Monday, March 31

Donor envelope stuffed with feces

How bad has fundraising gotten the for National Republican Congressional Committee?

The New York Times details the steps being taken by Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole. The 58-year-old is a year into his term as chairman of the N.R.C.C.

Apparently, when he got there, things were pretty bad.

Many conservative activists have become so dissatisfied with the party’s heresies, particularly on immigration and government spending, that as Cole’s staff took over, the committee’s fund-raising pleas were being ignored and, on at least one occasion, returned in an envelope stuffed with feces.
Ewwwww. That's nasty. I've seen angry donors send back lots of "crap" in those business reply envelopes... but never actual crap!

Worse still, the National Republican Congressional Committee recently discovered, during an internal audit, accounting fraud so extensive that it had to call in the F.B.I., which is now investigating embezzlement by the committee’s former treasurer.

Friday, March 28

Congressman's daughter paid $270,000 fundraising commission

Conservative bloggers, like the two numbskulls who run Majority Accountability Project, have been all over the story of how a Democratic Congressman's daughter was paid seemingly large sums of money to fundraise on his behalf.


Molly Bishop has made nearly $270,000 since 2002 fundraising for her father, Rep. Timothy Bishop, and has broadened her clientele since 2006 and earned $164,000 working for other local Democrats, according to state and federal records.

Bishop, 29, who started working as a part-time fundraiser in her father's first campaign in 2002, billed Brookhaven Supervisor Brian Foley's campaign $118,000 and the Brookhaven Democratic Party $35,000 and has worked for a half dozen other local candidates, according to reports filed with the State Board of Elections and the Federal Election Commission.
Other bloggers have long chronicled the potential ethical problems of hiring family members as lobbyists, but the subject of whether family members should be paid to fundraise for candidates is only now gaining traction.

Last year, Mitt Romney's campaign got attention from this blog (and others) when they paid students who raised at least $1,000 for the former presidential candidate a 10% commission on all money raised.

I think it's great that people want to look more closely at politicians who pay relatives a commission to fundraise on their behalf.

Thursday, March 27

Major donor fundraising metrics

Holly Hall's article on how major donor fundraising metrics has been racing around listserves and development offices for the past three weeks.

The article describes performance metrics being used by Development Directors to evaluate whether staff are doing their jobs... and raising serious money as effectively as possible..

When Paul Keenan first took a job soliciting big gifts for charity, his supervisor asked him and his colleagues to prepare monthly reports, listing all their contacts with potential donors, and whether they were calls, letters, or visits.

"It was controversial - people resented it because they were professionals and felt they could be trusted," says Mr. Keenan, now an associate dean of development at Harvard University. "They also felt it was overly bureaucratic."

Now, more than a decade later, such attitudes seem quaint. More and more charities are adopting sophisticated systems to monitor and assess the performance of staff members who solicit big gifts from wealthy people. The evaluation systems hold fund raisers to exacting requirements for the number of donors they visit, how such visits are reported, the amount of dollars raised, and the percentage of solicitations that result in a donation.

Such efforts can help fund raisers bring in more money, according to researchers. A 2006 study of nearly 600 college and university fund raisers who solicit big gifts found that those who raise the most work for institutions that are more systematic in tracking and applying performance measures.
Of all the different fundraising roles I've played, I've never had an opportunity to look a donor in the eye and ask for a gift over $100,000. I think that would be fun.

It's an excellent article about how the experts at the Mayo Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of America, Nature Conservancy, Alzheimer's Association and others do it. Go here to read more.

Wednesday, March 26

Congressman to attend nonprofit conference

A reader just forwarded me an email that Representative Robin Hayes (R-NC) co-chair of the House Philanthropy Caucus will be attending an event organized by the Nonprofit Federation of the DMA on April 9th.

The organization is hosting the 2008 Critical Issues Impacting Nonprofits & Fundraising conference in Washington, DC. They also advertise "nonprofit legal luminaries" including:

* Errol Copilevitz of Copilevitz & Canter, LLC
* Jack B. Siegel of Charity Governance Consulting LLC (and blogger)
* Chip Watkins of Chamberlain & Bean

Also in the line-up: Jerry Lease from the US Postal Service, Evelyn Brody of Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology and our co-chairs Geoff Peters and Charlie Nave. The full day conference plans to cover everything from how to complete the new Form 990 to what is lurking in state legislatures.

If you live want to see the agenda, go here.

