Husband-centered marriages, and the gender dynamics around fundraising

[Image description: An open dishwasher, filled with clean white dishes and shiny silverware. Image by jhenning on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, if you’re free on June 27th at 10am Pacific Time, please join me and Common Future’s Co-CEO Jennifer Njuguna in a conversation where we discuss our sector’s propensity for fear and risk-aversion, especially in light the pushback against DEI, and what we need to do about it. It’s free, and auto-captions will be enabled. Register here.

A few months ago, I posted a short video on Instagram that talked about our conditioning to be excessively thankful to donors, comparing it to a ridiculous concept I made up called “Husband-Centered Marriage” where every time a husband does the dishes or something that contributes to the family, he gets a handwritten thank-you note: “You did it! Because you loaded the dishwasher, our family is stronger. Our community is better because of you!”

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Is it just as hard to give out money as it is to seek it?

[Image description: A squirrel with fluffy ears, peeking out from behind the trunk of an ivy-covered tree, looking inquisitive. Image by mariuszopole on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, if you’re interested in being involved with the Crappy Funding Practices movement, please join a special meeting we’re hosting on May 14th at 10am Pacific Time, where we’ll update you on what’s been going on, and present the different options for you to plug into. Register here. See you then!

A few years ago, I was in Oxford, speaking on a panel at a conference with colleague Jessamyn Shams-Lau, who is the lead author of Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships; we were there to promote the book and discuss how nonprofit leaders and funders could work more effectively together. during the Q&A, a program officer pushed back, hinting that we panelists were unfairly critical of funders, and declaring that giving out funds is just as difficult seeking it. Several funders in room, and a few nonprofit leaders, nodded in agreement.

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Fundraising experts: Enough with the donor sycophancy!

[A red panda, which looks a lot like a raccoon with reddish fur, lying on a tree branch. Image by tanimachisan1 on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, if you’re available on April 10th at 12:30-1:30 Eastern Time,  please attend this free public webinar on the Fearless Fund lawsuit and its potential implications for nonprofits and foundations. Get details and RSVP.

Today, please grab your favorite beverages and snacks and get ready for a rant. Recently, a fundraising expert posted a post on LinkedIn, written in the the perspective of a jaded, exasperated donor, chastising nonprofits for how they treat donors. Excerpt from this post:

Why are you so incurious about me, about where I came from, what forces shaped me and what differences I seek to make? Why, when you do respond, is in with forms and templates. Why do I feel you’re just checking boxes? Gift receipt: check. Thank you (now AI generated): check. Annual report: check. Why do you assume that is all I want? […] I am philanthropy. I am weary of knocking on non-responsive, hollow or narrowly creaked open doors. I have resolved to knock on fewer, to be more careful where I lay my tokens, to put more stipulations on my giving and to be more explicit about your accountabilities to me.”

He did end with a poetic flourish: “I have become what you taught me to be.”

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Legacy reimagined: moving donors from ego-driven to justice-centered philanthropy

[Image description: A clear glass jar, cylindrical with a cork on top and some piece of rope or twine tied around its neck, holding a single dandelion seed. Image by asundermeier on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, I’m still working on fixing the email notification system, since it has been sending out notices of new posts to only 12 or so people each week. Thanks for your patience. Before we get started on this week’s topic, please join me at the Nonprofit Marketing Summit, which is going on this week March 5 to 7. I’ll be on a panel with Stephen Gyllenhaal (producer of the documentary Uncharitable) and nonprofit leader Dorri McWhorter on March 6 at 2pm PT to discuss overhauling the nonprofit sector. The summit is FREE. Register here. Auto-captions will be available.

This week, for all 12 colleagues who got notices of this post, we talk about the idea of legacy. This is a word we use a lot in our work, especially in fundraising. For instance, talking to donors about what kind of legacy they want to leave. And last year, I got into trouble because someone asked what was wrong with a wealthy person hoarding wealth away in order to create a “legacy of philanthropy” for their offspring to engage in, and I called it gross. Because it’s gross. (Lots of people were offended. I had to write an apology).

Like with many other concepts in our sector, it’s time to examine our definition and ideas around “legacy” and how we engage donors around it. Currently, the way most of us think of legacy is very narrow: It’s basically what people will leave behind when they die, and how other people will remember them. It is one of the tools we fundraisers use, and it can lead to donations. For instance, someone donating a large sum and getting a building named after them, a legacy that will last long after they’re gone.

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10 boring, predictable responses often made by enablers of crappy funding practices

[An adorable raccoon, their head resting on their paw, which is resting on a tree trunk. This raccoon has nothing to do with this blog post, but the inclusion of this picture makes people more likely to click on it. Image by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash]

Hi everyone. Before we start this week’s topic, check out Memphis Music Initiative’s latest hilarious and catchy music video, “I Hope Like Hell We Get This Grant.”

Crappy Funding Practices (CFP) has been building momentum. Join in the fun on LinkedIn! This is the movement where we call out foundations publicly and by name who engage in practices that waste nonprofits’ time and energy when there are so many societal issues to tackle. Making a grantee write a quarterly report for a $2500 grant? We’re calling you out. Telling grant applicants they can’t spend more than 10% on overhead? We’re calling you out. Making grant applicants use your budget format, which is in Word? We’re calling you out.

Declaring a grant application deadline but then saying you’re only going to review the first 100 submissions? We’re calling you out and likely also bestowing upon you a Ghost Orchid Award for Rare but Super Crappy Funding Practices, which will come with press releases and probably an award ceremony where your team will be invited to dress up in evening formal wear and explain how you came up with such a clueless and heinous decision.

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