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How to select a Fundraising Counsel

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How to select a Fundraising Counsel

100%

Rate the firm as highly competent

100%

Felt the firm had strong ethics

97.2%

Said they would hire the firm again if they needed counsel

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The best way to select the right consulting firm for your institution is to get to know the team who will be working with you. We would be pleased to meet with you at your convenience and, of course, with no obligation.

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Over the years, Alexander Haas has provided fundraising and campaign counsel to virtually every type of nonprofit organization.

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News & Views

It’s All About Data Security – Or Lack Of

In the span of just one month we have learned of two massive data security breaches at Starwood and Quora affecting 600,000,000 or more individuals – many of whom are own staff members. Are you next? Based on our visits to client sites around the country, you are probably in decent shape as long as your data is under your control. FERPA, HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc. have been around long enough that we have had the lid clamped down tightly when it comes to our own internal systems. But what happens when “your” data is no longer under your control? As more institutions evaluate SaaS and PaaS solutions for their advancement CRM and related fundraising activities, we must acknowledge that we are not always going to be in control of our precious data assets. We must rely on others to ensure our data are properly safeguarded when entrusted in their care. The good news is that every primary SaaS or PaaS product in play for our use these days are very public regarding what measures they have taken to protect data. And our own internal security experts very likely have requirements we must check on before acquiring such a solution. Stanford University, like many others, has a website devoted to this topic. But what should we look for?  When it comes to SaaS we can expect reliable providers to be fully credentialed.  PivotPoint Security lists the most common security accreditations. But what about working with service providers who do not store our data – but use it (wealth screening, biographical append services, employer locator vendors, etc.)? Look for similar credentials. The main wealth screening vendors have been SOC 2 compliant for a long time. The other forms of append services may not necessarily need to subscribe to as strict a protocol. On the [...]

3 Keys to Nonprofit Financial Resilience

Last month, the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) wrote about an interesting study conducted by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in coordination with Fiscal Management Associates (FMA), which works with organizations around issues of capacity building. The subject was how to help nonprofits achieve and maintain financial stability.  Year in and year out, this continues to be the major issue facing our non-profit partners.   Fundraising and earned income play a big role in achieving financial stability, so the lessons from this two-year project are useful as we think about starting the New Year off on a strong note.  FMA and the Packard Foundation found that three best practices made the biggest difference: Plan and budget for multiple years, not just the year ahead. Taking a short-term perspective will mean that you usually will come up short. And donors want to know their gifts are being used to move your organization forward, not just bailing you out at the end of the fiscal year. Use visual dashboards to track performance and inform Board and staff discussions.  Dashboards help leaders, managers, and staff members more easily see key trends and make real-time plans for improving fundraising and financial performance. Tip: make sure Board giving is a key indicator on your dashboard. Have a policy for building an operating reserve—and follow it. Financial resilience means that you can survive in lean times, and a reserve fund, sometimes taking the form of a quasi-endowment, can make the difference. To learn more, read the full SSIR article. 

No Good Gift Goes Unpunished

Not 24 hours after the announcement of the world’s largest gift to higher education, there were those eager to criticize it. “Wait, Is Bloomberg’s $1.8-Billion Donation to Johns Hopkins a Good Thing?” screamed the headline in the November 20th issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Michael R. Bloomberg’s gift will enable the University to significantly increase the number of qualified low- and middle-income students who can attend. In his own words, the goal is to “eliminate money problems from the admissions equation for qualified students.” The university will replace loans with scholarships for students, starting in the spring of 2019. The university will also use the money to diversify its undergraduate enrollment, making one in five students eligible for Pell Grants up from the current one in 15 students. That’s a good thing. Critics contend he could have made a bigger difference by giving to programs with a broader reach. He already has done that with his American Talent Initiative (ATI). Through ATI, Bloomberg Philanthropies brought college presidents and higher education thought leaders together to address challenges facing high-achieving, lower-income students. ATI is a collaboration between the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program, Ithaka S+R, and a growing number of colleges and universities “dedicated to substantially expanding opportunity and access for low- and moderate-income students.” ATI members all graduate at least 70 percent of their students within six years. That’s also a good thing. In addition, Bloomberg Philanthropies supports the CollegePoint initiative, “which provides virtual, high quality college and financial aid advising to thousands of high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students across the United States.” That’s yet another good thing.

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