Tuesday, March 25

Paper claims Bill Gates 'reneges' on $2 million pledge

In recent weeks, Microsoft had given up to $500,000 of its software to Prince Charles' charity named, the Technology Leadership Group, a subsidiary of the Prince's Trust.

Sources claim that Microsoft agreed verbally to commit an additional £1million was apparently secured for the charity's efforts to train young entrepreneurs.

The Daily Mail cites an "insider" that admitted on closer inspection the specific project the Prince's Trust wanted to use the new money for was not "tightly focused enough around technology" to benefit its recipients.

But negotiations between Microsoft and the Prince's Trust broke down and the offer was abruptly withdrawn. Insiders suggest Gates, given an honorary knighthood by the Queen in 2005 for his charity donations, intervened personally to block the donation after a trip to Britain in January.

It should be noted that the discussions and plan were never legally binding and no public announcements were made.

Saturday, March 22

Tale of two special events

Joanne Fritz at shares an interesting comparison of two special events she recently attended.

One of them had a well known actress to talk to the crowd, but no one seemed to tell her to link her lurid life story to the charity's mission. It was so bad, she writes, "I excused myself and hung out in the restroom until I thought the guest speaker was probably done with her awful speech."

The other special event did a magnificent job of weaving together the event with the audience and the mission of the organization. Go here to read her comparison of the vastly different events.

Thursday, March 20

NTEN Conference kicks off in New Orleans

More than 1,000 of the cool cats in the country are descending on New Orleans for the 2008 Nonprofit Techology Conference hosted by NTEN over the next couple days.

David Pogue, the personal technology columnist for the New York Times will be speaking at the plenary session at 8:30am... although given some of the festivities on Wednesday night, I doubt that all of the attendees are going to drag their butts to that event on time.

Beth Kanter was one of a couple dozen honored colleagues to be recognized by NTEN at the member's luncheon. Her award was "Most likely to have an account on every social networking site."

Nancy Schwartz has already posted to her Getting Attention blog that she is thrilled with the focus on how attendees can make connections with other nonprofit fundraisers and marketers.

They even have an official widget to track updates from the conference and they have a cool syndication feature for blogs that post to their own sites with the tag 08NTC.

Wednesday, March 19

"The B in Bush stands for big bucks"

Despite an approval rating that hovers around 30%, President Bush has spoken at 11 Republican fundraising events in the last 11 weeks, bringing in over $27 million... that's a pace of $346,000 per day according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Tuesday, President Bush was in Jacksonville, where he talked about free trade with dockworkers. That was the official reason for the day trip.

But the event was sandwiched between two unofficial reasons: a luncheon in Jacksonville, where 51 people contributed $685,500 to the Republican National Committee, and a reception in Palm Beach, where 49 guests were expected to donate $762,000 to the party's main bank account.
Despite media reports that John McCain trails in fundraising, the RNC and DNC are important campaign tools because there are no limits on contributions to the party itself. Many people might be surprised to read that the parties are in much different shape:
At the end of February, the party had $21.7 million in cash on hand, compared with the Democratic National Committee's balance of $3 million, said Alex Conant, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
No wonder the DNC doesn't want to pay for Florida to hold another primary!

Tuesday, March 18

How did a "relative unknown" win $50k on Facebook?

This is an excellent article about how Love Without Boundaries won the top prize in an online contest sponsored by Facebook and Parade Magazine.

LWB provides medical treatment, nutrition programs, foster care and education for orphans and impoverished children in China... but they also do a damn fine job of recruiting volunteers like the Green Family.

Like many others, I am occasionally guilty of thinking of the web 2.0 social networking trend in fundraising as being geared toward younger supporters. I was blown away to read about how a 56 and 63-year-old couple runs LWB's eBay operation and recruited all those Facebook volunteers.

"Our biggest challenge came from the Students for a Free Tibet group," Green said. "Students are very computer-savvy and they're on them all the time. We're a 40-plus age-group organization and it was more work for us to get people on computers."
Thanks to Marge Neal at the Fredrick News-Post Online for bringing us this story.

Monday, March 17

National Slavery Museum stalled by "sluggish fundraising"

Nearly five years after a ceremonial groundbreaking, the United States National Slavery Museum in Fredricksburg, Virginia appears stalled by "sluggish fundraising" according to the Associated Press.

The museum was supposed to cost $200, however it's unclear how much the organizers still need.

