Believe like a nonprofit. Behave like a business.

Posted , by Kaitlin Padden Robb, Consultant. Topic: Nonprofit Management.

Too many nonprofits are rewarded for how little they spend, rather than for what they get done. This is the double standard that author, activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta called out during his recent visit to Hampton Roads. (I highly recommend watching his TED talk). His presentation about “The Overhead Myth” got our sector buzzing…… Read more »

Funders Agree: Nonprofits Must Operate Like a Business

Posted , by Wendy McGrady, Vice President. Topic: Funds and Funders, Nonprofit Management.

Today, for the fourth year in a row, Keith moderated VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads’ Annual Funders Forum. This event, which brings together funders from across Hampton Roads, always produces a variety of interesting takeaways. An underlying theme of the funders’ comments from this year’s forum was the importance of a nonprofit operating like a business. The… Read more »

Before the Campaign Planning Study There’s the Business Plan

Posted , by Wendy McGrady, Vice President. Topic: Nonprofit Management, Preparing for a Campaign.

Last week, as a result of our webinar on “What Makes an Effective Capital Campaign?” a question arose that we thought was worth addressing. One participant asked us to further explain the need for the business plan that we often recommend developing before moving into any type of campaign. The simple answer is this: a campaign… Read more »

Transparency and Stability: Keys to Surviving Criticism, Change, or Even Worse Scandal

Posted , by Wendy McGrady, Executive Vice President. Topic: Donor Communication, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management.

Nonprofits, philanthropy and fundraising have been my life for a long time now. During this time, I have been through periods of growth and economic downturns, leadership resignations, and even some times of crisis. As I sat down to think about the common threads that have helped organizations weather the ups and downs, the common… Read more »

Could the Tax Reform Impact Your Donors? And What Should You Do?

Posted , by Keith Curtis, Founder, President. Topic: Fundraising, Government.

  Under the tax reform that passed last month, some changes could impact your donors and charitable giving for your organization.     Reduced number of taxpayers qualifying for charitable tax deductions With fewer Americans qualifying for tax deductions, we could see fewer dollars given to nonprofits. One study by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy predicts… Read more »

How an independent school raised $2 million over their goal

Posted , by Wendy McGrady, Executive Vice President. Topic: Capital Campaigns.

With a history of educational excellence going back nearly 50 years, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy had a high bar to maintain when they set their sights on opening a second lower school campus—while expanding and enhancing their main campus. The independent school in Suffolk, Virginia, approached us in 2013, just before their 50th anniversary, and engaged us to conduct… Read more »

Giving has more than doubled since first National Philanthropy Day

Posted , by Keith Curtis, President. Topic: National Philanthropy Day.

A look at giving growth over last 30 years in Hampton Roads, where our firm is headquartered.   It seems ironic now—the decade most linked with materialism and excess consumption being the birthplace to a day of benevolence. Or perhaps it was perfect timing to refocus our priorities. President Reagan officially established National Philanthropy Day… Read more »

Q&A: How to choose a consultant for your planning study

Posted , by Wendy McGrady, Executive Vice President, and Victoria Dietz, Vice President. Topic: Preparing for a Campaign.

Your organization has decided to conduct a planning study before embarking on a campaign—you’ve already made the first smart choice!  A campaign planning study, also known as a feasibility study, will tell you whether or not a campaign is advisable, how much money you could realistically raise and what your strategy would be to raise that… Read more »

Key takeaways from our client who just raised $8.5 million

Posted , by Wendy McGrady, Executive Vice President. Topic: Capital Campaigns, Higher Education.

While mistakes can be valuable learning opportunities, this is a case where the client did everything right. Blue Ridge Community College followed our advice to the letter—and the results speak for themselves. Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge Community College offers comprehensive programs of instruction including associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in occupational/technical and college/university transfer… Read more »

Clients v. Donors: How to write without making a wrong

Posted , by Melissa James, Marketing Director. Topic: Donor Communication.

While we hate to disillusion anyone right after the holidays, I need to set the record straight about a certain mythical figure. You might have been sending letters to it for years. But unfortunately, there’s no such thing as… the General Public. All too often, nonprofit communications are written for this “audience,” and the message… Read more »