Ruthellen Rubin
& Associates

Consulting for Nonprofits and Philanthropies


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  • The Impact of an Infographic
    Prospective donors are bombarded with messages. To get through this deluge of information, we have to stand out in the crowd with . . . . .
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  • Tossing Your Cookies: Grassroots Fundraising at its Best
    When asked, "What is your earliest recollection of making a charitable donation?" most Americans respond: "Buying Girl Scout Cookies." . . . . .
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  • Gen Y or Generation Why They Give
    The members of Generation Y were born between 1977 and 1998. Three of them grew up in my house, so I have a fair sense of what makes . . . . .
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Professional Development

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We offer the expertise, resources and personalized attention to help your nonprofit organization realize its full potential. Our team also works with philanthropies to help build strong partnerships.

FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES | BOARD DEVELOPMENT | COLLABORATION | TRANSITION

The Nonprofit Blog

Choosing an Organization to Support

Once again, Charity Navigator is in the news with Stephanie Strom's article that appeared in yesterday's New York Times, To Help Donors Choose, Website Alters How it Sizes Up Charities.  We have heard the arguments:  Yes, donors want to know how their dollars are being allocated and whether an organization's finances are transparent.  And, yes, we don't want to tie up organizations to a point where they do not have the flexibility to innovate and try new things.

So how's a donor to choose?  Sure, it's useful to have an independent evaluator compare apples to apples to some extent  just as we might search for Consumer Reports' rating on a TV set.  However, if we are depending on our nonprofit sector not just to "feed the hungry" but to "end hunger", we need to take a few risks.  The organization that is working to "end hunger" will need to pay higher salaries, perhaps spend more on overhead and try a few things that may not work. 

Let's go back to the basic fundamendals of philanthropy - relationships.  I urge donors and philanthropists to not just depend on the online independent evaluation of an organization.  Rather, I urge you to meet with the Executive Director, Development Director or Program Manager to learn first-hand what the goals and plans are for the short and long term.  As a Development Director, I am thrilled to spend time with prospective donors to personally show them how their investment will be allocated and stewarded.   

Whether you are planning to donate $100 or $1 million, my message to you is the same.  You can do some preliminary research in front of your computer screen, but when it's time to make a decision, pick up the phone, call the organization and make an appointment for a visit.  The more personal interaction between donors and organizations, the better it will be for all.  Philanthropy is a partnership - between people who want to make a difference and organizations that are in the position to make that happen.

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The ING New York City Marathon

My favorite day of the year in New York City is, with a doubt, the day of the the ING New York City Marathon

Athletes gather from around the world, wearing their countries' colors and filling NY's sporting goods stores and pasta-serving restaurants.  The excitement builds in the days before as Central Park fills as the runners warm up and become familiar with the turf.

This year, organizers have announced that $26.2 million is expected to be raised for charities around the world.  That's a million dollars a mile!  7,400 runners (1 in 6) are running to benefit 100 charitable organizations.  However, charity comes in many forms and I want to give a special shout-out to my daughter Julie, an experienced marathoner, who will be participating tomorrow as an "achillies guide."   Julie will guide a blind runner through the streets of NY for the 26.2 miles.  Check out this amazing organization, Achillies International, that enables individuals with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics.  

No doubt, even though Julie will provide the "eyes" for her companion runner, he will show Julie how this incredible event is viewed through his eyes!  Good luck to Julie and the 43,000 runners in this years' NYC Marathon!

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Choosing an Organization to Support

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The ING New York City Marathon

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