Posts filed under ‘Fundraising’

Good v Bad Philanthropy


I say good on any donor who is putting their charitable dollars and voice where they think they can make a difference to the community and in their heart.  They are champions for the vulnerable. If some voices are louder and bank accounts larger than others – welcome to the democracy of philanthropy. Someone needs to take a stand. You may agree or disagree – in the end it is the donor’s time, talent and treasure – they can and do give where, how and when they choose. As fundraisers, it is our role to work with them to pave a pathway that connects their passions to making a difference. 

Continue Reading 21/07/2017 at 10:53 Leave a comment

Philanthropic Research


Sure, these days there are certificate programs as well as undergraduate and graduate programs in nonprofit management and philanthropy. I’m old (veteran, experienced what have you). When I began my career in philanthropy, I learned on the job.

This week I realized how my university work in Political Science and History with a minor in Sociology helped get me where I am today – along with a Mom who supported and believed in me and a network of fundraising professionals who held their hand out and pulled me up.

Currently, I am building fundraising portfolios from scratch. This includes reviewing current and lapsed donors. Talking about prospects suggested by leaders and those who seem a potential fit based on news items.

Photo credit: Maura Hernandez

Do they fit in a portfolio? Well that’s where my university experience doing research, writing and intuition comes to play. My majors and minors required a lot of research from primary and secondary sources. I had to write, review and think about the subject to determine if my thesis was proved or I needed more explanation. I am old – all this research was done without the Internet or a computer for that matter. I loved this work – the smell of the library, looking for resources in the card file and finding actual books on the shelves.

This love of research carries over to my work in philanthropy. I am curious – not a stalker. My work at university taught me to keep asking questions. Look for more information. Refine and narrow the details to hone my argument.

This is the same work I deploy when building a portfolio.

  • What tells me this person might have philanthropic interest (let alone capacity)?
  • Are their values aligned with the mission?
  • What experiences did or are they having that fit with the work?

So many more questions.

The research is but a first step. And one that does not take a long time. At some point I decide they should be in the portfolio and then determine what my outreach will be (moves management) so I can learn more from them as the best of primary sources.

There is nothing better than a face to face conversation about the donor’s experience, passion, interests and stories. And the beginning of a relationship where I can serve as a catalyst for their philanthropy. I want to help them turn their passions for mission into a philanthropic investment that has impact and provides them with a wonderful sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride.

It all began at university – unbeknownst to me and many decades later – I know why I was meant to hone my research skills.

Stay tuned on how and why writing all those political science and history papers contributed to my fundraising skills.

19/07/2017 at 22:42 Leave a comment

The Art of the Campaign (Fundraising)


Persevere fundraising colleagues, these moments (large and small) are worth years of learning, doing, success and failure. Worth every moment. Every time.

Continue Reading 23/05/2017 at 10:27 Leave a comment

#Fundraising Best of the Best #AFPFC


In this post – an overview of what I thought (IMHO) were the best of the best sessions at the Association of Fundraising International Conference. My selections were based on presenter, content and information I can use. For handouts links are provided in the post.

Continue Reading 15/05/2017 at 10:04 Leave a comment

Jack Ma – The Alibaba of Philanthropy


I do believe in serendipity. I am about halfway through a biography of Jack Ma called Alibaba. As a philanthropic advisor and now living in the Asia Pacific – I have been curious about him and his work for some time.

The Jack Ma Foundation just made a $AUD26m gift to University of Newcastle. While in Australia he also opened Alibaba offices in Melbourne. 

Ken Morley and Jack Ma

His gift is the ultimate in philanthropic giving. Jack Ma’s story is so worth reading, too long for here but the article link shares a good bit of his story.  This gift establishes The Ma and Morley Scholarship program.  When it reaches full capacity will support 90 students annually who are from financially disadvantaged backgrounds and this who are tindigenous scholars. The scholarships are merit based and emphasize global and social awareness. Scholarships will range from one-off opportunities to living expenses of up to $AUD15,000 per year for the duration of a degree. All of this is significant in terms of scholarship assistance and providing enough scholarship support to truly impact a students university experience – including “comprenhensive engagement and enrichment opportunities”. The program will build global friendships and would not just be smart people, but as Jack said, “ambassadors for responsibility, courage and wisdom.” 

