Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Appreciate what you have

The idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people is very useful and important metaphor. It makes us easily understand the differences in the world, and where we fit in.

There are many types of reports that use the Earth’s population reduced to 100 people, especially in the Internet. For example, the above video has been viewed by over 1.5 million YouTube viewers alone. Ideas like this should continued to be shared even more, especially today when the world seems to be in need of dialogue and understanding among different cultures.

The text that originated this video was published on May 29, 1990 with the title State of the Village Report, and it was written by Donella Meadows, who passed away in February 2000. Nowadays the Sustainability Institute, through Donella’s Foundation, carries on her ideas and projects.

What powerful metaphor are you using to tell your good cause's story? What if your client base or community was only 100 people? Who would they be? What if you had only 100 donors, how would they be contributing?


Saturday, November 17, 2007

And the young shall inherit the earth, thankfully

In 1992, at the age of 12, Severn Cullis-Suzuki raised money with members of the Environmental Childrens Organization (a group she founded) to travel from Vancouver to speak at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro. Watch this 7-minute video and know there are leaders among us who can be the change. They are our children.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fundraising is ...


Monday, June 25, 2007

Shift happens: Have you joined the conversation?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Do something outrageous every day

I have to admit to a bias that rock 'n roll is best delivered by testosterone-fueled, under-aged young boys. Spectacles like this just prove my point. Yet this rebellious cover by the Zimmers of the Who's classic "My Generation" brings home the message as good as the best of them. Their lead singer is 90-years-old and he's not the oldest -- there are even 99 and 100-year-olds in the band! Must be watched all the way through to truly appreciate.

  • In 2000, there were 600 million people aged 60 and over; there will be 1.2 billion by 2025 and 2 billion by 2050.
  • Today, about two thirds of all older people are living in the developing world; by 2025, it will be 75%.
  • In the developed world, the very old (age 80+) is the fastest growing population group.
  • Women outlive men in virtually all societies; consequently in very old age, the ratio of women/men is 2:1.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The end of journalism (as you know it) and the future of fundraising

The net has been a buzz with violin virtuoso Joshua Bell's Washington Post staged busking performance in a Washington D.C. metro station. Joshua played 6 songs on his $3.5 million violin handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari. After 43 minutes and 1,097 walk-bys, he received 27 donations totaling $32.17 (plus one $20 bill from the only person who recognized him.) For all you direct mail junkies and social entrepreneur types, that would be a 2.5% response rate at a cost of $125,000 per donation with an ROI of 0.00015%.

So is doubtful Joshua's performance is going to have much effect on future of professional fundraising (though it should remind you how poor events are as effective strategies to raise money). But just watch this video, is this the future of professional journalism? I'm afraid so.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Imagine the headlines of the future

Via the onPhilanthropy Buzz, this just in from the Skoll Forum. Proves once again that a picture is worth a thousand words (and then some).

POP QUIZ: Ten points to whoever can first spot the embedded sponsorship.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

547 days and counting

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

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Reuniting America: What unites us as Americans?

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

We interupt this blog for a message from our sponsor


Friday, January 26, 2007

Turning the worst possible Christmas present into a gift from the heart

Learn more about this remarkable story over at The $5 Philanthropist. There are lessons here for both fundraisers and those trying to give a little something back.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

With six you can rent a whole house, eat pie for dinner with no seconds, and hold a fundraising party

You've probably noticed there's a growing alternative media movement a foot in the United States. Shaped in response to the growth of the Internet and other distribution technologies, the continuing consolidation of media companies, and the unprecedented deregulation of the industry, a small group of hearty souls is working hard to insure your future will be shaped by a democratic media landscape. But you may not known that a key facilitator behind this dialogue is one of my clients, Rockwood Leadership Program.

Rockwood, with support from a generous 3-year Ford Foundation grant, last year launched an ambitious fellowship initiative to provide ongoing leadership training and collaboration support to over 60 key media reform advocacy, distribution and production groups. Many of these organizations came together in Memphis this past week on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday for the the third annual National Conference on Media Reform.

They were treated to an inspirational keynote address by journalist and public commentator Bill Moyers, who among other things announced his return to reporting. If media democracy is a subject that matters to you -- and as a blog reader I suspect it does -- I highly urge you to take a few minutes and listen to Moyers' address or visit the NCMR website for more information.

But in writing today, I particularly wanted to share with you Moyer's closing words, a reading of Marge Piercy's poem "The Low Road" from her collection The Moon is Always Female, published by Alfred A. Knopf, copyright 1980.

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can't walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t blame them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fundraising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

More than just a dream

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. speaking out against the Vietnam War at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, April 30, 1967. Words that ring as true today, if not more, than they did 40 years ago.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Door-to-door fundraising as Buddhist practice

This is perhaps the best video on the transformative power of fundraising I have ever come across. Produced by the good folks at the Karuna Appeals. Give yourself 37 minutes and 22 seconds to watch this. You won't be disappointed.

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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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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The gentle art of teaching the joy of giving

4 million viewers and growing. Would have made Hank proud.


Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11: Press for Truth


Remembering the truth, not the dramatization.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism

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

Might just make me move to Salt Lake City.

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