Service Spotlight: Executive Coaching

By Maree G. Bullock, Vice President, and Lieve Hendren, CFRE, Consultant

Every person in the world who has competed at the highest level of athletics, music or a skilled trade has had a coach. They’ve also relied on the knowledge, skill and expertise of quality mentors to push, challenge and motivate them. In the nonprofit community, we all know it takes equally as much skill and training to be successful, whether you’re leading, managing or raising funds to move your organization closer to reaching its mission. Executive coaching helps leaders cultivate confidence in their own leadership and effectively grow their organizations to new heights.

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The Growing Power of DAFs: Here’s what you need to know

By Jamie Philippe, CFRE, Vice President

Donor-advised funds, or DAFs, have been at the top of mind for many people since the release of the Giving USA report for philanthropy for the year 2020 (check out our blog here for an overview) and especially now with Giving USA’s groundbreaking report on DAFs which was released on November 11, 2021. DAFs have also received extra attention this year due to the bills that have been introduced in the U.S. Senate that aim to place new restrictions on DAFs. However, for many, there is a real lack of clarity around the current status of DAFs, and they raise more questions than answers.

For development professionals who oversee fundraising for their organization, the question is how to engage DAF-holders. Given the stunning growth in DAFs over the past five years, there are no signs of their popularity slowing down, so let’s unpack and demystify this hot trend. What are the rules around DAFs? What are the benefits of a DAF? How can your organization gain access to them?

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Madam C.J. Walker: 3 Myths About Black Philanthropy Debunked

Why Make Ripples if You Can Cause an Avalanche?

By JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

In celebration of Black Philanthropy Month, we have an opportunity to look more closely at stories that illustrate the depth and richness of Black philanthropy. There are many present-day stories that uplift, and behind their brilliance  are many stories of the previous generation that not only inspired, but created the springboard for those philanthropists whose impact we see every day. And there’s an incredible-but-true story from a previous century that evokes awe, admiration and, admittedly, a little anger.

Madam CJ Walker. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History : Archives Center. P.O. Box 37012

I’m unhappy that I have only recently learned of this story that inspires so many – no matter your age, race, gender or economic circumstances – on so many levels. And it debunks so many myths about Black philanthropy; in fact, it recalibrates my personal notion of philanthropy and philanthropists.

You may have encountered the Netflix series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. You may have heard about or even read Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving by Tyrone McKinley Freeman. Both are worth the investment of time and attention during the month of August as we celebrate Black philanthropy.

But for those who may have only about 15 minutes and are curious about this topic, this blog is for you!

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Diversity in Fundraising: How to build a culture of equity and belonging within your organization

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO

Where is your organization on its diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging journey? Would you describe it as being asleep, awake, woke or at work?

Wherever you and your organization lie on the continuum, it goes back to culture, values and intentionality toward creating a place where everyone can be their authentic selves and feel that they have acceptance, attention and support.

Organizations that value diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as core to their culture – and integrate these principles into their practices – realize possibilities for their full potential being unlocked in the areas of decision-making, relevant programs and access to potential leaders and donors who might not otherwise become involved or contribute.

Unless your organization breathes life and action into its values, they are just empty words on your website or in your strategic plan.

How do your values show up within your organization? What would it mean to your organization’s image, reputation, programmatic impact, staff, leadership and donor engagement if there was a deepened commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging? Continue reading “Diversity in Fundraising: How to build a culture of equity and belonging within your organization”

Giving USA 2021 Overview

Video overview (5 minutes) by Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Chief Business Enterprise Officer, The Alford Group

Summary by Araceli Duran, Client Service Associate, The Alford Group

On Tuesday, June 15, Giving USA released The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the year 2020. It was a much-anticipated report given the upheaval of daily life everyone has experienced in the past year and a desire to see how that upheaval has impacted the philanthropic space. Here is a brief overview following the release of this year’s report. Continue reading “Giving USA 2021 Overview”

Love in the Time of COVID

We’re talking about staffing, so what’s love got to do with it?

By Wendy Hatch, CFRE, Vice President and JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

In the time of COVID, in the midst of so much change and uncertainty, let’s imagine that you’re faced with staff turnover in the development department. What shall we do? What will tomorrow look like? How can we predict the best possible course of action? Continue reading “Love in the Time of COVID”

Board Members and Nonprofit Leaders: It’s Time.