Despite millions of dollars in private and public dollars committed to the museum, organizers have given an unclear accounting of their finances: While the museum cites $50 million available, a 2006 tax return obtained by The Associated Press details $17.6 million in assets, much of that believed to be the value of a 38-acre proposed site.
L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first black elected governor, had originally tapped powerful friends like Bill Cosby and Ben Vereen. Unfortunately, Museum director Vonita Foster told a reporter that she is unsure of current finances.

"The money was just flowing in at one point," Foster said. "But then it just stopped after Katrina" as people focused on hurricane relief efforts. At the same time, Foster said museum officials had to pay an army of consultants and exhibit designers.

"We have blueprints, we have drawings, we have exhibit designs," she said. "... We are at a point where we can actually begin building because of all the money we have spent," she said. "And it's not cheap."
When contacted by the AP, neither developer Silver Companies nor architect C.C. Pei could say when the museum would open. Oh dear. That doesn't sound good. They better hurry. A $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian, is planned to open in 2015 about an hour north, in Washington.

Alltop creates Nonprofit page

Nedra Kline Weinreich is getting lots of praise for coming up with the idea for a nonprofit topic on Alltop, providing the bulk of the feeds, and then determining the final composition and order.

Nedra is President at Weinreich Communications and a lecturer at University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of the classic book Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide and a prominent blogger on social marketing issues at the Spare Change blog.

If you are unaware of Alltop... you gotta check this out!

Thanks Nedra.

"Donor advised funds" used to hide anonymous donors

Back in January, the Wall Street Journal argued that:

...nonprofits are coming under increased pressure to reveal the names of some of their most generous donors. Proponents of greater disclosure by charities, including some lawmakers and consumer groups, argue that keeping givers' identities secret can mask efforts by wealthy individuals and corporations to use philanthropy as a tool of undue influence.
I've also seen this increasing pressure in the political debates over whether the Clinton's should reveal anonymous donors to their Presidential Library. But there is more evidence at colleges around the country. A state Supreme Court in Kentucky is weighing a lawsuit from a local newspaper that seeks to compel the University of Louisville Foundation to reveal the identities of 62 anonymous donors.

The truth is donors who give over $5,000 and try to claim a deduction must be listed on a group's Form 990.
Wealthy philanthropists last year made 37 gifts of $5 million or more without publicly revealing their names. That's up from 27 such gifts in 2006, and just 13 in 2004, according to an analysis by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Such publicity-shy donors say they want to give back to their communities but avoid the headaches of a high public profile, including pushy fund-raisers, jealous relatives and even risks to their personal safety.
One way around this problem is the donor advised funds, "which allow donors to give to a charity in the name of the entity that runs the fund, often a financial-services firm. What's more, donor-advised funds come with attractive tax breaks -- up to 50% compared to a maximum 30% when giving through a private foundation."

I'm going to focus on donor advised funds (DAFs) all at Don't Tell the Donor. If you have story ideas let me know.

Friday, March 14

Vatican bans donation from condom makers

The Vatican has advised a Filipino bishop to reject any kind of donation from any company or institution that promotes a culture of abortion and contraception as it is “morally evil.”

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that such donation compromises the gospel and the family and life.

The Vatican official issued the exhortation in a letter to Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes who sought the Vatican stand on donations coming from companies and institutions promoting the use of contraceptives.

“Accepting such funding creates confusion among the faithful, as they give the impression that abortion, and the production, distribution, and use of contraceptives and abortifacients are acceptable practices,” the cardinal said.
This really sounds like a slippery slope to me. Especially after what happened with the misinformed monsignor in Arkansas who told his churchgoers to stop giving to the Susan G. Komen Foundation because he thought they were supporting Planned Parenthood's abortion work.
If the Vatican is really interested in avoiding "confusion among the faithful" then maybe they should... ah nevermind.

Thursday, March 13

AFP lobbies to extend IRA rollover provision

From the Association of Fundraising Professionals website:

Earlier this year, AFP submitted a written statement to the Senate Finance Committee, urging senators to include an extension of the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Rollover provision in the economic stimulus package. Unfortunately, the IRA Rollover provision was not included in that legislation.

AFP continues to look for opportunities to pass an extension of the IRA Rollover provision. If you have not done so already, please write or call your Members of Congress. You can find talking points, draft letters and other instructions here.
The current provision expired on Dec. 31, 2007, due to Congress’ inaction.

Monday, March 10

Misinformed Monsignor makes apology to Komen

Last week, I was outraged to hear that a Catholic priest in Arkansas was telling his congregation not to donate to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure because he was worried the group supported Planned Parenthood. Well, the misinformed Monsignor apologized today:

The leader of Little Rock's Roman Catholic diocese apologized to a national breast cancer organization, saying he made a mistake when he said donations to the group could help fund abortions.

