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Fund Development Columns

Dispelling the Overhead Myth

Communicate the true cost of quality services

How much of my gift really goes toward helping a child in foster care, a woman who is escaping domestic violence, a man with mental illness, or an immigrant family looking to achieve the American dream?

Donors often ask how much of their contributions are spent in these specific ways—as opposed to going toward paying the salaries of most of you who are reading this column. This type of thinking often stigmatizes us as the unnecessary “parasites” of the nonprofit sector that suck needed resources away from vulnerable children, families, neighborhoods, and communities. … more

Tax Status Does Not Define Us

Nonprofits must be known for goals, ideals

The Alliance for Children and Families and its network of members ought to be known for far more than their tax status. I reel at the continued reference to us as the “not-for-profit” sector because it does not accurately describe or capture our values or goals.

In 1835, French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “I have seen Americans making great and sincere sacrifices for the key common good and a hundred times I have noticed that, when needs be, they almost always gave each other faithful support.” (1) … more

Turn Donors into Lifetime Donors with Three-Part Strategy

Complement stewardship with prospecting, relationship cultivation

Filling the pipeline of agency supporters is a critical requirement of philanthropic health. We all know the value and importance of stewardship. It pays the highest return on investment. But, the simple reality is that, for human-serving organizations, very few donors become lifetime donors. They relocate to new communities, develop new interests, and pass away. Our nonprofit organizations do not have the same psychological hold on donors that is seen among schools and colleges, hospitals, and faith-based organizations. … more

Empowering Board Members to Tell Your Agency’s Story

Personal testimony is a cost-effective fundraising strategy

While the Great Recession officially ended a couple years ago, America is still feeling the aftershocks. It has entered into not only a permanent reset in budgeting at the federal, state, and local government levels, but also a renegotiation of the social compact.

The following Fund Development column from Issue 3 – 2009 of the Alliance for Children & Families Magazine, which calls board members to serve as storytellers, continues to ring true in the post-recession years. … more

Has the Party Ended?

Define goals and calculate true costs before hosting special events

Special events, which typically cost about 50 cents per dollar raised, are an extremely inefficient means of raising money.

This low return on investment is particularly noticeable when compared against major gift solicitation, which typically costs 5-10 cents per dollar raised.

While this perspective may sound grim, special events do have their place in the resource development toolbox. … more

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