Editorial Results (free)
1. Paradise Lost
- Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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.
2. Year-End Fundraising: It’s Not Too Late
- Tuesday, October 10, 2017
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.
3. Are You Too Busy To Fundraise?
- Tuesday, October 3, 2017
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.
4. Does Your Special Event Make Money?
- Tuesday, September 26, 2017
“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!”
5. Creating A Successful Special Event
- Tuesday, September 19, 2017
What if you could step back in time and experience a Night at the Lorraine, the motel that has been redeveloped and transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum? That’s the opportunity that Jeanette O’Bryant, development officer with the museum, provides for guests. Together with her committee chair, Terrence Reed, NATL committee members, employees and volunteers, she created a new, fun revenue stream.
6. Be Prepared to Strike While the Iron is Hot
- Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Charlottesville. DACA. These are just three “hot topics” that dominated traditional and online media recently. Here’s the question: Has your nonprofit increased its revenue, number of donors, people served or community profile as a result of recent national media attention?
7. Teamwork And Strategy: Five Steps to Success
- Tuesday, September 5, 2017
So you’re ready to launch – or relaunch – your nonprofit. Or maybe you want a fresh start, a tuneup, or a do-over for your existing organization. What should you do? Get together and talk? Listen? Plot and plan? Review your finances? Visit organizations that inspire you? Yes. And more.
8. Old-School Fundraising
- Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Online giving, viral campaigns, large grants from foundations, funding from government agencies. These are some of the popular revenue streams for nonprofits. Those with earned revenue also secure funds from tuition, fees, sales, leases, rentals, licenses and other sources. All sources provide the money needed to make the missions of nonprofits come to life. There is also another important revenue source: “old-school fundraising” or “passing the hat.”
9. If You Can’t Raise It, Save It
- Tuesday, August 22, 2017
We recently heard the phrase “small up.” It means to look wisely at your resources and find ways to live with less while retaining your focus on what’s important. While the phrase is being used within the context of personal finance, it is one that can have value to a nonprofit.
10. Radical Thoughts About Nonprofit Boards
- Tuesday, August 15, 2017
“How many of your current board members are actually worth paying? If you had to pay your members what board positions would you fund?” These questions caught our eye as we read a promotional piece for a book about philanthropy.
11. What the CFRE?!
- Tuesday, August 8, 2017
In the nonprofit world money is almost always an issue. Where will it come from? When will it arrive? Is it restricted or unrestricted? These questions are accompanied by others such as, “How are we implementing our fund development strategy?” and, “Will we meet our fundraising goals?”
12. Money is Not Enough
- Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Nonprofits play a critical role across the Mid-South. They represent, serve and advocate for a great diversity of individuals, families and causes. They improve the quality of life, generate innovations, and give voice to the challenges unseen and needs still unmet. They are joined in this work by foundations and corporations who provide money, resources, connections and technical assistance.
13. Summer Refreshers for Boards
- Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Calling all board members: Get ready for the flurry of fall activities that are a part of life within the nonprofit sector. Consider the following “board refreshers” as you enjoy – or hide from – the hot summer sun. Grab your board binder, put on your nonprofit sun visor, and let’s talk board engagement.
14. Take Time to Retreat
- Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Summer is often associated with beaches, family vacations, hot sun and good fun. For those in the nonprofit sector, summer is also the season for retreats. These are times set aside to focus on programming, strategy, growth, partnerships and – many times – fundraising.
15. Interim Leadership: Blessing or Curse?
- Tuesday, July 11, 2017
One of the biggest changes within the life of a nonprofit is the change in leadership. In most cases, this will be accompanied by a period of transition with an interim leader.
The position is short-term and in most cases temporary. We have seen interims who serve as placeholders or caretakers. Others are innovators. Some are turn-around leaders. Others are brought in explicitly to “clean house.”
16. Are You Intimidated by Your Nonprofit Peers?
- Tuesday, July 4, 2017
It’s a funny thing how we credit others with superpowers and become intimidated based on what we think we know. Here’s our advice: Don’t be intimidated. Learn what contributes to success and get to work, day by day, building a culture of success.
