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Our Insights

Read our latest thoughts, ideas and advice on the issues impacting fundraising and philanthropy; we cover everything from planning and leadership development to nonprofit business strategy. Consultants share their unique viewpoint, based on firsthand experience serving clients across a broad spectrum of industry sectors.

Navigating Next

June 3, 2020
This week, I have been experiencing, responding to and processing tremendous levels of fear, anxiety and uncertainty from my loved ones, my clients, my friends and my community. I expect many of you have been tackling the same questions, both personally and professionally. What will life look like in six months? Twelve months? Eighteen months? […]... Continue Reading

How to Use Your Spoons

May 14, 2020
One of my mentors, an HR executive and super mom, taught me a lesson that we could all use in these uncertain times. “How are you using your spoons?” she would ask me over lunch as I explained how sometimes I felt drained trying to balance motherhood, work and other responsibilities; trying to do it […]... Continue Reading
Holly Lang, Principal
For many of us, recent days have felt like riding a roller coaster at break-neck speed. Change and uncertainty are the only constants. Each night we go to bed exhausted, only to wake up and find we’re in some version of Groundhog Day, doing the same thing over and over again. In counseling clients, I […]... Continue Reading
Angela Hodson, Principal
For over 60 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy has provided comprehensive charitable giving data for reliant donors, fundraisers and nonprofit leaders. Published annually since 1956, Giving USA is the longest-running and most comprehensive report on philanthropy in the United States. Giving USA allows you to identify trends in charitable giving important to... Continue Reading
Angela Hodson, Principal
For over 60 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy has provided comprehensive charitable giving data for reliant donors, fundraisers and nonprofit leaders. Published annually since 1956, Giving USA is the longest-running and most comprehensive report on philanthropy in the United States. Giving USA allows you to identify trends in charitable giving important to... Continue Reading
Angela Hodson, Principal
For over 60 years, fundraisers, nonprofit leaders, donors and volunteers, scholars, and other individuals who work in or with the charitable sector have counted on Giving USA to provide the most comprehensive charitable giving data available. Published since 1956, Giving USA is the longest running, most comprehensive report on philanthropy in America. Details from the repo... Continue Reading
Nicole S. McWhorter, CFRE, Senior Consultant
So it happened last week – just as it does every year – the announcement and publication of the Forbes 400 list. Forbes terms it as the “definitive list of wealth in America” and I can’t argue with that description. In fact, the estimated aggregate wealth for the full list is somewhere north of $2 […]... Continue Reading
Angela Hodson, Principal
For over 60 years, fundraising leaders have made great use of the insights provided by Giving USA – the longest-running and most comprehensive report on philanthropy in the United States. Details from the report identify trends in charitable giving important to organizations of all types and sizes. Institutions use the data from Giving USA to […]... Continue Reading
(Deacon) Larry A. Vaclavik, Managing Principal
Think back on 2009 — a notorious year for the American economy and, of course, American philanthropy. Merriam-Webster touted “bailout” as the Word of the Year (2008), many institutions faced historic challenges and fundraising goals were reduced. That year, Dini Spheris surveyed philanthropists on their opinions about the economy and charitable giving. Of those surveyed, ... Continue Reading

Are You Connecting?

March 24, 2016
Networking: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. Everyone networks today, but what makes some of us better at it than others? Too many people only think about the number of business cards they can collect or hands they can shake. True […]... Continue Reading
Holly Lang, Principal
A volunteer asked me recently, what exactly does it mean that there is an “art” to fundraising? There are many parts to the answer, but one of the most powerful fundraising arts is authenticity. Some of the most effective solicitations I’ve been a part of crafting came together when the volunteer solicitors enlisted support from […]... Continue Reading
(Deacon) Larry A. Vaclavik, Managing Principal
One of my hobbies related to my love of ideas is to study the origins of very ordinary and everyday words and expressions. Recently, I was thinking about a dimension of leadership that is a sine qua non – that is essential — for campaign success. I was thinking about the word “ownership.” The success […]... Continue Reading
(Deacon) Larry A. Vaclavik, Managing Principal
So often in development or advancement meetings, whether with staff or volunteers, we spend so much time outlining the optimum cultivation strategy with the perfect moves involving just the right committee members. Our Herculean efforts sometimes have the feeling of pushing the stars to align them according to our will. We think through every word […]... Continue Reading
(Deacon) Larry A. Vaclavik, Managing Principal
One of the fundamental truths of life, one of those famous lessons learned in kindergarten is that when we are stuck and just can’t seem to solve a problem, the best answer is to ask for help. The reason help from the outside is so important in problem solving comes down to one word — […]... Continue Reading

#GivingTuesday 2014 Highlights

February 11, 2015
Dini Spheris Admin , Managing Principal
#GivingTuesday began in 2012 as a collaboration between 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. Falling on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the day is designed to promote charitable giving and to “kick-off” the holiday season. With the commercial appeal of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday positions itself as a “global day dedicated to […]... Continue Reading
(Deacon) Larry A. Vaclavik, Managing Principal
Dear friends and fellow nonprofit professionals, the following are some thoughts regarding how we can address the impact that the oil and gas price instability has on fundraising. These thoughts are intended to answer questions raised by boards and volunteers in the midst of planning or executing capital and endowment campaigns or major gift programs. […]... Continue Reading