Ruthellen Rubin & Associates blog Ruthellen Rubin & Associates blog RSS Feed Thu, 26 Apr 2018 05:36:40 GMT Professional Development in the Cyber Classroom <p><input type="image" src="/userfiles/image/download.jpg" width="200" height="133" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="left" />For the last ten years I have enjoyed facilitating educational workshops, seminars and classes for nonprofit professionals specializing in the art of fundraising.&nbsp; Whether it's been a large lecture setting at a conference, a medium sized workshop at the <a href="">Support Center</a> or a masters class at <a href="">New York University</a>, the most rewarding aspect for me has always been when the participants can share their experiences and take inspiration from one another.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Many of us tend to share the same challenges of: &nbsp;getting online giving down to one reliable click; keeping current with the frequent updates and improvements to our donor databases; &nbsp;turning our volunteers into donors and our board members into solicitors.&nbsp; When we hear from another development director that she communicated with a major donor by text message and that donor was not insulted by the intrusion, we are empowered to envision the future of communication at our organization.&nbsp; When a colleague shares a story about how he worked with his novice board to create and institute a meaningful and enforceable board giving policy, we become a bit more confident that yes, that is our role.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">My classes have always had a firm curriculum and I love to teach.&nbsp; However, the collective experience in the classroom far outweighs my individual experience and observations.&nbsp; Group work, peer reactions and evaluations, and particularly oral presentations are some of my favorite instructional methods.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><input type="image" src="/userfiles/image/images5-001.jpg" width="300" height="202" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="right" />And so, I have resisted the foray into the cyber classroom for fear of not being able to bring my students together in the same way.&nbsp; I know that the technology today can be extremely interactive.&nbsp; But, how will I draw out the introverts who, in my experience, generally contribute the most thoughtful comments to the discussion?&nbsp; How will I build the trust among my students that they will be comfortable offering advice to one another?&nbsp; And how in the world will I know that they are focused on the class and not painting their toenails or playing online poker on the split screen.&nbsp; I guess I won't.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But -- as we say down at the University -- <i>that train has left the station</i>.&nbsp; We are no longer debating whether classroom learning or cyber learning is best.&nbsp; Individuals from around the world and in the most remote locations have access to the same education.&nbsp; Even though students may live close to where classroom instruction is available, they are choosing to take courses at home in their pajamas.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">As professors and lecturers, we must adapt and embrace this new pedagogy.&nbsp; We should encourage our institutions and training centers to investigate all available technology and train us in this type of instruction to help us become the very best we can be at online teaching.&nbsp; We must get this right.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><input type="image" src="/userfiles/image/images6.jpg" width="275" height="183" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="left" />In the coming year I will be offering courses online for the Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU.&nbsp; On January 20th at 2pm Eastern Time, join me for a brand new Webinar I have customized for <a href="">GrantStation</a>, Matchmaker, Matchmaker:&nbsp; Meeting the Challenge of a Matching Grant.&nbsp; I'm working on a presentation that I hope will bring the cyber classroom to life! &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="mso-element:para-border-div;border:none;border-bottom:dotted #666666 1.0pt; mso-border-bottom-alt:dotted #666666 .75pt;padding:0in 0in 2.0pt 0in"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; mso-outline-level:5;border:none;mso-border-bottom-alt:dotted #666666 .75pt; padding:0in;mso-padding-alt:0in 0in 2.0pt 0in"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333; mso-bidi-language:AR-SA"><a href=""><span style="color:#8C98BC;text-decoration:none;text-underline:none"> Matchmaker, Matchmaker: Meeting the Challenge of a Matching Grant (NEW)</span></a><o:p></o:p></span></b></p> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">After many years of small grants from the Food First Foundation, your organization was finally awarded a $100,000 grant towards the renovation of your Soup Kitchen. But wait...there's a's not an outright gift. The Food First Foundation will &quot;match&quot; each dollar your organization raises, up to $100,000. The cost of the renovation is $200,000. If you can do this, you've got it made. What's your strategy? In this webinar Ruthellen Rubin will explore the most common types of matching grants, how to cultivate and solicit matching grants, what you need to consider before you accept the grant, how this impacts your annual fundraising, and the ways a grant of this type can build sustainable partnerships. This webinar will not only help you maximize the potential of your matching grant opportunity, it will also help bolster your overall grants strategy. The webinar is a great introduction to this topic for novice development staff as well as an inspiring refresher for the seasoned development professional. This webinar will be held on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. <a href="">Click to register.</a><br /> <br /> <b>Tuesday January 20, 2015 2:00 PM Eastern Time (U.S.), 90 minutes<br /> Fee: $89.00 per person, $150.00 per site</b></span></p> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:00:00 GMT Ruthellen S. Rubin, CFRE Making Fundraising History – The IBC for ALS <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="/userfiles/image/Ice bucket.jpg" width="500" height="334" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="left" alt="" />Without a doubt, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will join the March of Dimes campaign, Barack Obama&rsquo;s 2008 Presidential campaign and the 2010 Haiti earthquake mobile giving campaign as game-changers in demonstrating the power of grassroots fundraising. