‘Fair Chance’ Initiatives Give Much More Than Just a Second Chance

Fair Chance Collaborative to build off existing community efforts

by Emma Garcia

Roughly one-third of adults in the United States have a criminal record. Arizona has the eighth highest incarceration rate in the nation, with more than 50,000 incarcerated and more than 70,000 on probation or parole. The number of people in county and city jails in Arizona is even larger, resulting in the release of more than 200,000 individuals each year. The data … [More]

Strong Culture of Philanthropy = Financial Success

Nonprofits with strong giving cultures are more likely to succeed

by Richard Tollefson

You know you have a strong culture of philanthropy when the athletic director says his top priority is funding the science building. Or when local CEOs who have never given to your nonprofit step up to contribute multiple transformational gifts in succession. It’s what happened to Lori Redfearn, California State’s former assistant vice chancellor for systemwide advancement, … [More]

Students’ Chronic Absenteeism Is a Growing Issue

Impacts Arizona’s business health and economy

by Dawn Gerundo

Chronic absenteeism among Arizona students has steadily increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, putting students and our future Arizona leaders at risk. Chronic absenteeism increased from 14% in 2019 to 34% in 2022, according to data from the Arizona Department of Education. When a K-12 student misses 10% or more of the school year, they are considered chronically absent. This … [More]

Nonprofits Move at the Speed of Trust

The bedrock of trust-building is truth

by Richard Tollefson

Integrity, authenticity, accountability and trust — these are the hallmarks of any strong relationship, including the relationships between nonprofit organizations and the donors who invest in them. Start with the Right Question  Trust starts with a simple question, says Ron Schiller, founding partner of Aspen Leadership Group and author of Belief and Confidence. “Ask your … [More]

If You Build It, They Will Give

Creating an effective employee engagement program

by Laura Kaiser

An effective employee engagement program is a vital component of any company’s corporate social responsibility strategy. According to re:Charity, 71% of employees believe it’s important to work at companies that choose to give back to the community. With competitive advantage in the marketplace top of mind, now may be a good time for organizations to establish or evaluate their … [More]

Maintaining Stakeholder Relationships during Leadership Change

The importance of constituent communication

by Richard Tollefson

Employee turnover is nothing new in the workplace, but it presents an even greater challenge for nonprofits. The Society for Human Resource Management reports the voluntary turnover rate for nonprofits at 19%, compared to 12% in the overall labor market. When nonprofits lose leadership positions, far more is at stake than the simple loss of personnel. Too much turnover can … [More]

Cultivating Relationships That Build Stronger Communities

Aligning ‘giving back’ with company values also benefits in engaged employees

by Emma Garcia

More than 80% of employees believe their company should provide opportunities to engage in the community, according to a recent American Charities employer research study. How can a business provide these opportunities to satisfy their employees’ desire to give back, and what type of impact will it have on the company, the employees and the community as a whole?  Finding a … [More]

Balancing Fundraising for Short-Term Needs and Long-Term Strength

Lessons learned from two challenging years 

by Richard Tollefson

The bumpy ride of the past two years — amid the pandemic and social unrest — has revealed a great deal about fundraising for immediate needs, as well as long-term sustainability and strength. Nonprofits learned to move quickly in addressing critical needs as donors stepped up with unrestricted gifts they entrusted to organizations for best use. Valley of the Sun United Way … [More]

Business and Education Leaders Rally around Importance of Continuing Education

Arizona has ‘Everything to Gain’ by increasing the number of students pursuing postsecondary education

by Melissa L. Boydston, Ed.D.

The need for skilled labor and specialized training remains high. In Arizona, nearly seven out of 10 jobs require training beyond high school. Yet approximately 25% of eligible high school graduates do not pursue a college education.  As a result, Arizona is facing a shortage of individuals with college-level qualifications. More than half of Arizonans aged 25 to 64 do not … [More]

Philanthropic Resilience Compromised by Inflation

Even with 2022 GDP growth and historically low unemployment 

by Richard Tollefson

While economic uncertainty and stock market volatility have influenced giving patterns in the past, inflation’s impact created an anomaly in 2022 — a decline in giving, marking only the fourth drop in U.S. philanthropy over the last 40 years. That said, Americans still gave a generous $499.33 billion to charity in 2022, despite the latest numbers from Giving USA 2023 … [More]

Home Is Where It All Starts

Affordable housing is key to economic growth in Arizona

by Samantha Jackson

Affordable housing has been an ongoing issue, as minimum wage and salaries remain stagnate. Maricopa County has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the United States, according to federal data, with 16.5% of the population earning an income below the poverty line. Every year, the cost of living rises, forcing housing instability. Without a stable home, individuals are … [More]

Silent Phase to Public: When to Announce a Fundraising Campaign

It’s much more than a percentage of goal raised in advance 

by Richard Tollefson 

Fifty percent. Sixty. Ninety … Conventional fundraising wisdom says nonprofits should have more than half of funds committed or in hand before publicly announcing a campaign. The intention, after all, is to ensure campaign success. While a silent campaign phase allows fundraisers to secure lead gifts and recruit volunteers behind the scenes, there is always the risk of … [More]

The Influence and Impact of Small Businesses on Community

And making a difference with nonprofit partnerships

by Sam Leyvas

Small businesses are the backbone of community. For many, owning and operating a small business has been the fulfillment of “The American Dream.” Whether it’s opening their own bakery or starting their own contracting firm, many people have a personal story of what made them go into business for themselves. Although the idea initially might be for self-sufficiency or to be … [More]

Do Donors Really Care about 100% Board Participation in Giving?

You bet they do!

by Richard Tollefson

Many prospective donors, when determining if, how much or when to make a major contribution to a nonprofit organization, want to know what the governing board has done with their personal giving. With or without a formal board-giving plan in place, 100% participation from the board is a testament to members’ commitment to the organization. Giving by board members demonstrates … [More]

Successfully Navigate the Transition into a VP or Chief Development Officer Role

by Richard Tollefson

When a long-time major gift officer, annual fund manager or advancement services director steps into their first chief development officer or vice president role, the transition can be rocky, the learning curve enormous and the expectations overwhelming. “The skills you mastered moving up the ranks are not always the ones that are relevant as you move into a first-time CDO or … [More]

Fundraising vs. Finance: Change the Dynamics to Build Organizational Strength

by Richard Tollefson

Friction between a nonprofit’s fundraising and finance teams is not uncommon, but it can lead to division within the organization and confusion in the boardroom. Conflict typically stems from differences in performance measurement, reporting standards and business terminology. Left unresolved, goals can become compromised, performance questioned and reputations damaged. … [More]

Fundraising for Our Most Complex Social Issues 

by Richard Tollefson

Inspiring donors and raising philanthropic support for society’s most complex issues — those where tangible outcomes and positive impact may not be realized for years — is a challenge facing nonprofits worldwide. Homelessness is one case in point.  We spoke with four experts who shared stories of how they turned challenges into effective fundraising opportunities.  Human … [More]

Transform Mundane Financial Statements into Compelling Stories 

by Richard Tollefson 

Many nonprofit organizations are missing an opportunity to creatively tell their financial story in a way that attracts and inspires donors. While staying compliant with GAAP and IRS rules is important, nonprofits can use 990 returns, financial statements and annual reports to tell a compelling story about their mission and the impact their organization has on the … [More]

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