“Imagine that you’re an entrepreneur running a chain of coffee bars and you want to raise capital to open up in new locations. You meet a potential investor, and he says, “I’d love to finance your business, but only the chai latte operation, not the coffee, and only to support drinks you sell in Cleveland next year.”

It might sound absurd, but this is the kind of thing that people running nonprofit organizations hear all the time. Whether they are providing housing or preschool or vocational training services, social organizations typically find their funding restricted to specific programs, locations and time frames. That doesn’t make it easy to grow.

That’s why even the best social organizations grow slowly compared with companies. As a result, very few nonprofits ever go national — and those that do take the better part of a century to get there.

While things are improving for nonprofits in this regard, the situation is nowhere near as efficient as it is in the business sector, where successful companies like FedEx, Home Depot or Google can raise the money they need to build national or global operations in a decade or two.

What if great social organizations could grow the way companies do? Could we solve our social problems more effectively if we improved the way we finance them? There are actually many modest-sized organizations that get impressive results, doing things like boosting academic achievement, preparing unemployed clients for good jobs, getting homeless people into supportive housing. If they were businesses, they would attract investment. As nonprofits, however, they are like Ferraris on a dirt track. What if we could figure out how to help high-performing organizations get on the highway? Could success become more the rule and less the exception?”

(For Ambitious Nonprofits, Capital to Grow by David Bornstein, The New York Times, June 27,2012)



Nonprofit Finance Fund® (NFF®) makes millions of dollars in loans to nonprofits and pushes for fundamental improvement in how money is given and used in the sector. Since 1980, they’ve worked to connect money to mission effectively so that nonprofits can keep doing what they do so well.

NFF envisions a world where capital and expertise come together to create a more just and vibrant society.

NFF unlocks the potential of mission-driven organizations through tailored investments, strategic advice and transformative ideas.

NFF’s strategy is to provide financial resources, in the form of loans, grants, and asset-building programs, in concert with management advice. NFF works directly and with funders to strengthen these organizations and the system by which they are funded.


NFF Philosophy

NFF Funder Services
Our three overlapping practice areas, Capital Access ServicesInnovative Practice Groups, and Research & Fact Finding, are inspired by our commitment to create a more stable nonprofit sector that’s better positioned to deliver on mission. Working with us, our funder clients are better able to:
  • Embrace a “whole enterprise” perspective in grantmaking, one that takes into account the viability of the organization and the role of the grant within it.
  • Ensure that grantees have access to all the kinds of capital they need for success and sustainability, including loans and other alternative resouces to complement grant dollars.
  • Incorporate a financial and economic context into grantmaking strategy.
  • Access knowledge of the social capital market and financial resource needs in a geography or subsector.



Times of crisis always expose our strengths and weaknesses — in all sectors and businesses. We rise to extraordinary challenges and falter in difficulties we’re unprepared to deal with. In our post-recession world, the still-growing demand for nonprofit services, depleting (or nonexistent) reserves, and funding cuts have sharpened the picture of our sector’s strengths and weaknesses. To rise above constantly changing economic conditions and maximize the social impact of money, we need to come up with innovative and flexible strategies to survive and thrive– right now and in the future. This is where NFF can help.







Is there a better day than Valentine’s Day for organizations to ask donors to show their love for a cause?  Nonprofit communicators can do well by using key calendar dates like VDay to spark a creative fundraising appeal or advocacy event. (The Lightbox Collaborative’s excellent 2011 Editorial Calendar is a fabulous resource on this).

I love these superb online fundraising campaigns that sweep donors off their feet with appealing graphics and clever copy:

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, dedicated to preserving the city’s parks system, asks donors to ditch the cut flowers this year and instead fund the planting of daffodils or a small native tree in the parks.

The big-hearted organizers of the annual St Valentines Day Hair Massacure in Alberta, Canada have raised over $4 million for cancer research since 2002– all by cutting off the hair of their supporters!  How’s this for a stunning graphic?

