Archive for May, 2012

May 25, 2012

Updates to 8 Popular Posts

As I sit down to write my latest blog post, we in the United States are headed into a holiday weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season. So, I thought I would mark the occasion by doing something a bit different here. I’m going to look back on some of my more popular blog posts and share some updated information with you. 

But, before we get to the updates, I do want to directly acknowledge the holiday. In the US, it’s Memorial Day. This holiday commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by over one million men and women who gave their lives in service to the nation. I hope you’ll take a few moments to remember them and to check-out my post: “Philanthropy and the Spirit of Memorial Day.”

Now, on to the updates:

“Garth Brooks Sues Hospital for Return of a $500,000 Gift”

Garth Brooks recently won his lawsuit against Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital. A jury awarded the country-music legend $1 million that includes the return of his $500,000 donation as well as $500,000 in punitive damages. The jury decided in favor of Brooks saying the “Hospital defrauded him by accepting a $500,000 donation and failing to honor his request to name a building for his late mother,” according to a report in The Chicago Tribune.

Fortunately, the experience with Integris has not dampened Brooks’ philanthropic spirit. Earlier this month, the singer along with Troy Aikman dedicated the new Child Life Zone at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX. The project was partially funded through Brooks’ Teammates Foundation. You can learn more about the Child Life Zone in an article and video at the WFAA-TV website.


“10 Essential Tips to Protect Children from Real Monsters”

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, I wrote a blog piece that contained 10 tips for protecting children from sexual abuse. Child sex abuse impacts one in six boys, and one in four girls in the US; it’s a crime that is blind to race, religion, or economic status.

I was hoping that this post would become my most widely read post to date. At this point, I can report that this post is currently my fifth most read. With your help, perhaps it will reach number-one in the coming weeks.

I recently heard from a state sex-offender registrar who requested permission to post my article on the state’s website. I appreciate the request, and granted permission. If you would like to post the article on your website, please contact me for authorization.


“Does CFRE Have a Future?”

Since I wrote this blog post, I did follow through and apply for my recertification. I’ve been a CFRE since 1994, which makes me one of the old-timers on the CFRE roster. While I have applied for renewal, I still have grave concerns about the future of the credential. However, CFRE International offers a ray of hope with its current strategic planning process that has included a survey of current CFRE-holders.

After I originally posted my commentary, CFRE International hired a new President and CEO. Eva E. Aldrich, MA, CFRE took the reins in February 2012. You can read more about the transition at the CFRE International website.


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May 23, 2012

Special Report: US Congress and NY Governor Focus on Nonprofit Sector

In the halls of government, last week was a very interesting time for the nonprofit sector.

The U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight began a series of hearings about the nonprofit sector with an eye toward regulatory reform. There’s an excellent summary in the Venable Nonprofit Alert 

In New York, Governor Cuomo has proposed new regulations capping nonprofit executive compensation, limiting the use of state funds for administrative expenses, and imposing new reporting requirements. If adopted in New York, these regulations could serve as a model for consideration by other states. The New York Nonprofit Press has prepared a terrific summary of the Governor’s proposals, visit.

I’m very tempted to editorialize, but I’m restraining myself, at least for the moment. That doesn’t mean you have to. I invite you to freely share your views of these two news items.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?


[Publisher’s Note: “Special Reports” are posted from time-to-time as a benefit for subscribers and frequent visitors to this blog. “Special Reports” are not widely promoted. To be notified of all new posts, including “Special Reports,” please take a moment to subscribe in the right-hand column.]

May 18, 2012

4 Simple Steps to Raising All the Money Your Nonprofit Needs

Sandy Rees, CFRE is a nonprofit fundraising coach who has a particular knack for simplifying complex concepts in a helpful way. She’s distilled her ideas into a book: Get Fully Funded: How to Raise the Money of Your Dreams.

Her book breaks the fundraising process into a number of steps that many fundraising professionals are likely to find familiar while the territory might be new for chief executives and board members. But, not satisfied with providing just a review of the fundamentals, Sandy does two valuable things:

1. She includes a step that is often taken for granted, and thus overlooked, by many authors: preparation. In this section, she looks at things like how to: make fundraising a priority, manage time, get organized, be ethical, and build an infrastructure that will allow fundraisers to be successful.

2. For each step of the process, Sandy drills down into the subject to get readers to address issues and ideas they may never have considered.

I appreciate that Sandy has chosen to share some of her insights here. Those new to fundraising will certainly appreciate Sandy’s accessible approach. Readers with fundraising experience will find that many, if not all, of the overarching ideas in the article will be familiar. But, from time-to-time, it behooves us all to not only review the fundamentals, but think of them more deeply. As we gain experience throughout our careers, we’ll be able to gain new insights as we revisit the basics.