17. What Will Your References Say?
- Tuesday, June 27, 2017
When people want to know more about your nonprofit, who do they talk to? Who serves as a reference? How can you help ensure your references speak knowledgably and with specifics?
Don’t take your references for granted. Take time to talk with those you ask to serve as a reference. Ask if it is OK to use their name for a specific project or proposal. Permission is important, and references want to know when they may be contacted.
18. Expand Father’s Day With Nonprofit Giving
- Tuesday, June 20, 2017
We need more than a day to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s just gone too soon. It’s one Sunday and then we are back to the every day. Let’s expand Father’s Day by increasing its impact. We can do this by choosing to give to organizations that support boys, young men and fathers. Your gift would touch lives and expand a father’s loving care across Memphis and the country.
19. 5 Solutions to ‘Planned Confusion’
- Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Editor’s note: Part two in a two-part series. Planned confusion can take you down. It’s like a fog. It envelopes everything, but you can’t pin it down. Nothing is moving forward, but everyone says, “I’m on board.” If you don’t intervene you may find yourself – and your organization – strangled by exasperation and inertia. Here are five suggestions to keep you from a frightful future.
20. Planned Confusion
- Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part series. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. And, what’s worse, we don’t know it. Or even worse, we know exactly what we are doing: We set things up so it’s hard to point fingers and difficult to remedy the situation.
21. Patience and Time – Everything Won’t Happen by Friday
- Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Patience and time are two resources required for success within the nonprofit sector. At the same time, these are perceived as being in short supply. We encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the goals you set for yourself and your organization. Examine whether or not these are realistic and achievable.
22. How to Decrease Fundraising Stress
- Tuesday, May 23, 2017
We recently had the opportunity to speak with a nonprofit leader who was concerned about how her development director was spending his time. She didn’t understand why the money wasn’t coming in.
23. Three Powerful Fundraising Tools
- Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Every time we work with an organization, agency or college we experience a deep kindred feeling with the people gathered at the table. Whether presenting information, listening to concerns or developing strategies, we are also meeting new friends. We are witnessing diverse individuals put their beliefs into action, and we are inspired.
24. A Powerful Way to Honor Mothers
- Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Mother’s Day is almost here. Most of us get mom a card. Many of us like to give flowers or candy, take mom to dinner, or have a gathering at the house. But these are short-lived. The flowers wither, the food is eaten and the cards are forgotten.
25. Choosing a Donor Management System, Part Two
- Tuesday, May 2, 2017
The complaints associated with using technology to support fundraising are many and varied. Unfortunately the “human factor” plays a large role in how well a specific database or tool performs.
26. Choosing a Donor Management System, Part One
- Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Technology makes the world go ’round. And that includes the world of fundraising. The complaints related to fundraising technology are many and varied. Some people complain they can’t produce “simple” reports requested by management. Others are vexed by the standalone nature of a product. Integrating with accounting is a common complaint, as is the frustration that arises when trying to reconcile fundraising data with that recorded by accounting. A common question – with a complex answer – arises: “What type of donor database should we be using?”
27. Five Ways to De-Energize Your Board
- Tuesday, April 18, 2017
There is an ideal board in the consciousness of many nonprofit leaders. It often involves members who are engaged in governance and fundraising; who advocate for the organization; and serve as community ambassadors building relationships and partnerships.
28. Responding to Rejection: Retreat or Resilience?
- Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Connecting with an individual donor, businessperson or program officer within a foundation can be the first step in securing resources for your organization. When you are asked to submit a proposal or share the highlights of your project you may feel optimistic and excited. Perhaps you are thinking, “This is really going somewhere!” You submit the requested information, wait a bit and then hear what you believe is a loud, resounding “No!”
29. What Every Board Member Should Know
- Tuesday, April 4, 2017
We recently had the opportunity to work with an organization that is ready increase its impact. Current board members had recruited and approved new members; there was work to be done and people to do it. Our role was to help orient all members to their roles and responsibilities.
30. 4 Tips for Approaching Decision Makers
- Tuesday, March 28, 2017
One way to help sustain your organization is to build and nurture relationships with decision makers who can provide finances and resources.
