All posts by Mark Zobel, PhD, CFRE

Director of Development, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Minneapolis, MN

mail box

Sharing is Not Always Caring: 3 Considerations for Donors’ Contact Information

For better or worse, nonprofit organizations can and do share their mailing lists with other organizations. The decision to share or not is one that should not be taken lightly, and there are at least three major considerations that need to be addressed.

empty chair

4 Ways to Avoid Being an Absentee Leader

The most destructive, and unfortunately the most common kind of bad leader, is the absentee leader. That is, one who is psychologically absent from the role, and who regularly fails to show up in the way that is needed by the team. Left unchecked, absentee leadership fosters high rates of job dissatisfaction, turnover, role ambiguity, even mental health concerns. Here are four concrete steps one can take to avoid this particular pitfall.

Money

The CFRE: Worthwhile or Not? (Part 2 of 2)

I applaud what CFRE International is trying to do, as I believe in accountability for fundraisers. I also believe in accountability for the certification process, and if the CFRE is to grow in its recognition as an industry standard, and be taken seriously, then it must introduce greater rigor into the process.

Money

The CFRE: Worthwhile or Not? (Part 1 of 2)

There has been a lot of discussion among fundraisers, both online and around the water cooler, about the CFRE credential, whether or not it has merit, whether it is credentialism run amok, or worse, a scam. While @CFREx’s comparison on Twitter of the CFRE to the sinking Titanic is a bit overblown, there are a number of reasoned critiques out there that do make some valid points.

4 Must-Dos to Handle Donor Information with Respect and Confidentiality

The sixth tenet of the Donor’s Bill of Rights says donors have the right “…to be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.” A failure to treat donors with respect and safeguard their information can be disastrous to the relationship. All philanthropy is based on trust, and once the trust is gone there is nothing left. Safeguarding donor information is not just the law, it is vital to the success of the organization.

books

How I GTD: My “Read Immediately List” for 2019

I once had a philosophy professor who spoke of his “read immediately list.” That is, a list of books he felt were so important that to die without reading them would be a tragedy. I too have a read immediately list and, like him, mine has grown beyond what I am likely to have time for, but what a glorious list it is. Of the eighteen books from that much larger list I have committed to for this year, here are five work-related titles that I look forward to in 2019.

pigs-at-the-trough

Don’t be Like Pigs at the Trough, Say “Thank You” To Donors

It ought to go without saying. When someone offers you something, and you accept it, you say, “thank you.” It’s just common sense, and yet it never ceases to amaze how uncommon common sense has become. Sadly, many nonprofits act like pigs at the proverbial trough, greedily snorting up all the resources donors put in front of them without ever acknowledging the generosity of their gifts.

Open Ledger

Keep Donors Informed: Open Up the Books

Donors cannot make informed decisions about how and where to give their money if they cannot get a sense of the financial health of an organization. Nonprofits that are on the up and up should have no trouble disclosing basic financial information.

Conference Table

Donor Rights and the Nonprofit Board

Donors can only evaluate an organization’s ability to operate ethically if they have reasonable access to information about who the leaders are, and their operational track record. For this reason, the Donor’s Bill of Rights calls for organizations to be open about the identities of their board members.

playing cards

Don’t Hide Your Hand From Your Donors

Donors have the right to know an organization’s mission, how it intends to use unrestricted funds, and whether or not it has the capability to follow through on its promises.

bag over head

Thou Shalt Not Kiss-Off Donor Intent

Alumni/Development work is always and everywhere about relationships. Relationships take time to build and are based on trust. Building trust by honoring donor intent might seem like good old-fashioned common sense. The problem is, common sense isn’t so common anymore.

bill-of-rights

A Guided Tour of the Donor’s Bill of Rights

Any philanthropy professional worth his or her salt is, or should be, on intimate terms with the Donor Bill of Rights. It outlines the backbone of trust, which lies at the heart of all philanthropy, and organizations who ignore these tenets do so at their peril.