Category Archives: News & Trends

Webinar: Funding Trends in Arts and Culture

It looks like October is Funding for the Arts month at the Foundation Center, and I happen to know that a lot of you are involved in the arts.  Why not attend the Funding Trends in Arts and Culture webinar and see what you can learn?  Experts in the arts and culture field will discuss funding trends, you can attend from your own office, and it is free.

The Foundation Center webinars use Microsoft Office Live Meeting software.  There is a link on the registration page to download it, along with some basic instructions.  The software is very easy to install and use (don’t be scared away!), but if you have any questions or problems, feel free to call (432 5062) or email me for help { katebfpl at gmail dot com }.


The Business of Nonprofits

This is a lengthy article, but well worth the time to read.   Please check it out over at the Philanthropy News Digest.

The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle

by Don Howard, Ann Goggins Gregory A vicious cycle is leaving nonprofits so hungry for decent infrastructure that they can barely function as organizations — let alone serve their beneficiaries. The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs, and results in nonprofits misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems — acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs. To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.

The Big Picture: A National Teleconference with Two Nonprofit Sector Leaders

via Philanthropy Front and Center – Cleveland

National Teleconference
Turning Crisis Into Opportunity:
A Conversation With Two Nonprofit Sector Leaders
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern Time

“Please join us as Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center, and Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and chief executive officer of GuideStar, jointly address one of the most critical issues in the nonprofit sector today: the impact of the economic crisis on nonprofit organizations and on the foundations that support their work.”

Webinar Notes: Fundraising A to Z in Difficult Times

Last week I spent two whole days participating in a  Cooperating Collection webinar, hosted by the Foundation Center.  I took part in sessions that will help me create a better, more effective Cooperating Collection, and also sessions full of tips for nonprofits in tough economic times.  I hope to share some of my notes with you over the next few weeks.

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Fundraising A to Z in Difficult Times was conducted by Michael Seltzer, author of  Securing Your Organization’s Future: A Complete Guide to Fundraising Strategies.

***  The new destination for nonprofit fundraising is sustainable funding, and securing fundraisers rather than donors.  ***

Accentuate the Positive. The recession is the time for NPOs to invest in communications and marketing.  Try to craft a positive message about your cause so it can rise above all the gloom and doom about Wall Street.

Collaborate.  “Much can be gained such as cost savings and enhanced impact through working more closely with others.”  Share physical office space, share events, share online spaces.

Experiment.  Create a small scale, experimental initiative or campaign.  Less start up investment, less effort, but still can land you in the public’s eye.

Fundraise Selectively.  No shotgun fundraising!  Engage your supporters in your organization.  Don’t call them donors – call them members or stakeholders.

Get Rid of Dead Wood.  “The times require all hands on deck.  Make it attractive for board members that are not pulling their weight to rotate off the board.”  Create “post board service” opportunities to help gracefully transition less effective baord members off the board.  If you want better people on your board, change your message when recruiting board members.  Sitting on a board is a civic opportunity and a position of honor!  Make sure your organization treats (and promotes) it as such.

Join Forces. Explore group purchasing plans to create cost savings.  There is more to gain than lose in the sharing of information and resources with other NPOs.   Cooperating Collections can be meeting grounds for the NPOs in the community.

Look to the Future.  “Organizations will prevail if they are prepared to innovate and reinvent themselves.”  Example:  selling Girl Scout cookies online.  Genius!

Wal-Mart Gives Away $1 Million a Day

Go read this right now:  How to Get Money from Wal-Mart Foundation over at Katya’s blog:

“Margaret McKenna of the Wal-Mart Foundation is presenting at Independent Sector right now, and boy is she a pistol.  She’s refreshingly irreverent.  I’m blogging her remarks live.”

Katya mentions that Wal-Mart does well during recessions, so perhaps you should keep them on your potential funders radar?

Foundations and Web 2.0

Here’s an interesting report on foundations and web 2.0 that came to me via the Foundation Center‘s Philanthropy News Digest:

“According to a new report from the Communications Network, many foundations remain skeptical about the use of Web 2.0 tools, despite the potential of those tools to create opportunities to connect people who are interested in an issue with each other and grantees working on the issue. The report, Come On In. The Water’s Fine: An Exploration of Web 2.0 Technology and Its Emerging Impact on Foundation Communications (45 pages, PDF), acknowledges that while foundations moving into the world of Web 2.0 face risks and challenges, they need to move beyond more traditional communications channels and embrace the participatory nature of Web communications. Recommendations for foundations interested in moving ahead with a Web 2.0 strategy include identifying and building the “human capital” of their staffs, making internal institutional reforms to reward creativity and innovation, and building on the successes of others.”

Some good advice in there for any organization looking into web 2.0.

Link Love

Some good stuff from around the web …


Planning a fundraising event?  Follow in the footsteps of Chicago’s After School Matters charity and consider holding it in a unique venue.  Their choice of location definitely affected their attendance rate.


Jeff Brooks points us to an incredibly powerful and incredibly risky campaign in Belgium focused on raising funds for clean drinking water.  You must watch the video.  I’d love to hear your reaction!  Let me know what you think about it in the comments.


What challenges do you face as a nonprofit in a small town?  (If you are in northwest Pennsylvania, I can almost guarantee you’re in a small town!)  Read FLIP’s two part series on Fundraising in a Small Town, and you might gain a new perspective on things.  Part one focuses on some of the benefits of being in a small town:

  • The media is accessible.
  • So are the politicians.
  • People sincerely care.
  • Business trends move in slower motion.
  • Your reach doesn’t stop at the county line anymore.

And part two focuses on some of the obstacles and how you might overcome them:

  • Reputations last.
  • Smaller population, smaller local donor pool.
  • Events must be geared accordingly.
  • This town isn’t big enough for the two of us.

Are there any obstacles you encounter that weren’t addressed in these two articles?