Be intentional as you expand the number of decision makers who know your organization. It takes time for an executive within a corporation – or a board within a foundation – to decide to make a major gift or grant. While many executives have the authority to make discretionary grants, in most cases these are substantially smaller than grants made through the formal grant making process.
31. The Pros and Cons of Engaging Political Leaders in Fundraising
- Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Fundraising is a community endeavor, and our communities include the politicians who are elected to represent us at all levels.
Current, former and prospective elected leaders are often involved in fundraising, providing great value. At the same time, there are challenges related to engaging politicians as fundraising volunteers. With this column we discuss the pros and cons.
32. Five Steps to Engage Volunteers
- Tuesday, March 14, 2017
A well-run volunteer management program can change the life of your nonprofit. Most leaders know this and yearn for a team they can depend on. At the same time, many delay engaging volunteers because “it’s a lot of work.” That’s the truth. But it’s also true that an investment in volunteers will leverage the work of your organization in ways you can’t yet imagine.
33. Gifts for Gifts? What is Your Practice?
- Tuesday, March 7, 2017
As a donor, what do you want in return for your gift? A letter? Public recognition? Opportunities to meet with like-minded people? Access to the organization’s leadership? A plaque? A pen? Your family’s name on a building?
34. Secrets to Passionate Leadership
- Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Some leaders have charisma, that ability to engage others. They reach out and touch your heart and soul. Others are quiet with a passion that reveals itself more slowly but is equally compelling. These leaders know what they are talking about, and they know how to connect with people.
35. What are Capacity and Infrastructure?
- Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Knowing your mission, vision and proposed impact is critical to your success as an organization. Equally important is the process of building your capacity and infrastructure. But what exactly are these things?
36. Last Word: MATA and the TBI, Fieldstone Gets Bigger and Wedge Bills
- Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Since Gannett bought The Commercial Appeal there has been a lot of speculation about what would remain of the Memphis operation in a newspaper chain known for consolidating not just in-house parts of the publishing process but the reporting side too. The biggest question in the air was the fate of the large printing presses at the CA. And Monday evening, there was an answer.
37. Dr. Bethune Was True Fundraiser
- Tuesday, February 14, 2017
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.”
38. People More Crucial Than Plans
- Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Creating fundraising plans for our clients is one of our core services. We invest time learning each organization, its culture, assets, position in the marketplace, challenges and successes. And we get to know the people. We combine our learnings and experience to create a fundraising plan. While we wish a plan could magically bring resources to a nonprofit, the truth is that it won’t. A plan is only as valuable as the people who implement it.
39. Where Will the Funding Come From?
- Tuesday, January 31, 2017
How will you meet your fundraising goal in 2017? This question typically elicits one of three responses. Some are confident they will be able to secure the funds their organization needs. Others have a general feeling about where the money and resources will come from. Still others are used to making do and believe they will survive one way or the other. Where does your nonprofit fall on this spectrum?
40. Defining Your Legacy
- Tuesday, January 24, 2017
When an organization captures your heart you think about how you can contribute to their work. You give of your time, resources and talents. You can also plan to continue your giving in the future, even when you’re gone. You can start at 20 years old or 70. Age is not a barrier.
41. 10 Ways to Refine Your Fundraising Readiness
- Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part series. Are you ready for a successful fundraising year? Are you already involved? Before you go full force in the marketplace – whether with cultivation or solicitation – stop and review your fundraising readiness status.
42. Define Your Giving Priorities in 2017
- Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part series. As 2016 came to a close there was an avalanche of well-crafted requests to give to nonprofits. These came in the U.S. mail and via email. They were on TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere!
43. The FUNdraising Doctor is In, Part 2
- Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Editor’s note: Part two in a two-part series. The financial health of an organization is often attributed to the board of directors. The composition of the board, its actions, the level of giving and the recognition of individual members all impact financial health.
44. The FUNdraising Doctor is In, Part 1
- Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Editor’s note: This is part one in a two-part series. The board of directors of an organization is responsible for its financial health. What does this mean? How do you measure the fundraising health of the board? We at Saad&Shaw suggest a visit to the FUNdraising doctor. A check-up may be in order.
