GivingTake Blog


Mosh Pit of Worthy Causes

I chuckle when I hear private sector businesses complain about their competition. They have it easy compared to being in the Third Sector nonprofit world. Private sector businesses typically compete with companies providing the same product or service that the customer needs in order for them to do business.  Competitors seek budgeted - must spend funds.  If you are restaurant, ...
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/ _CRI Blog Post, Core Service, Insights

Is Philanthropy An Answer to Inequality?

The recent volleying between Community-Centric Fundraising and Donor-Centric fundraising models is a match where I prefer to sit on the sideline. At is core, it appears Community-Centric Fundraising seeks "to transform fundraising and philanthropy, so that they are co-grounded in racial and economic justice.” Here, organizations advocate for a fundraising model where nonprofits respect donors and build strong relationships with ...
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Greater Economic Equity will be Our Bread and Butter

Let’s face it, as fundraisers, our success lies with the largesse and generosity of people in the top 2% of wealth – those with annual incomes greater than $400,000. In the alchemy of our economy, all equations balance in the end … so if wealth is concentrated in one place, there is an absence of wealth in others. I raise ...
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Revolutionary and Evolutionary Advancement Work in 2021

Copley Raff recently held a Zoom Reunion of planMGO alumni from across the country, to catch up and to discuss some compelling fundraising issues.  planMGO is a Master Gift OfficerTM curriculum and 4-day training that was conducted by Copley Raff from 2009 – 2016. The following are valuable insights from our discussion along with conversations during my Philanthropy Massachusetts and ...
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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Are You Feeling the Whiplash?

I know this post may be fraught. I want to address how important diversity, equity and inclusion are to the advancement field. Since the murder of George Floyd, the nation and world have been woke to pervasive institutional racism, the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.  A light has also been shined on the presence and effects ...
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Social Justice and Fundraising

By William Gross, Senior Consultant, Copley Raff Inc. Social and technological change are moving faster and faster. We have all learned to embrace digital changes: think of learning to use increasingly sophisticated donor databases, Constant Contact, peer-to-peer giving sites, and other digital tools. We are now seeing different changes … those driven by evolving social norms, and specifically, the movement ...
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It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn

English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller appears to be the first person to commit the notion that “It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth,” to print in 1650. The notion implies things often seem at their worst just before they get better. It feels like we are beginning the darkest time of the pandemic. The dawn will likely ...
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Why NOT to Ask for a Gift — NOT

I have consulted with well over 200 organizations in my career. This experience has put me in a position to share some of the “greatest hits” of why organizations do not ask a donor or prospective donor to make a gift.  Allow me to share both their arguments against and my arguments for asking a donor or prospective donor for ...
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What Might 2022 Look Like for Fundraising?

This, our second economic crisis in the past 12-years, promises to be 10-fold worse with a longer and more disruptive recovery. The lessons we as advancement professionals learned from the great recession offer little insight to our current crisis. Life and the economy as we knew it will be profoundly different, even after the widespread use of a Covid-19 vaccine ...
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Harm Averted is Benefit Unseen

Recognizing success can be elusive. And staff, who are closest to the “action”, are often least aware of how their work and their organization are making a difference. I know this is counterintuitive, as evaluation and planning are so much of our work. Here is a story to illustrate my point. During interviews with staff and board members of a ...
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COVID-19: When is it Time to Start Campaign Planning or to Launch a Campaign?

The decision to undertake planning for a major gift campaign is hard enough during normal times- otherwise known as "the good old days". But today, with the potential for subsequent waves of Covid-19 infections, deciding to mount a campaign is a more complicated undertaking. The campaign that was urgent four months ago may need to be quite different now. And, ...
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Coaching is More Valuable Than Ever as We Change the Advancement Paradigm

Every serious athlete has a coach. Every successful executive has or has had a coach. Every successful fundraiser has or has had a coach.  Why? Good coaches help you find the excellence that is in you. They are versed in the behavioral dynamics of teams and organizations and can detect beliefs and fears that may be keeping you from reaching ...
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Hard Times are a Two-Sided Coin

I started my career in food banking in Portland OR in the early 1980’s. Fresh out of graduate school with a masters-degree in public health and clinical nutrition,  I moved to Portland. Then two-weeks later I narrowly survived a house fire that consumed everything I owned.  Ronald Reagan was just elected president and the public health sector and worker rights ...
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/ _CRI Blog Post

Fundraising in the Time of COVID-19

There is nothing like a global pandemic to create a bit of uncertainty in the minds of EVERYONE!  Uncertainty is the mortal enemy of stock traders and investors. Security in having appreciated stock may become a relic of days gone by. Workers who live on an hourly wage and not a salary are fearful of dramatic hourly cuts as employers ...
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2020 Vision – Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

Happy New Year!  There is reason to be encouraged about 2020, with regard to advancement at least, and reason to do some adapting to the challenges the new year will bring. Opportunities The 2018 tax law has now been with us for a couple of years and we may be settling into the new normal after declines in giving by ...
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