The Good Counsel Blog


Nov

08

2020
End of Year Appeal Letters

End of Year Appeal Letters

Did you know many people don’t read most of your end of year appeal letter? They skim. This means you need to make sure your key points are in the most skimmed area, and are direct and actionable. Letter writing for fundraising appeals can feel daunting and high stakes, especially this year. I find the most success is writing my letters based on how I would want to receive them. Not too dry and stuffy, not alarmist and above all make them engaging, make me want to keep reading. They should be about me, the reader and my relationship with…

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Jun

24

2020
Photo by William Iven

“Ask a Fundraiser” A Pilot Program

Jim and I are trying out an idea that we have been discussing for awhile. A “Ask a Fundraiser” service. What if someone at an organization could just text us a quick question? It might be about fundraising, or an upcoming event, or a new Executive Director just wants a second opinion? How can we make it easier for clients to reach out, especially now when many of us are working from home, in between family obligations and the stress of the pandemic. I’m excited because recently I found a way for nonprofit organizations to reach me via text, and…

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Jun

01

2020

Toscano Advisors Closed for the Week of June 1st

Jim and I are grieving for Minneapolis, St Paul communities following murder of George Floyd. We are holding his family in our hearts. The work of dismantling systemic racism is our work, and we are taking this week for reflection, amplifying and responding to needs in Minneapolis and in Portland. In the meantime, please consider donating money and/or time to the following places. In Minnesota George Floyd Memorial Fund Headwaters Foundation for Justice Black Visions Collective Minnesota Freedom Fund Reclaim the Block Voices for Racial Justice CTUL RISE Humanize My Hoodie We love Lake Street In Oregon Don’t Shoot PDX Momentum…

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May

19

2020
 2020 1/2  In the Time of the Virus, Ten Trends for Significant Survival

 2020 1/2 In the Time of the Virus, Ten Trends for Significant Survival

Essay By Jim Toscano with additions by Dania Miwa. As we typically do, we released our 2020 predictions in December of last year.  Then, in March all bets were suddenly off, as the infection and death rates started climbing and we began to realize the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for nonprofits. This is our attempt to re-forecast based on what we are telling clients, experiencing first hand and as we are seeing some national trends emerge. Leap Year 2020 did occur in February as did so many more events. We celebrated many of the anniversaries:100 years of women having…

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Apr

28

2020
Here We Are

Here We Are

Is it over yet? It’s been almost a month since I posted last, which has both flown by, and seemed like several years. Jim and I will continue to host Pay it Fwd.  (9:00 am PST, Wednesday’s on zoom Link here.) When we launched Pay it Fwd, I expected that it might last a few weeks and I’d be thrilled if we got even a few people every time, but every week has grown and has become a lovely community of support, laughter and a place to find the solutions together. I’m glad to have you all in my network…

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Mar

30

2020
Pay it FWD

Pay it FWD

To say it’s been a hard couple of weeks seems such an understatement, that it’s almost comedic. We don’t know what’s in store for the foreseeable future, and we don’t claim to have the answers or even to fully understand the scope of the current situation we are in. What we hope is that we can add to the conversation, to create safe space to come together, to be vulnerable and to ask the really tough questions and as a sector to find a positive path forward. To that end, we have launched a Wednesday Zoom call to hold space,…

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Jan

15

2020
Board Transformation for Nonprofit Organizations

Board Transformation for Nonprofit Organizations

By Jim Toscano & Dania Toscano Miwa Board members have many responsibilities: decision-making, planning, hiring and overseeing the executive, making their own generous gifts, bringing peers to the table, serving as ambassadors to the community with some members actively serving on the development committee helping to raise funds. Many nonprofits do not have such board helping to raise funds and it is at their peril not to. The ideal situation is to gradually move to an organizational culture of philanthropy, a culture of constituent development. This starts with the Board leadership but envelops all in the organization, including staff, volunteers…

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Jan

14

2020
The Blog is Back

The Blog is Back

Essay by Dania Toscano Miwa & Jim Toscano As many of you know as supporters, clients, friends and colleagues of Toscano Advisors, Jim and I moved our business to Portland, Oregon last year. Since that time we have been busy meeting new people and new Nonprofits. We’ve also been creating new relationships, networks, and learning as much as we can about NGO’s working in the Pacific Northwest. In that time, we took a hiatus from writing and updating the blog regularly.


Dec

14

2019
2020: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

2020: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

Leap Year 2020 will see a tumultuous Presidential election, $10 billion in election spending, the decennial Census, 100 years of women voting, the summer Olympics in Tokyo, hotly contested Oscars, a thrilling World Series, a Rose Bowl with our new state of Oregon represented and substantial underlying changes in the nonprofit world. Here is what we see coming. 1. Rapid Underlying Change. Underneath a seeming stable overall sector, with slow growth over inflation, there are, and will be substantial underlying changes going on, with many organizations struggling to maintain this outward stability. Major flux will be the norm for many,…

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Dec

19

2018
2019: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

2019: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

Article by Dania Miwa and Jim Toscano.   Transition was the name of the game in 2018 for nonprofits, anticipating changes in government policy, especially in tax law, and trying to decide what directions should be taken. More than ever, large nonprofit organizations’ fundraising focus was on the top of the donor pyramid with programming focused on expansion. Almost everyone else tried to just hold on, with some nonprofits attempting to fill gaps caused by changing societal, economic, environmental and government trends through alternative funding strategies. Here’s what’s in store for 2019: Enlargement of the Civil Benefit Sector. With increases…

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