Monsignor J. Gaston Hebert issued the statement Thursday after a meeting with staffers from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a Dallas-based organization known for its Race for the Cure events. In a letter last month, Hebert had asked parishioners to withhold their donations as Komen gives money to Planned Parenthood to provide breast exams and offer education to women in its clinics.

Hebert said his earlier contention _ that those donations could free up funding for abortions and contraceptive services _ "turned out not to be true. ... To let that statement stand would be an act of injustice."
The Komen foundation thanked the diocese for reaching out... but I run an anonymous blog... I don't need to be so diplomatic. So, let's call a spade a spade. The real injustice is that this guy Monsignor Hebrt has a job after making ignorant remarks like he did. That's the real injustice. I wonder if Little Rock's Roman Catholic diocese has any skeletons in their financial books...

The world's 50 most powerful blogs

The Guardian published a list of the "World's 50 most powerful blogs" yesterday. I'm sorry to report, but Don't Tell the Donor is not on the list.

I recommend checking out the list. My favorite is #44: Waiter rant.

Rant isn't quite the right word for this collection of carefully crafted stories from the sharp end of the service industry in a busy New York restaurant. 'The Waiter', as the author is known, has been blogging his experiences with fussy customers and bad tippers since 2004, winning a gong at blogging's biggest awards, the Bloggies, in 2007. It's representative – but by no means the first – of the so-called 'job-blogs', with people from all walks of life, from ambulance drivers ( and policemen ( to the greatly loved but now defunct Call Centre Confidential. Between them they chronicle life in their trade, and usually from behind a veil of anonymity. Something about the everyday nature of The Waiter – a person we like to pretend is invisible or treat with servile disdain – deconstructing the event later with a subtle, erudite typestroke, has captured the public imagination and (hopefully) made some people behave better in restaurants than they otherwise might.
I plan on filing a formal appeal, but it's always possible that we just missed the cut at #51.

Greenwich church can't find $400,000

The New Haven Register is reporting that church officials have concluded their investigation into a Greenwich priest who failed to account for more than $400,000 in church funds he kept in secret accounts.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport said it has provided its findings to federal authorities after investigating the Rev. Michael Moynihan. He resigned last year as pastor of St. Michael Church in wealthy Greenwich and was stripped of his priestly authority last month after he was found living with another man.
The newspaper says that the report offers few details on how Moynihan might have spent church money, but it does cite $58,000 used to buy a boat as well as restaurant, travel expenses and a livery service. The article goes on to say:

Moynihan was stripped of his priestly authority after the Bridgeport Diocese learned last month that he shared a Manhattan apartment with another man. Moynihan failed to end that association despite promises to do so, and engaged in “obfuscation” when questioned about church money, Bishop William E. Lori wrote in a letter Thursday to parishioners.
It seems crazy to me the diocese was more concerned with the priest's co-habitation with another man that they were with their terrible internal controls. Then again, it appears that the church never would have found out about the secret accounts unless the F.B.I. tipped them off to the banking deceptions.

Bridgeport diocese officials say they have made “great strides” in implementing a new system of financial procedures and controls in all 87 parishes in Fairfield County. Those steps have become a model for other dioceses, Lori said in a telephone interview Friday.

“I think people can have a great deal of confidence that the donations to the parishes are used well and wisely for the mission of the parish,” Lori said.

Hat tip to Mike Burns (again) at Nonprofit Board Crisis for blogging this story.

Saturday, March 8

McCain starts 16 city fundraising blitz

Now that John McCain has the Republican presidential nomination wrapped up, he is focusing on narrowing the enormous fundraising gap between himself and the Democrats.

On Thursday and Friday of this past week, he held fundraisers in Naples, Fla., Atlanta and Phoenix at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He has others set for St. Louis, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Southern California, Salt Lake City, Denver and Las Vegas.

The Naples event on Thursday featured a number of leading real estate developers and private equity managers as well as Facundo Bacardi, chairman of rum maker Bacardi Ltd.

The St. Louis fundraiser March 10 will include August Busch III, CEO of Anheuser-Busch Cos. McCain's wife, Cindy Hensley McCain, chairs Phoenix-based Hensley & Co., one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the U.S.

EMC Corp. chairman Joseph Tucci is one of the organizers of McCain's Boston event on March 12.

