Giving from individuals continues to make up the largest portion of philanthropy in America, powering the missions of countless nonprofits. But winning the attention of the specific individuals most inclined to support your mission is more challenging than ever. With audience-centric strategies—informed by data—you can achieve better resonance and activate greater generosity.
Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP) is a community of philanthropic, corporate-giving and nonprofit women whose members are passionate about helping other women advance in society. Meet two of these women who are nothing short of powerhouses in the Chicago philanthropy scene and, among many roles, serve as Board Co-Chairs for CWIP. Clare and Lindsey sat down with Shay Upadhyay, Client Service Associate at Alford Group to share their insights about this important work.
In the face of unprecedented challenges brought by COVID-19 and calls for racial justice, Community Foundations stand at a pivotal juncture. In this blog, Senior Consultant Lieve Hendren, CFRE, ACC, C-SHRM delves into seven strategic approaches Community Foundations can adopt to amplify their influence and steer their communities toward lasting positive change.
Vice President Greg Whitney describes what can be gained from embarking on a development assessment and the long-lasting impacts the process has on the health and success of your nonprofit organization.
Working with nonprofit consultants is about meeting a guide who will help your organization blast off to new heights. Let’s break down what this really means and how to make the most of the relationship.
Blog post by Cassie Bey, Photos by Thandi Cai (3-minute read)
The next generation of changemakers has arrived! Hear from this newcomer about her experience of The Giving Institute’s two-day gathering of sector leaders as she shares takeaways for other aspiring nonprofit professionals.
Chicago, IL | Summer 2023 –The Giving Institute announces Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO of Alford Group as the newly appointed Chair of the Board of Directors for a two-year term.
The Giving Institute, a revered trade association renowned for its dedication to thought leadership in the world of philanthropy, proudly announces that Asare’s term begins in summer 2023 and will continue through July 2025.
“Brenda’s appointment as Chair of The Giving Institute marks a momentous occasion for the organization,” said Erin Berggren, CAE, Executive Director of The Giving Institute and The Giving USA Foundation. “Her extensive knowledge of the nonprofit community, along with her past and current contributions to The Giving Institute make her the ideal choice to lead and deepen the impact of our organization. We are confident that with her at the helm, The Giving Institute will continue to champion thought leadership and drive positive change.”
Alford Group is one of the longest-tenured members in The Giving Institute and the only consultancy with its three CEOs having served as Chair.
Asare has been an active Giving Institute board member for more than ten years, serving as Co-Chair of the Summer Symposium and DEIA Committee and a participating on the Strategic Planning and Membership Committees before moving to the organization’s top post.
“I am truly honored and excited to take on this role,” said Brenda B. Asare. “Together with our member organizations and partners, I am committed to fostering thought leadership that empowers others and creates a more dynamic, inclusive community that grows generosity on a global scale. I look forward to leading The Giving Institute at this unique moment to continue its legacy of empowering lasting change in the world.”
As the new Chair, Asare brings her expertise in nonprofit and organizational change management to the forefront. With a passion for diversity and inclusion, Asare has mentored numerous development professionals and has been a passionate advocate for disrupting narratives in the nonprofit world. This work has led to the advancement of women and people of color in philanthropy, more organizations centering equity and inclusivity in their work, and communities expanding the definition of who is seen as a philanthropist and what counts as philanthropy.
Earlier in her career, Asare served as the Chief Development Officer with the American Red Cross in Chicago, where she spearheaded various disaster fundraising efforts that raised over $100 million. Recognized as Crain’s Notable Minorities in Consulting in 2019 and Crain’s Notable Black Leaders and Executives in 2021, Asare’s remarkable work in the nonprofit sector has earned her widespread recognition.
About The Giving Institute
The Giving Institute, formerly known as the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel, was established in 1935 with a vision to champion thought leadership in philanthropy. The organization’s member firms uphold the highest ethical standards and are dedicated to empowering generosity and developing extraordinary leaders in the philanthropic sector. Additionally, as the parent organization of the Giving USA Foundation™, The Giving Institute advances philanthropy through research and education, culminating in the annual report on charitable giving in the United States, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy.
About Alford Group
Alford Group is a national, full-service consultancy serving nonprofits in nearly every state in the country. Since our founding, we have partnered with over 3,000 nonprofits to accelerate their impact and advance social change. Together, we’re building a world where possibilities are endless and reflect the best of who we are as humans. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Over the past several years, YWCA Metro Chicago has expanded its service footprint to embrace the needs of women and families in new geographies, doubled its budget size and welcomed a new President and CEO, Nicole Robinson. Given these changes, Alford Group was engaged to conduct a development assessment to identify ways to build on their strengths while ensuring sustained growth.
Interview by Madisyn Fairchild, Client Service Associate (4 minute read)
Jessica Paulsen from Distinctive Schools sits down with Client Service Associate Madisyn Fairchild to share the behind-the-scenes of how the organization communicated their new strategic plan with the community they serve.
Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance collaborated with consultants at Alford Group to complete their campaign for the new Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden, providing a free, year-round, accessible adventure for Garfield Park and Chicago families.
Pictured above: Nature Educator Grace Urrutia engages visitors in arts-infused science education in Horticulture Hall at the Garfield Park Conservatory.
Who is Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance?
The Alliance is a nonprofit organization seeking to change lives through the power of nature by bringing educational programming, events and resources to visitors in partnership with the Chicago Park District.
The Alliance strengthens the community through the unique combination of free onsite gardens, exhibits and programming and other nature-based activities and resources that invite the engagement of all community members. The Alliance enhances the economic vitality of Chicago’s West Side and encourages the larger community to explore the fundamental connection between plants and human life.
What was the focus of the work between the Alliance and Alford Group?
In 2020, the Alliance invited Alford Group to serve as Campaign Counsel for the construction of a new children’s garden. Over two years, with eighteen months of comprehensive counsel, the team of consultants launched an assessment using Alford Analytics and a holistic review of all the materials related to the campaign.
Alford Group consultants engaged their Board and other key stakeholders through a SOAR analysis, a campaign committee, interviews, two focus groups and board coaching workshops.
What were the major changes made in the process?
In the process of raising nearly $4 million dollars to build the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden, the Alliance, with the guidance of Alford Group created a compelling case for support, affirmed their campaign timeline and goal milestones, identified their top campaign prospects and strategy, engaged key stakeholders and built a campaign toolkit.
Jennifer credits the success of the campaign to the collaboration:
“Working with Alford Group was instrumental in the success of our campaign for the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. The Alford team brought no less than four (!) distinct areas of expertise that advanced our work: board training and engagement, database analytics, prospect identification and evaluation, and overall project management. It was like having a full-time addition (or two) to the staff as they embraced our work and goals seamlessly. The team also showcased their deep understanding of equity work, advancing our campaign with an inclusive approach to engagement.”
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