Anecdotes are Cute, but They Don’t Prove Success

I will never forget the first face-to-face meeting I had with a program officer at a major national grantmaking foundation. It was 2002 and I had flown to New York City with my boss for a three-day foundation meeting spree. I was brand new to the nonprofit sector and the greenest of green in terms […]

Leveraging Your Nonprofit’s Major Milestones for Fundraising

Most small and midsized nonprofit organizations run on shoestring budgets. Their primary fuel comes from the passion, care, and a sense of community service that seems innate in the people who start and work in nonprofit organizations. On a day-to-day basis, nonprofit leaders often wear so many hats that they sometimes forget to slow down […]

Donors Behaving Badly?

I’ve written before about the importance of avoiding mission creep and other alignment issues when seeking funding for your nonprofit. I know, it is certainly easy to fall into the “any funding is good funding” trap, especially in small and often under-resourced nonprofit organizations. But, as I’ve noted, the pursuit of grant funding can definitely […]

The Ever-Elusive Unrestricted Dollar

One of the biggest sources of stress and uncertainty in the nonprofit sector is ensuring sufficient funding to cover operational costs. Operational costs, or “overhead”, are all of the costs associated with keeping the doors open and the lights on in an organization: staff, equipment, supplies, rent, etc.  The vast majority of nonprofit funding is […]

On Gardens & Donors: Great Relationships Take Work!

I spent last weekend outside in my back yard, toiling in my garden and getting it ready for spring and summer planting. The front of my home is completely xeriscaped and filled with beautiful yet intimidating agave, cacti and succulents. From this vantage point you’d never know that there’s a small but productive vegetable and […]

On Trust…

I recently read an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy entitled “To Keep People Giving in the Pandemic, Trust in Nonprofits is Essential” (Segar, B., 2020). I won’t go into detail about the article’s arguments because the title sums up my thoughts perfectly: a nonprofit’s fundraising success is built upon a foundation of trust, and without that […]