Timothy Churchill

Timothy Churchill
5-Minute Interview: Howard Baskin, chairman, Big Cat rescue

In 1992, Carole Baskin received a baby bobcat as a pet by her then husband. Neither knew then that it was a bad idea. When they went to buy a second one, they ended up at what they didn’t realize at the time was a “fur farm” that raised bobcats and lynxes to slaughter for fur coats. Once she figured it out, Carole bought the farm’s entire inventory of 56 bobcat and lynx kittens in return for an understanding that the owners would stop making cats into coats. “Initially she thought they could make good pets and believed the breeders who said they

Last Look: Lisa Christensen, Marlboro College

Marlboro College is a small — there are currently 330 undergrads and approximately 35 grad students — academically rigorous liberal arts school nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Its fundraising model is profoundly donor-centric — and therefore completely relevant to nonprofits trying to keep current in today’s rapidly changing philanthropic climate. We spoke with Lisa Christensen, Marlboro’s chief advancement officer, about the unique college’s equally unique development mission, as well as some of its fundraising highs and lows. FundRaising Success: Can you give me a brief history of Marlboro College? Lisa Christensen: Marlboro’s story begins at the end of

Five Minute Interview: Jim Ricciuti, Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center

For 50 years, the Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center in Harvard Square has been a mainstay of New England’s arts community, fostering performers and audiences alike. Passim is a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit devoted to the preservation and cultivation of folk music — and the spreading of the folk gospel to people and communities everywhere. Passim executes its mission through unique programming — Club Passim, the Passim School of Music, Archive Project and Culture for Kids. We spoke with Jim Ricciuti, director of development at Passim, about his organization’s fundraising highs and lows, and how he envisions its fundraising future. FundRaising Success: Can

Key Points From the Conference

How do you end a fundraising conference on a note that will keep people around for the final session? Not an easy task, but one the DMA Nonprofit Federation seems to have accomplished. The last session of the 2008 Washington Nonprofit Conference, which took place in Washington, D.C., last week, was fairly well attended. It helped that there were prizes to be had, but the big draw was the promise of a session that wrapped up all the key points of the previous two days worth of sessions. In all, five panelists were on board for the rehash. Dana Weinstein, director of membership at

Small Organization Snapshot: It Happened to Alexa Foundation

The It Happened to Alexa Foundation, a small, Lewiston, N.Y.-based nonprofit, is the only organization in the U.S. that provides financial assistance to the loved ones of rape victims, allowing them to be with the victim throughout the course of her trial, according to Executive Director Ellen Augellos. “The foundation believes those who face the grueling task of prosecuting their assailants need a support system, and that expenses should not stand in the way of that support,” says Augellos. It Happened to Alexa Foundation’s provenance is a brutal one. In the fall of 1999, Tom and Stacey Branchini drove their daughter, Alexa,

Book Preview: “Yours, Mine and Ours”

Many nonprofit organizations find themselves existing in a sector that is rapidly expanding and becoming more and more competitive. This new environment has given rise to a far more discerning and demanding breed of donor, vitally interested in reshaping the ways in which he or she does business with nonprofits. In his useful book “Yours, Mine, and Ours: Creating a Compelling Donor Experience,” Barry McLeish offers sound advice to nonprofit leaders on how to go about attracting and maintaining donors in this new and challenging charitable landscape. “What nonprofit executives can do is to prepare themselves for different environmental and organizational possibilities in


GoodDogz.org is a Reston, Va.-based nonprofit that informs people about dog selection and care, and assists canine rescue groups with a variety of responsibilities.

Beyond Sponsorship

In its whitepaper, “Cause Marketing: Beyond Sponsorship and Coupons,” social-enterprise consulting firm Community Wealth Ventures lists seven steps nonprofits need to take to build strategic alliances with their for-profit partners. Following is a synopsis of CWV’s suggestions: 1. Set goals. Know what your goals are. Are you only trying to raise money? Or are you also attempting to raise awareness of your cause; build brand recognition for your nonprofit; develop a campaign that engages people at a grass roots level? 2. Understand your assets and develop a value proposition. Assets can be broken down into three subcategories: things you have (physical assets; location/space; distribution/sales network;

Five Minutes With: Charles Moore, Executive Director, CECP

For many nonprofit development officers, the notion that a corporation can have goals symbiotically related to their own organizations’ runs counter to intuition. Indeed, wouldn’t it seem downright obvious that the desires and goals, and even the basic moral orientations, of nonprofit and for-profit companies are in stark opposition? Not so at all, argues Charles Moore, executive director of The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, an organization missioned to educate the business community about ways to be better philanthropists — the two can, should be and, in many cases, already are intimately intertwined. In a recent e-mail interview with FundRaising Success, Moore offered nonprofits advice

Do You YouTube?

When you think of YouTube, perhaps it’s the do-it-yourself entertainment of lonelygirl15 or the mysteriously faceless Pachelbel’s “Canon” guitar whiz that comes to mind.

Lessons Learned

The University of California, San Diego is a public university with an enrollment of 27,500 students. It recently announced that it surpassed its seven-year, $1 billion fundraising goal — and did it with more than a month to spare. The university’s capital campaign kicked off in 2000 with a $20 million gift from University of California regent John Moores and his wife, Rebecca, for the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center. The campaign closed this summer with the single largest planned gift in the university’s history: $34 million for cancer research given to the School of Medicine by physician George Ury.

Five Tips for Online Auctions

For nonprofits, the average online auction nets nearly $16,000 in merchandise bids alone. Significantly less time and labor are required to put on a virtual auction than a live event, and integrating online events into your fundraising plan can be a great way to whip up excitement around your mission — attracting the attention of potential supporters as well as providing extra enticement to current donors. The online auction makes it possible for nonprofits to reach out to supporters who might not be able to attend gala balls and other live events, while having the added benefit of “bringing together” constituents from across