Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Creating and sustaining a fund development culture in your organization

How do you promote and sustain a fundraising culture inside your organization, while coping with external pressures, program needs, budget limitations and an overworked staff? Are you a development professional or an Executive Director who has to manage and allocate resources to different areas of your nonprofit? If you so, and you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join me Tuesday, March 25th from 3 - 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Foundation Center for an important FAB workshop titled, "Creating and Sustaining a Fund Development Culture in Your Organization."

DER's Fundraisers Anxiety Busters (FAB) workshops are quarterly, peer support workshops 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. This month's guest experts will be Lucy Barnett, the Director of Development for Sutter VNA Hospice in Santa Rosa, and Regina Neu, a Fundraising Counsel and University Professor, who has spent over 25 years working in the nonprofit sector.

I’ll be co-facilitating this event with fellow DER board member Michael Magnaye, Development Director at the SW Community Health Center, who will be taking over future FAB facilitation duties in 2008.

Seating is limited, so for more information or to register, please visit the DER website today.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How fundraising has changed my life

Am honored and humbled to announce that I have been elected the president of San Francisco’s Development Executive Roundtable. Hank Ross, the godfather of contemporary fundraising, founded DER many decades ago. He had a dream of a group that provided accessible training and peer support to fundraisers at all stages of their careers. Today DER builds thriving organizations and communities by helping nonprofit professionals teach the joy of giving.

For those of you who knew Hank, or know of his legacy, he talked a lot about the transformative power of fundraising: the ability to change not only the lives of those who receive, but also those who give gifts.

However, we do not often talk about the transformative nature of fundraising on those who ask for gifts on behalf of others. What can happen to you when you dedicate your life to fostering generosity in the world? I’d like to share briefly how fundraising has affected me, and the role DER has played in my life.

Not too many of us grow up as young children wanting to become fundraisers. Like many of you, I made a mid-career change into this line of work. After being let go of my previous job during the dotcom bust I looked around for other work. Given my background in nonprofit marketing, fundraising wasn’t too big of a stretch. Moreover, if I could learn to raise money, I knew I’d always be employable. It was simply a practical decision.

Soon I went to my first DER meeting, and like many others before and after me, I stood up and introduced myself as an unemployed person hoping to break into the field. That first day I met people who would become my friends and mentors, who would help me find jobs, and whom one day I would later hire.

Like many others, at first I found soliciting gifts very difficult. To be an effective fundraiser, I soon learned I had to come to terms with my own relationship to money and privilege. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that one of the greatest obstacles in raising money is not finding people who will give, but helping people become more comfortable with receiving abundance in their lives. Too many of us in this culture don’t think we are worthy of such attention or affection. In order to foster generosity in others, the first person we need to start with is ourselves. One who is mindful of the practice of fundraising, can develop a spirit of self-acceptance and generosity toward themselves, others and the world.

Today fundraising does help pay my bills, but it is much more than that for me. It is a sacred calling. I believe you and I are inheritors of a tradition of giving and receiving that goes back to our earliest cultural memories. It is at the root of all our major spiritual practices and indigenous cultures. We who help transform the world, cannot help be transformed in the process.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I encourage you to join DER with me. Individual memberships are only $50. Not too bad a price to pay to transform your life, don’t you think?

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Donor communications and stewardship strategies workshop

Your year-end fundraising campaigns is working and the checks are beginning to coming in. Now what do you do? How do you find the time to effectively engage your donors to strengthen their relationship with your nonprofit? What communications strategies will increase their interest in your agency? What are effective stewardship activities that encourage gift renewal and increased support?

If you live in the Bay Area you can get answers to these and other questions Wednesday, November 14th from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Development Executive Roundtable FAB workshop I'll be facilitating at the San Francisco Foundation Center.

FAB ("Fundraisers Anxiety Busters") is a free, peer support network for intermediate and seasoned fundraisers, and nonprofit staff and volunteers with development responsibilities, to share fundraising strategies and tactics, meet challenges, and solve problems. I'm happy to announce our two November guest experts will be Dean Zaldue-Hilkene, Manager of Annual Giving at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Barbara Hirst, most recently the Associate Director of Development Major Gifts at California State University East Bay.

These events always fill up. So for more information or to register, please visit the DER website today.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Francisco Bay Area corporate philanthropy trends roundtable

Looking for an opportunity to meet some of San Francisco's leading corporate grantmakers? Then join me for lunch, Friday, November 9th, noon - 2:00 p.m., as DER, The Foundation Center and San Francisco Business Times co-host our annual Meet the Corporate Grantmakers roundtable. Last year's gathering inspired one of my favorite blog posts; I'm sure this one won't disappoint either.

In 2006, the San Francisco Business Times reports that the greater San Francisco Bay Area’s top corporate philanthropists increased their Bay Area giving to about $140 million. The panel plans to address current trends in how Bay Area corporations are selecting the organizations they support, showcase local corporations who were recently recognized at the San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Summit in July, and shine the spotlight on a new corporate donor in the region. Panelist include:

  • Randy Chun, Regional Vice President, Wells Fargo
  • Larry Goldzband, Manager, Charitable Contributions, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • Rey Ocañas, SVP, Community Relations Executive, Wachovia Bank
  • Sylvia Samano, Vice President, External Affairs-Bay Area, AT&T California
Please visit the DER website for more information and to register online.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Making your case in controversial situations

How should you respond to hostile or "challenging" questions when you’re representing your organization? How can you improve your “quotability” with the press? What’s the best way to take a stand when opinions differ?

For answers and other questions, please join me next Friday, October 12, noon - 1:30 p.m., for the Development Executive Roundtable (DER) monthly luncheon presentation. Our guest presenter, Melinda Henning, will offer two templates for organizing your thoughts as well as her best tips for managing stress in controversial settings. Note, this month we'll be meeting at Oakland's Preservation Park. Please visit the DER website for more information and to register online.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Help wanted: Good pay and benefits

Welcome to the land of fundraising, we need you! Look around. It’s a complex world where people feel isolated, powerless and fearful. From threats of global terrorism to global warming, today’s challenges seem overwhelming. Like you, my heart breaks when I see someone forced to live on the streets or go without health care. There must be a better way, but what is it?

