The power of the ordinary

What is the meaning of a Marathon? 30,000 people of all ages, sizes, colors, and shapes standing on the Parkway in the near dark on an early Sunday, November morning. Total strangers in common bond as far as the eye can see. So what? Continue reading

Papa don’t preach

I heard Toni Morrison speak at last night’s opening of the First Person Arts Festival. She compared the relationship between a novel’s character and the reader to the call and response in an African-American church. It’s a conversation. Continue reading

Lessons from Punk Rock

Punk rocker Amanda Palmer makes the point that by asking her audience for their support she creates an exchange that builds community and gives her listeners the opportunity to participate in something of meaning to them. Compare this to selling a product, a purely financial exchange. Her music is  free to anyone to download, while she asks her fans to pay what they want. The result is far more money than she would have raised through sales and a stronger connection and sense of trust between her and her audience. She also makes the point how vulnerable it feels to ask, but how gratifying it is to both parties to establish the resulting relationship.

Lessons learned for nonprofit fundraising?

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Looking Forward

In February, Fairmount Ventures quietly celebrated a milestone: we turned 20 years old. In sentimental moments when no one else was around we’ve had occasion to cast our minds back to what things were like for nonprofits in the ‘90s, who our clients were, our old addresses on Walnut and Chestnut Streets, and the fact that we had one email address and a staff person who had to read, print and distribute each message to its intended recipient.  Tiny phones that fit in your pocket? Really? Continue reading