Essay Archives

5 anti-ableist practices that any organization can embrace now!

As an Autistic woman and as a fundraiser who has worked at a disability-focused nonprofit for almost 10 years, one of the first things I’m asked when I talk about my identity or the work that I do is, “Have you heard of [X nonprofit]? They work with people with disabilities.”

Nine times out of ten I find myself fighting the desire to transparently respond with, “I know a lot about them. PLEASE DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY, and this is why …”

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Always give a cost of living increase — yes, especially after 2020

Usually at the end of any given year, all throughout Facebook Nonprofit Group Land, white, cisgender, heterosexual, abled women in HR and director positions start numerous posts asking different variations of, “What end of the year gift should we be giving our employees to show our appreciation for their work?”

And the answer is always the same, from me, anyway — a raise or a bonus. Please don’t give people desk organizers (supplies should be provided by workplaces, not given as gifts) or gift cards to “nice” (read: expensive) restaurants.

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CCF’s top 10 accomplishments of 2020

In mid-July this year, the Community-Centric Fundraising movement was launched. Some people thought it was ridiculous to launch a movement in the middle of a double pandemic — and normally they would be right!

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CCF 2020 rewind: All of the stories, essays, and performances!

When Community-Centric Fundraising launched in July, we had no concept of what our hub would look like in December 2020. We had no idea we would be so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such passionate, and intelligent folx — and we didn’t fully understand the kind of talent that exists in our sector.

Here’s an anthology of everything that was published in 2020, organized by theme (and in order of date they were first published).

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7 must-do activities in order to actualize a practice centered around community-centric fundraising

Over the summer of 2015, I found myself at a crossroads in my career. I was on maternity leave with my daughter and home with my 4-year-old son. It was during this personal transition period that my business, Gladiator Consulting, was born.

I wanted to find a way to infuse my personal commitment to racial justice and equity into my new role as a nonprofit consultant. I knew my point of view and skills could help justice-oriented organizations reach their full potential through fund development. I quickly found my niche working with grassroots and grasstops organizations in the start-up or initial capacity-building phase of their lifecycle.

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The lies year-end fundraising told you (and 5 ways to care for yourself this time of year)!

Fundraiser, tell me, have you smiled today? With so much to accomplish in the final few weeks of the year, I am willing to bet your self-care has gone out the window. For those of us who may feel battered and bruised due to the repeated blows 2020 dealt, the pressure of year-end fundraising can take our exhaustion and stress to new heights. We have volunteers to thank, dollars to raise, and donations to process.

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Ho ho holy silent dark night of the soul: On Christian foundations and how they maintain power through wealth distribution

I might as well start this essay about Christian foundations with a confession: I am pretty darn uncomfortable working as a fundraiser at religiously-affiliated nonprofit.

For most of my 20+-year career in nonprofits, I have been a violence-prevention educator, mostly for a private, rural, feminist organization. I spent years facilitating groups and trainings about the dynamics of domestic violence and intersectional oppression in order to prevent interpersonal harm and public bullying.

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5 data-driven ways to bridge the culture gap between staff and board

Have you ever felt disconnected from your board? Maybe over that fall campaign planning? Or the end of year appeals? Or general COVID fundraising practices?

I think we all know the answer already. Yet, as a consultant, sometimes I eagerly await to work for those Nonprofits that have a balanced alignment with their Board. For most of my clients this year, there’s been such a need to deliberately use available research tools to bridge the gap between staff and the board.

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If we’re fighting for our futures, then why do I feel so tired and judged right now?

By letting go of the belief that I am not valuable to my communities unless I extract every ounce of myself for others’ benefit, I have let go of the compulsion to push myself to the point of physical and psychological collapse. This month, I’ve been watching the sunrise. From my east-facing window, I’ve observed vibrant red and orange fan out from the horizon, lighting clouds from below. I’ve never been an early riser. But something has shifted in me in the past few years.

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