Hiking Taxes on the Wealthy Hurts Charities

My friend and donor development expert Rick Dunham wrote an excellent Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post yesterday about research that indicates hiking taxes on the wealthy only hurts charities and non-profit organizations in America.  As Rick reports, in practice, this could mean the demise of some charities, including the ones that work with people who have been hit hard by the recession. Many charities have already been forced to

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Stop Boycotting and Start a Carrot Mob

I was in Australia recently speaking at a media conference and saw a “carrot mob” in action.  Essentially it’s a new concept where rather than boycotting offending companies, consumers are showing up in masse to reward companies who are doing the right thing.  Remember the “carrot versus a stick” thing?  It’s actually becoming a global phenomenon, and the results are pretty amazing.  In Australia, it was a move to reward grocery stores that focused more on organic foods and less on processed stuff.  In Sydney, thousands of people

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The Disease Versus the Illness

When leaders of organizations ask me to come in and consult about a problem they’re experiencing, their goal is to make the organization well again. In most cases, they’re trying to understand how to make change happen, but have been shipwrecked due to multiple issues.  But in 90% of the cases, they’re only focused on a symptom of a much bigger issue, but don’t realize it.  It’s much like the difference between illness and disease.  “Disease” is a physical issue.  It’s what you see on the surface in the form of cancer, a stroke, or heart attack.  But “Illness” is the real issue you ultimately have to deal with.  It may be

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Dropping the "Chevy" Name was a "Mistake" According to GM

The Wall Street Journal has revealed that apparently GM’s attempt to drop the familiar term “Chevy” for the more formal “Chevrolet” was a “poorly worded memo” and a mistake.  I’m not so sure, but I hope that’s true.  As suggested by numerous folks online, it might have been a way to generate a little buzz for a dying brand, or truthfully, a really stupid move by a car company owned by the government.  My take:

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Face the Truth: Fundraising is About Older People

Everybody wants to reach “the next generation,” and I can understand that.  So when non-profits come to us for help, they want to focus on the 20-something crowd, and make sure their website is hip and cool and appeals to younger people.  But the brutal truth is – when it comes to fundraising, older folks carry the load.  Pop music belongs to the young, but trust me – giving belongs to the old.  That’s not to say we should turn off younger people, but don’t be fooled by the illusion that they

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Online TV Series are Taking on Prime Time

The Wall Street Journal today reports that online TV series viewing of “webisodes” – programing produced specifically for the web, is now being watching in prime time.  Traditionally, online contect has been primarily viewed during the day – mostly at work or by college students.  But now, numerous online sources such as Blip.TV are reporting serious gains in evening viewing hours.  Does that mean that online programming is finally starting to move into traditional network TV programs?  We’ve long known that

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Don’t Just Take their Money – Educate Them

Too many religious and non-profit organizations pursue donors and expect it to be a one-way street.  Sure you send them a letter, or produce a radio or TV program, but really – what’s in it for them?  It’s no wonder so many are struggling these days with fundraising.  Want to turn things around?  Start

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Is Increased IRS Scrutiny of Small Charities Harmful?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed piece that could be alarming: The IRS Cracks Down on Small Charities: The Government Has No Business Deciding What Causes Are Worthy of Support, by Suzanne Garment & Leslie Lenkowsky (both of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University).  Essentially, the IRS is taking steps to revoke the tax status of many of the smallest charities in the United States.  The piece reported that:

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