Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is There An Upside to Telling Donors When Things Go Wrong?

An interesting blog for the Chronicle of Philanthropy highlighted a new effort by a Canadian non-profit, Engineers Without Borders Canada,  to be upfront about their own mistakes and "to get a seemingly simple but virtually non-existent practice adopted throughout the development sector.”

They have a website which explains the effort called

Do donors and prospective donors want us to admit failure?  Sometimes the truth is a powerfully good thing and increases an organization's credibility; sometimes it is the last thing people really want to hear.  Whomever is the first to gain the publicity on telling the truth will certainly receive acclaim.  

It's a bold move to emphasize the power of collective learning over the fear of potentially upsetting a funding source.  A donor I worked with many years ago, who over the course of our working relationship gave several million dollars to the charity that employed me said recently that it was the quality of our relationship that made the organization I worked for stand out among other charities.  It was, I think, our willingness to be optimistic but honest that set us apart. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Years, New Resolutions, New Studies to Help You Out

Several studies have been released lately that should be useful to philanthropy professionals.  Three of interest:

The Non Profit Research Collaborative:  November Fundraising Survey  This is a collaboration groups including the AFP, Foundation Center, and National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS).  The news was neither terrible nor wonderful.  Here is one piece of news:  larger organizations seem to be fairing the best.  Why is that?  Are they able to afford to maintain a presence in donors' lives? Are they considered a safer investment? 

A second report is the Online Giving Study by Network for Good, True Sense Marketing and sponsored by AOL.  While it clearly serves the company's purposes, it offers some interesting data that they kindly shared with the rest of us.  It's clear that donors give more when they give through an organization's branded site versus via social media or a generic giving page.  The challenge is to engage donors in a more intimate and emotionally coherent way. Unfortunately the report doesn't offer many ideas about how an organization can foster that engagement.

Finally, as the link on the end l start offers, here is a link to the new IRS Report on 2010 and 2011.  Thank you GuideStar for getting that information out to all of us.  More scrutiny is coming along with a fairly dramatic increase in staying in the IRS to pursue non-profits.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Great Resource

A great resource for development professionals is the American Institute of CPAs daily email update.  Here's the link  It shoots out a brief email with links to business news related to how business are managed, regulated, and AUDITing.  This has real relevance for fundraising and stewardship.

Several days ago they linked to Fortune Magazine and an article called Do Disclosure Rules Really Work? Why is this interesting?  Look to the private sector for the future of demands on the non-profit world re: regulation.  Issues like disclosing how a company selects its board members or compensation has direct relevance to non-profits. 

This is a wonderful, simple, free tool for you to use to see out onto the horizon.