Cigna Inc. CEO Edward Hanway and Carl Buchholz, managing partner of Washington lobbying and law firm Blank Rome LLP, are among the co-chairs of the March 13 Philadelphia fundraiser.
I guess when you don't have 1 million individuals supporting your campaign, you need to go out and find some big corporate backers.

Clinton uses "monstergate" for fundraising pitch

The Clinton campaign has shown an impressive ability to turn insults around quickly into fundraising pitches. From today's Washington Post:

Mere moments after foreign policy advisor Samantha Power resigned for calling Clinton a "monster," Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe sent out an e-mail far and wide alerting anyone with money to make a contribution now -- "even as little as $5" -- to "stop the Obama attacks."

"Just one day after Senator Obama promised to begin attacking Hillary, a senior Obama advisor has called her a 'monster,'" McAuliffe wrote, adding in bold letters for emphasis: "That's right -- a 'monster.'"
Readers of this blog will recall that Clinton did the same thing last July when a fashion reporter commented on Clinton's display of cleavage during a Senate floor debate, the campaign fired off this reply.

Friday, March 7

Nonprofit CFO fired after gambling with $3.6 million

I came across a really neat blog today run by Mike Burns called Nonprofit Board Crisis. The website pointed me in the direction of this story in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The chief financial officer for the nonprofit that runs the recently opened, 800-car underground garage next to the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park has been fired as investigators probe the disappearance of $3.6 million in garage funds - money that may have been flushed on the stock market.

The missing millions came to light a couple of weeks back when a vendor called the chairman of the Music Community Concourse Partnership board to complain that he hadn't been paid for his work on the garage, which opened in 2005, said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the nonprofit.

When garage chief financial officer Greg Colley was called in to explain, he asked for a little time to sort things out, Singer said. The next day, Colley turned up with an attorney and said he had borrowed the money to play the stock market, Singer said. Colley said he had fully intended to return the money, but then the market took a nosedive.

With that, the nonprofit fired him, Singer said.
In situations like these, you have to ask how the hell the Board of Directors allowed this much money to be "borrowed" without a proper internal control process.

Thursday, March 6

Obama's got over 1 million donors

This is a clip from an email Barack Obama sent out this afternoon:

But today I want to share another staggering number: supporters like you donated more than $55 million to this campaign in the month of February.

That's a humbling achievement, and I am very grateful for your support.

No campaign has ever raised this much in a single month in the history of presidential primaries. But more important than the total is how we did it -- more than 90% of donations were $100 or less, and more than 385,000 new donors in February pushed us past our goal of more than 1,000,000 people owning a piece of this campaign.
I think we can all agree we are past the point where comparing totals matters, but if you like horse race coverage (or if you are an obsessive fundraiser), Hillary announced last week that she raised $35 million in the month.

Hundreds of thousands presumed stolen from Republican fundraising arm

As if the Republicans aren't having enough problems raising money to help candidates defend themselves in the upcoming election, the New York Times has more details today of an unfolding scandal at the NRCC:

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing and presumed stolen from the chief fund-raising arm of House Republicans, according to party officials who described the findings of emergency internal audits.

The financial records of the group, the National Republican Congressional Committee, may also have been falsified for several years, Republican officials said. The campaign committees of several Republican lawmakers may also have been victims of a scam that is now under criminal investigation by the F.B.I.

The audits were ordered after the abrupt departure several weeks ago of Christopher J. Ward, who had been treasurer of the committee. Lawmakers said that Mr. Ward, who served a similar role for dozens of individual members of Congress and their political committees, is the focus of the F.B.I.’s criminal investigation.
There are more details over the TPM Muckraker and the The Hill.

Planned Parenthood apologizes for fundraiser's reaction

Last week a reader sent me this link of a disturbing YouTube video which shows a recorded phone conversation with a senior fundraiser at the Idaho chapter of Planned Parenthood during a student group's undercover sting operation.

An unidentified caller attempts to record the fundraisers initial verbal reaction while the donor makes increasingly racist comments during the conversation. On Feb 28th, an article ran in the Idaho Statesman with the organization's apology:

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee's "serious mistake" in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting black babies.

They also criticized The Advocate, a right-to-life student magazine at the University of California-Los Angeles, for trying to discredit Planned Parenthood employees in seven states in a series of tape-recorded phone calls last summer.

The call to Idaho came in July to Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho.

On the recording provided by The Advocate, an actor portraying a donor said he wanted his money used to eliminate black unborn children because "the less black kids out there the better."

