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.

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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.

Continue reading “Equity-Centered Philanthropy: Honoring the Past While Celebrating the Future”

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”

Giving USA Foundation Webinar: The Donor Advised Fund Research Landscape

Thursday, February 4, 2021 | 11:00am CT / 12:00pm ET | Online

Description
As donor-advised funds continue to grow in prominence, advisors, donors, and policy makers will be faced with myriad choices. In this webinar, you’ll learn how researchers are collecting, interpreting, and sharing data to ensure that decisions are based on facts, not fear.
  • Host: Brenda Asare, The Alford Group
  • Presenter: Dr. Una Osili, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Panelists: Laura MacDonald, CFRE, Benefactor Group (Facilitator); Kristin Carlson Vogen, Chicago Community Trust; Nico Karagosian, Ohio University; Amy Pirozzolo, Fidelity Charitable
  • Resource: Dr. Anna Pruitt, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

 

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

Continue reading “Four Elements to Strengthen Your Planning”

Tomorrow’s New Normal: 4 elements of an action-forward approach to planning

MODERATORS:

  • Alexis Cooke, Senior Consultant, The Alford Group
  • Jamie Phillippe, CFRE, Vice President, The Alford Group

PANELISTS:

  • Felicia Davis, President and CEO, Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Darrin Goss, President and CEO, Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina
  • Rachel Krinsky, Executive Director, LifeWire
  • Michele Stauff, Executive Director, Million Dollar Round Table Foundation

Slide Deck: Planning Webinar Presentation_The Alford Group

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.

Continue reading “Giving USA and the New Age of Philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest”

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, The 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, The 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, The Alford Group

Featuring:

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

Don Thompson, CEO and Founder, Cleveland Avenue, LLC

 

With the current events of the past five months, the world is learning how to overcome the discomfort of talking about race and 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”

Diversity in Fundraising: Making a Long-Term Commitment

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By JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

Growing up in Kentucky during segregation, Jimmie Alford – The Alford Group’s founder – attended an all-white school, and didn’t experience racial diversity until the age of nine when his parents moved to Chicago. The move, due to the closing of coal mines, placed Jimmie’s family in a small apartment in the Englewood community. Jimmie was one of three white students in his third grade class of 40 students.

Along with his classmates, he understood economic diversity and its impact on themselves, their families and their community while living in extreme poverty within a predominantly affluent nation. He also directly and personally saw and felt the impact of discrimination. He decided at a young age that the injustice of discrimination was something he would never allow to penetrate his life and that he would work his entire life to eradicate it in all forms. Like many who grow up marginalized in one way or another, Jimmie vowed to lift himself out of his circumstances, make a better life and never forget the important life lessons learned along the way. His commitment to this goal was unwavering and steadfast.

While Jimmie passed away suddenly in 2012, his spirit and leadership remain with us as the nation and world grapple with the opportunity afforded by the Black Lives Matter movement and a renewed call for equity and social justice. We share his unwavering optimism that better days lie ahead when we all work together.

Diversity

Diversity is one of seven core values of The Alford Group, and one of Jimmie’s enduring “fingerprints” on the consulting firm he founded in 1979. One manifestation of this commitment is our 20+-year sponsorship of the Diversity Workshop and Diversity Art Showcase at the annual AFP International Conference. While our dedication to diversity and inclusiveness has remained resolute over the decades, the demographics of America – and thus the universe of donors and prospective donors – have changed dramatically. Lessons learned from diverse communities, and the shared values of diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI), are more relevant and more essential today than ever before. Continue reading “Diversity in Fundraising: Making a Long-Term Commitment”

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”