GivingTake Blog Posts

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 […]
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.
Less is MORE in Building Relationships
Who among us, whether we work in a large shop or small, email coworkers to address a work issue when you could have just walked down the hall to speak with the person?  Or how about when you have a chance to work with a board member or volunteer - do you opt for a phone call instead of a face-to-face meeting?  While the conveniences of modern life are easy to default to because it is presumed to be more time effective for both parties, I want to raise the question if that is indeed true?
Disagreements Strengthen Friendships – If We Get Out of Our Bubble
I have had a 15-year friendship with a fellow board member of a biomedical research nonprofit we support.  Ben was a very successful business man, now retired, and is politically conservative.  My political leanings are decidedly progressive. Over the years, Ben and I have had fun sparing over the political issues of the day, spanning […]
Fundraising Beyond Rock-Paper-Scissors
You may recall how disputes were resolved when we were kids using Rock-Paper-Scissors.  This is a zero-sum game to peacefully determine who will prevail when there is conflict and competition. What is great about this method is that each has its power over ONE of the others. Rock prevails over scissors. Scissors prevail over paper. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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