Author Posts

Larry Raff
Why 2017 will be Wicked Awesome
“Wicked awesome” is a uniquely Boston expression.  When the Red Sox won the World Series…wicked awesome.  When Whitey Bulger was captured…wicked awesome.  Before I get into why 2017 will be a wicked awesome year for many nonprofit stakeholder organizations, I want to review some studies that address how people feel and behave after they are […]
Beware of the Feeble Feasibility Study
Not all feasibility studies are created equal.  Over the years I have reviewed feasibility studies done by other consultants so I could prepare a proposal or assume the role of counsel for a prescribed campaign goal. Too often, the studies did not address the issues that are key to campaign success, or were unable to […]
Certainty in the Trumped-Up Era
By Larry Raff In _CRI Blog Post, Insights Posted November 14, 2016 6 Comments
You may have noticed during the presidential primaries and candidates’ debates that President-elect Trump rarely mentioned Congress.  He seemed to be operating under the premise that the presidency reigns supreme over all of government and that there would be few impediments to getting what he wanted. During the financial crises of 2008, 2009 and as […]
We are All in Human Services
Stakeholder organizations are often divided into different categories to help others navigate the nonprofit sector.  The categories typically include: Education, Basic Needs, Arts & Culture, Health, Religion, Youth/Family Services, Environment & Conservation, Animal Welfare, International Affairs, Policy and many others. To be sure, each of these categories addresses content with which advancement officers need to […]
Using “Marginal Utility” in Fundraising
By Larry Raff In _CRI Blog Post, Major Gifts Posted October 8, 2016 1 Comment
It is not often that I use economic theory and principles when addressing fundraising matters…but perhaps I should more often.  The notion of “Marginal Utility” is the additional satisfaction a consumer gains from consuming one more unit of a good or service. Marginal utility is an important economic concept because economists use it to determine how much of an […]
Raising the Barr
I had the good fortune to attend a luncheon presentation at The Friday Forum* in Boston, by Jim Canales on September 23, 2016. Jim was appointed as president and trustee of the Barr Foundation in Boston in 2014 after spending two decades in a variety of roles at The James Irvine Foundation in California. The […]
Sound Management Trumps Organizational Design
This is not a sexy topic, but it addresses a central and often minimized issue facing many advancement operations and nonprofit organizations. After many years of working with an array of organizations it is clear to me that, all things being equal, you can have the most rational and defendable organization design and yet not […]
Be Smart About Capital Expansion
The recent article in The New York Times, “How the Rich Are Hurting the Museums They Fund” by Ben Davis on July 22, 2016 struck a chord with me because it addresses a common question I ask potential clients about their plans for capital expansion. The question is, once you build it, will you be […]
It is Time for Large Funders to be Leaders
A recent article in the Boston Globe “Does Boston have too many nonprofits?” by Sacha Pfeiffer, addresses an often heard lament that there are too many nonprofits (stakeholder corporations) doing overlapping work. As the article points out, there are 40+ organizations dedicated to help disadvantaged students in the Boston Public School get into and graduate […]
Headwinds for Public Charities
Is the job market for advancement professionals contracting?  And if so, why? It would appear from most of the available data, the number of 501(c)3 “public charities”* in the US is indeed declining. (*StakeholderCorporations) According to the Independent Sector and Urban Institute’s research: More than 275,000 public charities lost their tax-exempt status in 2011 because of […]
It’s About Confidence…Personal and Professional
I just spent a four-day weekend with 35 highly motivated and talented advancement officers who are working to become Master Gift Officers. As I both trained and observed them, I came to the simple realization that the key to their success, and that of most people for any endeavor, is the necessity to have and […]
We Need to Change the Conversation
Words are powerful and have a way of evoking an immediate emotional response to the reader or listener. When you hear the references “nonprofit” organization or “for-profit” corporation which one gives you a: ·         Stronger sense of competency? ·         Stronger sense of viability? ·         Feeling of strength? ·         Sense of longevity? ·         Sense of management prowess? […]

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