Fundraising Headlines – May 25, 2009

My grandfather was a proud World War II veteran. He was part of the news service and travelled through out Europe during the war. I am grateful to him and to all of our soldiers who have and are standing up for our freedom.

This week’s articles are a combination of creative ways to raise money and some general management articles. An organization that excels at raising funds is often one that is run well overall. The job of raising money is just the final step in closing the gift. Leading up to that point is how effectively the organziation has developed a relationship with that individual.

Happy reading!


Raising More and Weighing Less: One Woman’s Fund-Raising Quest (May 19, 2009, The Chronicle of Philanthropy) Patricia Wilson, who is facing a $200,000 deficit as the executive director of the Greater Bay Area Make-a-Wish Foundation, in San Francisco, is telling everyone she knows that she ‘s a “big loser” when it comes to raising money. But as she becomes more of a loser, her charity is the winner. Ms. Wilson has started a one-woman fund-raising campaign, going on a 12-week diet and getting people she knows to pledge money for every pound she loses. So far, she has recruited more than 100 people who are collectively giving $610 for every pound she loses.

Giving Circles: 700+ Women = $170,000 (May 21, 2009, The Agitator) Here’s an example of women joining other women at the local level to support such causes. The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem offers a unique membership model: Individuals can join with a $1,200 per year contribution, or a group of up to 12 women and girls can collectively contribute $1,200 for a group membership. Each individual and each member group annually receives a vote in determining the organizations and programs to receive funding each year. Since our launch in November 2006, The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem has grown to more than 700 members. In the past two grant cycles, groups voted significantly more than individual members: 92% of the groups voted on the 2008 grant proposals compared to 59% of individual members. And, in terms of our annual renewal rates, women who are part of a membership group renew at higher rates than our individual members.


Nonprofit Good Practice Guide. This online Guide was created in 2002 with the goal of capturing, organizing, disseminating and promoting the use of knowledge in the nonprofit sector. Since its inception, the Nonprofit Good Practice Guide has become an invaluable resource to users in all 50 states and over 140 countries.

The Periodic Table of Typefaces. This chart covers a number of major fonts and includes information about the family and classification of each, the designer, the year the font was designed, and a ranking as cribbed from a number of internet sources.


4 Ways Social Media is Changing the Non-Profit World (May 22nd, 2009, Mashable) Organizations are flocking to the social web. Social media is beginning to transform non-profits both in the way they work as well as their relationships with constituents. 1) Deepening relationships and Engagement. 2) Individuals & small groups are self-organizing around non-profit causes. 3) Facilitating collaboration and crowdsourcing. 4) Social change behind the firewall. CONCLUSION: We’re just at the beginning of seeing how social media is impacting how non-profits engage with their supporters and do their work. As more and more non-profits adopt social media and their practice improves over time, we will no doubt see a transformation of the non-profit sector.


Charities Should Nurture Donors’ Passion for Giving (May 21, 2009, Chronicle of Philanthropy) In a quest to make philanthropy more efficient and effective, many organizations and individuals have sprung up to improve the process of how donors give. Most of those efforts focus on giving advice to the biggest foundations, and only a handful of services focus on coaching individuals in the art and science of philanthropy. This imbalance in the way knowledge is shared is a key reason charitable giving is not meeting anywhere near its full potential to transform society. When the prolific bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he responded, “Because that’s where the money is.” This reply also seems to explain why professional philanthropic research and advice has focused on large foundations. However, foundation grants account for only 13 percent of total charitable giving in the United States.

How to Avoid Self-Sabotage (May 18, 2009, Entrepreneur Magazine) I once heard a presenter ask a room full of people what they thought about cooking a cheeseburger in their exhaust pipe. The audible disgust was instant. The collective brain in the room immediately shut down any possibility of the idea going any further. This particularly cool, but deceptively sabotaging feature of the brain is known as “danger surfing.” You’ll see danger surfing in your workplace … when someone proposes a new idea and the listener’s instinctual reaction is to find all the ways the idea might fail or hurt the individual or organization. So, instead of building upon the idea the way inventors, innovators and creative types do, they find everything and anything wrong with the proposed idea and put up a big stop sign.

Do Goals Hurt Your Chance of Success? (May 19, 2009, Tactical Philanthropy) When we talk about measuring impact, evaluating nonprofits or how to compensate nonprofit executives, we are implicitly talking about setting goals. But it seems that setting goals can be dangerous. In a recent Harvard Business School working paper titled Goals Gone Wild (hat tip Phil Cubeta) the authors make the case that setting goals can be counterproductive. “The beneficial effects of goal setting have been overstated and that systematic harm caused by goal setting has been largely ignored. … Specific side effects … (include) a narrow focus that neglects non-goal areas, a rise in unethical behavior, distorted risk preferences, corrosion of organizational culture, and reduced intrinsic motivation.

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