Tag: Blue Avocado

The Founding Fathers Write a Grant Proposal

“Just look at this second sentence!” groaned Samuel Adams. “‘We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .’ This flies in the face of ‘evidence-based practice!’ We’ll never get funded!” Another delegate had a different complaint: “This mission statement is way too long!” he wailed. “Mr. Jefferson, no one will ever read this ‘Declaration of Independence’ of yours.” In the meantime, George Washington had… Read more »

Successfully Navigating an Executive Director Transition

Children’s Fairyland is the nation’s first storybook theme park; definitely not your typical nonprofit. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when the park’s executive director said to me, her replacement, as she handed over the keys to the kingdom, “Thank God Coco didn’t die on my watch.” Coco was the park’s sweet old pony, beloved by many generations of kids. Her passing would… Read more »

The Best Way To Put Clients First Is To Let Them Lead!

Those of us who work at nonprofits are drawn to a particular mission and a desire to do good and give back. Most of us have navigated our careers thoughtfully and intentionally and have worked hard (perhaps even tirelessly). Yet often, despite our good intentions and hard work, we find ourselves replicating the practices that created the inequity we committed to disrupt in the… Read more »

Some Say Fundraising Is Just Sales: They’re Wrong!

Early in my 30-plus year career in the philanthropic arena, I was looking for a major gifts officer for a reproductive health clinic in Los Angeles. Of the many résumés I received, one was from a candidate with ten years of solid experience—but for eight of those ten years, he worked for religious charities that opposed the values held by my organization. Within the… Read more »

Scarcity or Abundance? An Experiment in Collaborative Fundraising

Many of the principles of fundraising I learned early on really are true: listen to prospective donors to connect them to your cause; build relationships to move supporters to the next level of giving; and thank donors more often than you ask for money. These do result in better fundraising outcomes. But based on my recent experience, I’m wondering if the scarcity-based approach of holding your funding sources under lock and key could use an upgrade.

A Step Toward Solving the Problem of Operating Support

Having spent nearly twenty years in the nonprofit sector, I can tell you without a doubt that the field is totally undercapitalized. We all know this! People are underpaid, many facilities were “updated” in the 1970s, and in order to review the financials, you need a bottle of Pepto! There are a couple of key reasons for this undercapitalization: We don’t charge what we… Read more »

The Best Route to Approaching Donors: Hand-Head-Heart

As someone who began her career as a fund raiser and migrated to become a funder as head of a large corporate foundation, I have a somewhat unique vantage point on the struggle many nonprofits endure when engaging funders and major donors to support their cause. In speaking with executive and development officers who are charged with fundraising, I find it most helpful to… Read more »