Effective Storytelling: 4 Tips to Best Engage Your Audience

By Mariah Fosnight, CFRE, Consultant and Doug Wallack, Client Service Associate

For over 40 years, Alford Group has tested the effectiveness of written material with a variety of stakeholders (donors, volunteers, partners, community leaders, foundation and corporate funders, etc.) for nonprofit organizations ranging in size, sector, lifecycle stage and geography.

Continue reading “Effective Storytelling: 4 Tips to Best Engage Your Audience”

Planning for the New Normal: The 3 Cornerstones to Success

By Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Chief Business Enterprise Officer, 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: The 3 Cornerstones to Success”

Giving USA and the New Age of Philanthropy in the Northeast

MODERATOR:
Elizabeth Rowley, CFRE, President and CEO, Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan

GIVING USA PRESENTATION:
Amy Hines, Senior Vice President, Alford Group

EXPERT PANEL:
Sally Cross, President and CEO, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley

Walter J. Dillingham, Jr., CFA, Managing Director, Wilmington Trust

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

GIVING USA PRESENTATION:
Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Executive Vice President & West Division Manager

MODERATOR:
Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

EXPERT PANEL:
Robin Callahan, CFRE, Vice President of Philanthropic Services, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

Elena Fracchia, CWS, AVP, Wealth and Philanthropic Advisor, Columbia Bank

Dana Miller, Senior Program Director – Grants, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Anjana Pandey, Vice President of Strategy, Philanthropy Northwest

Slide Deck:Giving USA 2020 Summary Slides

Infographic: Giving USA 2020 Infographic

Celebrating Black Philanthropy

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

Featuring:

Liz Thompson, President and Office Director, Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFE)

Don Thompson, CEO and Founder, Cleveland Avenue, LLC

 

The world is learning how to overcome the discomfort of talking about race and organizations everywhere are having some real courageous conversations on how we can move forward together to create lasting change for people of color. This change will create a ripple effect where others who have been marginalized will benefit and increase their ability to thrive as well – no one is left behind.

Continue reading “Celebrating Black Philanthropy”

Never Waste a Good Pause

By Mary Hackett, Associate Vice President and JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Associate Senior Consultant

It was Machiavelli who first advised “never waste a good crisis.” By that he meant one could look at the opportunities afforded by a crisis to change, to innovate and to improve.

To paraphrase Machiavelli, we advise “never waste a good pause.” Whether it’s a lull in activity or a forced rethinking of business-as-usual, most nonprofits are experiencing a “pandemic pause.” At minimum, everyone should take a moment to consider how to effectively navigate in the new normal. For those who are experiencing a pause, the silver lining is that we can utilize this time to strategically prepare for the future.

We can explore ways to embrace the pandemic pause to PAUSE:

P – Position

A – Analyze

U – Unify

S – Steward

E – Evaluate

Continue reading “Never Waste a Good Pause”

Giving USA: The Next Normal and a New Age of Philanthropy

By Alexis Cooke, Consultant, Alford Group

On Wednesday, June 17, Alford Group hosted a panel of national experts and funders to discuss Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy in 2019 in light of current realities, new opportunities and our future as non-profit staff, funders and philanthropists. The full discussion, along with Alford Group’s Giving USA report, may be found here.

As Brenda Asare, Alford Group’s President and CEO, noted as she opened the panel discussion, we all had high hopes for 2020 – momentum within the sector was strong and anticipated to continue at the close of 2019 and through 2020. Of course, no one knew what was coming nor how incredibly important that cushion would be to the survival of many nonprofits. As leaders representing funders and philanthropists across the country, Laura, Marguerite, Steve and Beth offered critical insights into philanthropy today and provided some hope as Brenda said “we must look up and ahead, as that is where we are all going.”

Continue reading “Giving USA: The Next Normal and a New Age of Philanthropy”

A New Philanthropic Landscape: Navigate confidently through COVID-19

A Message from Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created unexpected challenges and new daily realities for your organization. While this is uncharted territory for all of us, we know that the need for your services and programs continues and Alford Group stands ready to be your partner through this difficult time.

One reality that is not new is that Americans are generous – in good times and bad. That history of generosity has enabled us to weather challenges and come through difficult times stronger.

In recent meetings with many organizations we are helping clients navigate and create strategic approaches to meet increased demands for services, pivot on special events and engage with donors in meaningful ways. Over the past 40 years, Alford Group has helped our clients navigate through national crisis, economic downturns and organizational challenges.

The most important thing to remember is that your donors and volunteers care about you and your mission. They want to know how they can help your organization. Here are some proactive steps – and specific strategies being implemented by our clients – to consider.

Continue reading “A New Philanthropic Landscape: Navigate confidently through COVID-19”

Industry Best Practices Are Put to the Test

By Wendy Hatch, CFRE, Vice President and Jennifer Shin, MBA, Consultant

Alford Group Texas AFP surveyOver 3,000 development professionals from across the country attended AFP ICON in San Antonio, Texas last month. Alford Group took advantage of this assembled fundraising brain-trust to conduct a highly scientific (wink!) survey around a few hotly debated fundraising topics.

Participants weighed in on three important “questions of the day” at Alford Group booth by placing colored ping pong balls into giant glass vases to cast their votes. Fundraisers from across the country representing diverse sectors and roles brought their expertise to challenge some misconceptions and tried-and-true best practices. So, we asked the following three questions:

  • Do you primarily tell stories or provide statistics in your fundraising appeals?
  • Do you favor direct mail or email fundraising?
  • Do you focus primarily on garnering restricted or unrestricted gifts?

And the fundraisers have spoken.

Continue reading “Industry Best Practices Are Put to the Test”

Multiply Your Impact: Enlist Key Donors to Create a Meaningful Stewardship Plan

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

Don’t we all agree that the most precious things in life are worthy of our best attention, effort and care? In the fundraising world, the most precious “things” are our donors and their philanthropic dollars.

Who among us has the luxury of a daily schedule that is just waiting to be filled with new ideas and activities? Nobody that we know! So let’s take 15 minutes – only one percent of our day – to ponder ways to work smarter and multiply the impact of our efforts, and benefit the most precious “things” – our donors!

How do you make sure that your donor stewardship is intentional, timely and effective? You need to plan for it! Wonderful ideas for individual stewardship activities, timelines and plans abound on the internet, so we aren’t going to reiterate them here. The idea we are offering is a strategy for multiplying the impact of your stewardship planning process by also using it as an engagement opportunity for key donors, staff and board members. Continue reading “Multiply Your Impact: Enlist Key Donors to Create a Meaningful Stewardship Plan”

Break on Through to the Other Sides: Unpacking Power Dynamics Between Funders and Funded

By Diane Knoepke, Vice President, Alford Group

If you’re working in the social sector, you’ve probably said – or at least heard – things like this in discussions of the dynamics between grantmakers and grantseekers:

“We want this to be valuable for both sides of the equation.”

“I’ve sat on both sides of the table.”

“We need to understand how things work on the other side.”

Perhaps this “both sides” idea is a misnomer. At least that is what I walked away thinking after moderating two dynamic panels of funders and their nonprofit partners at Friday’s “Straight Talk: Unpacking the Power Dynamic between Grantseekers and Grantmakers” event, hosted by Chicago Women in Philanthropy. When we think of partners in funding relationships as the “asker” and the “asked,” we are missing a lot of dimensions to the power dynamics present in these relationships. Continue reading “Break on Through to the Other Sides: Unpacking Power Dynamics Between Funders and Funded”