While more than 40,000 people have seen the video that was emailed to me, only 5,000 have seen this extended version with the Autumn Kersey's response when they called her back.

eBay enforces mandatory charity donation on ticket sales

About a year ago, this blog wrote about how eBay reacted to scalpers selling charity concert tickets above face value by requiring them to donate 20% of the final sale price to good causes through their charity fundraising platform.

Well yesterday, I read on some British fundraising news sites that eBay decided has completed pilot programs and liked the results. Mark Lewis, UK managing director of eBay, told reporters:

"Last year we worked with the organisers of Live Earth to enable the nominated charity, Stop Climate Chaos, to raise an additional £30,000 by partnering with eBay on the resale of tickets. I am pleased to announce our plan to roll out similar fundraising initiatives for other major charity concerts on the UK site, and we will also introduce a ban on the sale of tickets for events where all the tickets are free as we have seen, for example, for various awareness raising events."
eBay said this means the charity stands to gain twice -- firstly from the original sale of the ticket and then from its resale.

I tried emailing the company, but it seems to me they are only doing on the UK version of eBay. Does anyone know if this rule applies for eBay here in the United States?

Tuesday, March 4

Drew Barrymore donates $1 mln for world hunger

From E! News:

The E.T. star personally pledged $1 million of her own money Monday to the World Food Program, a United Nations initiative that aims to feed thousands of school children in Kenya.

The 33-year-old Barrymore, a WFP ambassador against hunger, announced her donation on The Oprah Winfrey Show to kick off the World Food Program's "Fill the Cup" campaign, which is seeking to persuade Americans to fork over cash to feed 10 million hungry kids for a year.

The program is part of a larger-scale crusade that hopes to raise $3 billion to guarantee nutritious school meals to at least 59 million young students in developing countries worldwide, but particularly those in Africa.
Did you know she was dating that guy Justin Long who plays the "Mac" on Apple's cute new commercials?

Monday, March 3

Who says real estate stinks?

The real estate industry might be in a miserable funk these days, but that didn't stop the folks at CENTURY 21 from raising $3.8 million for Easter Seals in 2007.

For the 13th consecutive year, CENTURY 21 Town and Country,headquartered in Rochester, Mich., was the top CENTURY 21 System EasterSeals contributor. Led by broker/owner John Kersten, the company raised$912,962 for Easter Seals Michigan
in 2007, bringing the company's totalcontributions to more than $9 million since 1992.
And while the housing market shows no signs of improving, the CENTURY 21 System announced a national $5 million fundraising challenge for 2008. If achieved, the CENTURY 21 System will exceed the $100 million dollar fundraising mark.

We don't know what it is, but we don't like it

The Association of Fundraising Professionals recently asked Ellison Research to conduct a survey on American attitudes toward nonprofit overhead expenses. Here are some excerpts from an article in Fundraising Success Magazine on the study.

Sixty-two percent of Americans believe the typical nonprofit organization spends more than what is reasonable on overhead expenses such as administration and fundraising, according to a new survey.

When respondents were asked what is a reasonable level of overhead costs for nonprofits, the average figure was 22.4 cents for every dollar collected. However, when asked what they thought the typical nonprofit actually spends on overhead costs, the figure was 36.3 cents per dollar.

The findings, gleaned from a survey developed and conducted by Ellison Research involving more than 1,000 American adults, found that while respondents were fairly consistent in their thinking about how much charities should spend, their thoughts on how much charities actually spend were more diverse.
Go here to read the rest of the article - there are some interesting differences in attitude by age and race.

Sunday, March 2

Taking Out The Trash – Voluntarily

On March 1st, The NonProfit Times published my second column as part of their new exclusive web editorial section. I decided to bring March in like a lion and I used the opportunity to explore how the DMA and others has reacted to growing calls for increased self-regulation.

Taking Out The Trash – Voluntarily

When I was growing up, my mom used to say to me:

“Little fundraiser. I told you to clean your room. Go in there and do it right now or else, I will take this garbage bag and go clean it myself – and you won’t like what I’m going to throw away!”

It was the scariest threat my mom ever made. Yet, I never found out if she was bluffing or not because nothing motivated me more than the fear of my mom rampaging through my room throwing my beloved toys in the trash.

I’ve been thinking of this personal experience during the past few years as I’ve listened to Congress’s threats that if the nonprofit sector failed to regulate itself then government will stage its own intervention. We all know there are some bad apples within the nonprofit sector. But, there should be a way for the industry to clean its own room first before a bunch of bureaucrats get involved.

...[read more]

You can go here to read the rest of the column on The NonProfit Times website.