Author Posts

Larry Raff
Are You Giving In to #GivingTuesday – Redux
I am reissuing this post, in part, because the donor universe is declining and under pressure with the new tax environment - making this post even more relevant. #GivingTuesday now has seven years under its belt. It seems prudent to review its growth and significance, and to see whether it elevates overall giving or just redistributes anticipated giving.
Workplace Culture: We Can Do Better
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a panel discussion addressing gender bias, sexual harassment, and bullying in the workplace. This session on “changing culture” was hosted and moderated by Jane Doe Inc. and featured Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung.
Will Legacy Naming Recognition Become Too Fraught for Organizations?
The mess MIT and Harvard found themselves in by accepting gifts from Jeffery Epstein is a bellwether for things to come.  These institutions had the audacity to accept a lot of money from Epstein, with the intent to remain anonymous, and despite this slight-of-hand, the rolling heads hitting the fan could be heard around the world.
A Letter to Nonprofit CEOs About Fundraising
Dear Nonprofit CEO, I know your plate is full. You manage your board and your staff, have programs to monitor and design, staff vacancies to fill, and there are always fires to put out - and this is the shortlist. It is probably a true statement that your work history that prepared you to lead your organization did not include fundraising responsibilities.
Hate-Speech “Sells” in Today’s Politics – Will it Work in Nonprofit Fundraising?
By Larry Raff In _CRI Blog Post, Insights Posted August 7, 2019 0 Comments
This is a difficult topic to address, but one that has fascinated me for a while.  We are witnessing the phenomenon, last seen in the late 1960s during the George Wallace presidential campaign, of robust political fundraising on a messages of hate, divisiveness and demonizing of an entire classes of people. Hundreds of millions of […]
When You Get to a Fork in the Road – Take It
One of Yogi Berra’s famous utterances – When you get to a fork in the road… take it – has always resonated with me because it characterizes the forced choices we have to regularly make in our advancement work. Whether we like it or not, or whether we know it or not, we are constantly faced with forks in the road that give us options that may make or break our fundraising program, or at least slow its progress.
Are You and Your Organization Prepared for the Next Economic Downturn?
I don’t want to throw cold water on your fine day, but it is reasonable to start thinking about the inevitable economic downturn that may be just over the horizon.  Markets are cyclical and that means there are regular recessions every seven-ten years. Recent history includes downturns around the 1986 tax reform, the dotcom bust of the late 1990s, 9/11’s aftermath, and the burst of the housing bubble in 2008-2009.
Donor Portfolio Definition – Little Consistency But Important to Get Right
It has become clear to me after working with many dozens of organizations and training on building major donor portfolios, that the word “portfolio” means many different things to advancement professionals.  I will try and capture the range of definitions being applied in the field.
Are You Asking the BIG Question of Your Leadership?
There is a BIG question you can ask your CEO and your board that can define the readiness and help position your organization to raise real money.  The answer will help you to define your next strategic advancement moves and/or your next career move. The BIG question to leadership is “what would you do with […]
Do Nonprofit Employees Have an Edge on Job Satisfaction?
We all want to be satisfied in our job and to look forward to the work ahead when our feet hit the floor in the morning.  The people I meet who once worked in the private (shareholder) sector and migrated to the nonprofit (stakeholder) sector often say they did so because of a lack of job satisfaction in their prior position.  “It was always only about making money.”
Fundraising Friction – Ways to Reduce the Heat
Fundraising friction are all those ways that advancement offices, websites, development officers and campaign design make it harder for donors to make a contribution. Friction points are often overlooked and not seen for what they are.
A New Paradigm is Upon Us – The Donor Pyramid is Narrowing – Happy New Year!
It is time for our industry to respond to a changing donor-fundraising paradigm that is rapidly accelerating and can catch many stakeholder nonprofits off guard.  While the “donor pyramid” has served us well for decades, where the broad base of the pyramid represents many small dollar donors and the top represents transformational donors, new economic dynamics in the US population necessitate a new look at the pyramid and advancement strategies.

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