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Archive for July, 2011

The Limited Returns on Fundraising Support for Nonprofits

“The case for leveraging philanthropic dollars by fortifying nonprofits’ fundraising capability seems like a no-brainer. But is it?”  In this Stamford Social Innovation Review blog post, TCC’s Paul Connolly says new research conducted for the Packard Foundation says NO.  Paul reports that “grantees that concentrated on improving fund development capacity reported inferior longer-term outcomes compared to those that focused on strategic planning, organizational learning, or leadership succession. Why? “Oftentimes, fundraising difficulties are a symptom of a deeper underlying problem..”  Read Paul’s post and what others in the field, including the Support Center’s Don Crocker, have to say about this issue.

“When thinking about strengthening nonprofit fundraising capacity, many foundations believe in the old adage, “Give a person a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a person to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” They wish, “If we could only improve nonprofits’ ability to generate revenues, then they would become more resilient…and less reliant on us.” Most nonprofits concur: “Just fund a development director position for us,” they implore, “and it will pay for itself in a year, enabling us not just to survive but to thrive.” Fundraising advisors encourage this support too. At the Council on Foundations annual conference in April, Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, proclaimed to a ballroom full of grantmakers, “We should be capitalizing on the multiplication potential by funding the fundraising operations that can fund the programs.” He contended that investment—whether it’s in a major gift campaign, a planned giving or special event program, or the expansion of development staff—consistently generates a positive return.” Read more

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Categories: Capacity Building