Who Do You Represent?
August 17, 2010

It's 2010, and it's getting easier to tell the story about the people you serve. All you need is a cheap Flip Video camera, a social-media platform and a few solid questions to ask. The story is just waiting to be told. Unfortunately, it's much harder to tell a story your donors will identify with.

Boy Scouts Seek a Way to Rebuild Ranks
August 3, 2010

The organization, long an icon of wholesomeness in a simpler America, has seen its membership plunge by 42 percent since its peak year of 1973, when there were 4.8 million scouts. In the last decade alone, membership has dropped by more than 16 percent, to 2.8 million.

The declines reflect the difficulties of keeping up with changing times and shifting demographics, as well as of battling a perception that the organization is exclusionary because it bars gay people and atheists, not to mention girls under 13.

You’re Not Nike — Get Over It
August 1, 2010

According to some, communication rules that hurt fundraising effectiveness but make people in the organization feel good are perfectly OK. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd say anything you do with your communication that de-motivates donors from giving should be considered a failure. Silly me.

Depending on the Kind-ness of Strangers
July 15, 2010

A line of snack bars is trying to live up to its brand name with an initiative that offers a twist to the typical cause marketing effort.

The brand is Kind Healthy Snacks.

Kind’s approach to doing well by doing good is a campaign carrying the theme “Do the Kind Thing,” which plans to donate, in stages, $100,000 to organizations deemed worthy of assistance. The first round, totaling $40,000, is to be announced this week and will be divided among three causes.

Fundraising From Yourself
July 1, 2010

It's lurking. It's close. And it's deadly. It forces hundreds of nonprofit organizations out of business every year. It robs even more organizations of their resources and leaves them foundering, unable to fully accomplish their missions. It destroys the careers of 
hundreds of hardworking and idealistic people.

Out of the Trenches
July 1, 2010

If you love thinking about how social media and technology can be used to raise money, increase visibility and create social change (is there an app for that?), there's no better place to be than the annual NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference, which took place this year in April in Atlanta. Once I got done ogling all of the new iPads and finished searching for places to plug in my laptop, I actually had real conversations with a few breathing humans. Look, ma! No plugs!

Increasingly, Nonprofits Fill a Need for Investigative Reporting
June 23, 2010

In a seventh-floor conference room festooned with framed articles and journalism awards, Managing Editor Gordon Witkin leads the morning discussion of stories his staff is pursuing.

Their latest scoop -- on members of Congress dumping their BP stock -- "was a big success," he says. "It was in an AP story that sent it everywhere, including Yahoo and Google News."

On the front burner, a dozen staffers around the table explain, is a joint series just approved by the New York Times. A piece underway with The Washington Post is being edited. There was a "tough conference call," says international director David Kaplan, with eight London producers on a 10-segment project with the BBC.

Investigative reporting is increasingly being outsourced, and these offices off K Street serve as a boiler room for research that the big boys are less able to afford. The Center for Public Integrity is hardly a traditional news operation, but it is taking on a more prominent media role, fueled by a recent hiring spree that has added more than half a dozen journalists to its 45-person staff.