St Valentine's Day fundraiser: Hair Massacure

The Nature Conservancy sent out this lovely Valentine’s email this week:

Nature Conservancy Valentine's Day fundraising email
The Mercy Corps Valentine’s Day home page appeals to romantics and curmudgeons alike:
SOS Children’s Villages scores high on the “cute meter” with this Valentine’s donor appeal:
And one more from Latino Community Services in Hartford, Connecticut: With this email campaign, they ask donors to make an online donation, and LCS will post their special message on the LCS website.
Latino Community Services

It can be said that nonprofit organizations are based upon the idea of philanthropy, in the sense of caring for, nourishing, improving, and enhancing the quality of life for human beings. But who funds these organizations? Who cares to be a part of and continue the work of an organization that does not make profit in such a money-driven world?

Stats people

A report on wealthy Next Generation donors from 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy seeks to answer these questions. On something no one has researched in depth in the past, we can only wonder about the hands we are leaving our world’s future in, and what they will do for it. Two generational cohorts examined in this report were divided as follows: “Gen X” (born 1964-1980) and “Gen Y/Millennial” (born 1981-2000). These cohorts were found to have an unprecedented amount of wealth and will wield more philanthropic power than any previous generations. Why?

This study listened to members of the two cohorts with ages ranging from 21-40. A national online survey (310 total responses) and in-depth interviews (30 totals) revealed what makes this generation so powerful. The Key Findings were divided into four categories:

  • Driven by Values, Not Valuables: What separates this generation a part from the past, is that many of these next gen donors come from families with wealth and resources, rather than families struggling through world wars and great economic depressions. The members of these generations are also experiencing a world that has more rapid social change than ever before. Rather than taking their privileges and legacy for granted, these people learned from their parents and grandparents and the hardships their elders faced to give them easier lives. “They are mindful of the privilege they have inherited or that comes with the wealth they are creating.” These people seek ways to honor their family legacy while assessing the daily resources they need. They fund causes that support their own values as well as those of their families. They want to give as their families have, but they also want to make sweeping advancements in new manners within this changing world. 

ValuesVS  valuables

  • Impact First: They intend to change how decisions are made and how research and due diligence are conducted, utilizing multiple sources for information and all of the “tools in the toolbox,” as one of them describes it. They see previous generations as more motivated by a desire for recognition or social requirements, while they see themselves as focused on impact, first and foremost. They want impact they can see, and they want to know that their own involvement has contributed to that impact. They want to use any necessary strategies, assets, and tools – new or old – for greater impact.


  • Time, Talent, Treasure, and Ties: These next gen donors don’t just want to give a little here and there, they want to go “all in”.  “Giving without significant, hands-on engagement feels to them like a hollow investment with little assurance of impact. They want to develop close relationships with the organizations or causes they support; they want to listen and offer their own professional or personal talents, all in order to solve problems together with those whom they support. They have grown up volunteering, and they still want to offer their time, but in more meaningful ways, not just holding a seat on a gala organizing committee.” In these times where social media is thriving and very few people do not have smart phones, the next gen donors are more highly networked with peers than ever before. They learn from their peers while sharing their own ideas, which can be done in a matter of minutes in the cyber world. These donors believe that collaboration makes them all better and extends their impact to places they could not reach alone. 



  • Crafting Their Philanthropic Identities: As much as they discuss what and how they think about philanthropy and what they definitely want to do when they take over, these next gen major donors are still figuring out who they will be as donors. They learn most from seeing and doing, or even hearing from others about their own authentic experiences of seeing and doing. Rather than waiting until the sunset of their lives to decide who they are as philanthropists and what legacies they want to leave, these next gen major donors actively craft their identities now and actively think about their own legacies.


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So…what’s next? No one can be sure, but with people like this who care so much, we can feel assured that the future will be bright.



You can visit http://www.nextgendonors.org to learn more about this research.



Project HOPE

“Project HOPE has worked to make health care available for people around the globe. We are committed to long-term sustainable health care. Our work includes educating health professionals and community health workers, strengthening health facilities, fighting diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS and diabetes and providing humanitarian assistance through donated medicines, medical supplies and volunteer medical help.”

Get Involved Project HOPE

Volunteer Efforts:

Project HOPE operates within more than 35 countries and has a unique partnership with the U.S. Navy where medical volunteers are on board U.S. Navy ships and travel around the world to provide medical assistance, health education programs, vaccinations, and humanitarian assistance.


