Archives for the month of: February, 2011

Why should we care about filing? It uses up paper, takes up space, and eats up valuable staff time.

But filing isn’t just about all that paper that we can’t seem to stop generating. It’s about having the information you need at your fingertips when you need it Read the rest of this entry »


Good reporting starts with good record keeping, and good record keeping starts with one thing:

Have the courage of your convictions.

This means you record every penny. No “extra budgetary” projects, meaning they don’t show up on your official budget and are hidden under obtuse line item designations. If you, your board, and your staff think it’s important enough to invest in, then it’s important enough to fess up about. If there’s a project or line item that gives you the willies when it comes to recording, let alone reporting, you shouldn’t be doing it. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate gifts can be the toughest donated dollars to get, although they can also be as reliable as the gifts of individual donors. This is because the sources of these dollars behave very much like individual donors—the programs are subject to income fluctuations, the giving focuses on an individual, and the process is personalized and informal, requiring a high degree of advance cultivation and ongoing stewardship.

First, that narrow definition. A corporate gift is money from a corporate giving program or an executive’s departmental discretionary funds. Most larger corporations have some sort of corporate giving program. This might be a formal, funded program with a staff and a contributions committee; it might be marketing money, run from an internal business unit or as part of an ad agency’s strategy; it might be a matching gift program run through the community relations or human resources department, or it might be the CEO or other high executive’s discretionary spending. Corporate gifts also behave differently under the law, with no set spending or divestiture mandates and different fiscal reporting requirements than foundation gifts.

There are the bare facts. So how do you find these no-strings-attached corporate dollars? (I can hear you all salivating.)

You don’t. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m in a tug of war right now with a start up I’m working with. The organization has a, well, we’ll call him a “fellow traveler” who runs a big law firm and is therefore convinced that he knows way better than me about small not-for-profit start ups. He’s digging his heels in over the board of directors for this organization. Unfortunately, this guy is likely to be a major initial bankroller for the organization, so I can’t really piss him off.

Also unfortunately, he’s wrong. Read the rest of this entry »