of the tower Wachovia once intended
as its headquarters, added another
$5-million to finish the campaign. Officials decided to rename the complex
the Levine Center for the Arts in honor of the couple’s timely donation.
Today the new museums are credited with reviving the south end of
Charlotte’s business district, which
previously drew crowds only when
hordes of beer-sloshing Carolina Panthers pro-football fans descended on
Now crowds of schoolchildren troop
into the new Mint Museum, which
houses American, contemporary, European, and craft art. The Gantt Center
plays host to jazz concerts and par-ties. And both tourists and Charlotte
natives love to stop and pose for pictures beside the Firebird, a whimsical 17-foot-tall bird sculpture outside
the Bechtler that’s covered in mirrored
and colored glass.
Mr. Bertges, who now works at Wells
Fargo, smiles with almost childlike joy
as he describes what he calls “the proj-
ect of a lifetime.” It wouldn’t have been
possible, he says, without the Arts &
“It’s the part of the puzzle that
makes it all work,” he says.
Ms. Bradberry calls the project’s
success a testament to the council’s
determined coalition-building and the
roll-up-your-sleeves civic pride Charlotte residents feel for their city.
“So much of that was about the spirit of this community,” she says. “It was
just such inspiring, altruistic philanthropy. I felt privileged to be a part of
10 Strategies for Fund Raising During the Recovery
CFRE Test Creates
Chance to Acquire
major gifts at the YMCA of Greater
Toronto, directing a four-person office.
“Few of us grew up thinking we
wanted to be professional fund raisers,
but we fell into the role,” she says.
Preparing for the test, she adds,
helped fill some of her knowledge gaps.
A requirement for continuing educa-
tion for recertification helps keep her
skills up-to-date. “It has been great to
watch the evolution of the profession,”
she says. “There is a body of knowl-
edge we know. It’s important for fund
raisers to have that.”
She’s expanding her staff this year
and plans to include a preference for
the CFRE credential in the job descrip-
Continued from Page F- 2
When Robin Hughes, chief executive
of Adobe Communities, nonprofit build-
ers of low-cost housing in Los Angeles,
“It shows a level of professional de-
velopment and indicates that the per-
son is staying abreast of what’s new in
the industry,” she says.
But when Ms. Hughes selected four
finalists, only one had a CFRE. Other
factors matter more, Ms. Hughes says,
including experience and references.
By Irwin Stoolmacher
ALTHOUGH the Great Recession officially ended a year and half ago, the nation’s nonprofits continue to struggle.
The bad economy means they must
continue to grapple with an astronomical increase in demand for their services and big changes in the fund-raising
As a result, nonprofits need to focus on the fund-raising and marketing
strategies that will help them survive
over the long haul.
First, nonprofit executives need to
understand the continued pressure for
every source of money and how long-lasting the problems will be.
Individuals. Millions upon millions
of Americans are facing difficult economic times for the first time in their
lives. While the nation’s unemployment rate has finally fallen below 10
percent, the underemployment rate
was running at 20 percent last year,
according to a Gallup poll.
Many of the newly needy used to volunteer at nonprofits. Today they are
clients. The combination of the newly
needy and the historic needy—the
chronically poor, the physically challenged, the mentally ill, those suffering from substance abuse—is severely
taxing the capacity of nonprofit organizations. Pantries are running out
of food in midmonth, and emergency
shelters in many sections of the country cannot meet the demand for services.
When people lose their jobs and see
their incomes drop sharply, they have
no choice but to limit their discretionary spending. When faced with a
choice among food, housing, and health
insurance, many people jettison their
Bequests and other planned gifts
to nonprofits have also been diminished by the economic downturn and
foreclosure crisis. Many families that
thought that they were in pretty good
shape and had planned to leave sizable
donations to charities in their wills
have had to rethink their plans.
Government. At every level, governments are buried in red ink.
To deal with the federal deficit, lawmakers will need to make broad cuts
in grant programs to nonprofits and to
entitlement programs that give benefits to everyone who qualifies, like
Medicare and Social Security. Because
that will still not be enough, taxes will
probably rise, and that will also affect the discretionary spending of all
To save government jobs, public-em-ployee labor unions will put pressure
on government to reduce contracts to
nonprofit organizations and for-profit
companies. Not only will nonprofits
see fewer government grants and contracts to provide health, human-care,
educational, social, and recreational
services but they will also receive far
fewer dollars donated by government
employees through payroll-deduction
Even so, thousands upon thousands
of additional government workers will
lose their jobs over the next decade as
governments at all levels trim costs.
These laid-off workers will further tax
an already tattered nonprofit social
Foundations. As a result of the eco-
nomic downturn, many foundations
saw the value of their portfolios plum-
met. Many of these foundations, like
leery investors, were reluctant to re-
enter the stock market aggressively.
Knowing more about the competition
should, however, help you find better ways to emphasize what is special
about your organization.
Actively and consistently promote your brand. Use newspapers,
magazines, radio, cable television, billboards, and online search engines to
get your message out. Nonprofits that
maintain their brand will be more
likely to keep donors loyal and attract
new donors in the highly competitive
new nonprofit landscape.
Concentrate on getting donors
to give more. Devote a considerable amount of energy to getting more
from people who already support your
group. Classify donors by categories
based on their interests, demographics, or whatever is relevant for your
group, and tailor approaches to different types of donors. Devise creative
ways to approach donors for additional support, such as challenge grants,
quarterly or monthly donations, and
Create a quality Web site and
update technology tools. A highly
professional Web site is no longer a
luxury for groups that want to attract
younger donors. Someone must be assigned to update the site very regularly—weekly is ideal. Offering your
donors the chance to receive a compact
version of your newsletter online and
to communicate with you and make
donations to you via the Internet is essential. With this in mind, you need a
strategy to obtain the e-mail addresses
of donors, volunteers, and others.
Embrace social media. Nonprofits need to get their messages out on
social networks such as Facebook and
Twitter, as well as on professional
networks such as LinkedIn, creative
sites like the photography-sharing site
Flickr, and sites that offer community
news, such as AOL’s Patch.
You also need to consider having a
presence on social-networking sites
that have sprung up to serve specific
racial or ethnic groups.
Not only can social media help non-profits reach out to new supporters
but they can also help an organization
quickly learn what donors think and
how to adapt.
Increase your presence on the
Internet. When someone is looking to
find out more about a cause, you want
your organization’s name to pop up.
Since 70 percent of searches are
done on Google, that needs to be a focus. Nonprofits can draw more Google
traffic by learning how to gain attention, an approach known as search-engine optimization. The specific formula Google and other search engines
use to decide which Web sites are listed first in search results is confidential, but many people know the basics.
To move your ranking up on a
search page, you will want to tailor
your Web site to satisfy as many of the
ranking criteria as feasible. Consultants can help, or someone on the staff
can learn this task.
None of the steps outlined here are
optional. Nonprofits that can’t revise,
retool, and reshape their fund-raising
efforts will not be able to survive in
the new nonprofit terrain.
Irwin Stoolmacher is the founder of a
New Jersey consulting group that bears