Campaign Readiness: Your Marathon Training Plan

Is there a capital campaign on the horizon for you? Maybe it’s a year away, maybe five years. Either way, today’s the day to start getting ready.

Campaigns aren’t business as usual: they’re an all-hands-on-deck effort to raise a lot of money in a specific period of time. Even the strongest organizations need to up their game. In Fairmount’s experience, three key elements need to be in place, preferably before a campaign starts, in order to be successful: Continue reading

Get to Know Fairmount Ventures: Rae Pagliarulo, Project Manager

This fall, Fairmount’s introducing readers to the newer members of our team, who’ve arguably made the most adaptive shifts to consulting in abnormal times this year. Rae Pagliarulo, Project Manager, has quickly established herself as a “word wizard” among clients for her swift, skillful, and highly strategic messaging in all forms of grant proposals and donor communications. Rae also plays a leadership role on Fairmount’s staff-led Social Justice Committee. She earned herB.A. in Liberal Arts from West Chester University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. Continue reading

Get to Know Fairmount Ventures: Jenny Rubin, Associate

Fairmount’s recurring spotlight on our expert team of consultants is back from hiatus! This fall, we’ll be introducing readers to staff engaged in the past year, who’ve arguably made the most adaptive shifts to consulting in abnormal times. Jennifer Rubin, Associate, supports community-based and institutional clients through her superior research, writing, and organizational skills, bringing a consultant’s sense of deep curiosity to every engagement. Jenny also models her commitment to equity as a member of Fairmount’s staff-led Social Justice Committee. She earned her B.A. in International Development and Social Change and an M.A. in Community Development and Planning from Clark University. Continue reading

Merging for Mission: Is it Time?

We usually look askance when someone suggests that the nonprofit sector should function more like the for-profit world, but that doesn’t mean we cannot learn from it. In the for-profit sector, growth through merger or acquisition is one option among several routinely considered in a strategic planning process. Doing so is pro forma. Many companies work towards getting acquired as a means to expand their reach, gain access to needed investment for infrastructure, or attract and retain top talent. Others keep it on the table as a foil to test internal growth options. Yet, nonprofit organizations typically consider merger as a last resort, often only in face of impending financial collapse. To be ‘acquired’ is deemed tantamount to failure in the nonprofit sector.

Why the difference? Continue reading

Black Philanthropy Month: Let’s Get Back to Work 

Throughout the month of August, you may have seen articles, blog posts, and interviews in honor of Black Philanthropy Month, a global effort to elevate and celebrate Black and African-descent giving. As so much of our work at Fairmount Ventures is rooted in navigating and leveraging philanthropy to strengthen and support the missions of our clients – hundreds of incredible nonprofit organizations spanning the Greater Philadelphia region – these resources have sparked essential conversations about how we operate internally, and how we approach our work.  Continue reading

Big Challenges Need to be Met with Big Ideas

Fairmount Ventures has been reaching out to nonprofit leaders over the past few months to learn how they are responding to the COVID crisis in order to glean lessons learned to inform the sector. Here’s what we’ve found: leaders who were savvy and forward-thinking before the crisis are bringing that same idea-generation approach to the world they are navigating today. While every organization faces its own amalgam of internal circumstances and external challenges, our team has identified some useful approaches worthy of closer examination.    Continue reading

Standing in Solidarity

The current moment begs a difficult question: not, “What are our values?” but, “How do we turn our values into action?” 

We like so many others, are realizing – the path to justice is paved with good intentions. We may mean well, but we have to do better.

We stand with those who demand justice for Black lives; those who protest the complex systems of oppression that define our society; those who have suffered at the hands of police brutality and white supremacy; those who work tirelessly to connect communities and support our city’s most vulnerable.
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Individual Giving: The Path Forward in 2020

Recently, celebrities and the ultra-rich have been grabbing headlines through pandemic-inspired philanthropic action – from Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter and Square, announcing plans to donate $1 billion to coronavirus relief efforts, to Kynetic executive chairman and Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin launching the “All In Challenge,” an online fundraising auction leveraging star power in the sports, business, and entertainment sectors to provide food to those in need.

While Rubin is busy securing once-in-a-lifetime celebrity experiences for online bidding from donors like Kevin Hart, Peyton Manning, and Drake, what about the everyday donors, volunteers, and philanthropists who power our local nonprofits and charities?  How are the COVID-19 and unfolding economic crises affecting individual giving now, and likely for the foreseeable future?

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Fundraising in Uncertain Times

Fairmount Ventures is committed to supporting our constituents and clients as the world now navigates uncharted territory. We’re keeping our human and furry loved ones close, sharing Zoom pro tips and backgrounds, and working remotely with clients to develop rapid response outreach to their supporters in this moment of urgency and need. In short, we’re digging deep within our 28 years of firm experience and collective expertise to help Philadelphia-area nonprofits navigate the short, medium, and long-term. Here’s some of what we observe, and advise, on what nonprofits need to know this week:

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Priceless: Activating Volunteers to be Committed Fundraisers

The world changes; opportunities arise; internal needs shift. Effective nonprofit leaders know to redeploy their team, recruit people with specific capabilities, and sometimes – reluctantly – lay off staff whose skills no longer align with what is needed in order to make room for others whose do. Staff have job descriptions, are organized to maximize their talents, and are evaluated to assess and enhance performance. And yet – when it comes to utilizing volunteers in major fundraising efforts, how frequently are these same axiomatic management principles deployed? Continue reading