45. Friendraising: Two Examples of Success
- Tuesday, December 20, 2016
As the year comes to an end, many of us are fortunate to receive invitations to events large and small. With Hanukkah falling on Dec. 24 there will be simultaneous celebrating by Jews and Christians this year. And even more will celebrate the New Year. Some events are family parties, work gatherings or faith celebrations. Others are fundraisers or “friendraisers” for nonprofit organizations or institutions.
46. 3 Ways to Launch Fundraising in the New Year
- Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The new year is soon upon us, complete with new year resolutions. Some are personal: Lose weight, exercise more, be a more loving person, spend more time with family, quit smoking. … Others relate to the nonprofit organizations we work with. To help you prepare your nonprofit organization or institution for a most positive year, we offer these three suggestions.
47. Diversity and Inclusion
- Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Nonprofits are ahead of the game when it comes to diversity. Is that true? We may tell ourselves that, but diversity – and most importantly inclusion – requires we take an honest look at our organizations.
48. What is a Culture of Fundraising?
- Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Part three of a three-part series. Everyone has to have a responsibility for fundraising. We call this a culture of fundraising. Others refer to it as a culture of philanthropy. Either way, this shared responsibility is at the core of nonprofit fundraising and sustainable organizations.
49. Creating a Culture of Fundraising, Part 2
- Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Editor’s note: In part two of their three-part series on creating a culture of fundraising, Mel and Pearl Shaw share how to integrate and align fundraising with your mission.
50. Creating a Culture of Fundraising, Part 1
- Tuesday, November 15, 2016
“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.
51. Don’t Wait Until Everyone Resigns
- Tuesday, November 8, 2016
“Nobody taught us how to go out and fundraise.” – Former board member
“After my experience at this organization, I am no longer interested in working in fundraising.” – Former fundraising professional
52. Who Gets Credit for the Gift?
- Tuesday, November 1, 2016
November and December are times of increased giving. So many of us are relationship- and philanthropy-focused. We open our homes to friends and family, and we open our wallets to nonprofits.
53. Two Leadership Requirements: Honesty and Trust
- Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Are you brave enough to have an open and honest conversation about your organization’s fundraising? Are you willing to step out from behind your role as executive director and have an honest talk with your board chair?
54. Tell a Great Story But Make Sure It’s Not Fantasy
- Tuesday, October 18, 2016
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?
55. Year-End Solicitation: Asking Donors for a Gift
- Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Fall is in the air. Time for football, warm sweaters, and the approach of the holidays. For those involved in fundraising, it is also time to focus on the year-end campaign.
There are direct mail letters to write, holiday events to host, and online giving campaigns to launch and manage. There is also the process of personally asking select individuals to make a larger gift. “Soliciting major gifts” – as this is referred to – is not for the faint of heart. It is one of the most feared aspects of fundraising. It is also one of the most important. It is vital to nonprofits and provides donors with a way to make a meaningful difference.
56. Last Word: The Grizz Are Back, Bass Pro Shops Buys Cabela's and Stein at Amurica
- Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Some of you will remember the late George Lapides, whom I worked with for a time at WREC, had a policy about pre-season baseball games or what he called the “Grapefruit League.” It was that they didn’t exist. He wouldn’t acknowledge the games much less the scores.
57. Gauging the Feasibility of Historic Museum
- Tuesday, October 4, 2016
As I watched the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on television, I was filled with excitement and emotion. I was excited about this historic moment and what it means for the African-American community and the nation.
58. Tools for Addressing Generational Poverty
- Tuesday, September 27, 2016
We recently had the opportunity to learn from three women and the approaches they use to help vulnerable children and their families. We attended two local presentations coordinated by the Assisi Foundation of Memphis Inc. and want to share just a little of what we learned.
59. I Didn’t Give Because You Didn’t Ask
- Tuesday, September 20, 2016
We are entering the giving season. Many reader will focus on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the New Year. Here at FUNdraising Good Times, we are focused on giving to nonprofits. Like children who dream of a pile of gifts under the tree, many nonprofits are praying – or hoping and crossing their fingers – that the money they need will come their way.
