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Posted on in Fundraising

A lot has been written about David Rockefeller’s philanthropic legacy in light of his death last week at the age of 101. From support for local community improvement projects to investing in NYC’s major civic institutions, Mr. Rockefeller’s giving totaled an estimated $2 billion over his lifetime.

David Rockefeller worked hard to transmit what a New York Times article characterized as his family’s philosophy of giving – humility, responsibility, and engagement – through various charitable vehicles. Under this philosophy, we owe a common debt to each other, and much is expected of those who receive.

But while Mr. Rockefeller championed appreciation-fueled giving, his philanthropic interests reveal a deeper motivation than simply giving back. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Working in the nonprofit sector is stressful – and even more so these days.

Providing programs is stressful – both creating and implementing the right programs, and matching the need for services to the money available to fill that need.

Managing finances is stressful – allocating funding across budget lines is never easy, and in times of scarcity it can become even more difficult.

Overseeing people is stressful – particularly when we don’t have the money to reward fine service appropriately.

Fundraising is certainly stressful – especially when the future of innovative programming rests on you.

And finally, looking ahead to maintain that strategic vision, is stressful nowadays – when the environment is throwing zingers our way at any random moment.

The counterweight?

Finding the love. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Nonprofit work is never done. We know that job descriptions read 120% if not 150% – and board members are volunteers with plenty of other pressing concerns on their plates.

Given the never-ending onslaught of tasks, initiatives, responses, emails…why should we spend time repeating an activity that was checked complete a few years back?

The answer lies in that very onslaught. It’s easy to lose sight of why we’re all here – why our cause matters so very much, given the daily cascading of issues in the news.

For those of us whose issues are tangentially connected to the headlines in today’s news – and for those caught right in the heart of the storm – it pays to reaffirm the case for our organizations and our cause.

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Hours of finding just the right verb.

Anecdotes, photos, graphics, charts.

The compellingly-presented need. The dramatic longitudinal impact, obtained through impeccable research.

All produced, of course, in color, branded, visually-appealing.

A well-done case statement is indeed a great thing. It walks your organization right in the door, often before you yourself can get there. It intrigues, it impresses, it grabs one by the throat and demands a hearing.

But while a well-done case statement certainly sells, it doesn’t create a market.

And therein lies the rub.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Fall event. Spring gala. Annual Appeal in between.

Once you wind down from one, you’re gearing up for the next. Continuous fundraising momentum, right?

But if your board – and staff – lurch from headliner to headliner, it can feel like you’re always asking.

Well – you are.

And no, that’s not the most effective fundraising strategy, unless your goal is to burn out donors (and askers).

Instead, try relationship-building: a two-way street of listening, sharing, and ongoing dialogue.

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