To the Editor:
I had my first opportunity to receive your magazine because a former employee’s copy was directed to me. As a recent graduate of a nonprofit management master’s program, I am horrified to see the cover of July’s issue (“Special Report:E-philanthropy 2006 — Where It’s @”). Is it possible that you wish to legitimize the expression, “where it’s at”? As things stand, nonprofit organizations have an uphill struggle to be perceived as professional, intelligent and legitimate. Regardless of current slang usage, ending sentences with prepositions is not acceptable in professional periodicals.
— Jill Kennedy,
assistant director of philanthropy, Moose Charities
[From the Editor: Thank you for reading FS, Jill, and for taking the time to write. I didn’t know it at the time I wrote that headline, but the phrase, “where it’s at” is listed as a legitimate entry in Merriam-Webster Online and defined as “a: a place of central interest or activity” and “b: something (as a topic or field of interest) of primary concern or importance.” Both
definitions are quite appropriate when addressing the role of technology in fundraising in 2006. But as I said, I didn’t know about the phrase’s legitimacy at the time. It just seemed a natural fit for the subject at hand and is in keeping with the more casual approach we’ve taken since Day 1 at the magazine. We acknowledge and respect our readers’ professionalism, and we think that they, for the most part, appreciate our reader-friendly and decidedly unstuffy tone. Keep reading! I’m sure you’ll see what I mean. — MB]
How does your organization keep its board members from getting bored?
— FS Advisor, July 5
We keep our board members from getting bored by:
- Offering them bagels and coffee at all meetings.
- Having them do introductions at each meeting where they respond to a question like, “What is your favorite T-shirt?”
- Having them put their names in a box for a drawing where they answer questions about the mission of our organization and get prizes for correct answers.
- Bringing in guest speakers.
- Having the youth members of our team attend meetings.
- Bringing in the people who have quit smoking thanks to our programs.
- Presenting awards to businesses that have abolished smoking in their workplace.
— Linda Lukens Petersen,
director, Smoke Free Fulton/ Kosciusko Counties
Have you ever worked with a board member who didn’t like to do fundraising? How important is your organization’s board when it comes to raising money?
— FS Advisor, July 25
We make a diligent effort to develop a board member’s passion for our organization and the work we do in the community prior to involving them in our campaigns. Insuring they have experience in seeing our programs firsthand [and] meeting the individuals impacted by the programs is a key strategy and gives them stories for their fundraising efforts. It’s also made clear in our recruitment that fundraising is a critical role of our board members.
— Michael Cassidy,
district executive director, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA
Key staff members at the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation meet weekly on Monday with our board chair and campaign chair. We update them on travel activity, where their “gentle nudge” is needed with another board member and what gifts will be closing. As volunteers, their insights are so valuable that we’re fortunate to have the dedication and commitment from these leaders.
The mission is ever present in our dialog because all our volunteers have a link to diabetes — they live the mission every day. For all the ADA Research Foundation board members, we divided them into two teams and started monthly teleconferences that focus on cultivation and solicitation
techniques/best practices. For those who miss the monthly meetings, we e-mail them weekly campaign updates.
— Elly Brtva, MPH, CFRE,
managing director, individual gifts,
American Diabetes Association