Category Archives: Resource Allocation


Jun

06

2017

Increasing Donor Loyalty

Second in a series One of the most important and efficient ways to maintain and increase current revenue is in the retention of existing donors. Blackbaud estimates that it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new donor than to retain an existing donor. A new donation offers up the promise of a long-term relationship. Like a friendship it must be two-way, worked on, mutually rewarding, respectful meaningful, and above all, loyal. Yet we lose many donors, often because the two-way character of the relationship is not understood. The latest report from the 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey of the Urban Institute…

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Feb

07

2017
Trump Tectonics

Trump Tectonics

Just like the plates in earth’s crust, the three major sectors of our society– for-profit, nonprofit and government–are slowly but continuously shifting in terms of responsibility for various elements in the society. In the last century, government grew exponentially in terms of percentage of the GDP for which it was responsible. Nonprofits also grew, benefitting from the large economic growth of the nation, increase in civil need, growing private philanthropy and support from government through grants, contracts and other forms of subsidy. Since the presidential election and inauguration, we have something different, a phenomenon that is starting to produce earthquakes…

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Sep

30

2016
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Twists on Philanthropy

Last week saw an interesting development in the world of philanthropy, usually defined as giving money to good causes. Often there is also an assumption that it’s done as a donation to a charity, with a tax deduction for the gift. Now we have two examples where that isn’t the case, or almost not the case. Variants on the impact investments of foundations and greater flexibility allowed private business, these new efforts have a much more defined focus. When the examples are provided by George Soros and Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, other philanthropists take notice. George Soros’ Focus on…

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Sep

08

2016
Let’s Prove Howard Buffet Wrong!

Let’s Prove Howard Buffet Wrong!

Here’s what Buffet believes: “Charity doesn’t solve a long-term problem. It addresses an immediate situation, but it won’t solve anything.” He still gives money philanthropically, but prefers to be part of the movement to achieve impact through entrepreneurial solutions. Yet, we in the nonprofit world, certainly up to our eyeballs in immediate situations, also know a considerable amount about longer-term solutions. Take homelessness. Much of the resources that are available are spent in the day-to-day task of sheltering and feeding those experiencing homelessness. Yes, true, although we do know that first obtaining secure, long-term, safe housing in an environment where…

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Jun

30

2016
Mixed denomination coins in various currencies

Is Impact Investing Working?

A Post from Jim Toscano An early indicator in preliminary findings in an ongoing study from the Wharton School is demonstrating that impact investing in companies doing desirable social or environmental work does not necessarily have to compromise financial return. The dual bottom-line goals of financial return and long-term impact seem possible. “Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investing” analyzed the performance of over 50 private equity funds focusing on impact investing. Examining more than 500 specific investments, the study found these investments had similar results as such indices as the Russell 2000. The private equity funds chosen…

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Apr

15

2015
Guest Post – A Nickel Sent Was A Nickel Wasted (Almost)

Guest Post – A Nickel Sent Was A Nickel Wasted (Almost)

 By Jim Thalhuber I received a solicitation in the mail today from a well-known national nonprofit organization and there it was, peeping through the small, round window on the front of the envelope — a shiny, brand new 2015 “Return to Monticello” nickel, minted in Denver, bearing an image of President Thomas Jefferson (based on the Rembrandt Peal painting of 1800) on the obverse and the 1938 restored design of Jefferson’s Virginia home of Monticello on the reverse. I trust/hope that the soliciting nonprofit organization has done its homework and can prove that the nickel gambit is effective in securing new…

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Mar

23

2015
Organizing for Success

Organizing for Success

As consultants, we are engaged for many reasons: an organization has a great mission, but needs help to operationalize its program; or an organization has a need for funding, but doesn’t have a plan; or the Executive Director micromanages and needs help in sorting out what she/he should actually be doing. One thing every organization needs is time. Time to plan. Time to think about the how’s, who’s and when’s. Planning is key to operational success. Yet, we hear clients tell us they feel reactive or they are constantly trying to get ahead of the work, ahead of funding deadlines, ahead…

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Feb

02

2015
A New, Old Fear

A New, Old Fear

Since the great recession of 2007-2010, gifts to charities have changed in subtle ways. Not only was there a temporary reduction in overall totals, but the mix has also changed. The interior and shape of the gift pyramid have changed. Donor behavior has changed. There are many bright spots as we emerge from the crisis. We hear many accounts of increases in digital giving, often in small amounts, although in larger numbers. Certain “days” resound with increasing totals, such as the Give to the Max and Giving Tuesday. Crowd-funding may be a new avenue, or a temporary fad. We also…

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Oct

06

2014
What Next?

What Next?

Will all nonprofits-agencies, foundations, associations, support groups, etc.- have to register with the feds as commodity-pool operators if they have endowments or other invested assets? In his Wall Street Journal column, Jason Zweig reports that the Dodd-Frank Act requires Commodities Future Trading Commission registration if an organization that oversees money “for more than one entity-other nonprofits, certain affiliates, or individuals- and invests, even indirectly, in certain financial contracts.” Nonprofits, per se, are not exempted from the provisions of the Act, which is aimed at the causes of a number of financial collapses due to investments in high risk deals including…

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Aug

28

2014
Is this a Good Idea?

Is this a Good Idea?

Do we need yet another group organized to promote nonprofit organizations and defend their good name? Do we need a march to support “the cause of causes?” Dan Pallotta, the controversial special events organizer and TED talk champion of nonprofit organizations’ need for such things as sufficient overhead and competent administration, has just formed the Charity Defense Council. Do we need Defense, or do we really need Offense? The Council purpose is to create better, widespread public understanding of nonprofits’ need for appropriate overhead, for market compensation of workers and for greater public support for increased giving. The CDC’s agenda…

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