Want to raise the “money of your dreams”? Read on:


In the world of nonprofits, you can’t do much in the way of service delivery or mission fulfillment without money.

For fundraising staff, that means it is all about raising money. Sometimes, it can be a big challenge. I’ve spent years raising money for all kinds of nonprofit organizations, and I know what works and what doesn’t. One thing I know for sure is that we must aim high.

I learned early on in my career to shoot for the stars. This came from my unwillingness to settle. I saw so many people waiting to be helped at the rescue mission and at the food bank. I knew that if I raised more money, we could help more of them. So, I started working toward fully funding my organization. I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure that people had a warm bed and a hot meal. 

I call it “Getting Fully Funded.” It means that your nonprofit’s staff have everything they need to deliver service. It means that all the bills are paid and you have a rainy day fund established. You have lots of happy and engaged donors. You have diversified revenue streams and fundraising is fun. It’s a wonderful place to be!

Before you can Get Fully Funded, there are a few things you need to have in place. You must have:

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May 11, 2012

Survey Sounds Alarm Bell for Nonprofit Sector

Over 91 percent of businesses believe they are equally or better equipped than nonprofit organizations to deliver social change, according to a recent survey reported on by Chloe Stothart of Third Sector Online.

That means just nine percent of respondents thought it was somewhat more or much more effective for businesses to donate to charity to achieve social change!

What makes these statistics even more shocking is that all of the 142 survey respondents were businesses with a Corporate Social Responsibility budget. Imagine what the statistics might look like if a more representative sample of the business community were surveyed.

While the survey was conducted in the United Kingdom by YouGovStone for the Social Investment Consultancy, it should strike fear into the hearts of all nonprofit organizations worldwide.

In the United States, corporate giving in 2010 totaled $15.29 billion, five percent of all giving, according to Giving USA 2011. While a comparatively small slice of the overall giving pie, corporate giving is nevertheless significant. And, for some nonprofit organizations, corporate giving plays an even greater role.

Here’s why the nonprofit sector should be alarmed by the survey findings:


  • There’s no such thing as “corporate philanthropy.” For a detailed explanation of what I mean by this, read my blog post on the subject. In short, corporations exist to enhance shareholder value, not to engage in purely philanthropic activities. That doesn’t mean businesses don’t give away money. It just means that when a business does give money, it is looking to enhance the company’s value for its shareholders. So, when businesses talk about engaging in efforts for “social change,” they are talking about efforts that will benefit the business and not necessarily society in general. Also, the business community may be overestimating its ability to facilitate social change while underestimating the ability of the charity sector.


  • The survey results reveal an underlying mistrust of the nonprofit sector. The business community seems to have the attitude, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” As long as this lack of confidence in the nonprofit sector exists, we can expect corporate giving will not realize its full potential. All donors, whether corporate, individual or foundation, want to know that their funds will be wisely and efficiently used.


Jake Hayman, chief executive of the Social Investment Consultancy, believes the survey is reflective of the attitudes held by the broader corporate community. He said that businesses were becoming far more interested in doing good through their own efforts rather than by donating to charity. Hayman says,

There’s been an evolution from wanting to sponsor or outsource the good you do to wanting to run it yourself based on your strengths”

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May 4, 2012

It’s Party Time!

I’m conflicted about nonprofit special events. 

On the one hand, organizations are often fuzzy about the objectives behind a special event. Staff is often not quite sure if the event is to raise money and, if so, how much? Or, is the event to attract media attention? Is it to build new relationships? You get the idea. Also, events require a great deal of effort, often for only a modest monetary return even if the objective was specifically to bring in the dollars.

On the other hand, I recognize that special events can indeed raise much needed dollars. And, events can raise awareness and develop or redevelop vital relationships.

The bottom-line for me is that nonprofit special events can be worthwhile if they are carefully planned and implemented. And, a healthy dose of creativity doesn’t hurt, either.

That brings me to an event that caught my eye during my weekly routine-reading of The Jewish Exponent. I was turning the page when I came across an advertisement. The ad only took up about two-fifths of a page. Yet, two things immediately jumped out. Across the top of the ad, a banner stated, “Special Alumni Offer.” In the body of the ad, the boldfaced headline read, “Gratz Gala.”

Despite opting for less than a full-page ad, the organization successfully captured my attention. And, that’s particularly impressive considering that I’ve never had any affiliation with Gratz College or its high school. There’s an important lesson here:

With a smartly designed ad and good placement, you don’t always need to pay for a full-page to have a big impact.

The other lesson is:

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