Recent blog posts

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Galas.

So beloved yet so reviled…

So expensive yet so rewarding…

So much focus on quid pro quo asking (who will buy a table?) – yet so great an opportunity to make your case…

How can we get the most out of the extraordinary energy required to put on a gala? 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Ever been to a potluck where everyone brought dessert? Or a gathering that ended up with 12 different kinds of chips?

A potluck works best with a signup sheet – and curation. People feel responsible for doing their best on their own unique dish; and they’re assured there won’t be three sets of brownies, or five kinds of pasta.

There are lessons here for the organization of a board of directors into committees. 

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We spend a lot of time in fundraising polishing the stone – getting better and better at what we already know how to do. Writing a more compelling appeal letter, sharpening our case statement for foundation proposals, running a bar party for our junior board.

But sometimes you need to take a step outside – explore a new sector, or subsector, that’s never given you funding before.

To approach the holy grail of a “diversified funding base,” we have to go beyond our comfort zone. 

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Individual vs. Institutional Fundraising: the great divide – or not?

Individuals make funding decisions that correspond with deeply-held values, based on who asks them. Subject, of course, to their capacity to give and other pulls on their resources. Whether they base their decision more on linkage (to the asker) or interest (in the cause) is completely case-specific, although special events contributions tend to be more relationship-based and major donor gifts more cause-related, as a general rule of thumb.

While institutional funding sources weigh these three factors as well, the corporate sector is the closest to mimicking individual donors in terms of their “why.” 

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Someone from the media’s on the phone? The executive director, usually the public face of the organization, speaks with the reporter and shares the ensuing article with board members, supporters, and the like. End of story.

But not always.

When the issue is controversial, behind the executive director must be the board. And it’s the job of the executive director to know when to reach out to the board to think through, as a group, what the organization’s response should be.

The CEO does not stand alone.

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