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Monday, March 8, 2010

Fundraising for Small Shops

How do you create a successful fundraising program with a small development staff? It's not impossible, but requires resourcefulness, creativity, and, of course, hard work! In this session, we'll address "mission critical" tasks for your development program, how to recruit volunteers to extend your resources, and how to prioritize your many responsibilities to be efficient and effective. This presentation was originally presented for Stevenson Inc. in 2009.

Grants Step By Step

We've been getting a lot of requests for information about grant proposal writing. Given the economy, we expect that funding from foundations and corporations will be flat at best, and more likely at lower levels this year. Therefore, you must have as strong a proposal as possible! This presentation, presented to the AFP Greater Houston Ask the Experts Conference, gives you a brief overview on things to look for in grant writing to make your proposal the best it can be.

Building the House of Philanthropy

Traditional philanthropic models spend a lot of time focusing on the donor pyramid. While this model is a fundamental illustration of how donors deepen their relationships with nonprofit organizations, the pyramid doesn't fully illustrate how philanthropy progresses in rural communities. As we have worked with a variety of Native American and rural organizations, we have added to the donor pyramid, creating "The House of Philanthropy."


At the foundation of the house is a culture of philanthropy, a tradition of giving that exists in every culture. In the Hopi culture, these concepts are articulated as "sumi'nangwa" and "nami'nangwa" which have been explained to us as the concepts of working together for the common good, and the helping each other without being asked. In every community, you can identify this fundamental need to help one another!


Building on that foundation are three pillars of non-cash support: donations of time (volunteerism), donations of services, and donations of goods. You will often see this demonstrated with community members helping out where needed, even without a formal "ask." Not only will people show up to work, but they will also donate tamales for a sale, soaps and shampoos to a shelter, items for a rummage sale, or clothing to a thrift store! There are so many ways for people to support organizations and causes without cash contributions, and these are often the "entry points" for philanthropy. In addition, charities as they are created frequently start with these types of donations before any cash is received.


After there is an established need and some degree of stability in an organization, cash contributions may start coming in as donors reach a point where they realize that they can't help with their skills or items, but they can provide financial support. A good example of this is a cooperative preschool that I volunteer for--parents are supposed to put in "helper hours" every month, but some parents choose to pay a little bit more for their childcare since they don't have the time available during the day. These gifts will likely start off small, but gradually progress through the traditional donor pyramid, potentially to the level of intergenerational giving, where the donor helps ensure services to the next generation!


The House of Philanthropy demonstrates that the donor pyramid is only as stable as its foundation and supporting pillars. If there are challenges with moving your donors through the pyramid, check that your foundation is secure.


Additional information on this topic was presented as part of The Hopi Foundation's nonprofit capacity building training, funded by the The Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors Cultures of Giving Fund. Expanded information will be presented at the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference on Fundraising in April 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.

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