What if we lived in a world were we cared for our neighbors? What if instead of being fearful of differences we embraced them? What if instead of feeling helpless, we lived a life of abundance? That is the gift you give to others when you become a fundraiser. By connecting donors with the gentle joy of giving, you help them discover what it means to be human. In joining with others and giving to those in need, donors recognize they already have everything they need.

You are the Johnny Appleseed of generosity. Years from now you will look back and see all the young children you helped graduate from college, the local park that was once an toxic landfill, and the community center built in the middle of former gang turf and know your life was one well lived.

Here’s my recommended steps for entering the field.
  1. VOLUNTEER: What good cause do you care about? Development offices are always looking for volunteers to stuff envelopes and help out at events. My first fundraising gig was volunteering to write grants for a small arts group. Join a nonprofit board. Even without experience, if you are willing to support fundraising efforts, you’ll be snapped up.

  2. LEARN: Take classes, read books and subscribe to blogs. Research your city to find free or low cost training. The Foundation Center offers free classes in five major U.S. cities. In the San Francisco Bay Area CompassPoint, The CBO Center and USF are great resources. I’m a huge fan of the writing of Kim Klein, Hank Rosso and Kay Sprinkel Grace. Today’s thought leaders are bloggers. If you have time to read only one, make it the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Give and Take, which summarizes all the rest. Start developing your expertise now.

  3. NETWORK: Find the nonprofit trade associations in your town. If you're a regular reader of this blog you know I’m a big fan of Development Executives Roundtable, in fact I'm on the board. Five years ago when I decided to change my career I walked into my first DER meeting, stood up and announced I wanted to become a fundraiser. At that meeting I met people who would become my professional colleagues, career mentors and good friends. Other resource include local branches of the Association of Fundraising Professionals or the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.

  4. START: We all must begin at the beginning. My first paid job was part-time telefunding. A horrible job really, but learning how to ask for money 30 times a day is a good skill to develop if you wish to build a career in fundraising. Now I’m a successful freelance Fundraising Counsel. Last week I turned down an interview to lead up a $45,000,000 capital campaign. I can tell you most certainly that there are always more development jobs available, and the pay scale is higher, than found in other nonprofit departments. If you can learn to raise money, you will never be without work.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Five-year-old fundraising superstar

My five-year-old niece Rylee lives in Marin Country, the home of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Last year, she decided on her own to become a donor to this good cause. Looking under sofa cushions and saving up change given to her Mom, she made her first donation to a nonprofit at the ripe old age of four. Last weekend she took it a step further by becoming a Guide Dogs fundraiser by setting up her own lemonade stand. She raised over a $100 in one afternooon. Words can't express how proud I am of her!

If you would like to offer a few words of encouragement to a budding young fundraiser, please add it to the comments below and I'll make sure she gets a copy. It would mean a lot to both her and me. Thanks.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

How to ask for a gift: Successful face-to-face solicitation workshop

Let's face it, many fundraisers, board members and volunteers love to do everything in fundraising except ask for money. Usually it is because they have simply never learned how to actually make an ask. The fear of asking for a gift from a complete stranger--or worse from a close friend--is legitimate. After all, if not handled properly it can put those involved in an uncomfortable position.

If you've ever had fears asking for money--and I know I have--please join me next Friday for what maybe the most important training you'll attend all year. How to Ask for a Gift: Successful Face-to-Face Solicitation is co-sponsored by the Development Executive Roundtable (DER) and will feature national Fundraising Consultant Philip Byrdsong. This luncheon event will be held August 10, noon - 1:30 pm at the San Francisco Foundation Center.

Learn how to prepare for the donor visit, anticipate and meet donor objections. Overcome your own fears, and learn how to ask a potential donor for money. Build your confidence by learning techniques that work. This is one session you'll want to invite your board chair, campaign chair and volunteers to attend with you.

Philip is probably the most value-based Fund Development Consultant I know. With over a decade of experience in the field, he is an active member of the Association for Fundraising Professionals, Northern California Planned Giving Council, National Center for Black Philanthropy and DER, as well as Disabled American Veterans. He has raised funds for United Way, California Peace Action, Central American Resource Center, A Better Chance, NAACP, East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Committee, International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers, and others.

If you've been a good boy or girl this year, don't wait for X-mas to be rewarded. Learn how to ask for gifts all year around. For more information and to register, simply visit the DER website.

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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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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Urban gorilla army lets loose on San Francisco

I thought getting men to march against rape in high heels was quite a sight. But that was nothing compared to today's spectacle of four-hundred people who, dressed as gorillas, ran in the first-annual San Francisco Great Gorilla Run to raise funds for mountain and low land gorillas threatened in the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Give that man a big banana!

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sharing good people and good ideas

Am happy to let you know I recently become an Affiliate Consultant with the East Bay CBO Center. The Center is dedicated to building the professional capacity of nonprofit organization's serving the counties of Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

I will continue to operate as an independent Fundraising Counsel, but this arrangement will provide my business with additional outreach and referrals. But what makes me most excited is that I now have direct access to a hand-picked network of over 30 of the San Francisco Bay Area's top nonprofit consultants.

So if you need help finding a nonprofit organizational development, human resources, evaluation or technology expert, give me a call and I can now pass you forward to a consultant with a proven track record.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

The manifesto of abundance

Hung out last night with my friend Maritza and her friends from the Abundance League. Special guests included two gentleman from Oaxaca Mexico, who shared with us how their families have come together to recover the traditional craft of tapestry making using local plant materials and sustainable practices. The resulting rugs and other items are worthy of hanging in museums.

So who is the Abundance League you may ask? Thank you for asking.
"We believe that abundance flows from helping each other. That mutual cooperation, collaboration, and interdependence lead to health, happiness, beauty, freedom, love, peace and truth.

