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It Takes Confidence

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Henry Wadworth Longfellow

Losing as Much as You Gain

Recently, I came across some information from a couple of sources that I feel is important to share.  Earlier this week, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) released a report that shows that nonprofit organizations that raised $100,000 in new revenue lost the same amount from existing donors. This was an average of all nonprofits, with larger organizations making some gains, and smaller organizations actually losing ground. To view the report, click on the link.


Fiscal Oversight: The Importance of Annual Audits

This morning when I opened my email, I found two articles in Philanthropy Today about nonprofit employees being found guilty of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from their organizations.  I have read dozens of similar stories over the past few months, and every time I do, I cringe and shake my head.

Speak in a Language They Can Understand

Back in the late 1990’s, I worked for a major movie rental company based in Oregon.  Many of the people I worked with were moviephiles, and they would recommend movies that they thought I would like.  Some of the more pretentious coworkers would suggest a foreign title, and on occasion, I would check out some of those movies.

What Development Departments (and Boards) Can Learn from “How I Met Your Mother”

I was a late comer when it comes to “How I Met Your Mother”, but now I watch it in syndication.  If you don’t watch the show, it is about a group of five friends in New York City.  The protagonist, Ted Moseby, is telling his children about how he met their mother, but the story goes on and on, much to the children’s chagrin.

Giving Credit to those who Influenced Me the Most

As I write this, my parents are celebrating their 55th anniversary.  Five years ago, I was back home celebrating their 50th with family and friends at a big event, and I wish I were back to help them celebrate this momentous and rare occasion.  I owe so much to my parents for making me who I am, and I can’t thank them enough.

Make Planned Giving a Family Affair

Planned giving is an important aspect of a development plan for both the donor and the organization seeking the gift.  For the donor, it is a meaningful way to make a difference for an organization that the donor has passion, and for the organization, it means a substantial gift that can be used to support a program or can be used to enhance its ability to serve its constituency in a more effective manner.

Six Random Things Nonprofits Can Learn from the Grateful Dead

When my brother came home for the holidays my freshman year in high school, he brought his load of dirty laundry for my mom to do, a backgammon board, and box of Grateful Dead tapes.  Over the weeks he was home, we played a lot of backgammon and I listened to a lot of his tapes, although not necessarily by choice.  When he returned to MIT, he took his music with him, and I realized that I missed listening to the tapes everyday. 

I went to my first show at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin in 1980, and eventually saw seventy-five shows in over thirty states over a fifteen year period.  While my friends were banging their heads to AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Van Halen, I was wearing tie dyed shirts and planning my next road trip. 

Development is a Team Sport, er, Effort

Being born and raised ninety miles west of Chicago, I am a Chicago Cubs fan.  Each year I have high hopes of seeing my team appear and, yes, win a World Series, but by this time of year I start hoping for miracles.  In a couple months I will say, as my fellow Cubs fanatics, “Maybe next year.”

Reverse Sponsorships: The Cost of Entrepreneurship

I have noticed a trend recently.  I have learned about some very creative businesses that are partnering with nonprofit groups to increase participation in their events in various cities across the country.  I am not so sure it is entirely altruistic, but it certainly seems to be effective.

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