Part one of a four part series On September 13, 2018 we were asked to speak to the Memphis Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The following is part one of our remarks. We share these as we believe they are important to all of us who care about the future of fundraising, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector. Remarks were written by Melvin and Pearl Shaw and delivered by Pearl Shaw. A little bit of history We are a husband-and-wife team, operating a fundraising consulting business that works locally and nationwide. Melvin is African American, Memphis born and raised, though he left Memphis in 1968, a time he describes politely as “tense.” I’m from New York. My mother immigrated from Egypt in her early 20s. My father is […]
Author Archives: saadshaw
In terms of philanthropy and fundraising, there is a perception that only one segment of our community is in a position to give money and set policy. Yet the truth is that people of color are fast positioning themselves to give back because of our increased education, wealth, and changes in the dominant culture.
It is incumbent upon us as professionals that we grow to understand the different cultures that comprise our community: how they think, what they value. We need to get to know their leadership, and to understand what is important to them. We need to build platforms that allow us to hear voices different from our own and to engage those voices in our work … even when that means our work might change by including “someone else’s” priorities.
“The future isn’t something that happens to you, it is something that you create with the decisions that you make today.” – Trista Harris How many times have you dreamed of seeing into the future? Did you know you could make this dream come true? By the time you finish reading this article, you will move beyond dreaming! Earlier this year we had the opportunity to meet Trista Harris. In a group session she impressed us as being clear and focused. Little did we know she was “future focused.” When we had a moment to talk over dinner, our minds – and hearts – were opened. Trista is more than a philanthropy professional, mother, wife, and community leader. She is a futurist. Needless to say, when she mentioned that our […]
As United States Senator John McCain prepared for his death he wrote a message to America and the world. We share a few of his words as a call to our higher selves, a reminder of our humanity – and fragility – and as beacon of hope. I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life… To be connected to America’s causes – liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people – brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves. The nonprofit community represents one aspect of what makes the United States […]
When it comes to planning for a major fundraising campaign, people always want to know “what are the indicators that we should launch our campaign?” We suggest that the number one indicator is how well you have conducted your annual giving program. While there are differences and distinctions between an annual campaign, and a capital or major gifts campaign, a successful annual campaign indicates that basic fundraising systems, processes and relationships are in place. If you don’t yet have a strong annual campaign, we suggest taking the time to build one. Doing so will offer your organization the opportunity to prepare for a major campaign in a less “high stakes” environment. Of course, you can always “build as you go” but the challenges you incur may be more than anticipated […]
Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul. She was also a philanthropist and a fundraiser. With the passing of Aretha Franklin, the airwaves are awash in her music, and news reports are filled with testimony to her voice and spirit. Presidents, ministers, entertainers, and civil rights advocates publicly sing her praises. As Smokey Robinson shared, “She has left us with a musical legacy that kids who haven’t even been born yet will get a chance to experience.” The Queen of Soul became the musical voice for a generation: her songs were anthems of the movements for civil rights and women’s rights. A preacher’s daughter she felt everything she did – whether with her talent or her position – was a gift from God. The way she communicated her music […]
It is difficult to successfully launch a campaign if people are not aware of your organization. Should a nonprofit invest in marketing, communications and public relations activities? Should desperately needed funds be “diverted” to non-mission-critical tasks? What about the allocation of time: should board members and an organization’s paid leaders schedule time to focus on building awareness for the organization? Our answer is yes. Here’s what we have learned through our work with nonprofits across the country. People need to know who you are and what you are doing. You may pride yourself as the “best kept secret” but that is not an honor. You want the reverse of that. One way to break the silence is for staff, board members, donors, friends, and recipients or beneficiaries of your work […]
Part two of a two-part series Should you stop your fundraising when your organization has a leadership change? Slow it down? When do you put on the brakes? Part one of this series provided recommendations for how to assess green lighting your fundraising. In this column we offer examples of when you might decide to pause your fundraising. There is no formula for how to make these decisions. What is most important is that leadership carefully evaluate the organization’s financial health and the reality of its fundraising position given the change in leadership. When choosing to move forward with fundraising you have to make sure your team is willing and able. When choosing to stop or pause you need know what the financial impact will be and what adjustments may […]
Part one of a two-part series Summer can be the time of planned – or unexpected – changes in leadership. These can impact fundraising, contribute to confusion and/or, serve as a catalyst for positive change. Every situation is different. The change could be at the executive level: your president, CEO or executive director resigns, retires, or is asked to leave. It could be at the board level: you have high turnover in board positions, and the leadership, commitment and relationships need to be rebuilt. Or it could be a change within your staff: your key development person moves to another organization. While no two situations are alike, the following guidelines can help you and your team determine whether or not you should keep going with your fundraising. The green light. […]
Part two of two part series on board fundraising responsibilities A board member’s fundraising responsibilities are general and specific. Last week we shared three general tips. These are: know your nonprofit, know your role and know your fellow board members, and make your own gift first, then ask others to join you. If you read closely you will notice that we provided a lot of questions for board members to ask themselves, the executive director and their fellow board members. This week we share ten specific responsibilities you can take action on. Make a personal gift. Make it meaningful, more than a token gift. Your gift should be one of the largest you make each year, and should reflect your commitment to the organization. Raise three times the amount that […]