That scarcity is created by anything that keeps us from helping each other. That anything blocking increasing levels of cooperation, collaboration, and interdependence cheats humanity of its full potential. That emotions, beliefs, behaviors, and social divisions that keep us from helping each other lead to poverty.

That the purpose of our lives is to be of service to each other. That it is our responsibility as individuals to understand our unique abilities and passions, design a life of service that uses these to the best advantage of others, and find like-minded collaborators to advance our service projects. That it is not only our responsibility, but a powerful source of purpose, meaning, and joy to do the work we were meant to do.

That it is our responsibility to improve the quality of our lives and others. That we should not expect someone else to do this for us. A better world is our responsibility and counts on our every action. That creating a better world is actually easy, counts on many little actions in our daily lives, and is something we can do now starting with those in our local community.

That we have everything we need to create a better life and better world within and around us. That if we act on our most deeply held dreams for humanity with humility, inclusiveness, determination, faith, generosity, honesty, and good intention, the universe will aid you in your quest. That simple actions added up will not only result in a better life for ourselves, but a positive shift in world affairs. That this is not only our responsibility, but a powerful source of pleasure, satisfaction, and belonging."
What to get on the Peace Train with me?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Avoiding the flaws that doom your grant proposals to the reject pile

Bay Area readers who missed Susan Fox and Cheryl Clark's excellent presentation this past April on the top 10 flaws that doom your grant request to the reject pile now have another chance hear them live. Please join them Friday June 8, noon - 1:30 p.m., at Oakland's Preservation Park for the Development Executives Roundtable monthly luncheon. Learn proven techniques for transforming ugly duckling proposals into beautiful swans.

This event is co-sponsored with the CBO Center. For more information and to register, simply visit the DER website.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Remembering the past, recovering the future, and living for today

"What does giving mean? Who is the giver and who is the receiver? How can giving become a spiritual practices? How do we take care of all beings?" These are the questions that opened up Tuesday's excellent panel presentation Caring for Community And Self: Giving as Spiritual Practice, sponsored by San Francisco's Horizons Foundation.

Inside Wells Fargo's Penthouse suite, far above the San Francisco skyline, those in attendance were treated not only to lunch, but words and wisdom from Zen Buddhist Priest H. Ryumon Gutierrez Bladoquin, Episcopal Minister David Norgard, Jewish Rabbi Camille Shira Angel, and Muslim Community Leader Urusa Fahim. I was happy to learn the workshop was organized by my friend Rajat Dutta, and moderated by my mentor Lisa Hoffman.

The common theme throughout the day's discussion is the fact generosity is seen by many spiritual traditions as how we nurture our community and ourselves. Acts of giving create compassion, connection, and have the power to change people, relationships and cultures. Those who give and those who receive are transformed, whether the gift involves food, service or money. Hearts open and lives expand when the welfare of others is valued. Key teachings include:

  • Buddhism
    Generosity is the heart of the Buddha's teachings. It is more than a kind gesture: it is an embodiment of wisdom. It liberates the mind and heart. Dana is a Pali word meaning "generosity" or "the act of giving." Dana is the first of the ten paramitas, or qualities of character to be cultivated in our lifetime (or lifetimes). The Buddha emphasized dana because it is a gateway to compassion and wisdom.

  • Christianity
    The earliest disciples of Jesus recall him saying that "Happiness lies more in giving than in receiving" and this insight has resonated with his followers ever since then. Believing that all that we have is a gift from God, Christians understand that their own spiritual growth is partly a function of their stewardship of what they have been given -- responding with gratitude and generosity being the ideal.

  • Islam
    Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and is compulsory for every Muslim. It is necessary to give Zakat in order to fulfill the basic obligations of being a Muslim. Zakat is a tax of 2.5% paid on the savings and capital for the year.

  • Judaism
    For many, tzedakah is considered the highest moral obligation of the Jewish people. Tzedakah sets a "just base" for giving since you're given the opportunity to help provide for the poor. Tzedakah can also be understood as a more broad "philanthropic" mission -- to make the world a better place/repair the world/help people in need.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Can you imagine contemporary philanthropy practices based on the above principles? What would it look like? As social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and fundraisers alike call for the "end of charity," urging market-based solutions and measurable outcomes in return for their financial investments, is there any hope that the principles of generosity and compassion that have been at the core of giving for many millennia have any chance of surviving?

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Creating dialogue fearlessly: Media relations overview

Tickets are still available for next Friday's DER luncheon, featuring nonprofit public relations expert David Perry. I'll be at the front door assisting with registration. Would be great to see you there.

David is one of the first people whom I met when I moved to San Francisco nearly 10 years ago, and I'm grateful to call him a friend. He's is a firm believer in the philosophy that there are only two forces in the world -- fear and open communication. He mirrors this concept by fostering dialogue between his clients, the media and the community at large. For his efforts, his firm was named the Exceptional For-Profit Arts Related Business by the Business Arts Council in 2006 for its stellar work with nonprofit arts clients including the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Asian American Theater Company and others.

David's presentation will provide you a guide to basic public relations, including examples and instruction in the use of standard tools (news release and pitch writing, database management, media relationship building) and how to set up a basic campaign for your organization that will get the attention you need.

Friday, May 11, 2007
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Location: Lighthouse for the Blind
214 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Cost/Registration: DER members = $12, non-members = $20
Reserving your space by Wednesday at the DER website.
Lunch is included in your fee.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Side benefits of being a fundraiser

One of the side benefits of being a fundraiser is the opportunity to attend many gala events. Never one to turn down free food and drinks (even if these days I stick to veggies and sparkling water), in the past few weeks I've attended the Goldman Awards, New Leaf Services for our Community Annual Gala and Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation Cabaret with the cast of the Jersey Boys. Coming soon, me and 2,500 of my closest friends will be dancing the night away at National Center for Lesbian Rights 30th anniversary celebration.

