Category Archives: People

Mary McLeod Bethune – World Class Fundraiser — Don’t forget to pass the hat

Listen in on an engaging conversation about Dr. Bethune and how what she did still resonates today. Anthony Ray of HBCU Nation interviews Melvin Shaw. In the early 1950’s I had the honor to hear Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune speak in a packed, hot and humid Clayborn Temple in downtown Memphis. She was a powerful orator. She mesmerized me, she mesmerized the crowd. She raised money for Bethune-Cookman College the old fashioned way: “she passed the hat.” I will never forget her for as long as I live. She spoke of going door-to-door asking for nickels, quarters, food, anything people could spare to help support her college. She believed in education and she didn’t wait for others to do what needed to be done. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was just […]

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How to integrate and align fundraising with your mission.

How to integrate and align fundraising with your mission

Creating a culture of fundraising Part two of a three-part series Fundraising is the process of attracting people and resources. Yes, it’s about raising money. But it’s also about “how” you raise money. We believe that fundraising should be infused into all aspects of an organization’s culture. It needs to be a shared responsibility that is as important as what is defined as the “work” of an organization. In a nonprofit, it is unsustainable to separate the two. We encourage you to read Beyond Fundraising: What does it mean to build a culture of philanthropy? This report was written by Cynthia M. Gibson and produced by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The report shares four main topics: shared responsibility for development; integration and alignment with mission; a focus […]

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Creating a culture of fundraising

Part one of a three-part series “How can we raise money before the end of the year?!?” We have received several calls like these. Established and emerging organizations want to make sure they communicate with and solicit donors before the end of the year. It’s too late. Fundraising is something that goes on year-round. If you’ve kept an open eye you will have noticed that large national nonprofits began launching their campaigns the week before Labor Day. By the time you are reading this if you haven’t launched your year-end giving campaign it’s time to take a few small steps today and plan big for tomorrow. Here’s what we mean. First, be sure to send a personalized message of thanks to those who have given time, resources and funding to your […]

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Dr. Tracy Hall

Storytelling and fundraising… make sure your story isn’t a fantasy

If your story isn’t real, how can the funds you raise make a difference? Success is what nonprofits are supposed to project. Increased impact. New audiences, more people served, policies changed… Everything is rosy. But what if it isn’t? What if our “successes” blind us to what isn’t working? We might tell a good story, but is it real? These are hard questions. It’s important to communicate positive impact. But what about the challenges that are difficult to talk about? “Everyone wants to back a winner” is a cliché that can get in the way of both nonprofits and donors. Here’s the truth: organizations and institutions can face great challenges and still be worthy of investment. It’s not either or. In fact investment might be most needed during times of […]

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Dr. Belle Wheelan

So you want to be a college president?

Part one of a two-part series – Interview with Dr. Belle Wheelan Your success as a college president requires that you combine your technical or subject matter expertise with strong leadership skills. When considering a position, candidates should evaluate whether or not the open position would be the right fit for their skill set and experience. Presidencies require political skills, the ability to work with legislatures, and the willingness to fundraise. All these are above and beyond what is required for the daily running of the institution. Often overlooked is the fact that the institution itself might not be a great fit: “just because there is an opening doesn’t mean it will be the right job for you.” Candidates should get their “union card” as Dr. Wheelan calls it, either […]

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Fellows Collage

Community engagement award

Bringing together artists, community leaders, and neighborhood residents is a unique way to create change in under-served communities. Linda Steele, the Chief Community Engagement Officer with ArtsMemphis, is a nationally recognized leader who focuses on bringing these three groups together and ensuring that “the arts” extends beyond the traditionally recognized and established museums and performing organizations to embrace new audiences and positive social outcomes. National recognition was recently bestowed upon Steele’s ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellows program. Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America, awarded the esteemed Robert E. Gard award to the fellowship program. The award recognizes and celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life. Having worked with Steele, we know that this program […]

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How to involve your nonprofit board members

Part three of a three-part series The vitality of a nonprofit lies with its board members. Their individual and collective action, engagement and clarity of mission make all the difference in the world. In this final installment of our interview with Lisa Hoffman we share her thoughts regarding the important work of a nonprofit board. The vitality of a nonprofit lies with its board members. Their individual and collective action, engagement and clarity of mission make all the difference in the world. In this final installment of our interview with Lisa Hoffman we share her thoughts regarding the important work of a nonprofit board. “Board members are critical to successful fundraising. They are in a unique position as volunteers to invite investment, to express their passion and say ‘join me’ […]

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Resources and mindfulness create strong nonprofits

“Any size nonprofit can have strong and engaged leadership, a clear and compelling vision, and a board and organizational culture of positive relationships, commitment and accountability, which combined yield an effective team and organization.

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3 Tips to Achieving Fundraising Success

Interview with Lisa Hoffman, Fundraising Guru Part one of a three-part series If you are lucky, you are fortunate to know people who are “the real deal.” That is Lisa Hoffman. She is an experienced and talented fundraiser and coach. A woman who is both gentle and firm in her guidance, her goal is to help you reach your fundraising goals. We recently reached out to Lisa and asked her to share some of what she has learned during her 30 years in fundraising. We began by asking about what exactly leads to fundraising success. “Board leadership really is essential,” Hoffman began. “The Board Chair needs to give generously and raise money, as well as understand their role in modeling, guiding and supporting the rest of the board to do […]

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