60. Donor Retention and Attrition: How Effective is Your Fundraising?
- Tuesday, September 13, 2016
We know you want to meet your fundraising goals. We also know some readers may be anxious wondering, “How will the calendar year end? Will we be in the red or in the black come Dec. 31?” While we don’t have a magic wand, we do want to suggest two aspects of fundraising management you should keep an eye on.
61. How to Prepare for a Board Meeting
- Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part interview with Kim Moss. The board of directors plays a critical role in the life of a nonprofit. While each board is unique, best practices can increase a board’s effectiveness.
62. Four Secrets to Nonprofit Growth
- Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part interview with Kim Moss. We recently had the opportunity to work with Memphis nonprofit consultant Kim Moss. He is a wealth of knowledge with 34 years experience in nonprofit administration. He knows about taking care of business.
63. 5 Guidelines for Managing Nonprofit Funds
- Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part interview with Leland Faust. What would you do if you were responsible for reviewing financial management policies for your nonprofit? What would you do if asked to vote on a change of investment firms? What questions would you ask?
64. You’ve Raised the Money, Now How Do You Keep It?
- Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part interview with Leland Faust. Financial management and investing is critical to the sustainability of nonprofits. As a board member or trustee you have a fiduciary responsibility. But how do you fulfill that responsibility? What do you need to know as it relates to financial management and investment?
65. How to Be a Successful Board Member
- Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part interview with Dr. Belle Wheelan. Dr. Belle Wheelan knows a lot of about boards. As a former president she has worked with boards at two different colleges. She has served as a trustee, and currently works with a board in her role as president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
66. So You Want to Be a College President?
- Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part interview. We recently talked with Dr. Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. A nationally recognized leader in the field of higher education, Wheelan is the first African-American and the first woman to serve in this capacity.
With 799 institutions of higher education under her jurisdiction, Wheelan knows firsthand the challenges and opportunities a president must negotiate.
67. 3 Ways to Elevate Your Volunteer Engagement Program
- Tuesday, July 26, 2016
How can you increase the time, money and expertise available to your nonprofit? Some of us want to increase the hours in our days from 24 to 30, others believe “cloning” is an alternative. We understand the lament “not enough hours in the day” and so we offer a proven solution: elevate your volunteer engagement program. Here are three things to consider.
68. Nonprofits Can Help Mid-South Heal
- Tuesday, July 19, 2016
We are no different from you, our readers. We have been grappling with emotions, engaged in conversations, and reflecting on our role – and the role of the nonprofit sector – during these times of protest and grief.
69. 2015 Was America’s Most Generous Year Ever
- Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Here’s what we learned from Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015. Donations from America’s individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reached an estimated $373.25 billion in 2015, setting a record for the second year in a row.
70. Is Your Nonprofit Legit?
- Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Passion for mission is at the heart of a nonprofit, but don’t forget your “business” requirements. Nonprofits must comply with many of the same regulations as businesses, and additional ones that are specific to the sector. As an executive or board member you need to be aware of these, and operate within the law.
71. Community Engagement Award
- Tuesday, June 28, 2016
National recognition was bestowed upon the ArtsMemphis Community Engagement Fellows program this past week. 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.
72. Important Role of Corporate Support for Nonprofits
- Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Financial and in-kind support from businesses and corporations are so important to the life of nonprofits. Whether through event sponsorships or grants for programs and operations, businesses matter. They provide visibility, funding and talent.
73. Dignity, Honor, Respect: A Fundraising Success Story
- Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Do not underestimate the vision, power and tenacity of grassroots community organizations. We have seen firsthand how a well-defined vision can transform a community and the lives of its residents.
74. 3 Answers for Volunteer-Led Organizations
- Tuesday, June 7, 2016
We recently had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop at the 41st Neighborhood USA Conference (nusa.org) held right here in Memphis. Participants came from as far as Alaska and Japan. The city bustled with energy from these dedicated community activists and the estimated $750,000 economic impact they made on the local economy. We caught the buzz and want to share three topics that emerged from our conference session.