Now, I don't usually like photos of myself, but this one that my friend Maya snapped at the recent San Francisco LGBT Community Center 5th birthday party is actually quite nice. That's me with my good friend Chris, the founder and former CEO of Network for Good and Netaid.

One question though, what is he doing with his hand?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mastering Major Gifts: Putting Donors First

As a successful nonprofit fundraiser, you know that major gifts are the result of successful partnerships within your organization and within the community. Nonprofits with successful major donor efforts have developed a truly donor-centric culture. Organizational leadership plays a key role in establishing and maintaining these partnerships and culture.

But getting to this point is easier said than done. So if you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'd like to invite you to join me for a free Development Executives Roundtable Fundraisers Anxiety Buster (FAB!) workshop entitled Mastering Major Gifts: Putting Donors First, which I'll be facilitating at the San Francisco Foundation Center on May 16, 3:00 p.m. - 5: 00 p.m.

As a group, we'll discuss issues such as how to build a unified major donor campaign team, craft appropriate policies and develop a donor portfolio. Together we'll review successful strategies for leveraging existing major donors and additional natural partners. Get the help you need in identifying the critical elements to develop, sustain and grow your base of contributed support. Strengthen your own network with others doing similar work.

FAB! is a peer support forum 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. Light refreshments will be served. Guests with expertise in each session's topic will help address issues identified by the group. Our guest experts will be:

Mark Lachman, Senior Major Gifts Officer, California Pacific Medical Center Foundation
Mark is Senior Major Gifts Officer at California Pacific Medical Center Foundation and has over 15 years Development experience in both small organizations with few systems to support fundraising as well as in larger institutions. Mark is responsible for three different funding priorities at CPMC with a total philanthropic need of $6 million. He carries a personal portfolio of 150 donors and coordinates the Board of Trustee’s year-long solicitation process. In 2005 Mark implemented a portfolio system for the CPMC Foundation Trustees after piloting this process in a subcommittee. Last year the 44 Trustees approached 675 prospects and raised over $4 million.

Melanie Hamburger, Associate Director of Philanthropy, The Nature Conservancy
Melanie brings over 15 years experience in major gifts, special events and volunteer management for nonprofits, and a prior career in corporate finance and marketing. Her major gift experience covers a broad range: at The Nature Conservancy, she cultivates and solicits 50 donors for gifts of $100,000 over 3-years and is personally responsible for raising nearly $2M this year; as development director of the California Historical Society, she started a new program for $1,000+ major donors, increasing the number of donors at that level by 77% and resulting revenue by over 400% in six months. Using the Moves Management approach to major gifts, Melanie works with senior managers and business leaders to tap "natural partners" in major donor access and cultivation. Currently, Melanie sits on the Board of the Development Executive Roundtable.

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

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Philanthropy: Taking care of yourself and your community

San Francisco's Horizons Foundation has announced a series of free workshops around the Bay Area to help philanthropically minded individuals, couples, and families give to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community more effectively and strategically. These sessions are promoted as "donor networking opportunities in a solicitation-free space," though there really can be no doubt they are part of the foundation's larger endowment building cultivation strategy.

That said, I think they've come up with an interesting set of presentations. Have already sent in my reservation for the May 15 workshop entitled,
Caring for Community and Self: Giving as Spiritual Practice. According to the program description, "Generosity is seen by many world religions as how we nurture our community and ourselves. Those who give and those who receive are both transformed, whether the gift involves food, service or money. This panel discussion will explore spiritual insights on giving and transformation from leaders of various faiths."

Other workshops include:
  • Leave Your Story in Trust: Writing an Ethical Will - April 30
  • Socially Responsive Investing for the LGBT Community - June 13
  • Life Income and Testamentary Giving with Charitable Trusts - September 9
  • How to Evaluate Nonprofit Organizations - October 25
  • 2007 Legislative, Electoral, and Judicial Update - November 9
No one is going to check to see if you are a card-carrying pink triangle member at the door, so would encourage anyone who lives in the area and is interested in attending to do so. If you sign-up, drop me an email and we can go together.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

How can the guard change if you won't open the gate?

A post on Netsquared about the intergenerational transfer of leadership reminded me of the following story:

My last staff fundraising job was at LYRIC, a community center serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 14-23. When I started, I had just turned 40 and was the oldest person on staff by nearly a decade.

One of LYRIC's services was a job training program, which included paid internships for young people. Before placed on site or with a partnering organization, interns received 50 hours of training, including interview skills, financial management, and how to handle workplace discrimination and safety issues.

The first intern I was assigned was just 14 years old. I told the Program Coordinator, "don't you think I could get somebody who is at least 18? I need to have them be able to operate a computer and work independently." His response was to give her a try, and if it didn't work out, to let him know and somebody else could be assigned to me.

The day came for my new intern to start. Barely pubescent, she couldn't have weighed over 90 pounds and looked younger than her 14 years. We sat down and my first question was, "so tell me about yourself."

She looked at me, paused, and said, "I'm a long-time activist and I'm going to end homophobia."

My life changed that day.

She became one of my greatest teacher. For not only was she a long-time activist, having been raised by a straight mother in an progressive household, but she was going to end homophobia, because she held no shame in who she was, and would happily and calmly dialogue with anyone around the issues.

I had her meet with the Mayor.

She called all city's Board of Supervisors.

We talked about her 100-plus Barbie doll collection.

She changed my life, and in doing so, changed my world.

As adults, so many of us spend all our life trying to change the world around us, but if we only opened our hearts to the youth amongst us, we might find a much easier path to peace and liberation.

P.S. That's me on the left.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The changing face of philanthropy: Engaging communities of color in asking and giving

I hope you can join me for the Development Executive Roundtable's April 13 luncheon, from noon - 1:30 pm, at San Francisco's Foundation Center. Though I admit, perhaps we could have come up with a better title than the above header, which in my mind implies communities of color aren't currently engaged in philanthropy -- a myth I've already dispelled -- but apparently this is going to be just one of the important topics addressed.

