By Drew Fox Jordan • September 30, 2020

    Weekly Roundup: The Impact of Fundraising

    In this series, we take a look at the current news impacting the nonprofit sector, specifically fundraising. Our intention is not to be reactive, but to be proactive in our analysis of the news and consider how fundraising and philanthropic efforts can improve outcomes and adapt to meet the times.

    This week: Capacity Gives Nonprofits Enough Gas For The Long Haul, Brooklyn Museum to Sell 12 Works of Art, and Philanthropy: As American as the National Book Festival.


    Capacity Gives Nonprofits Enough Gas For The Long Haul (Via Tallahassee Democrat)

    Examples of capacity building expenses include tangible needs such as facilities and equipment as well as management and governance support such as strategic planning; staff development, Board training; improving fundraising techniques; conducting organizational assessments; investing in technology; and succession planning. These investments are critical to ensuring the organization’s health and longevity.

    Analysis: The pandemic has proven that just because things worked before, doesn't mean they will work forever. For some, the crisis exposed issues that could prove to be problematic down the road. But for others, COVID accelerated many existing issues that were not handled when they arose. This forces nonprofit leaders to start shifting the way they think about how they conduct business. How can we avoid sacrificing our mission and serving our communities, all while ensuring the financial future of the organization?

    art sold by brooklyn museum

    Brooklyn Museum to Sell 12 Works as Pandemic Changes the Rules (Via New York Times)

    It is the kind of sale that once would have engendered criticism, perhaps even sanctions: The Brooklyn Museum is putting 12 works up for auction at Christie’s next month — including paintings by Cranach, Courbet and Corot — to raise funds for the care of its collection. But it is now completely within the parameters of loosened regulations, which are themselves a measure of just how financially damaging the coronavirus pandemic has been for cultural institutions. “This is something that is hard for us to do,” said Anne Pasternak, the museum’s director. “But it’s the best thing for the institution and the longevity and care of the collections.”

    Analysis: What we previously thought was "right" and "ethical" is changing as organizations search for business models that work in today's world. Other organizations such as theaters or operas do not have that luxury and remain closed to the public without revenue-generating programs. Adapting business models to address both mission and the changing environment is the new rule of today. 

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    national book fest

    Philanthropy: As American as the National Book Festival (Via Library of Congress)

    Philanthropy is patriotic. And, for its entire 20 years, the Library of Congress National Book Festival has benefited from generous donors across the country. Each gift builds on a 20-year tradition of sharing stories that connect and illuminate the world. And, in a time of global pandemic, people everywhere are looking to writers for inspiration, for solace and for hope.

    Analysis: Many organizations struggled to fundraise in the wake of the pandemic because their missions weren't COVID-related and feared their appeal to donors would be seen as tone-deaf. However, it became clear that patrons were still interested in supporting these organizations and understood the gravity of the situation. Historically, giving increases during a crisis, and that generosity extends to organizations that aren't directly impacted by the crisis as much as others.

    Have a fundraising story you would like to share? Let us know how you've seen frontline fundraisers rise to the challenge and make an impact in their community.

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