This gift is a classic story of fundraising cultivation, engagement, remembrance and giving. In his words,

“The scholarship will honour the special relationship I formed with the Morley family. I am very thankful for Australia and the time I spent there in my youth. The culture, the landscape and, most importantly, its people had a profound impact on my view of the world at that time.”

After meeting the Morley family in 1980 on their trip to Hangzhou and helping them on subsequent trips back – a

David Morley and Jack Ma

friendship formed and went beyond to mentorship. Ken Morley, who died in 2004, helped Jack learn English and provided support for his university education. He was Jack’s “Australian Dad”.

This gift places Jack Ma in the upper echelon of philanthropy in Australia. The scholarship is large enough to impact individual students and generous to support many students. The impact of the scholarship will be felt for many generations. And it was given  in the true spirit of philanthropy – to help others and remember a special time, place and people who had a tremendous impact on Jack’s life. 

Before he left Newcastle to open the Alibaba offices in Melbourne, he thought about how else he might remember his time with the Morleys, Newcastle and Australia. 

“Twenty-six million Australian dollars, it’s big. I think I should do more in the future.”

Spoken like a true philanthropist investor – looking toward the future.

09/02/2017 at 08:15 Leave a comment

Expat Voters


DoD Info Graphic 2014 Survey

I’ve been in Melbourne a year now – and between the move overseas and the election it’s been quite a year. Needless to say, the results of the US election is part of any conversation in any part of the world – including Melbourne. And with the latest diplomatic slug at Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, the pitch of conversation keeps getting higher. Like citizens everywhere, Australians and US citizens in Melbourne and other cities stepped out to add support and bodies to the unprecedented Women’s March in DC. This has led to a continued Australian action and reaction through permanent groups including expats from all over and Australians.

Then there was another conversation which I have not personally experienced, but been told by others and read on social media. The gist is,

“If you’re concerned about the US why are you living here?” 

Wherever that “here” may be and the tone is judgemental or caring depending…….

Expats are living overseas for many reasons – none of anyone’s business. The reason I am writing this post is to share – no matter where you live – if you are an American citizen – you have a voice and opinion you can share. Social media and online tools make it easier than ever. 

There are actions US citizens overseas are taking to support immigrants, tell Congress what we think, forming groups of people (expats and not) to create a collective voice, signing petitions, posting on social media and more. 

In my case, I have formed a group of people interested in voter registration and get out the vote. It is the place I come from in my political experience and believe it makes a difference even more so overseas. After a couple weeks of FB postings, comments and way too long Messenger threads – on Saturday expats and dual citizens gathered in my home and via Skype from Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles to discuss our options. We all agreed every election between now and 2018 is vital – local, state and federal elections. And we read about how US voters overseas can make the difference in any national election. And in 2018 the census and redistricting will begin. We will go where the potential voters are – first voter registration drive – Super Bowl party at Crown Casino Melbourne!

In 2014 there were 5.7M US citizens living overseas – 2.7M were 18+ and eligible to vote. In the 2016 elections 600,000 US citizens abroad voted. 

The last 2-4 weeks before the November election was a challenge with expats trying to register or vote before it was too late – not all succeeded as there are different requirements in every state or county to voting or registering to vote from overseas.

We agreed this is a problem and all had personal or social media stories of absentee ballots not received, websites not working, voting age children unable to register. There is also the same apathy in the overseas folks as at home – “It’s too hard. I always forget to ask for an absentee ballot. Oh, I can vote when I’m living overseas?”

This dedicated group of people agreed to act and do. While we’re many thousands of miles away from our native homes, we know we can make a difference and have chosen to do so.  We’re in it for the long haul. Watch this space and FaceBook as our work starts and begins to build.

    07/02/2017 at 08:20 Leave a comment

    Talking with Titans


    Future plan no more than 6-12 months – focus on values clarification. Allows for more flexibility with opportunities, experimentation and see what doors open and people come my way.

    Continue Reading 12/12/2016 at 09:15 Leave a comment

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