For according to the publicity blurb, there will be a "lively discussion with grantmakers and development professionals about changing the preconceived notions about who is engaged in the work of philanthropy, strategies for recruiting and retaining staff that are representatives of diverse constituencies, traditions of giving in ethnic communities, and strategies grantmakers are using to diversify the nonprofit and foundation fields."

Panelists announced so far include Evette Brandon, Youth UpRising’s Development Director, who has worked with a number of community-based organizations with an explicit commitment to eliminating the negative effects of economic injustice, health disparities, sexism and racism on communities of color. She has worked with the Community Health Academy, The Center for Third World Organizing, The Applied Research Center, Girls After School Academy, and the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT). She has also served as a Board member with GIFT, The Todos Institute, Conciliation Forms of Oakland, and the Alumnae Association of Mills College. Ms. Brandon received her Master in Public Health from San Jose State University.

Also presenting will be Priscilla Hung, Co-Director of Grassroots Fundraising, whose programs include GIFT- Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, publishing the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, and hosting Raising Change, A Social Justice Fundraising Conference. Priscilla learned how to fundraise by completing a GIFT internship. She is Co-Editor of Reversing the Flow: A Practical Guide to Greater San Francisco Bay Area Corporate Giving Programs, 2001-02 Edition.

Additional speakers to be announced include guests from The California Endowment and The San Francisco Foundation.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What do Development Directors Want?

According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals 1 in 2 of you won't last in your current job for even 24 months. If you weren't already concerned about the future of the fundraising profession, perhaps you are now?

So what's an Executive Director to do? Are you having difficulty searching for a new Development Director? Not finding the candidates you hoped for? Are you fortunate enough to have hired a great candidate and want to make sure he or she stays? Concerned that you might have a Development Director who is thinking of leaving?

If so, you’re not alone. Fundraising stars Ruth Herring and Barbara Pierce recently hosted a workshop at CompassPoint addressing this exact topic.

Here's a sampling of what local Development Directors said they needed to be successful in the job. Sound familiar?
  1. Realistic, achievable goals.
  2. Support for Development Director by Executive Director.
  3. A leadership role in the “big picture” planning for agency as member of management team.
  4. Priorities: Opposite of “everything is equally important” approach.
  5. A strong, working Board and direct access to Board members.
  6. Respect for fundraising and donors.
  7. Opportunities for learning, access to experts.
  8. Good employment benefits (retirement, flexibility, etc.).
  9. Opportunity to see the results of their work.
  10. Inspiration by and trust in the Executive Director.
My question is, what do Executive Directors want? It so easy to point our fingers at the Executive Director or at the Board when things get challenging. Yet weren't we hired to manage exactly these types of difficult situations? Would love to hear your thoughts below.

Alternatively, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join me Wednesday, May 16, 3pm - 5pm at the Foundation Center as I facilitate a free FAB workshop on, "Creating the Dream Team: Best Practices for Executive Director and Development Working Relationships."

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

One for the road, two for the show, three to get ready, and four we fall down

Just learned via Boing Boing about this new Red Cross San Francisco Bay Area earthquake preparedness campaign. For more amazing photos (CC) like this, check out Jason DeFillippo's Flickr Stream.


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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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Transform your grant request from no to yes

I'm very grateful to call two of the San Francisco Bay Area's top fund raising professionals, Cheryl Clarke and Susan Fox, my friends. Today I'm happy to tell you their new book, Grant Proposal Makeover, has just been published by Jossey-Bass.

As you may already know, nine out of ten grant proposals are rejected. Grant Proposal Makeover shows how to transform lackluster proposals into excellent ones, ones that have the potential to be funded. This book stands out from other traditional grant writing publication, because it illustrates common flaws and problems in proposals and shows exactly how to fix them.

It also includes helpful tips and quotes from foundation program officers and funding community insiders taken from an international survey of foundation professionals. Stephanie Roth, Editor of Grassroots Fundraising Journal, calls it "one of the best tools for grantseekers I’ve seen in a long time."

Copies of the book are now available at all major online vendors, or if you are located in the Bay Area, come meet the Cheryl and Susan at one of the following book signings:

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Please join me for DER's annual holiday party

If you're located in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join me for the Development Executives Roundtable (DER) annual Holiday Party, Tuesday, December 12th, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Foundation Center. Advance tickets are only $15 and are available online. Tickets sold out last year, so be sure to reserve your space today.

Founded in the 1960's by Henry "Hank" Rosso, DER is dedicated to growing and enhancing the community of development professionals by providing low cost, accessible learning and networking opportunities directed towards fundraisers at every stage of their careers. I'm very grateful to be DER's current Board Secretary.

We're of course located in Northern California, so there'll be good food and wine in abundance, plus the return of the world-famous "Show Me the Money Players." I'll be performing again with those renowned thespians, the "Development Ducks." Not to be missed.

This event is cosponsored by the Foundation Center in cooperation with the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Golden Gate Chapter. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Multicultural Alliance, an AFP-GGC program that works towards diversity in the fundraising profession.

A big thanks to all our many generous sponsors who make this party possible, including presenting sponsor VanLobenSels/RembeRock Foundation.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kay Sprinkel Grace and the transformative power of fundraising

A fixture of San Francisco Bay Area and national fundraising for nearly three decades, Kay Sprinkel Grace gave the keynote address at the recent Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Bootcamp training conference in San Francisco. Its now online as part of Stanford’s Social Innovations Conversations podcasts. Give yourself a little gift today and listen to this while you squeeze in lunch at your computer workstation.

For if you ask me, most people outside this field have an innate fear of fundraising because of the perception it is a difficult sales job. Most professional fundraisers I know have made peace with the work because they believe it isn't merely about raising money, but about raising donors.

