Nimble Approaches, Grounded in Vision

After a year full of unknowns, quick pivots, and unanswered questions, many organizations are feeling the pressure to make thoughtful and informed changes to everything from service delivery models to stakeholder communication plans while staying true to their “north star” – the guiding vision that keeps them aligned with mission.

Continue reading

From Crisis to Innovation – What Comes Next?

Everything changed for nonprofit organizations in 2020, from the way philanthropy managed grantee selection, funding strategy, and reporting, down to trying to find a quiet enough room to host a 50-person Zoom call with your board and staff members. The challenges of this watershed year manifested differently for organizations of varying sizes and missions, but though we were all in different boats, it was certainly the same rough and unpredictable ocean.

Continue reading

Get to Know Fairmount Ventures: Chelsea Hicks, 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. Chelsea Hicks, Project Manager, joined the team pre-pandemic and has since been advising clients remotely and connecting with teammates via our virtual “hub”. Her experience and facility with organizational process, stakeholder engagement and communications, and finance advances a range of client strategic planning and executive search projects. Chelsea also plays a leadership role on Fairmount’s staff-led Social Justice Committee. She earned herB.A. in Economics from Swarthmore College. Continue reading

Campaign Readiness – Part 2: Putting Your Marathon Training Plan into Action

Fairmount recently shared our three steps to capital campaign readiness that are essential to any organization planning for this marathon fundraising journey: 1) a compelling vision, 2) ready leadership, and 3) ardent supporters. There are simple, yet impactful, things you can do now in each of these areas to get ready for launch. Focus on answering these three questions and your capital campaign plan is underway:  Continue reading

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