Posts tagged ‘philanthropy’

Warehouses of Wealth – Part 2

A donor advised fund (DAF) holds the DONORS’ money as he name implies. DONORS can do with it when they choose. If we are lucky enough to have donors who have set up DAFs, it is up to us to take them on a donor journey that opens their minds, their hearts and their giving. The DAF is merely a vehicle through which they can make a difference.

Continue Reading October 17, 2018 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

Philanthropic Fracking – Part 1

We can blame the 1991 IRS (and George HW Bush) ruling for allowing Fidelity to open this door and create this monster pile of money. A conflict of interest started immediately – Fidelity and their clan of investment houses earn money on all the money in those DAFs. Remember “too big to fail” – this is the philanthropic version.

Continue Reading October 7, 2018 at 11:30 am 1 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.

July 19, 2017 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment

Donors Don’t HAVE to Give Anything

Philanthropy is about mission, passion, relationships. Connecting those who want to give to programs and people they care about is how successful fundraising partnerships work. I don’t know a fundraiser who would tell a donor they “should” give or ask them to “give up” anything in order to support a program or organization.

Continue Reading June 28, 2013 at 10:55 am Leave a comment

Having Enough

The key to our success as fundraisers is to sharing stories of the people we serve with those who can provide the financial support to make a difference. When our focus is donor-centric, we can share the right stories, at the right time. I have always said my job as a fundraiser is offer education (stories) and opportunities – it is up to the donor to make the decision that is right for them.

Continue Reading January 10, 2012 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Anonymous Donors

Why not? Fundraising and philanthropy are all about donor needs. We have read recently about some large anonymous gifts recently. Yet some think this shouldn’t be. Again, why not? It is about what the donor wants and needs. And beyond being anonymous to the public, some are asking for anonymity within the organization.

Continue Reading December 14, 2009 at 10:18 am Leave a comment


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