Partnering with commercial businesses can be a great way for nonprofit organizations to fundraise. Over the past decade, cause-marketing relationships between nonprofit and commercial businesses have grown exponentially in popularity. Campaigns like Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, American Express’ The Members Project, Nike’s Livestrong Bracelets, and The Gap’s Product Red are all great examples of long-term cause marketing relationships that have helped generate millions of dollars for their respective charities.
Donors can now give money online to every charity in America. Seeking to do good works -- and to make money doing it -- a score of dot-com businesses have started Internet sites that they hope will become a one-stop place for donors to make all their gifts to charity. Some of the sites offer donors the opportunity to give to any organization that has been granted charity status by the Internal Revenue Service, while others are more selective. Such giving sites, or "philanthropy portals" as they are sometimes called, have been cropping up so fast that non-profit officials cannot keep track of them all. Many were started in the last six months, while others are still so early in the development stage they have yet to be announced to the public.
If there is one concept that is always essential, it is the importance of quality leadership. There are many different expressions of leadership, all of which are necessary. Leadership of time, leadership of talent, leadership from staff as well as from volunteers. And, of course, there are leadership gifts, the foundation of a successful campaign.
There are board chairs. And there are great board chairs. Being a conscientious board member is one thing: in itself a challenging, time-consuming job. But becoming the chair of the board means a lot more responsibility. As the top volunteer at a nonprofit, the chair must have a commitment to the success of an organization and a vision for its future. A chair must be able to handle people with skill and diplomacy as he or she works with the chief executive, other board members, funders, community members, and other outsiders. A chair must be able to lead, solve problems, chart new territory, and act in the best interest of the organization. If you are a board chair or are considering becoming a board chair, these steps will help you make a positive impact on your organization.
Fundraising can become such a mechanical process, in which we focus on rating prospects, writing proposals and scheduling logistics. This is never truer than in the midst of a capital campaign, when the pace of activity must be very high and everyone is focused on the bottom line of the campaign’s financial goal. In these instances, we can lose sight of the fact that we are meeting with real people and challenging them to think about their charitable priorities. Often, those donors take our requests very seriously and make decisions that broaden their philanthropy and demonstrate the impact of successful fundraising.