Author Archives: Stacy Palmer
March 9, 2011, 11:06 am
NPR’s chief executive and top fund raiser have resigned amid a controversy over how they handled an offer of a $5-million gift from a group of donors who said they represented a Muslim charity—but turned out to be representatives from a fake organization with a Web site set up by a conservative group.
The controversy raises many questions about how fund raisers and chief executives should handle solicitation calls with potential big donors.
We’d like you to view how NPR’s vice president (who has since resigned) handled a lunch with the fake donors, and tell us how you would have handled it. And what should charities and fund raisers do now to make sure they aren’t caught in similarly difficult situations?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and please stay focused on the fund-raising issues, not your support or opposition for NPR’s federal financing.
February 22, 2011, 8:50 am
Wanted: Leading philanthropists willing to give time and money to serve as philanthropy ambassadors for their home countries. Posts open everywhere but the United Kingdom.
Qualifications: Demonstrated ability to inspire others, a high political profile—but enough independence to work with officials of any political view. Stellar career in hands-on philanthropy, not just writing checks.
The call for such ambassadors came last week at a conference at New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.
In a keynote speech to open the conference, which was designed to teach nonprofit leaders around the world how to raise money, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Britain’s ambassador for philanthropy, said she would hold a global meeting in London in November to draw attention to the idea that such a position could elevate the importance of giving. (Watch her entire speech.)…
January 14, 2010, 11:22 pm
The days following the devastating earthquake in Haiti have been a turning point for cell-phone fund raising.
In the first 36 hours after the disaster, donors contributed more than $7-million via text messages, according to the Mobile Giving Foundation.
Within two days, text-message gifts to the American Red Cross exceeded $5-million. By contrast, the organization raised just $200,000 by cell phone during the 2008 hurricane season.
“This is the coming of age for mobile giving as a disaster fund-raising tool,” said Mark Rovner, president of Sea Change Strategies, a fund-raising consulting company in Takoma Park, Md. “There are people who will only give when there is a disaster, so finding ways to make it easy and convenient are extremely important.”
When asked whether some of the instantaneous $10 gifts are replacing what might have been larger online gifts at the organization’s…
November 2, 2009, 6:48 pm
Men and women who support charities during their lifetimes are about equally likely to provide for charities in their wills, according to new research by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, in Indianapolis.
Among donors who have a will, 17.2 percent of men and 15.1 percent of women included a bequest in that document, according to the center’s study.
The report also found no difference between single men and single women in their likelihood of planning bequests. Single individuals of either gender were more likely than either married or widowed supporters of charities to arrange charitable bequests, said the study. About one in four single donors who have wills have made provision for planned giving.
However, among people who attend often attend religious services, men were more likely to report having provided for charities in their wills, according to researchers. …
October 19, 2009, 7:33 am
As fund raisers search for signs of the economic recovery, one bright spot already on the horizon, says a veteran fund raiser, is the potential for gifts of appreciated securities from donors who may have benefited from the decrease in stock prices over the last year.
“Last fall when everyone was selling, somebody was buying,” said Robert F. Sharpe, a Memphis fund-raising consultant, at the annual meeting of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning in Washington. And by early next year, he explained, those buyers will have newly appreciated stock ripe for charitable contributions.
You can read more about Mr. Sharpe’s observations in our conference notebook.
October 19, 2009, 7:23 am
More than six out of 10 Americans in a new study said they were not familiar with the term planned giving, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. in Washington.
That lack of understanding is why the partnership is using a new name — it was formerly the National Committee for Planned Giving. See more updates from the meeting in our conference notebook.
October 15, 2009, 6:51 pm
More charities are actively promoting bequests and other planned gifts now than 10 years ago and they are making their pitch to even younger donors, according to research presented today at the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning’s annual meeting.
Read more about this study’s findings in our conference notebook.
September 11, 2009, 11:42 am
Is fund raising “the black sheep of the nonprofit sector”?
Dan Pallotta thinks so.
Mr. Pallotta is the founder of a company that raised money for charities, and an advocate for business approaches to solving social problems.
Writing on his Free The Nonprofits blog, Mr. Pallotta argues that fund raisers are treated as “second-class citizens to the program staff,” something he says is ridiculous given that “without fund raising there are no programs.”
He suggests making fund raising “a program domain in and of itself — every bit as important as the medical research, social services, advocacy, and everything else it makes possible.” All spending on fund raising, under Mr. Pallotta’s plan, would be considered a program expense, not an administration cost.
That would allow for more experimentation in fund raising, a profession that is now stymied by concerns about administrative …
August 25, 2009, 5:25 pm
Charities are trying to restore donor confidence in Muslim organizations and encourage giving this Ramadan, which began on Friday.
Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit legal and civic-education group in San Francisco, announced today that three charities had completed an accreditation program it started last year with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
The charities are Islamic Networks Group, a San Francisco charity that promotes cross-cultural understanding; UMMA Community Clinic, started by American-Muslim doctors in Los Angeles; and Inner-City Muslim Action Network, which fights poverty on the South Side of Chicago.
Some donors have been hesitant to give to Muslim charities because of intensified government scrutiny and increased regulations following the 2001 terrorist attacks. A recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that some Muslim donors gave…
July 5, 2009, 9:25 pm
Now that July 4 is over, Betsy Stone, a charity consultant in Sacramento, is already thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the onslaught of charity gift guides that come out that time of year.
She is “thinking out loud” on her blog The Philanthrophile about whether the holiday philanthropy guides some newspapers and magazines publish are worthwhile.
Her conclusion, after hearing from some nonprofit groups that have used them: not really.
“It could even hurt them by diminishing the amount of dollars available for direct contributions from potential corporate sponsors,” she writes.
Charities have to pay to appear in these guides, and usually they seek corporate underwriters to cover the costs (in exchange for the company’s name appearing in the ad). In Sacramento, at least, Ms. Stone says, companies take the money spent on underwriting out of their philanthropic budgets,…