Communication is the backbone of philanthropy. The philanthropy industry depends on trustworthy relationships in order to accomplish bigs asks and far-reaching goals that often involve community input, public support, and teamwork. It’s no secret that foundations often fund the same nonprofits and causes again and again – especially if you have years-long initiatives planned with an organization. It’s natural to turn to what’s familiar and foster already harmonious relationships.
Summer break is here for the Supreme Court, but just before the nine justices hung up their robes they passed the hotly contested and anticipated 2020 census ruling. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring a citizenship question on the 2020 census does, in fact, violate minority rights, and therefore rejected the lawsuit – punting it back to a federal court in Maryland. Arguments in favor of this ruling stated that requiring individuals to mark whether or not they were a U.S. citizen, could potentially deter many from filling in the census, and leave countless communities without proper funding and political representation.
There’s no daily grind quite like that of nonprofit fundraising. While working at a nonprofit is intrinsically rewarding in countless ways, most industry veterans can recount horror stories of months (or even years) where their nonprofit was barely hanging on and that next grant or big donation meant the difference between keeping the lights on or closing down.
After eight gripping seasons Game of Thrones is officially over. It concluded with plenty of fanfare, internet grumblings, and dismay. And whether or not you’re a superfan of the show, or only watched a single episode, a key truth stood out in one of the final scenes that – believe it or not – applies directly to our work in philanthropy. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Better together – that’s what makes philanthropy work. This rallying cry rings true across our industry, wherein collaboration and the collective mindset can help us to overcome the challenges that arise in your daily work. This can take the form of capacity issues, scale and sustainability, knowledge sharing... or likely the (very) complex nature of the issue area you’re tackling.
Trust is rarely given freely - it’s earned. This is a lesson for-profit organizations often learn the hard way when a PR disaster strikes. Nonprofits, on the other hand, can face an uphill battle from the get-go. Whether we like it or not, the philanthropic industry is judged on measures that don’t always fit their models or reflect their impact. And, when your organization’s entire existence depends on fundraising, trust is even more critical. As new research from GuideStar reaffirms, transparency plays a major role in building trust with donors and constituents: “Donors give more to transparent nonprofits and transparent organizations tend to be stronger organizations.” So exhibiting transparency is a critical way to demonstrate trustworthiness from the start, encourage the donations you need, and keep your mission moving forward.
There’s an indisputable link between charitable giving and the social norms that guide our behavior. People are more likely to engage in giving when others do so as well.
Charity Navigator ranks nonprofits based on their overhead ratio (as in the amount of money spent on operations versus the mission), but as a recent study from North Carolina State University shows, a low overhead ratio is not always an effective way to measure a nonprofit's efficiency. Accordingly, funders, volunteers, and the general public often have the pervasive idea that all of a nonprofits funds should flow directly to the cause. This can lead to the dreaded Starvation Cycle: A state in which a nonprofit consistently keeps overhead costs so low that it impedes their current and future impact potential.
There’s no denying that the digital era has dramatically changed giving. It’s never been easier for individuals to donate (now at the click of a button), crowdfund for a good cause, and even contribute a dollar or two on their way through a grocery store checkout. And while it’s critical that your charity is set up to make giving easy, that doesn’t solve for the most nagging problem nonprofits face: discoverability.