Healt-Education Project HOPE

Health Care Education:

Project HOPE uses Health Care Education to train health field staff and give them the skills and expertise necessary to operate the hospitals, clinics and community health programs in the regions that the organization works in. These programs focus on areas including primary care, reproductive health, and maternal and children’s health for community health promoters while also establishing tertiary care postgraduate medical programs such as nursing and health professional continuing education.


Hum Aid Project HOPE

Humanitarian Aid:

Project HOPE strives to provide emergency assistance during disasters and to strengthen the educational programs and facilities with medical products. During disaster emergencies, Project HOPE endeavors to create a long-term access to vital medicines and supplies.


You can hear more about Project HOPE in this article from the Huffington Post, or you can visit their website http://www.projecthope.org


Mission: Rock and Wrap It Up! is an anti-poverty think tank. Using greening tactics, we recover food and other assets to agencies fighting poverty, increasing their operating budgets. This allows the agencies to hire more services such as tutors, social workers, job placement counselors and mental health counselors to attack the root cause of poverty.

The Rock and Wrap It Up! Program boxes up all prepared but untouched meals following rock concerts, sporting events and schools then delivers them to local food banks and charitable agencies. Rock and Wrap It Up! also collects and distributes toiletries and cleaning products from hotels, schools and other participating donors. Since its inception in 1991, Rock and Wrap It Up has: Donated to over 43,000 shelters and places of need Collaborated with 60 sports franchises, 150 bands, and 200 schools Collected more than 250 million pounds of food Fed more than 500 million people

Rock and Wrap It Up wrote and helped pass the Federal Food Donation Act which encourages all federal buildings to feed the poor and not put food into land fill. We reduce the planet’s poverty footprint by reducing society’s carbon footprint.

There are six sectors that Rock and Wrap It Up! work in which include Sports, Music, Education, Hotels, Entertainment: Film & TV, and Advocacy. Rock and Wrap It Up! partners with teams, bands, schools, businesses, etc. and make arrangements and create programs to have the participants and members of these groups find ways to gather leftover prepared but unserved food that can be donated.


If you would like to learn more about the programs and partners, or would like to learn about how to donate or volunteer you can visit http://www.rockandwrapitup.org



  • The average person encounters 100 chemicals before breakfast.
  • We absorb 60% of the substances we put on our skin.
  • 7 million children have died due to disease that could have been prevented with proper hygiene since 2009.
  • Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together account for 3.5 million child deaths annually. UNICEF. Soap, Toilets & Taps
  • 1.4 million deaths can be prevented each year by handwashing with soap


“Each year, an estimated 2.4 million children die from hygiene and sanitation related illnesses.  The Global Soap Project is working to prevent those deaths and improve global health by recycling used hotel soap and turning it into new bars that are distributed to vulnerable populations around the world.  We work with organizations that have existing operations in these communities to ensure the soap is distributed to those in need, and to ensure that proper hygiene education is provided in addition to the soap.  Our goal is to ensure our impact is sustained, so we work with our partners to create both short-term and long-term positive outcomes.

With 4.6-million hotel/motel rooms in the United States, an estimated 2.6-million soap bars are discarded every day. By participating in our program, hoteliers are diverting tons of waste from the landfill and bolstering environmental sustainability programs. Hotel managers, housekeepers and guests become more environmentally conscious and more sensitive to the needs of vulnerable populations.” -GSP


Currently the Global Soap Project works in 28 countries around the world.



North America

Central America

South America


The Global Soap Project welcomes support from everyone, however, they cannot accept individual soap donations due to the fact that they need large quantities of identical soaps to make the large batches with similar perfumes and consistencies. If you want to get involved you can volunteer  at their soap making factory in Atlanta, GA or donate to their cause. To learn more or contact the organization you can visit: http://www.globalsoap.org.

Just yesterday in Madison Square Garden, a relief concert was held to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy. It is reported that over $30 million has been raised and will go to the Robin Hood Fund. Performances included Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Adam Sandler and many more.


“When are you going to learn,” comic and New Jersey native Jon Stewart said. “You can throw anything at us – terrorists, hurricanes. You can take away our giant sodas. It doesn’t matter. We’re coming back stronger every time.” -Huffington Post

You can take a look at this video to see some footage from the performers and concert.

