Category Archives: Classics

The right to be wrong

The right to be wrong

“Fundraising is known for its abundance of failures and few successes.” We can’t recall who said this, but we know it is true. Yet many people think otherwise. Plans are created; goals are set. Most are focused on “incremental growth.” Maybe it’s a little more direct mail. Or maybe a change in sponsorship levels for a special event. Some may try to launch an online giving program – but won’t invest enough to get meaningful results. It’s challenging for nonprofits to try things that might fail for the belief is that resources are too tight. Here’s our question: Can nonprofits attract the resources needed to fulfill their mission without taking risks? We are “pro-risk” and with this column encourage you to take a risk, otherwise known as “the right to […]

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(Re)building your leadership one person at a time

(Re)building your leadership one person at a time

A special column for emerging nonprofits and those who are “struggling” What do you do if you are a nonprofit board chair or executive director, and you know in your heart-of-hearts that your current board can’t do what needs to be done? We have observed a tendency towards several responses. One is to bury your head in the sand and hope the situation improves; another is to hope your term ends before the situation gets too messy; and another is to swear “I’ll fire them all.” We have another way: find one right person. You want to find one person who understands and believes in your vision and mission. Think of who you know and start there. This is an interview process of sorts. You want to interview them, and […]

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Should board members give?

Part one of a two part series “My board doesn’t give.” That’s a common lament we hear from executive directors and college presidents. Here’s one from board members: “They only want me for my money.” Both statements may be true. If these sentiments are active within your organization or institution you might want to take a moment to think about what’s underneath these. We offer a few things for you to consider. If you are an executive director or college president, consider the following. How would you characterize your relationship with the board, and especially your board president? Do you feel responsible for the board’s actions? Do you feel like you have to do the board’s work because they just won’t “step up?” Do you wish the board would just […]

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VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT – KEY TO NONPROFIT SUCCESS

Volunteer management – key to nonprofit success

Part three of a three part series What if you could get eight more hours out of the day? What if you could “clone” yourself five times over? These are unspoken dreams of many a nonprofit executive or college president. While they are unlikely to come true exactly as wished for, it is possible to achieve that magical result. Here’s how. Hire a volunteer manager. This isn’t an “as needed” position. You need a person dedicated to working with volunteers all the time. This is a proactive position, not a reactive one. You may initially think of this person as another “cost” or “expense.” Our response: a good volunteer manager is an investment that yields positive results to an organization’s bottom line. She ensures that your volunteers have what they […]

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GivingTuesday2017

Online giving and sexual harassment

As we enter the last month of the year there is a lot for nonprofits to consider, plan for, and take action on. With this column we share news updates on #GivingTuesday and sexual harassment. First up: #GivingTuesday. This new “holiday” is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is all about making financial gifts to nonprofits large and small. It is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. The early results are in. This year over 1.6 million gifts were made, raising $177 million online in 98 countries. We hope your nonprofit participated. If not, plan now for 2018. Go online to GivingTuesday.org to download tools, ideas and case studies. Schedule time and allocate resources to implement online giving and grow your […]

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University of the Virgin Islands

Paradise Lost

A look beyond tragedy:  how to support University of the Virgin Islands students, faculty and staff suffering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Many of us think of the Virgin Islands as a favorite vacation paradise. In addition to the beautiful beaches and lush vegetation, the U.S. Virgin Islands are also home to a hidden gem: the only historically black university located off the mainland. The University of the Virgin Islands, its students, staff and faculty and all residents of the Virgin Islands were battered by two category five hurricanes in the past few weeks. They are just beginning to recover from unimaginable devastation. We have had the honor to serve as fundraising counsel to the university several times over the last three decades, most recently in 2014. We talked with […]

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Year-end fundraising – it’s not too late

Soon we will be lifting a glass to the New Year and bringing in 2018. That sounds far-fetched, but alas it is true – the end of 2017 will soon be upon us and the new year will begin. For nonprofits that means a concerted effort on what is referred to as “year end fundraising.” While we prefer a focus on consistent “all-year” fundraising, we truly appreciate the activity and excitement that is evident throughout the fall. Many people make giving decisions during the last three months of the year and it is important that you communicate your needs and impact to those who can support your organization. If you haven’t yet focused on your year-end campaign, here are three suggestions to help you get started. First, take a look […]

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Are you too busy to fundraise?

A special column for nonprofit leaders The most valuable gift may be the gift of time. While we give the gift of our time through our actions, we cannot actually give anyone an extra hour. We all get 24 hours a day. No more. Yet many of us are so busy it feels as if there isn’t enough time. In the nonprofit sector this manifests as “too busy to fundraise.” Very few people will say it out loud, but their actions are a clear communicator. Here are a few of the common phrases we have heard in conversation over the years. “If I just had more hours in the day,” “I need more time” and all-time conversation starter “I’m just so busy.” We get it! Life is full. But busyness […]

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Increasing Revenue From Special Events

Does your special event make money?

“That was a great awareness event.” “We really reached a lot of people.” “We broke even on expenses.” Are these the outcomes of your most recent special event? What about “We exceeded our fundraising goal!” Creating an engaging and exciting event is hard enough for professional event producers. For nonprofits the challenge is even greater. Your priority is not event production, BUT you must create a successful event that raises the money your organization needs. You want to create a memorable experience and reach your revenue goal. If you want to raise meaningful money from your event consider these two suggestions. Make fundraising the number one priority for your event. Spend as much – or more – time on fundraising as you do on event production. Define your strategies for […]

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