By Molly Hansen, Vice President

As we ask ourselves: Now What? What do we do in this ever-evolving “new normal?” It’s time to take action. Here are the five actions to take today.

As a consultant with The Alford Group and former development professional with more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, when my colleagues and I see what is happening all around us, we regularly ask “How might we have the most positive impact with our clients? How can we improve our work so that our clients can better serve their participants, members, families, patients, students, children and youth?” Continue reading “Board Members and Nonprofit Leaders: It’s Time.”

Equity-Centered Philanthropy: Honoring the Past While Celebrating the Future

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, The Alford Group

On the heels of Black History Month and at the beginning of Women’s History Month, it is not lost on me that we need to celebrate diversity now more than ever. And it is important that we do not relegate our recognition of the contribution of Blacks and women to just one month.

sankofa image
Sankofa means “go back and fetch it.” We must look back to the past so that we may understand how we became what we are, and move forward to a better future.

Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The symbol, based on the mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backwards, serves as a reminder that the past serves as a guide for planning the future. It is the wisdom of looking back to look forward.

Diversity has been a core value of The Alford Group for our 41-year history and we recently renewed our commitment to fostering and creating adaptive cultures that are more inclusive and equitable in our work as a firm, with our clients and in the entire social sector. We are elevating equity-centered philanthropy as intentional action toward changing the structures, roles, processes, representation and practices that perpetuate inequities in how organizations communicate, engage and build relationships to support philanthropic endeavors.

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Planning for the New Normal in 2021: The 3 Cornerstones to Success

By Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Chief Business Enterprise Officer, The Alford Group and Immediate Past-Chair of the AFP U.S. Foundation for Philanthropy

As I have stood side-by-side this last year with some of the brightest and most creative fundraisers that I know, I have continued to be amazed and in awe of the strength and utter tenacity of the individuals who lead our sector. It is an understatement to say it was an unusually challenging year. Continue reading “Planning for the New Normal in 2021: The 3 Cornerstones to Success”

Be a SMARTIE: An Equity-Forward Approach to Goal Setting

By Michelle Bibbs, Associate Senior Consultant

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

The start of a new year usually inspires goal-setting. In the social impact sector, we all strive for more than to just get things done. We aim to drive impact, to change outcomes – sometimes to change entire systems that affect outcomes for people and communities.

The times we are in have made clear that in order to make an impact for more of us, the nonprofit sector – like the public and private sectors – have to center inclusion and equity as core values and lean on those values to guide our work.

If we are not taking an equity-centered approach in our work, then we are only creating impact for some of us, not all.

If you change nothing, nothing changes.  Uncertain times demand that we constantly explore new ways to make change in our workplaces and communities.  In the current “new normal” the question becomes how? Continue reading “Be a SMARTIE: An Equity-Forward Approach to Goal Setting”

Four Elements to Strengthen Your Planning

By Alexis Cooke, Senior Consultant

Organizations have been in constant flux to respond to 2020. Your organization likely implemented crisis response plans quickly after the onset of COVID-19. These response plans may have transitioned into scenario plans to navigate the ongoing crises of this year and/or your organization made substantial pivots or even pauses to your organization’s strategic plans. As the non-profit sector continues to respond to the devastating realities of the pandemic and our country’s social and racial injustices, The Alford Group elevates four specific elements that will strengthen your implementation and positioning for success, if embedded into your planning processes – crisis, scenario or strategic.

#1 Be Analytical

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Giving USA and the New Age of Philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest

By Mariah Fosnight, Senior Client Service Associate, The Alford Group

Recently, The Alford Group and Columbia Bank co-hosted the presentation of the 2019 Giving USA data and hosted a panel of Pacific Northwest funders and philanthropists to discuss the findings and relate them to the current realities of giving in the region. The full recorded webinar, including 2019 data and panel discussion, may be found here.

Giving USA, published by the Giving USA Foundation, is part of the Giving Institute which is comprised of leading consulting firms including The Alford Group. Celebrating 65 years, this report is the longest running and most comprehensive and authoritative report on charitable giving in the United States.

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