Kiva Logo


Microfinance is a financial service to low-income individuals or to those that do not have typical banking service to provide them with small loans. It is based on the idea that these individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty with a little help and support.

“We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. ” -Kiva.org

How Kiva Works, Simplified
1. The borrower meets with a Field Partner and asks for a loan
2. The Field Partner disburses a loan
3. The field Partner uploads the loan request to Kiva and it is reviewed, then published on Kiva.org
4. Kiva lends the loan request and sends the funds to the Field Partner
5. The borrower makes repayments and the Field Partner sends funds owe to Kiva. Kiva repays the lenders.
6. The Lenders can make another loan, donate to Kiva, or withdraw the money to their PayPal account

“70% of all lenders choose to make another loan!”

As of now, the total amount of money that has been lent through Kiva is over $350 Million. There are over a million Kiva users, and Kiva Field Partners are located in 66 countries around the world.


To learn more about Kiva you can visit http://www.Kiva.org

In recent presidential debates, the topic of unemployment came up quite a bit and for good reason. However, is the task of creating jobs limited to the public and private sector? What about the nonprofit sector? A Nonprofit is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals and missions rather than using revenues for profits or dividends. Nonprofits usually have goals that are oriented towards public service and the well-being of a specific cause. But can organizations that do not make profits be sustainable? The answer thus far has been yes, to date there are roughly 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. If you’re unsure if you know about any nonprofits, I can assure you that you know at least one. Well-known nonprofits include Habitat for Humanity, Girls Scouts, Amnesty International, the NRA, and Red Cross.

According to CNN, the nonprofit sector employs about 1 in 10 Americans and has become the third largest labor force behind retail trade and manufacturing. In the past decade, the nonprofit sector has grown at an average rate of 2% while the for-profit sector has shrunk by about 0.6%. Some reasons for this may be that nonprofits are resilient, but also that unlike for profit organizations, nonprofits can be more flexible and also sustain some type of government funding. Nonprofits are great for all types of people with varying skills because like any other big corporation, nonprofits need managers, human resource professionals, graphic designers, educators, social workers, grant writers, volunteers, accountants, and many more positions, and more times than not nonprofits are looking for dedication and passion. With this variety of job positions, it is no wonder that nonprofits are able to employ so many people. A study conducted by John Hopkins University concluded that the reason why nonprofits have registered a higher employment rate is because these organizations are active in a variety of fields; this sector encompasses all fields ranging from health to education to the environment.

The lingering questions then must be, how do employees get paid? It is true that nonprofits don’t earn any money at the end of a fiscal year, but this is because this money is spent on the organization’s programs as well as its employees. Nonprofits gain funding in many ways such as federal and local grants, donations, foundation funding, fundraising events, and in some cases nonprofits create and sell a product such as the Livestrong bracelets. So if you are currently seeking employment, or know someone who is, maybe consider the endless list of nonprofits in the United States today. You can both gain networking, experience, skills you may not have considered before, and most important something you are happy to dedicate yourself to.

(MFAN) In an attempt to address the age-old deficiencies in the US government’s record of foreign aid, Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) has called on his fellow representatives to look past their political differences to rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Berman, who is a Ranking Member in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, revealed such sentiments in a post to the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network blog on July 25.

“In this tight budget environment, one thing that can unite Democrats and Republicans is a commitment to make our foreign assistance programs more efficient and more effective” he notes in the entry.  “We may have differing views on how much aid to provide and to which countries, but we should all agree to deliver aid in a way that reaches the intended beneficiaries and achieves its desired objectives,” he continues. While Berman admits that certain steps to improve the system have taken place including President Obama’s recent issuance of the Policy Directive on Global Development and the implementation of the Administrator Shah’s “USAID Forward” reform agenda, he emphasizes that the current act is outdated and unfitting for the country’s current political situation.

Berman explains, “It’s an architecture developed during the Cold War to address the problems of the 20th century. Furthermore, “All too often, new laws have been written to circumvent it entirely, exacerbating the problems of fragmentation, duplication, and lack of coordination.”

In light of this, the Congressman revealed in the post that he plans to release a discussion draft of his rewrite in September that should serve as a catalyst for change to the Act. “Although foreign assistance accounts for less than 1 percent of our national budget, we must insist that every penny is used wisely,” he concludes.

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