf of my clients? I'm restricted to only training others how to make the ask themselves. This came about not because it is the right thing to do (it is), but because of unethical fundraisers, who in the past have not passed any of their collected donations along to the good cause that hired them.

Ethical fundraising must be at the core of our daily practice. Because if we don't function ethically the entire sector is in danger of collapse -- just like Hsu's ponzi scheme -- for ours is a sector built on the building blocks of trust and good will.

This is just one more reason professional training is so critical. For one of the best blog post related to this topic, please check out Lilya Wagner's article today on onPhilanthropy. Includes over 50 links to fundraising career articles and resources. What a gift, thank you Lilya!


Monday, September 17, 2007

10 reasons fundraising ain't all that bad

Jeff Brooks at Donor Power Blog this week hosts the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants. He conducted a "highly scientific" poll on the question Is fundraising good or bad? As Jeff reports, the results were "shocking and amazing."

  • 60% said bad.
  • 20% said good.
  • 20% said other.
If I read the poll results correctly, that 20% good figure was almost represented entirely by yours truly with my submission to this new Carnival.

Like Jeff, I to came a similar conclusion after hosting the recent Giving Carnival here on this blog. While many people took the challenge seriously, I was frankly unprepared for the amount of pessimistic, cynical, and well, darn-right snarky responses – this from people working in our field.

Clearly, our profession has not only a public image problem, but a large self-esteem challenge. Whether this is based in practice or perception, I'm not about to argue now. But if people think of a fundraiser akin to the stereotype of a used car salesperson, than we have much work to do.

Done well, effective fundraising can help gift recipients break free of the cycle of poverty, violence and oppression they might face in life. For this reason alone, our profession is an honorable one worthy of high praise. Yet I would argue that there are many other benefits, particularly for donors, that are too often not appreciated. Fundraising can help individuals:
  1. Express personal values and feel less powerless in the face of all the world’s needs.
  2. Eliminate isolation by connecting with a community of people who share similar values.
  3. Reduce the perceived differences between those with means and those with needs, helping people moving from fear toward love of others.
  4. Generate a sense of personal abundance and generosity, through understanding one has enough time, talent and treasure to share.
  5. Leave a legacy for their children and the world.
  6. Connect with the cycle of giving and receiving at the core of most spiritual traditions.
  7. Build support for projects that have strong community need, but little or no market value.
  8. Organize communities to effectively advocate for changes in public policy.
  9. Develop a sustainable gift economy as a viable alternative to capital markets.
  10. Provide opportunities for volunteers to become more engaged with causes and communities that they care about.
Perhaps I am naive to think that effective fundraising can help move us as a society from “fear to love.” Yet in today’s world, why would I want to believe anything else?

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Friday, September 07, 2007

September Giving Carnival: Your roadmap to the future of fundraising

If predicting the future were only as simple as drawing a line across a map, being prepared for the next 10 years would be easy. But as the 22 generous contributors to this month's Giving Carnival demonstrate, we each see the world in our own way. From pessimistic to hopeful, the guides below offer you many possible paths to follow. Know that which you choose will impact the rest of your individual life, but also remember, all paths lead to our same shared future.

Tom of The $5 Philanthropist laments that The Year 2017 is a Letdown
Online fundraising risks becoming a victim of it's own success...

Paul of Cause Related Marketing shares several Fearless Predictions on the Future of Cause-Related Marketing
Cause-related marketing will continue to grow in North America, if modestly, while rapidly growing in places like India...

Here on Fundraising for Nonprofits I humbly offer you 8 Predictions on the Future of Fundraising
The changes in regulation, donors, markets, leadership, technology, fundraisers and even volunteers will result in a greater demand for ongoing training for both donors and fundraisers...

An anonymous reader of this blog also contributed a comment.
Fundraisers will deploy scanning devices that identify the best ways to appeal to the donor’s big ego and small primate brain...

Nancy of Getting Attention looks out 10 Years Down the Line
Issue-oriented giving, with donors having the option to specify organizational recipients by percentage of the total gift...

Phil of Gift Hub writes on Philanthropic Advisors to a Field of Interest
The leading solicitors of major gifts and planned gifts will bill themselves as Philanthropic Advisors...

Elie of Give Well offers a roadmap with Two Futures
Fundraising today is all about the pitch; 10 years from now, I hope it will be about the product...

Britt of Have Fun – Do Good brings her passion to Mobilizing Donors and Activists in an Overwhelmed World
Keeping campaigns simple, social, personal, creative and tangible might transform feeling overwhelmed into empowerment...

Dori of Inspired Annual Giving ask us all Where Will You Be?
We'll be using technology beyond our wildest dreams to reach our audience...

Trista of New Voices of Philanthropy keeps it real with You Think Fundraising is Hard Now?
The only role of an executive director will be to raise the money needed to keep the doors of their respective nonprofit open...

Ken of The Nonprofit Consultant Blog reports back from Stardate: September 2017
President Clinton declares foundations could do more for the public good by keeping their endowments "working for America" by staying invested in the stock market, lowering yearly payout to 1-1/2% of their endowment...

Kelly of The Nonprofiteer joins in with And They Call Her a Carnival Clown
Fundraisers and agencies soliciting donations will rethink the current stance holding unethical the practice of having fundraisers compensated by a percentage of the what they raise...

