News

Pillars of Impact: Need, Outcomes, Scale & Revenue

Modern media is full of articles, blogs, research papers and enthusiastic descriptions of new ways of engaging in philanthropy. Often described as ‘social impact investing’ or ‘social venture capital’ the focus has moved from individual or foundation philanthropy to groups of entrepreneurs making a collective investment in a cause, sometimes expecting a return on that investment. Much of this change in perspective comes from young, successful business entrepreneurs entering the philanthropic space and bringing with them the governing principles and language used by successful startups. (more…)

Are we doing our homework?

America is the most generous nation in the world, with nearly 1 million charities receiving public support. A few key motivators prompt our giving—our personal experience with an organization, a bricks and mortar presence, and the belief the organization will endure for the long term. Americans are the most generous to their churches, universities and hospitals, with 62% of annual giving to religion and education alone.

But what about all the other needs? And the worthy new initiatives? How do we make informed choices and ensure our giving is meaningful, effective and truly impactful? (more…)

Sometimes Charity Begins at Home

Whenever we sit down to visit with new clients about the most important things for them to pass down to the following generations, we hear about values, faith, family stories and life lessons. Occasionally we hear about a personal possession with a strong emotional value. Inevitably it takes a while to come around to financial assets and real estate.

What is money for?
How do you view your wealth?
What is your obligation to the younger generation, and to the world at large?
Top of mind for many of Rodman & Associates’ clients is “how do we raise charitable offspring”? (more…)

Social Impact Investing Explained

For decades, the primary tool available to philanthropists were cash gifts and grants to nonprofit organizations. In the ‘60s that began to change as forward thinking organizations started offering low-interest loans to create low-income housing.  Today philanthropists employ multiple tools to harness the power of capital markets and spur societal change:

  • Debt offerings such as bonds to improve municipal water systems
  • Microfinance
  • Deposits with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and
  • Mission Related Investments, such as investing in new diagnostic technology to improve health outcomes.

These examples illustrate (more…)

10 Big Hearts = 1 Tiny Home

The story of the newest residence in Community First! Village started with a group of 10 retired guys who played golf a couple of times a week. Their wives became friends and the group began to socialize, starting a dinner club and even traveling together.

One couple, Skip Helms and his wife Connie, belonged to Lake Hills Church, a congregation providing volunteer services for Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a program that delivers dignity, opportunity and healthy meals to disabled or homeless citizens. This led the couple to Community First! Village, (more…)

From Overalls to Black Tie…building a better board

We field more questions from colleagues about the role of a nonprofit Board than just about anything else. The answer is always, “it depends”.

As a nonprofit organization matures, a healthy Board will grow right along with it. For an organization to be sustainable over the long-term current leaders must face up to the realities of what it will take to successfully lead the organization in the future.  A board member who is valuable at the early stage of development may not have the appropriate skills necessary to be an effective board member of a fully developed organization, and vice versa.

We’d like to share this very visual description of the life stages of board development—From Overalls to Black Tie. (more…)

Purpose beyond Profits

Many long-running cause marketing campaigns ceased to exist this year. Lee’s Denim Day, Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives and Campbell’s Labels for Education to name just a few.

So what’s going on? Could this be the death knell for Cause Marketing?

At Rodman & Associates, we think not.  Companies–and their consumers–have become more sophisticated, and they are demanding more from Cause Marketing campaigns.  The evolving trend is for corporations to define and create a unique program that reflects the core DNA of the business itself.

Outstanding examples include: (more…)

Why your social media is foundering

Traditional corporate marketing goals include increased sales and revenue whereas nonprofit marketing goals often consist of educating, inspiring and motivating. Although each have different objectives, the tactics used are not that different.

In order to reach our customers and constituents we have to go where they are. We can probably agree that snail mail, trade shows and printed flyers do not cut it anymore. Americans spend their free time on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In order to reach them successful marketers must be there as well.

HubSpot surveyed over 9,000 small-to-medium-sized nonprofits about how they are using social media. At times the results were alarming.

• Half of nonprofits spend 2 hours or less per week on social media marketing (while half of for profit businesses spend at least 6 hours per week).

• Tracking social media accounts of donors is a rare practice.

• Most nonprofits do not have a documented social media strategy. (more…)

Made in the USA

The word “innovative” is so overused we tend to gloss over it. Yet recently I’ve taken notice of a young nonprofit, Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC), whose earned-income focus and smart capitalization of key markets is creative and effective enough that we might actually apply “the i word” to their programs. (more…)