What is sustainability? A huge Illusion

So often non-profits hear from institutional funders that they want the organizations they support to magically reach what they call “sustainability”. I’ve been in the non-profit performing arts world for over thirty years and I have no idea what sustainability means. I believe that what our well-meaning funders really mean by “sustainability “ is, “Please Read More …

Why do organizations poke the funder in the eye?

It happens all the time. You apply for a grant; you include lofty language about how amazing your organization is, you include data that demonstrates your impact and even testimonials from satisfied customers. Then your organization is awarded the grant. And after the celebrations end, you make a series of blunders. You stop communicating with Read More …

The important lessons my mom taught me about Fund Raising

Did my mom know that by teaching me important life lessons, she was also teaching me how to be a successful executive and fund raiser? I’m not sure, but I do know that manners were very important to her. Let’s begin with the most important words I was taught. Please And Thank you Although simple, Read More …

Don’t use a dart board to balance a budget

Too often the battle cry of community leaders to executives of arts organizations is “cut the budget”, “reduce the expenses”, “and eliminate the fat”. Well, truth be told, most arts organizations, regardless of size, just don’t have any fat to trim. They are operating as lean, effective, productive organizations. Sure, there are some that pay Read More …

When to say “no thank you “to a generous donor.

Are there times when we should not accept a generous offer of a gift? Even if the donation is very large? Well, the answer is “yes”. Anytime a donor attempts to place adverse restrictions on a gift that could cause your organization to stray from its mission, then it’s always better to refuse the gift. Read More …