GivingTake Blog Posts

The Calculus of Staff vs. Volunteer Driven Fundraising
There are many ways to “skin a cat” the saying goes. Some advancement shops are heavily invested in building multiple volunteer committees, separate fundraising boards and using volunteers directly in fundraising activities.  Other shops have no volunteer committees and use individual board members or other donors strategically with specific prospect approaches…and often sparingly. Organizations like […]
The Koch Dilemma
How important is your organization’s mission…really?  Does it drive the decisions you make?  Does it drive decisions about whether or not to accept donations from donors who work against your mission? It is a true test of mission resolve to say “no thank you” to a donor offering a large gift, when that donor’s livelihood […]
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – a Bellwether for…
I first want to congratulate the ALS Association and several other related organizations for benefiting from the impressive wave of philanthropic support generated by the Ice Bucket Challenge. Let’s explore whether in an environment increasingly driven by social media we are now witnessing the early stages of a paradigm shift in philanthropy. The Ice Bucket […]
Beware of Charity Watchdog Groups and the Paradox of Shortsightedness
By Larry Raff In Insights, Planning & Strategy Posted August 18, 2014 0 Comments
I never paid much attention to charity watchdog groups like Charity Navigator until reading a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy entitled “Charity Watchdogs Scoff at Direct Marketers’ Self-Reporting Effort” (August 4, 2014).  While I could go on for pages about the flaws and weaknesses of these rating groups, as many have, I will […]
The Long-Term Trend That Is Going Unnoticed
  The Giving USA annual report on philanthropy is a valuable service to our profession, but the data collected and reported is missing a critically important data point, one that should be central to our profession’s global strategies.   Nowhere to be found is the national trend in the number of donors making gifts.  According to Giving […]
Is it Transactional or Transformative?
Transactional fundraising is a hot topic in our industry lately, probably because cause-related marketing is being increasingly influenced by consumerism. The lines distinguishing sales from philanthropy are becoming blurred and a new lexicon has emerged around this, current buzz words being philanthrocapitalismand marketized philanthropy. I was struck by a recent article in The Atlantic, titled: “Is For-Profit […]
Reference Checking…Critically Important to Your Organization
I am often amazed to hear about people being hired to top-level advancement positions whom I know to be vastly unqualified to do the job.  We have all seen this happen.  There is no doubt that some people are very skilled at interviewing and getting jobs, but they inevitably crash and burn because they are […]
Wealth and Its Longevity
    The article in the April 20, 2014 NYTimes by Mark R. Rank raises a curious issue for advancement officers about wealth and its longevity.  Are those people in the “1%” of income a static group or do the members of the affluent change repeatedly? Rank and fellow researching Thomas H. Hirschl conducted a […]
An Ethical Dilemma – What Would You Do?
Do you have a nose for finding malfeasance?  Or sometimes does it hit you right in the nose and you are faced with some hard choices.  Life experiences do make you sensitive to the signs of something being amiss. 20 years ago, after moving from Portland OR to Boston to take over the statewide chapter […]
Campaign or Initiative…What’s in a Name
  Campaign vs. Initiative…is this a distinction without a difference?  This question seems to be coming up more and more with organizations we interact with. The issue seems to be driven, in part, by the visceral reaction volunteers have to the notion of a campaign.  Seasoned volunteers have lived through campaigns in the past and […]
It’s a New Year…Stop Procrastinating
By Larry Raff In Planning & Strategy Posted January 4, 2014 0 Comments
  Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. Don Marquis  Procrastination is not reserved for only individuals. Boards of directors and organizations also procrastinate, and often to their detriment.  I want to share two stories about organizations that inexplicably waited to the brink before facing what needed to be done.  I’ve changed their […]
Top 5 GivingTake Blog Posts
What better way to find out what is on the minds of our advancement colleagues than to see what they are reading about on blogs.  Rather than conduct a survey, let’s look at what topics are being read most by thousands of advancement professionals. The Copley Raff GivingTake Blog has been publishing for three years […]

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