75. How to Be a Confident Nonprofit Solicitor
- Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part series. Personally asking someone to make a gift to a nonprofit you believe in is one of the most valuable things you can do. For some this is done with comfort, ease and joy. For others there is a twinge of fear, or maybe a silent scream of terror.
76. Fundraising Matchmaking: Solicitors and Prospects
- Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part series. Because it is impossible to personally solicit every current or prospective donor, personal solicitation is reserved for individuals who can make a major gift. While the definition of a major gift will vary by organization, what’s most important is the care and planning that goes into soliciting these gifts. Here are some suggestions followed by things to avoid.
77. Got a Minute for the Minutes?
- Tuesday, May 17, 2016
We recently facilitated two board meetings for two very different types of organizations. One was an institution that is over 100 years old with a multimillion-dollar budget. The other was an emerging grassroots, community-based organization. At both meetings the focus was fundraising, and board members were actively engaged.
78. The Power and Time of Volunteers
- Tuesday, May 10, 2016
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“I wish someone would take care of all the details.” Such is the lament of fundraising staff who stagger under the weight of neverending activities and details. They try to keep it all together, to “dot the I’s and cross the T’s.” And yet it feels impossible.
79. Windfall Gifts: Blessing or a Curse?
- Tuesday, May 3, 2016
A windfall gift is truly a blessing. It can transform an organization, build a new law school or cancer center, pay off debt, launch new programs or expand services. If the gift is unrestricted the potential is limited only by the vision and capacity of the organization’s leadership. It can grow an endowment, increasing funds available for programs, advocacy or capital improvements for years to come.
80. Periodically Check Processes to Best Track Funds
- Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Where’s the money? How do you process gifts?
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. –Albert Einstein
Ideally your nonprofit is focused on raising the money you need to deliver on your mission and vision. You have a strong fundraising team with talented staff, enthusiastic volunteers, the right technology, and a communications strategy that gets the word out to all the right people. The money is coming in and everyone is feeling good about the progress being made. You believe you are on target to meet or beat your fundraising goals. Or are you? What do you know, and what do you not know?
81. Proofreading Potholes: Fundraising Miscommunications
- Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us about our recent column on fundraising and proofreading. We heard from donors, volunteers, an executive director and a foundation program officer. We received feedback from you our Memphis readers, as well as readers in New York and California. Each had a story to tell about a nonprofit and proofreading.
82. It’s April – How is Your Year-End Fundraising?
- Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Have you considered “front loading” your year-end fundraising? Start now. Plan now. Put your systems in place. Mark your calendar. Build your team. Identify your prospective donors. You may think we’re joking, but we’re not.
83. Double Check: Why You Need a Proofreader
- Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Communication is the name of the game. It’s not just what we say; it’s also what we write. How are you communicating with the written word?
Do you read your reports, emails and letters before hitting send? Does the thought of grammar and sentence structure make you roll your eyes and think back to days in English class? Verb, adverb, present tense, commas vs. semi-colons. … We know it’s a lot. Like you, we try to “hit the mark” with our written communication, and yet there are so many errors and typos just waiting to be made.
84. Wearing Many Hats is Not Bad
- Tuesday, March 29, 2016
“We wear a lot of hats around here.” This is a common refrain at many small and medium-sized nonprofits. It’s even true amongst larger nonprofits that are under-resourced.
Sometimes it’s said with pride. Other times it is followed by a sigh that signals fatigue. We understand both sentiments. If you are one who “wears many hats” we salute your ability to multitask, pursue multiple priorities and keep your eye on the big picture and the details simultaneously. We recognize your agility and flexibility. You do what must be done, often without recognition.
85. Assessing Your Grant Management Process
- Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Grant funds are a major source of revenue for many nonprofits. Grant awards are heralded with public fanfare. Gaining – or losing – a grant can have critical implications. Is the grant management process at your organization as proactive as it could be? Consider these two groups of questions as you review your process.
86. Nonprofit Communication Checklist
- Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Sometimes it is necessary for you as a nonprofit leader to personally check how easy or difficult it is to communicate with your organization. When you verify these for yourself you can best assess your nonprofit’s responsiveness.
