A $5 million award letter arrived from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an historic moment in the 15-year-old nonprofit’s existence. They had arrived. Their mission is to build bathrooms in rural schools in the poorest areas to meet children’s basic hygiene needs. It’s a transformative service.
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Wellness usually focuses on your personal responsibility to stay healthy. There’s a bit of “blame the victim” syndrome in that. I have a different view. You see, my 25 years of fundraising leadership has shown me that 10 key organizational development touchpoints do more to keep you healthy and well than almost anything else! I talked about these 10 touchpoints on a recent webinar, which you can watch at this link. My view is that if you have agreement on these issues, then you have less stress. And when you’re feeling less stress, you can raise
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA, and Sheldon Bart The “voice” of the New York Yankees, broadcaster John Sterling, is famous for saying, “You can’t predict baseball.” You can’t predict grants either. Grant opportunities pop up like bubbles and burst like bubbles as funders reappraise their priorities or circulate new RFPs. Even though you can’t predict funding opportunities, you can be alert for them and pounce. Turning $5,000 Into $200,000 Advent Health, a faith-based nonprofit health care system operating across nine states, had previously sponsored the Orlando, Florida, nonprofit Pathlight HOME’s Culinary Training Program with a $5,000 grant. Suddenly, in the
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The pre-eminent source of annual data about giving and philanthropy in the United States — Giving USA Foundation — this week released its 2021 report. This year’s edition offers a mixed bag of news for fundraisers and sends a few warning signals about what we can expect in the balance of 2022. But before the warnings, some good news: Charitable giving totaled a near-record $484.9 billion in 2021, which was flat when compared to 2020. That’s considered a win, especially since COVID-19 sparked an 8.1% annual increase in giving in 2020, and many observers feared
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A lot of donor information is hidden. Most donors aren’t advertising their net worth or telling us about the other nonprofits they donate to. So it’s up to us to do the research in advance of our conversations with them. Three Options Nonprofits have three options for conducting this research: Conducting In-House Research — Larger nonprofits with the financial means often build dedicated research teams into their organizational structure. Hiring a Consultant — Instead of hiring a full-time prospect researcher or having an existing staff member screen donors, you can bring in consultants like LAPA
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Nonprofits involved with the abortion debate are seeing a fundraising spike because of the recent leak of a draft opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court that would overrule Roe v. Wade. But for nonprofits whose missions are not about reproductive rights, the future of Roe v. Wade is causing intense internal discussions about whether they should take a stand or be apolitical. The topic of abortion stirs strong emotions on both the left and right. As a result, public statements from a nonprofit on the issue are likely to rankle a portion of its donor base.
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Your board can be a robust fundraising engine, but not if it’s cluttered with board members who are light lifters. And, let’s face it, most nonprofits have boards that do very little. It’s better to have even a few people on your board who are willing to put in the time to guide your organization to its greatest impact. I’ve seen organizations transformed by three or four such people, and it’s much more advantageous to recruit this type of board member. The question, of course, is how do you cultivate the heavy lifters to ensure that you’re giving them
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA I met Dr. Paul Farmer at a conference 15 years ago. Unexpectedly, Paul recently passed away in his sleep from an acute cardiac event while in Rwanda, where he had been teaching. He was one of the founders of Partners in Health (PIH). As an international healthcare organization founded in 1987 PIH was, and remains, driven by its vision “to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.” Partners in Health inspires me. That is why I keep giving to it
By Alyssa Greengrass, MA. “How do we get our donors back?” It’s a common yet distressing question. And it’s one that I regularly hear from fundraisers and executives at nonprofits of all sizes — ranging from large national hospital systems to local food banks. While it seems difficult to win back donors who have chosen to stop supporting your nonprofit, it’s important to resist the temptation to simply focus on closing new gifts. Ignoring your lapsed donor file is cost ineffective and jeopardizes relationships that took time and care to develop. Often, these lapsed donors are devoted supporters of your
By Eddie Whitfield. As we enter our third year of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, we’re reflecting on the stories of leaders and organizations that have embraced trust-based philanthropy and what connects them. In September, we launched the Trust-Based Story Map, which highlights the personal journeys of leaders from across the United States who are adopting a more trust-based, power-aware approach to their work. As we take a closer look at these stories collectively, some powerful themes are emerging about what inspires the adoption of trust-based philanthropy and what we can learn from the trends we are seeing. Diversity in Lived