Susan of Philanthromedia builds on years of experience to predict The Future of Fundraising
Money to social impact will continue to grow but name brands will become less important than value and vision...

Mark of Open Hands offers several predictions for The Future of Fundraising
Witness a growing trend of charities who see the value and synergy in fundraising together...

Maya of The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy shares her thoughts Predicting the Future of Nonprofit Fundraising
Lowered barriers to technological access, especially in computer hardware and web media, will attract more smaller foundations to the field...

Christopher of Non-profit Leadership, Innovation and Change has three insights into Fundraising in 2017
As the younger generation gets older the internet is going to play a very important role in fundraising...

Laura of PhilanthroFlash sees in her crystal ball 3 Futures of Fundraising
The tooth fairy will leave "$5 was given to your favorite charity" cards beneath children’s pillows...

Arlene of Seeking Grant Money Today asks We're On Our Way, But Who's At the Helm?
Grant donors bolster government giving by uniquely supporting seed money, pilot programs, and most importantly, the nonprofit sector's strength...

Phil of Strategic Governance, Philanthropy and Planning looks back to look forward for The Next 10 Years-Some Promethean Predictions
Increasingly distrust the organizations which manage philanthropy and deliver social services...

Sean of Tactical Philanthropy explores Fundraising in the Philanthropic Capital Markets
A future where fundraisers are less focused on direct to donor appeals and more focused on what Lucy Bernholz calls the Philanthropic Capital Markets...

Rachel of Vampituity goes farther into the future than all others with Where Fundraising Will Be in 2020
Philanthropy will be much more integrated into life and less on the fringe...

Albert of White Courtesy Telephone muses on Online Giving in 2017
Ten years from now, sensors surgically implanted in your brain by the Department of Homeland Security will automatically register your intention to give and send radio signals to your government-monitored bank account...

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

8 predictions on the future of fundraising

You expect when a host throws a party that she'd at least have the decency to show up. So with no further ado, here's my submission for this month's Giving Carnival on the theme of "Predicting the Future of Fundraising."
  1. Increased Regulation
    Donor demands for accountability, transparency and professionalism, will lead to greater industry self-regulation and government oversight. The tax code will be expanded to include several new types of tax benefit corporations with different levels of “public support test.” The requirements to start-up a traditional nonprofit will be increased, while some formerly for-profit businesses will be provided new, partial tax credits. The trend toward requiring fundraisers to be licensed, regulated and insured will become ubiquitous.

  2. Donor Networks
    Issue-based, collaborative donor funding networks will become the norm. Larger funders view them as a way to reduce risk and exposure, while smaller donors view them as a way to leverage funding and access to evaluation tools. Traditional community foundations will be one of the casualties as donors shift their assets. These “giving circles on steroids” will increasingly function as their own operating foundation. While empowering individual donors, these internally transparent networks will become increasingly impenetrable to outside fundraisers.

  3. Diversified Markets
    New revenue streams will be developed from non-traditional markets, including capital markets to fund mission-based investments. For-profit financial service organizations will lead this development. Many formally successful fundraisers will become personal philanthropic investment advisors. Planned giving vehicles become more commonplace for mid- and lower-level donors. While corporate foundations are a thing of the past, business marketing departments have been expanded to include “community ambassadors,” who raise cause-related donations directly for business sponsored events.

  4. New Leadership
    The much heralded leadership crisis will result in new opportunities for youth, people of color and those from outside the sector to play an increasingly important role. The strong CEO and small board will become the idealized nonprofit leaderships model. While this team will hold agencies to higher outcomes, most have no formal fundraising training and will outsource this function. In less than ten years there will be more fundraisers working as independent contractors than in permanent staff positions. Association of Fundraising Professional membership benefits will now include health care and retirement options.

  5. Changing Technology
    While social networks are attracting a lot of public attention today, the most significant strides in fundraising technology over the next decade will be made in data mining and donor tracking. Online fundraising is no longer just for acquisitions and annual fund campaigns; Major donor prospecting, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship have become the norm. A new job title, Director of IT Fund Development, is now commonplace.

  6. Celebrity Fundraisers
    Money is like water; it flows to the place of least resistance and pools with other assets. Deregulation has resulted an even greater gap between the rich and the poor, with money pooled in different parts of the globe. To move in this international world, fundraisers will increasingly have to rely on or develop their own celebrity status to gain access. Bono and Lynne Twist are just two different examples of this growing trend.

  7. Community Volunteers
    While some things change, others will not. Ten years from now a successful fundraising campaign is still built on turning strangers into friends, friends into donors, and donors into advocates. While managed by professionals, critical fundraising activities are still carried out by volunteers. The Professional fundraiser, who cultivates an active pool of volunteers, will be the one who succeeds in meeting her budget targets.

  8. Professional Training
    The ever-rapid changes in regulation, donors, markets, leadership, technology, fundraisers and even volunteers will result in a greater demand for ongoing training for both donors and fundraisers. Philanthropic training programs will become commonplace within universities, colleges and K-12 schools. Entrepreneurial organizations and individuals, sensing a business opportunity, will start their own fundraising training institutions.
EXTENDED DEADLINE: Haven't yet gotten in your submission to this month's Giving Carnival? Have no fear. The deadline has been extended to midnight Thursday, pacific standard time. Get your submission in by than and I'll be sure to include it in Friday's full Carnival post.