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The March of Dimes was launched in 1938, by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to find a cure for polio.&nbsp; The medium was radio. &nbsp;The impetus was a number of Hollywood celebrities and a popular U.S. President who advocated for an end to this dreaded disease.&nbsp; The tools were collection boxes and cards where one inserted dimes.&nbsp; Soon 3,100 local chapters were formed to spearhead a tremendous grassroots effort to collect dimes (with FDR&rsquo;s face) at movie theaters, at schools, in little cans that popped up everywhere.&nbsp; Ordinary people were asked to contribute, since polio affected everyone.&nbsp; The millions raised from &ldquo;collecting dimes&rdquo; not only purchased iron lungs and lab equipment but directly funded doctors and scientists who researched and found the cure to polio.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">In 2008, 3 million people made 6.5 million donations online, totaling half a billion dollars, to the Obama Presidential campaign.&nbsp; The medium was email and early social networking.&nbsp; The impetus was the promise of &ldquo;change&rdquo; promoted via well-crafted emails.&nbsp; The tool was the recently streamlined online giving platform.&nbsp; Cutting edge, yet inexpensive online technology made it possible to not only collect donations, but also to respond back and carefully steward the donors, thereby building personal relationships with donors &ndash; at all levels.<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">In the week following the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti, the Red Cross raised over $100 million, in large part via $10 donations.&nbsp; The medium was ads to &ldquo;text to donate&rdquo; on TV and numerous online websites.&nbsp; The impetus was broadcasts of unspeakable devastation on all news media.&nbsp; The tool was the cellphone and the widespread use of text messages. Cell phones gave people of all ages and socio-economic brackets the opportunity to &ldquo;do something&rdquo; and feel as though they were able to help.&nbsp; And indeed, they did.<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal disease that affects two in 100,000 people in the US.&nbsp; It is relatively rare and many Americans don&rsquo;t know about it &ndash; unless you know someone who is stricken by this degenerative disease that comes with an average life expectancy of two to five years.&nbsp; Last month, Pete Frates, a 29 year-old athlete from Boston who has ALS, decided to &ldquo;do something&rdquo;, promise &ldquo;change&rdquo; and find a cure for his dreaded disease.&nbsp; Frates found a way to get everyone&rsquo;s attention, as we all know, by asking ordinary people to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads OR make a $100 donation to ALS research AND challenge some friends to do the same.&nbsp; The result &ndash; as of today is that $15.6 million has been raised in the last three weeks as compared to $1.8 million during the same period last year.&nbsp; Yes &ndash; people are dumping the ice AND making donations.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The medium is Facebook, for the most part, where over 1.2 million video challenges have been made.&nbsp; The impetus is Facebook where we can demonstrate to our friends that we are willing to be part of this deluge.&nbsp; The tool is Facebook along with the availability of the <a href=";jsessionid=05BF484AEA12976694E64382F0B81BBD.app276b?df_id=27420&amp;27420.donation=form1">online giving page</a> at <a href=""></a> where we can easily complete the second part of the challenge.&nbsp; Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg.<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">We have read a <a href="">few words from critics</a> who claim that the Ice Bucket Challenge is slacktivistic because people are spending more money on bags of ice than they are giving to ALS (not true) or the people making the videos don&rsquo;t even know what ALS is (they do now).&nbsp; In fact, the Ice Bucket Challenge is fundraising at its best. &nbsp;My congratulations to Pete Frates who has created a campaign that meets five of the most basic rules of fundraising:<o:p></o:p></p> <ol> <li><span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">&nbsp;</span>Your solicitor should be someone to whom it is impossible to say no<o:p></o:p></li> <li>Give your donor choices <o:p></o:p></li> <li>The &ldquo;ask&rdquo; is framed as an opportunity for your donor to feel good<o:p></o:p></li> <li>Remember that fundraising is not about your organization, it&rsquo;s about your donor<o:p></o:p></li> <li>Have a website that demonstrates the reliability of your cause - <a href=""></a><o:p></o:p></li> </ol> <p class="MsoNormal">This blog is dedicated to my dear friend, Peter Klein, who died on March 20, 2014, after a valiant battle with ALS. &nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/userfiles/image/Peter.jpg" width="150" height="168" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="bottom" alt="" /><o:p></o:p></p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 04:00:00 GMT Ruthellen S. Rubin, CFRE Who's the boss? <p><img src="/userfiles/image/images(1).jpg" width="259" height="194" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="right" alt="" />A burning question that Executive Directors often ask me is: &nbsp;&quot;Am I the boss or is our Board President the boss?&quot;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The answers to this and other questions relating to board governance are pretty easy. I review them, step by step, in frequent workshops and trainings. I often blog about several of these topics.&nbsp; <a href="">Here's a recent example on Greater Giving</a>. The challenge, however, is putting these sensibilities into practice. Evolution at the nonprofit board level can only happen with strong board leadership.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">For the purpose of this leadership discussion, I will focus on the Board President. The fact that (s)he has had many years serving on your board or other boards, or that (s)he is in a position of responsibility at work, does not necessarily mean (s)he will lead your board where it needs to go.