Fairmount InSights

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway once penned a 6-word short story and judged it to be his best work. Although this post in the Stanford Social Innovation Review isn’t actually channeling the literary giant and Nobel Prize winner, they share a similar spirit of brevity and clarity. MORE


Corporations are giving back at an all-time high. Last year’s cash and in-kind donations topped $18 billion (says the Giving USA Annual Report that tracks charitable giving). That’s up 10% from 2010, compared to the slower 2% increase you see from individuals.

Why do corporations go against their inherent money(image) -making nature and invest in these [costly] charitable engagements? Is it really giving back? Does this mean they might actually be…altruistic?  MORE


After our exciting engagement with last year’s selected organizations, PhilaSoup and African Family Health Organization (AFAHO), Fairmount is thrilled to announce the second round of its Fairmount4Free (F4F) initiative. Once again we’re seeking to support a small, innovative nonprofit organization (budget less than $250,000) that benefits the Greater Philadelphia region, by providing strategic consulting services in the areas of: strategic alignment, programmatic assessment, or resource development on a pro bono basis. Fairmount4Free offers an opportunity for our own junior Associates to hone their skills, and for Fairmount as a whole to give back to our community. MORE


As we gear up for a second round of our Fairmount4Free pro bono initiative – stay tuned for an announcement this summer! – it’s important to look back on what we accomplished the first time around. For those not in the know, we launched Fairmount4Free as our very first pro bono initiative last summer, which offers $10,000 of free consulting services to smaller nonprofits in the area doing exciting work. The response was amazing (and even inspired us to expand pro bono support to the many new nonprofit leaders in our city through the PHL NExT initiative). After much deliberation we selected PhilaSoup, an education-focused microgrant dinner that awards funding to exciting classroom projects, as one of our inaugural awardees. MORE

Don Kligerman

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?

Check her out.

Nicole Meyenberg

Yesterday’s mail included a nice surprise underneath the bills: a one-pound box of dark truffles. There were about 30 truffles  – old favorites to savor and new flavors to test. The project you’re trying to pitch to a funder is just one truffle in the box.



Part of what makes data collection and evaluation so challenging is that it’s not always clear what the most useful data to capture actually is. Last time, I talked about how an organization might determine what the most useful data is for evaluating performance of volunteers. It’s not as easy as it seems. MORE