[News] Good Intentions

Several weeks ago I heard Bob Lupton talk about his book Toxic Charity. The premise of the book is that much of the ‘charity’ work we do ends up having the opposite result of what we intend. Rather than feeling blessed, recipients at times feel shamed and dis-empowered. What we intend to be uplifting and helpful can sometimes cause people to give up. The Voluntourists’s Dilemma (below) applies that concept to the global arena, pointing out that what we intend for good can actually hurt a local economy. It’s good food for thought as we plan programs and invite people in to help.

This concept can also apply to board leadership. I often hear from nonprofit CEOs and EDs that “It’s just easiest if I do it myself.” (It’s okay – I’ve said it too :-).) But the result of this is that board members feel like it really isn’t that important for them to do it – as you’ll just step in and do it anyway. What we intend as helpful ends up dis-empowering the board members who originally wanted to help. They’re no longer sure what their role actually is and could be tempted to just sit back and let you do all the work.

All that to say – let’s be thoughtful about our actions and the unintended results of what we do.

Continue reading for more headlines and blogs. Happy reading!


The Voluntourist’s Dilemma – NYTimes.com @NYTmag

Perhaps we are fooling ourselves. Unsatisfying as it may be, we ought to acknowledge the truth that we, as amateurs, often don’t have much to offer. Perhaps we ought to abandon the assumption that we, simply by being privileged enough to travel the world, are somehow qualified to help ease the world’s ills. Because the mantra of “good intentions” becomes unworthy when its eventuality can give a South African AIDS orphan an attachment disorder or put a Haitian mason out of work.

mar16-18-145109425-02More Insiders Are Becoming CEOs, and That’s a Good Thing @HarvardBiz

This author’s “research on succession, summarized in the book The CEO Within, revealed that CEOs brought in from outside the company succeeded less often than insiders even when the company’s poor performance would seem to have justified going outside for a new leader. The reasons were straightforward: An outsider often did not know the industry…
Is this instructive for the nonprofit sector as well?

Fundraising Planning

Giving LevelsUsing Giving Levels to Drive Donations @wiredimpact

Parameters can actually be about possibilities. Setting specific giving levels on your donate page can be a good thing if they can influence (and hopefully increase) donations. Your giving levels can serve as a real-time needs statement for your organization. Offering giving levels highlights your nonprofit’s greatest needs and tells donors how donations can help support that. Be specific…

Giving Across Generations: 5 Questions to Consider @Network4Good

If you are a small to mid-sized development office, the last thing you have the bandwidth to do is create specially tailored fundraising approaches for generation of donors.  But every development shop, no matter the size, can use this report’s findings to determine how they would address these five questions in their annual development plans…


Maximize Your Google Ad Grant for Nonprofits @bradyjosephson

“…the average nonprofit grantee uses only $330 a month out of a potential $10,000 Google Grant” (Search Engine People). What isn’t surprising is the reason behind this: nonprofits are often short on time and resources to use this grant to its fullest. AdWords can be confusing, and without the expertise to manage the $2 click limit and conduct keyword research, your results may be minimal. Below this author takes a deep dive into how AdWords works…

Just the Facts, Ma’am – How to Build Your Story From FactsJust the Facts, Ma’am – How to Build Your Story From Facts @vanessaechase

Picking which facts to share in your story is not a matter of rigging the story or manipulating it to be something other than the truth. This process is simply a way to decided how to prune back the information you share to avoid information overload. I know that when I interview people for stories, they will usually share a lot of information with me. Not all of it will be relevant to the main story that I want to tell, so I go through a process to pull out the best pieces of information… The first thing you’ll want to do is get clarity …

Fundraising Tactics

Assigning a Fundraising Leader Leader to more donationsNo Paid Fundraising Staff? Assign a “Fundraising Leader” and Raise More Money @LJacobwith

When the thanking and follow-up tasks were spread across a few people and systems were implemented. . . less time was spent worrying about where the money would come from and more time was spent acknowledging those who WERE giving. Annual fundraising revenue increased at The Actors Studio for Young People from $25,000 to more than $100,000 over the course of 9 months.

The Little Words Mean the Most: 20 Questions, The Test ~ Donor Communications: When You Really Don’t Know @thattomahern

It’s like a campfire ignited by match from tinder. You nurse it. You feed it oxygen, blowing across it. A super-quick thanks does the same: it blows oxygen across an ardent new donor, keeping that new donor, keeping that small flame alive. Excited by your mission. Your vision. Your potential IN THEIR LIVES. At the very least, a super-quick thanks gets your organization past what often happens in the same 48-hour period: buyer’s remorse.

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