GivingTake Blog


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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Are Small Colleges a Safe Philanthropic Bet?

A Boston Globe article on November 19, 2019 “Under pressure from colleges, advising company yanks report on their financial health” addresses an important topic few in higher education want to discuss. With a recent spat of college closures, mergers and acquisitions, a college advisory services firm called Edmit was about to publish its report that identified 200 US colleges that ...
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/ _CRI Blog Post, Insights, Small College

Are You Giving In to #GivingTuesday – Redux

I am reissuing this post, in part, because the donor universe is declining and under pressure with the new tax environment - making this post even more relevant. #GivingTuesday now has seven years under its belt. It seems prudent to review its growth and significance, and to see whether it elevates overall giving or just redistributes anticipated giving. #GivingTuesday is ...
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Workplace Culture: We Can Do Better

By Susan Kinney, Senior Consultant, Copley Raff Inc. Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a panel discussion addressing gender bias, sexual harassment, and bullying in the workplace. This session on “changing culture” was hosted and moderated by Jane Doe Inc. and featured Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung and workplace expert Lauren Stiller Rikleen, attorney and author of “The ...
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Will Legacy Naming Recognition Become Too Fraught for Organizations?

The mess MIT and Harvard found themselves in by accepting gifts from Jeffery Epstein is a bellwether for things to come.  These institutions had the audacity to accept a lot of money from Epstein, with the intent to remain anonymous, and despite this slight-of-hand, the rolling heads hitting the fan could be heard around the world. I would imagine if ...
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/ _CRI Blog Post, Emerging Ideas, Insights

A Letter to Nonprofit CEOs About Fundraising

Dear Nonprofit CEO, I know your plate is full. You manage your board and staff, have programs to monitor and design, staff vacancies to fill, budgeting and annual planning, and there are always fires to put out - this is the shortlist. It is probably a true statement that your work history that prepared you to lead your organization did ...
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Hate-Speech “Sells” in Today’s Politics – Will it Work in Nonprofit Fundraising?

This is a difficult topic to address, but one that has fascinated me for a while.  We are witnessing the phenomenon, last seen in the late 1960s during the George Wallace presidential campaign, of robust political fundraising on a messages of hate, divisiveness and demonizing of an entire classes of people. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being contributed during ...
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/ _CRI Blog Post, Insights

When You Get to a Fork in the Road – Take It

One of Yogi Berra’s famous utterances – When you get to a fork in the road… take it – has always resonated with me because it characterizes the forced choices we have to regularly make in our advancement work. Whether we like it or not, or whether we know it or not, we are constantly faced with forks in the ...
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