GivingTake Blog Posts

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? […]
Boots on the Ground
  Having “boots on the ground” has become a metaphor of late for – if you need to do the hard work, you need be all in.  The military reference is obvious, as is the commonly used term “campaign”.  Merriam-Webster’s first definition of campaign is:  a connected series of military operations forming a distinct phase […]
Board Overreach
Who is in charge? A recent dust up at Suffolk University in Boston over a conflict between the board and its new President of seven months, shined a bright light on what happens when boards are too controlling. After the departure of its president of more than 20 years, Suffolk has had five presidents in […]
ROI Redux…Return On Involvement
  Return on Investment is one of those gross measures many boards and CEOs focus on as an overall measure of effectiveness.  Generally speaking it is a useful tool except if you are in a growth mode.  While the ROI might suffer, your top line revenue should grow significantly rendering your added expenses justifiable. My […]

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