But I don’t think either perspective fully describes the potential power of our work, or why I am attracted to it. Creating connections between people of means and people with needs, the inspired fundraiser is a change agent bringing together individuals and communities across lines of race, class, age, gender, ability, sexuality, geography and other artificial divisions. Fundraising has the ability to transform not only those who receive, but also those who give. To give is to receive, and in that moment there is the transformative potential to understand that what separates us is merely an illusion.

Fortunately, as fundraisers, we are not immune to the transformative power of this work. Like a martial art, if one practices fundraising long enough, it teaches one to move through the world with improved humility and grace. I for one still have much to learn, but it is a good path to be walking down.

Fortunately, there are those who have gone before us to help light the way. One of those is Kay Sprinkel Grace.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

On Buddhas, cats, ducks and mentorship in the nonprofit sector

One of the things I'm most grateful for in my life is my Mother Duck, Lisa Hoffman, who wrote the short essay below. She's my Mother Duck because I'm one of her ducklings, a small group of development professionals she has chosen to informally mentor. I am so blessed to have her wisdom, compassion and friendship in my life. Having Lisa as a mentor, and the rest of the ducks for peer support, is the secret to any success I have, both professionally and personally.

Lisa is one of San Francisco Bay Area's top nonprofit resource development consultants with more than 20 years experience. She has also been a Zen Buddhist practitioner for the past 11 years, and was lay ordained at San Francisco Zen Center in 2000. She is now training to become a Zen priest through the Russian River Zendo. You should also know that she is a cat lover, believing that all cats are reincarnated Zen masters. She can be reached at lisahoffman9 [at]sbcglobal[dot]net.
The executive director's voice on the phone was desperate. "We need to avoid a funding crisis and our planning meeting is in five days. Can you help us?" Her nonprofit protects the frail elderly from abuse.

This call reminded me why I believe that you and all of us who have made a commitment to the nonprofit community are Bodhisattvas, a Buddhist term.

A Bodhisattva vows to help everyone in the world become enlightened before she reaches enlightenment. Does the magnitude of this commitment feel familiar? What is your nonprofit's mission? To eradicate poverty, build social justice, cure cancer? Fulfilling our missions is challenging, if not impossible -- as is the vow to enlighten all beings.

How can we renew ourselves as we work to make the impossible happen on a daily basis?

Where do we find the energy to face intractable social ills while seeking to change a self-destructive culture?

These are questions I have explored for the many years of my nonprofit career. As a young development director and now a consultant, I have often felt depleted by the demands of the commitment I have made to my community. Beginning a meditation practice more than a decade ago has slowly pointed me toward a self-renewal that is grounded in commonsense and inspiration.

For a Bodhisattva, energy lays in the vow itself and its day-to-day fulfillment. Focusing only on the outcome -- enlightening all beings -- is daunting, to say the least. Feeling that I am not done until my nonprofits mission is fulfilled is similarly exhausting. What is an action-minded person to do?

We could try sitting down.

Meditating, usually with my cat purring in my lap, has gradually developed my ability to meet the person or activity in front of me. This is the fulfillment of my commitment to the nonprofit community. And it is this moment-to-moment engagement against the backdrop of mission that revitalizes me.

Sometimes, when I stop and breathe for a moment, it even fills me with wonder. And gratitude. I remember that I am offering healing to this hurting world. I can make a difference.

This doesn't mean there is no stress, or that planning is no longer needed. There will still be overwhelming amounts of work, political defeat, or trying to help a homeless family with a heartbreaking story and few resources. During these times and always, renewal lies in our vow and the next simple act of its fulfillment. I said yes to that executive director.
As fundraising professionals, we help people give back to their communities everyday by connecting their values with nonprofit missions that matter to them. Mentoring a young person coming into this field is one of the best ways that we in turn can give back to our own community. Please consider adopting a duckling into your own life, and help open doors that were once opened for you.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Raising Change Conference materials now available online

Many of the workshop materials from last summer's amazing Raising Change Conference are now available for download on the Grassroots Fundraising Journal website. Recommended texts that can stand on their own without the actual training include:
  • Robert Weiner's Selecting the Right Donor Database
    The right donor database can help you identify, cultivate, solicit, thank, and steward your donors. The wrong one can drive you insane. How do you find the right database?
  • Madeline Stanionis' Raising Money with Email
    Loaded with practical advice and real world examples. Answers and recommendations about how your organization can make the most of your e-mail program.
  • Pat Bradshaw's Future of Boards
    Even with good intentions, many boards are not living up to basic expectations of governance and support. We need better ways to work with boards to generate leadership and contributions of time, expertise, and money.
  • Russell Roybal's Diving into Development Planning
    Learn the steps to creating a successful development plan. Assess your current situation, taking stock of outside factors, examining cash flow, assigning responsibility, and more.
Highlights of Kim Klein's plenary speech are also still posted on this blog.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Help the Foundation Center celebrate its 50th birthday

Wow, 50 years of service to the community, that's quite an accomplishment! In celebration the San Francisco branch of the Foundation Center is offering a series of educational programs on how philanthropy and fundraising have evolved and what changes are happening in the field today. This month's Development Executives Roundtable (DER) noon luncheon on November 10th, will be co-hosted by the Foundation Center and the San Francisco Business Times, as part of this series. The discussion topic will be "Trends in Bay Area Bank Philanthropy." Here's a little language from the PR blurb.
"In 2005, the San Francisco Business Times reported that the greater San Francisco Bay Area's top corporate philanthropists increased their giving to about $107 million in cash contributions. In its annual ranking of the Top Corporate Philanthropists in the Greater Bay Area, four of the top ten corporate philanthropists are banks. This panel, made up of local banks who were recognized at the San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Summit in July, includes three from the Business Times top ten list as well as the bank that placed 11th. Representatives from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Union Bank of California will address current trends in how Bay Area financial service firms are selecting the organizations they support."
As always, I'll be at the door handling registration, so I hope to see you there. Please note that this is a special FREE event and is bound to sell out. So to reserve your space, please visit the Foundation Center website today.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Stanford University announces record setting capital campaign

On Tuesday Stanford University officially kicked off a $4.3-billion capital campaign, which, if successful, would be the largest in higher-education history. Though publically just announced, the campaign is already about half way over, having raised $2.2-billion since 2004 during its quiet phase.

