Ethical Solutions, Practical Tools: Make the Best Decisions During and After the Pandemic

May 19, 2020 | Online

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced nonprofits and grant-making organizations to pause and reflect on every aspect of how they operate.

Nonprofit leaders have made many selfless decisions that demonstrate that we’re “all in this together,” but they’ve also faced some extremely difficult decisions, such as whether to cancel key fundraising events and how to lay off workers.

When making difficult choices, how does an organization thoughtfully consider people, while also considering the bottom line? How can we learn from the recent past, survive, and thrive as we look to the future?

Join the Chronicle of Philanthropy and our expert guests on May 19 at 2 PM ET as we tackle some of the toughest issues nonprofits face due to the pandemic.

This 60-minute webinar will help you:

  • Manage your endowment investments during the economic freefall.
  • Understand what donors and grant makers are going through.
  • Evaluate programs and prioritize those that can best ensure your nonprofit’s future.


President, YFJ Consulting
President, Women In Development, New York


President, Alford Group
Vice-Chair, The Giving Institute

Program Officer, Arts and Culture
The Heinz Endowments

Client Strategist and Author
BNY Mellon

Founder and Chief Consultant, Innovations Quantified (IQ)
Board Chair, Association of Nonprofit Specialists

This webinar is worth 1 CFRE credit.


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”

Optics Matter: Avoiding Red Flags that Undermine Your Fundraising Efforts

By Amy Hines, Senior Vice President, Alford Group

With the start of an unprecedented intergenerational wealth transfer, nonprofits have a lot to gain by avoiding any inadvertent pitfalls that deter potential donors from contributing to their efforts. With access to the internet, donors do not have to rely on government scrutiny to avoid unscrupulous charities (Besides, government entities have limited authority as watchdogs). Donors can look for evidence themselves, vetting charities with a tap or a click.

Maintaining integrity is key—but ensuring that an organization’s optics convey that integrity is also essential.

A potential donor’s due diligence before opening her wallet, is likely to take place by heeding to the credo–“follow the money.” While that may in fact be just a line in a movie, it resonates in the philanthropic ether as a sound way to approach investigating an organization’s worthiness.

How do potential donors assess the money trail? There are several logical ways:

  1. Look at the organization’s website to see if financial information is being reported in a transparent way.
  2. Go online to GuideStar, the primary resource for accessing an organization’s IRS 990 and comparing similar organizations.
  3. Go online to Charity Navigator to see how the organization is rated.
  4. Go online to BBB Wise Giving, to check out whether they have been accredited as a trustworthy national organization.


It’s important for nonprofits to manage the optics of their organizations in these four locations. Here’s how. Continue reading “Optics Matter: Avoiding Red Flags that Undermine Your Fundraising Efforts”

Major Gifts Donations: Return to Sender?

Last month, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington were in quite the predicament. When confronted with the dilemma to either accept a $100,000 major gift that would be highly beneficial to the advancement of the organization and some of its participants, or return the donation and lose out on the funding but avoid having to discriminate against transgender girls, it was evident that the Girl Scouts of Western Washington prioritized their mission over money. But they didn’t stop with returning the donation. As any smart and adaptable organization would, they leveraged the opportunity and started an online fundraising campaign to recoup the $100,000, attracting nearly three times the goal in less than a week. The Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s actions showcased the organization’s values, their ability and willingness to stand up for those values, and reinforced their brand, effectively telling the organization’s story and connecting with donors who hold the same values. In the words of Megan Ferland, Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s CEO, “every girl should have the opportunity to be a girl scout if she wants to.”

So what can your nonprofit take from this story? To start, it is important to identify under what circumstance you should return a major gift or donation. Continue reading “Major Gifts Donations: Return to Sender?”