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Ocean City Jazz Festival

Jazz with a Higher Purpose

2018 Ocean City Jazz Festival Sat. July 7 – Sun. July 8 Historic Ocean City Community at North Topsail Beach, NC. About Ocean City Ocean City was established in 1949, as the first North Carolina coastal community in which Blacks could purchase land, 15 years before the Civil Rights Act.  The first Festival was held on September 6, 2009 and has been held every year since. Learn more. Purchase your tickets!

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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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Does class bias blind our decision making?

Does class bias blind our decision making?

This week we had the opportunity to participate in a workshop called A Framework for Understanding Socio-Economic Differences facilitated by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.  The event was hosted by The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Inc. and it was a sell-out. No fees were charged – this was offered to the community as a collective learning experience. Lunch and snacks were provided, and a lot of learning took place. Here’s just a little of what we learned. A community needs all of its members. We – as residents, community leaders, elected officials, and government employees – have to value the needs and aspirations of all our members. That means keeping a focus on the needs of people living in poverty, those who are middle class, and those who are wealth. Access […]

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What’s a volanthropist? A dolunteer?

Technology is changing all aspects of our lives. Yes, we know that’s not “breaking news.” But, when technology facilitates volunteering – removing barriers to engagement – that is news we need to share. Here’s the headline: check out Volunteer Odyssey, a local nonprofit that uses technology to connect volunteers with opportunities offered by nonprofits. More and more of us live a “mobile” lifestyle, using our “devices” for everything from grocery shopping to bill paying. Yet there is often a disconnect between mobile life and nonprofit life. In the nonprofit world there is still a lot of paper, spreadsheets, and even –here and there – a fax machine. The gap between volunteers and the systems in place at nonprofits can make it difficult, time-consuming and frustrating for people to volunteer. That […]

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Fundraising Priority Maze

Navigating the fundraising priority maze

If you have worked with a nonprofit you may have experience getting lost in what we call the “fundraising priority maze.” Here’s what it looks like. You know you need to raise money for your organization. Everybody else has a different idea about how much money is needed and how the funds will be used. You – as an executive director, college president, or fundraising professional feel as if you are encountering dead ends and detours when trying to accomplish what you believe is a simple task.  That task: define the organization’s priorities. Priorities – and the funds required to advance these – are at the core of an organization’s very existence. They are also at the core of the fundraising case for support. If you are not familiar with […]

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The reality of change

Growth. Transformation. Change. Innovation. Continuous improvements. Accountability. Transparency. Leadership. We know the words. We try to live them. We may think we are living them. But are we? What does it really take to live into individual and organizational aspirations? And what is the timeframe? Change is at the core of life. It is who we are at our very core. Like it or not, we – and our organizations – are always changing. Sometimes we are conscious of it, sometimes not. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t going on. Change can be about growth, it can be about deterioration, and everything in between. Related to this, what appears to be growth from one perspective can be experienced as deterioration when viewed from another lens. There are times when we […]

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Headed in the right direction

Headed in the right direction

Fundraising successes don’t come overnight. They are built over time. It is the many “small” actions that build on each other and yield funding and resources.   With this column we share with you the story of Lane College and its recent fundraising successes. Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Lane is a historically black college that needed to – and wanted to – increase its fundraising.  Two years ago they set a goal of raising $6 million over three years. They have raised $5 million and are closing in on the balance. In the past year the number of donors giving to the college increased by 23%, the amount of donations increased by 33%, and giving by alumni almost doubled. How did they achieve all this? We talked with Lane College […]

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How to increase board giving and fundraising

How to increase board giving and fundraising

Part two of a two part series Should board members give? Our answer is “yes.” And, they should fundraise. That doesn’t mean you don’t need fundraising professionals. You do. But don’t think for a minute that they can be successful without a partnership with an engaged board. In part one of this series we shared complaints that executive directors and board members have of each other. We also shared some “food for thought” – things for everyone to consider when thinking about the topic of board engagement and fundraising. With this post we share a few specific things you can do to increase board giving and fundraising. Here we go: For executive directors, presidents, and development directors: Be honest. Tell the truth, don’t paint a rosy picture that somehow overlooks […]

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