Now a project like this takes a lot of people, so if you're looking for a job, Stanford is hiring. Currently they have 18 open positions in their development offices.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

3 leading Bay Area art groups secure $95,000,000-plus in donations in 1 week

This week champagne corks are popping on Nob Hill, as the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony and Stanford’s Music Program announced record setting gifts.
Stanford alums give $50 million to build concert hall
"Stanford University today announced a $50 million donation from alumnus Peter Bing and his wife Helen that will be used to construct a new concert hall."

Symphony gets $10 million grant
"San Francisco philanthropist Richard Goldman is giving the San Francisco Symphony a $10 million challenge grant aimed at increasing the company's current $180 million endowment … The Goldman Foundation, of which Richard Goldman is president, will add $500,000 to every $1 million contribution."

S.F. Opera patron donates $35 million

"Largest gift of its kind in the U.S. -- no strings attached $35 million from longtime patron and supporter Jeannik Méquet Littlefield, a donation believed to be the largest to an American opera company from a single benefactor."
Suddenly, big ticket philanthropy has become hip -- or you are lead to believe if you read the headlines -- so the recent launch the San Francisco based magazine, Benefits: The Lifestyle of Giving, comes as no surprise.

But anyone who works in this field knows that planned gifts like these don’t happen over night. Very few nonprofits have the stability, legacy and capacity to secure them. They take years of cultivation. You can be sure, beyond each of these newspaper headlines, there's a unsung story of a talented fundraiser.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Queer youth work too graphic for Macy's show

Article in the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter highlights the challenges faced when nonprofits and funders might not share the same values and mission.
"Content developed by queer youth from San Francisco's Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC) raised red flags for organizers of the annual 'Teen Night' at Macy's Passport show, an HIV prevention education event and fashion show held this week at Fort Mason Center. Now, LYRIC is claiming that LGBTQQ youth have been excluded from the event and its HIV prevention messages ...

Macy's spokeswoman Betsy Nelson told the Bay Area Reporter that ... 'We asked them to exclude [content materials] that were very graphic in nature ... This audience is a very diverse audience in terms of race, gender preference, everything ... It's free and we send busses all over to pick up thousands of kids from all over ... There is content about HIV and how you get HIV. Macy's specifically doesn't talk on the topic; we use other groups to do that...'

[LYRIC Executive Director] Schwartz said she has a hard time with the Macy's event billing itself as HIV 'education' without it also including frank discussions of many different kinds of sex, regardless of audience background or how many of the youth identify. Assumptions that heterosexual youth or teens from certain backgrounds don't engage in certain sexual practices, she said, are dangerous assumptions to make in the world of HIV prevention."

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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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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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Friday, September 08, 2006

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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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Measuring success: How to utilize evaluation information for fundraising purposes

Most folks I know don't really enjoy conducting evaluations. It's like reconciling your personal checkbook: good to do, but often ignored on a regular basis until it is too late to make much of a difference.

Program evaluations are of course required by many funders. But truth be told, we should all be conducting regular assessments and reviews of all our programs and activities, whether required by a funder or not. It really is the only way to make sure that our efforts are on track, reaching and surpassing our goals. (You do have written goals, right?)

To learn how to make your evaluations more useful and enjoyable, please join me Friday, September 8th for the San Francisco Bay Area's Development Executive Roundtable (DER) luncheon from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., at the Lighthouse for the Blind, 214 Van Ness Avenue.

Our guest speaker is Steven LaFrance, founder of LaFrance Associates, one of the Bay Area's leading evaluation, research and technical assistance consulting firms.

Reserve your seat by emailing derrsvp at by September 6.

Cost for all DER luncheons is DER members $12, and for non-members $20. (Calendar year memberships are only $40.) Lunch is included in your fee. You can pay at the door, checks or cash only please.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

End of year fundraising strategies that work

Guess what? I'm guest host for next month's San Francisco FAB gathering!

FAB -- for those of you not in the know -- stands for "Fundraisers Anxiety Busters." It's a free, quarterly forum for intermediate and seasoned fundraisers, and nonprofit staff and volunteers with development responsibilities, to share fundraising strategies and tactics, meet challenges and solve problems. Guests with expertise in each session's topic help address issues identified by the group. We're sponsored by the Bay Area's Development Executive Roundtable and hosted by local branch of the Foundation Center.

September theme is "End of the Year Fundraising Strategies that Work."

So with the end of the calendar year is right around the corner, and do you know where all your donors are? Do you dread the stress of yet another fall giving season? Is the Board expecting you to pull another rabbit out of the hat? Join us for to share with each other stress-reducing and effective end-of-the-year fundraising strategies that you can implement at your nonprofit before the IRS declares the year over one more time.

Guest experts will include Dr. Anthony T. Adessa ("Tony"). Tony has 30 years nonprofit experience, with a composite background in higher education, health, arts, social services, and youth. Presently the Director of Corporate and Foundation Giving at Alliant International University, he has also been a Development Director, Events Manager, and Department Chair. His areas of expertise include major gifts, grant writing, planned giving, annual fund, events, and endowment planning/design.

Also joining us will be Leslie Ewing, who brings 20 years of successful event planning and execution, grant writing, major donor solicitation/retention, and nonprofit and corporate collaboration experience. Currently, she is the Associate Executive Director of Marketing and Development at the Lyon-Martin Women's Health Services. Her fundraising background includes work with the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, The 1993 March on Washington for LGBT Rights, The AIDS Emergency Fund of San Francisco, The James Hormel Center of the San Francisco Public Library, The Women's Cancer Resource Center and Under One Roof. She is also a founder of the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund.