87. What is Your Brand?
- Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Discussions of branding can quickly turn to logos, colors or your online presence. Are those your brand, or are they expressions of your brand?
We believe they are brand expressions and that “brand” isn’t as neat and tidy as a logo. In fact, defining your brand can be a messy process. It’s emotional, bringing dreams and unanswered questions to the forefront: a group process that engages diverse constituents.
88. Avoid the Special Event Pitfalls
- Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Many nonprofit organizations and institutions rely on revenue from special events. If you check any calendar of events you will find many to choose from: 5K and 10K runs and walks; galas with dinner, dancing and awards; concerts; luncheons with nationally recognized speakers.
89. Making the Needle Move: Corporate Men Behind the Birth of the UNCF Telethon
- Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part series. What contributed to the success of the history-making UNCF Lou Rawls telethon? Leadership, collaboration, teamwork and a respect for the individual goals of participating partners.
90. Making the Needle Move: The Birth of the UNCF Telethon
- Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part series. During its heyday (1980-1993), the United Negro College Fund’s “Lou Rawls Parade of Stars” was the largest African-American special event in the United States held on one day. It forever changed African-American philanthropy and how African-Americans are perceived as donors, volunteers and fundraising leaders.
91. Philanthropy is Alive and Well In The African-American Community
- Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Here’s a stereotype to bust: Philanthropy is about large gifts from the rich and the powerful who give to organizations and institutions that serve those in need. Here’s an expanded definition: Philanthropy includes everyday African-Americans who give freely of their treasure.
92. Ingredients of A Quality Meeting
- Tuesday, February 2, 2016
We recently received a request from a reader wanting to know how to get the most impact from meetings with her supervisor. “Each week, I am given full responsibility for what is discussed. It is the one opportunity where I have my supervisor’s undivided attention and think I should be more strategic in our discussion.”
93. Secrets to An Empowered Fundraising Team
- Tuesday, January 26, 2016
This is the fifth in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success.
Last week’s column focused on building a fundraising team. This week we provide suggestions for creating an empowered fundraising team.
94. Building A Fundraising Team
- Tuesday, January 19, 2016
This is the fourth in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success.
We can do so much more together than we can alone. A fundraising team that includes board members, staff and volunteers can transform your nonprofit. It will take time, energy and talent to build and manage such a team, but we believe it is worth the investment. Here’s what we have learned.
95. Are You Really Committed?
- Tuesday, January 12, 2016
This is the third in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success.
Commitment is critical to successful fundraising. Without commitment, ideas and plans remain just that. Our experience has shown that the full commitment of the board of directors, CEO, staff and volunteer leadership is key to fundraising success.
96. Building Consensus And Reaching Agreement
- Tuesday, January 5, 2016
This is the second in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success.
Agreement is the cornerstone upon which a healthy nonprofit is built. Without agreement amongst an organization’s leadership it is almost impossible to sustain successful fundraising.
97. Nonprofit Mission Creep: Good or Bad?
- Tuesday, December 29, 2015
This is the first in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success. Happy New Year! We hope you are energized and ready to embrace a new year and new fundraising success.
98. Creative Christmas Gifts For Your Favorite Nonprofit
- Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Its Christmas time! And soon to be Kwanzaa. Then New Year’s! It’s time to celebrate and share gifts. We give to our families and friends. Many of us have already made a gift to nonprofits we hold closest to our hearts. But there’s always time for more giving.
99. A Time To Look Back
- Tuesday, December 15, 2015
As the year comes to an end there will be family celebrations, travels and delicious meals. In between the many activities we hope you will also have time to reflect. We hope you can let your thoughts wander over the year that is ending, and to extend into the year that is to come.
100. Five Ways To Improve Donor Relations
- Tuesday, December 8, 2015
We trust your year-end fundraising is going well. Perhaps you gained new donors during Giving Tuesday. Maybe your fundraising appeal letter is generating increased gifts from current donors. Perhaps your long-term donors are thinking of you as they complete their charitable giving for the year. In all cases there are people to thank and a “donor relations” program to launch or improve. There is much a small- to mid-sized nonprofit can do to engage and retain its donors. Here are five suggestions.