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Strong board leaders spend an enormous amount of time and effort understanding the existing mission and prevailing strategic plan at your organization. The Board President should have total confidence in the Executive Director (ED) and view their mutual relationship as a fifty-fifty partnership. By modeling a respectful relationship with the ED, the President will set the tone for all of the board members. The ED and the entire organization benefit tremendously when this mutual trust exists.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Roles and responsibilities and the intricacies of the board/staff relationship should be clearly defined and agreed upon.&nbsp;Communication agreements as fundamental as specification of the ED's and the Board's annual goals are critical at the start of each year. And, although the ED is in charge of all elements of the program and the Board President oversees the planning and policies for the organization, it's important that each respects and invites the other's input in important considerations. Does it take a perfect world to achieve this partnership? Not really. Simply put, if you are considering taking an ED role and you question the potential for a partnership with the Board President, don't take the job. And, vice versa.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">As to the original question - Who's the boss? The ED is the boss of the office and all matters pertaining to the program and services delivered by the organization. The Board President is the boss of long range planning, policy, compliance with legal requirements and ensuring that the organization has the resources it needs to carry out the mission. It's kind of like asking who is the boss at home - the husband or the wife?&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 04:00:00 GMT Ruthellen S. Rubin, CFRE Learning from One Another <p><img src="/userfiles/image/learning 2.jpg" width="250" height="182" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="left" alt="" />The topic of professional development comes up every day in my work with clients. &nbsp;Many of the fundraising staff for whom I consult work in small shops with two or three professionals who raise money for their organizations. &nbsp;Their daily schedule is jam-packed meeting deadlines, goals and donors. &nbsp;The opportunities to get to know other fundraisers, to share what tools and strategies are working, are few and far between.</p> <p>When I meet with nonprofit clients, my first recommendation is usually for them to make time to interact with fundraising peers - whether it's their contemporaries at similar type organizarions or others who fundraise in their community. &nbsp;I advise them not to worry about these folks being competitors; fundraising is NOT a zero-sum game. &nbsp;In fact, the better our colleagues do at raising money, the better we all do.</p> <p>On April 17th, I'll be facilitating a half-day discussion at The Support Center in NYC on <a href="">Technology for Fundraising: &nbsp;Matching Today's Digital Resources with your Organization</a>. &nbsp;Join me and a like-minded group of your colleagues for a discussion of how fundraisers are integrating technology in their development strategy and learning how to make informed decisions when it comes to the latest tools. &nbsp;</p> <p>If in-person workshops like this are not available in your city, call up a few of your colleagues and go out for a beer. &nbsp;The more we collaborate and learn from one another the better it will be for our own work product, our organizations' ability to deliver programs and services and the community as a whole.</p> <p>For other professional development opportunities for fundraisers in New York City, visit <a href="">Support Center/Partnership in Philanthropy&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;and <a href="">New York University's Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 04:00:00 GMT Ruthellen S. Rubin, CFRE Learn to Love your Donor Database <p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: small;">I have had lots of discussions lately with development professionals who are considering migrating to new donor databases.&nbsp; Often, because: &nbsp;they never learned to use the one they have, their data is a mess, someone else chose the software and they inherited it, they don't know how to generate the reports their board members are requesting or because they lost the phone number for tech support.&nbsp; What a can of worms!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><img src="/userfiles/image/hugging computer.jpg" width="250" height="174" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="right" alt="" />Before you jump ship, do your homework to figure out exactly what functionality your organization needs and set real goals for the tasks you want to manage with your database.&nbsp; Next - get on the phone with tech support and find out if this can be achieved via your current database.&nbsp; Be prepared to spend time and money to get this right.&nbsp; It will be the best time and money you can spend from your development budget.&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">If you decide to investigate new software, read </span></span><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href=""><span style="font-family: Arial;">Idealware's latest consumer's guide to donor management systems</span></a></span><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">.&nbsp; <a href=""></a> is a phenomenal resource for all things having to do with nonprofit software.&nbsp; Then, get on the phone and call colleagues who are using the software you are considering. You will only learn the nitty gritty from someone who is using the system.</span></span><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">A new database will not cure messy data -- you will just be importing that mess into your new software. Face up to it and create a plan to clean it manually or develop and commit to a style sheet that will build a database of high integrity going forward.&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Nine times out of ten, the problem is not the current software but the lack of training to understand how the software can help build a sustainable fund development program.&nbsp; I'm looking forward to seeing what's new and what I can learn later this week &nbsp;at </span></span><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href=""><span style="font-family: Arial;">#14NTC</span></a></span><span style="font-size: smaller;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">.</span></span></span><o:p></o:p></span></p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 04:00:00 GMT Ruthellen S. Rubin, CFRE