Event Details:
Wednesday, September 20, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Foundation Center, 312 Sutter St., 6th floor, San Francisco
To register e-mail your RSVP to
Seating limited to 25, so register soon.
Email is for registration only. For information, please call 415-759-0476.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Transgender Law Center presents "A Movement in Motion", 9/5, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

I'm a bit of a cheerleader for this agency. A former client and long-time donor, they're also one of my current clients. Hosted by Crash Nightclub -- San Francisco's newest hipster ultralounge located at 34 Mason at Market -- "A Movement in Motion" is TLC's annual fundraising gala.

Would love if you could join us to celebrate our past accomplishments and get energize for the work yet to be done. All genders welcome, and that means you!

For more information and to purchase tickets.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gifts flow slowly to Muslim groups: One Bay Area response

In the Middle East, Philanthropy Today is reporting that cash donations are flowing slowly to Muslim groups working in Lebanon because many people are afraid their donations could put them on government terrorism watch lists.

Here in the U.S., recent census data has revealed that the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities are among the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, California, and the San Francisco Bay Area. These communities have been facing, and continue to face, significant challenges following September 11, 2001. They have been targets of hate crimes, media stereotyping, and laws that focus primarily on Muslim communities.

In response, The San Francisco Foundation, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), and The California Endowment have responded by conducted a Bay Area community scan to educate the larger philanthropic community about the critical issues facing these communities.

One of the first actions to emerge as a result of this scan is the Post 9/11 Civic Engagement Fund, which is designed as a vehicle to support nonprofit organizations from the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities. This Fund will be administered by AAPIP in partnership with the Social Justice Program and FAITHS Initiative at The San Francisco Foundation. The June 1, 2006 application deadline has passed, but I'm sure they would gladly accept your donations.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Forget the Tour de France: It's the Tour de Castro Tricycle Race

Sometimes I find living in San Francisco very challenging, then along comes one of those "toto moments," when I'm so glad I live here. This certainly is one.

Planned for Saturday, October 21, the Tour de Castro is a race, bar crawl, costume extravaganza, raffle and fundraiser benefiting AIDS Lifecycle bike riders in need of donations to reach the minimum on registration day.

Teams of 2-5 tricycle riders will race to several Castro neighborhood bar "pit stops", earning a minimum of $5 from each of their sponsors for each pit stop.

The Grand Prize will be awarded to the team raising the most money; prizes will also be awarded for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place finishers. Other prize categories include Best Gluts, Best Wig, Best Costume, Most Outrageous and Best Decorated "Trike".

Your entrance fee includes one tricycle and drink tickets for each pit stop. What more could you want, really?

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Telling the world who you are, the importance of marketing and media

Marketing is simply communicating effectively with folks who can help your organization accomplish its goals. Media can be a powerful way to reach these people. How can nonprofits develop their brand? How can they use the media to advance their mission and let the world know who they are? What does an effective communication strategy look like?

Join Zach Hochstadt, founding partner of Mission Minded, and Rosi Reyes, project media trainer and strategist at SPIN Project, as they talk about the connections between marketing, media and fundraising. This workshop is part of the Development Executive's Roundtable (DER) monthly luncheon presentation, held this month on August 11, 12:00 p.m. -1:30 p.m. at San Francisco's Foundation Center, 312 Sutter Street.

Reserve your seat today simply email by August 9th.

Cost for all DER luncheons is DER members $12, and for non-members $20. (Calendar year memberships are only $40.) Lunch is included in your fee. Please pay at the door, checks or cash only.

Note: The Foundation Center is committed to providing development education opportunities free of charge, and DER honors this commitment in our partnership with the Center by offering programs at this site free of charge, if you bring your own lunch. So please indicate if you will bring your lunch when you RSVP for this program.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Fundraising Journal’s 25th Anniversary Party, August 4

Tickets for the much anticipated Raising Change: A Social Justice Fundraising Conference in Berkeley next month have been long sold out, but you can still get into evening gala honoring Kim Klein and the 25th anniversary of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal on Friday, August 4th at 6:00pm. Just $50 for nonconference attendees. Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Call for nominations: National Philanthropy Day awards

National Philanthropy Day, the one day fundraisers gather to trumpet the accomplishments of our organizations, our volunteers and our community, is fast approaching. On November 14th we'll be celeberating the 20th anniversary of NPD in the Bay Area at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square.

For more information or to make a nomination, please visit the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter website. Note, all award nominations are due by August 7.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Visual Aid's Bastille Day Fundraiser

More Info

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bar-B-Que By the Babes: Fundraiser for Lyon-Martin's Women's Health Center

Hey gang, get your tickets now for a special event benefiting the fabulous women of Lyon-Martin Women's Health Services, cause everyone knows that as well as providing the most caring health clinic, that they throw the best parties too!

On Monday, August 14, 7-10 pm, "Brothers for Sisters" presents a sumptuous evening at MECCA SF benefiting Lyon-Martin, with veteran restaurateur Steven Weber and his new 3-star chef, Executive Chef Randy Lewis. MECCA SF is located at 2029 Market Street, San Francisco.

Of course, there'll be a bounty of grilled delights, wine selections, an open bar and fabulous entertainment. Guests of honor include Supervisor Bevan Dufty, and many others who help build our community together.

Tickets are $150 per person. Please call Teri McGinnis at (415) 901-7106 or email her at to RSVP today.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

What's new with direct response fundraising?

Friday, July 14th at noon, I’ll be moderating San Francisco’s monthly Development Executive Roundtable (DER) luncheon presentation. This month we’ll be discussing direct response fundraising with Judy Frankel, Director of Direct Marketing at Project Open Hand, and Nicci Noble, Internet Development Director at the Salvation Army Golden State Division.

Properly executed, direct response fundraising can provide your nonprofit with loyal supporters, rapid growth, cost-efficient means of communicating your organization’s programs, and a consistent source of revenue. Equally important, your program can systematically identify major gift and bequest prospects.

Tickets are $12/members or $20/non-members, and includes lunch. We’ll be meeting at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 214 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. To RSVP, please send an email to

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