Standing Beside Alaska's Non-Profits

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By Debra E. Blum

More than one-third of American charities say they have collected fewer dollars so far this year than in 2007, nearly double the share that saw such declines last year, according to a new survey.

What’s more, almost half of the charities that say they rely heavily on end-of-year gifts expect donations to be down for the rest of the year, the survey found.

GuideStar, a Williamsburg, Va., nonprofit organization that makes data about charities available to the public, surveyed more than 2,700 nonprofit groups about their fund raising during the first nine months of 2008.


There’s no question that we are in the midst of uncertain economic conditions – both in Alaska and around the country.  To provide you with some perspectives, tips and other information, we compiled a few references from other sources you may find useful.

7 Fundraising Tips for Surviving 2008

The phone’s been ringing day and night as clients and colleagues attempt to figure out what do in a world that’s falling apart.  You already know the litany of economic and financial disasters, so no need for background.   The bottom-line question is: What’s the best course of action in this final, and generally most important quarter of the fundraising year. Read more...

A Survival Kit for Fundraising in a Bad Economy

A tumultuous economy can present unique challenges for nonprofit fundraising. Looking for ways to cope? AFP has compiled a toolkit of resources to advise and guide fundraisers in tough economic times.

“Donors have a lot on their minds these days as they sit down with their personal budgets,” explains Paulette Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “But despite the headlines about Wall Street and the financial markets, we as fundraisers should not lose sight of the fact that giving is a way for communities to pull together. While the economic forecasts are uncertain right now, what is quite certain is the capacity of people to lend a hand and support institutions of all kinds. We hope you’ll use AFP as a resource in garnering vital support for your organization in what may be a wild ride over the next few months.” Read More...

Survey Finds Large Majority Tightening Wallets, Reducing Gifts

More than 80 percent of respondents to a recent survey indicate they have become more concerned about their finances, leading half to either reduce their giving or stop giving altogether. Read more….

Give and Take: How Badly Will Charities Be Hurt by the Economic Fallout?

Scholars are predicting that nonprofit groups will not see a major drop in giving due to the economy’s troubles, but one seasoned philanthropy expert says she thinks they are flat out wrong, notes Give and Take, The Chronicle’s roundup of the best blog posts about the nonprofit world. Read more...

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

In response to the current economic crisis, the Senate and House of Representative have passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (PDF), a bill intended to stabilize the financial system and restore confidence in the economy. President Bush signed the bill shortly after passage. Read more...

Colliding Interests: The Wall Street Bailout and the U.S. Nonprofit Sector

A bailout package is ready to be voted on by Congress, but that doesn’t obviate the concerns of Nonprofit Quarterly readers who by and large believe that the bailout and the conditions that led to it reveal something fundamentally wrong about our society. The so-called Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) may even be necessary to jumpstart liquidity and credit in the financial sector, but it is for many a bitter pill to swallow. Read more...

Local nonprofits feeling effects of sluggish economy (

FAIRBANKS — High fuel prices and bleak global economic news have left Fairbanks as worried about money as any place.

Those factors put local nonprofits in a potentially worrisome position: squeezed between higher operating costs and a base of donors who might be less willing or able to give at a time of year when many nonprofits look to seasonal charity as a major revenue stream. Read more...

A call for shelter in the economic storm

The troubled economy causes me to think about blizzards. An ugly thought to Minnesotans trying to hang onto our beautiful fall.

But blizzards have their upside. I think of "snow days," when the entire neighborhood is either stuck or shoveling others out. Frustration and anger about having no control over the day give way to a desire to control what we can. Younger people help older people. Those with snowblowers help those with shovels. People check on home-bound neighbors. We look out for one another as we work together to overcome a shared predicament. And it feels good. Read More...

Have you found other useful tips or perspectives about these economic times for nonprofit organizations? Feel free to post them here in the comments.

As the economy continues to sputter, many charities expect that grants they had been getting from United Ways, corporate donors, and foundations will decline or disappear altogether in coming months.

But instead of complaining or wringing their hands about it, fund raisers should take a different tack, says Carol Weisman, a St. Louis consultant who advises charity boards on fund raising.

Read More ...

Listen to a speech by Seth Godin talking about how marketers for nonprofits need to change how they are doing things by using new media to "spread your ideas farther and wider with more impact than ever before."

Click to Listen.

Veteran Silicon Alley news guy and publisher of , Tom Watson has come out with one of the first books about social media for nonprofit organizations. CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World takes a look at the impact of social networks, blogs, podcasts and Web video on society.

As more and more organizations are looking toward new and more affordable ways of reaching constituents, understanding how to best use social media tools can be a barrier. While CaseWired is not a basic "how-to" book for the absolute beginner, it does outline examples of nonprofit organizations who have used social media tools to promote a cause and encourage activism.

Consider this book more of an overview of the thinking behind social media used for social causes, an introduction to some of the innovators, and commentary on what has transpired to date and what we might anticipate in the future. Also remember that any book about the Internet becomes outdated even before it hits the presses, however, Watson continues to blog and write about the topics he has brought up in the book including a blog on his book's page.


The combination of what the next generation expects and what it has access to will change the nature of philanthropy and giving and causes. It is often observed by fundraisers that the Baby Boomers heading toward retirement and asked to make contributions to causes expect two things: personal involvement and results. You can see that both in the explosion of 501(c)3-registered organizations and in foundations. The trend-watchers tell us that writing a check isn't good enough for many of today's major donors.

This is driving innovation in information sharing and communications. Sites promoting acts of generosity and kindness, such as Kiva , DonorsChoose , ChangingthePresent , Global Giving , Razoo , Social Actions, DoSomething , Karmadu,, FirstGiving , and , and the philanthropic efforts of social networks like Facebook , LinkedIn , Friendster , MySpace , and many others, are making the public adoption of causes part of the social-networking experience.

Buy the Book: CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World , Wiley (November 10, 2008)

Oct 24, 2008


By Philip Rucker

The Washington region's network of nonprofit groups is ill-prepared to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack, with a capacity to deal with just 5 percent of the likely need for food and shelter and with no comprehensive communication system to coordinate efforts, according to an emergency preparedness plan released yesterday.

Considered by its authors to be one of the first regional efforts to spell out a role for nonprofit organizations, the plan is a broad blueprint to fill gaps in the disaster readiness of the area's 4,000 human service groups. It calls on relief organizations to expand their mass care capacities, develop methods to care for pets, better manage volunteers and strengthen mental health services.

It also says relief organizations -- food pantries, health clinics, shelters, volunteer centers and others -- need to create a regional communications system, improve capacity for long-term recovery efforts and strengthen partnerships with other agencies, governments and businesses. The region's agencies have little capacity to meet the target of sheltering 300,000 people and feeding 715,000 set by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the plan.



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The Alaska Department of Revenue has certified 333 nonprofit organizations and all the campuses of the University of Alaska as eligible for the first contributions campaign offered as part of the PFD Charitable Contributions Program.  The list was released today by the Alaska Giving Coalition.

The United Way of Anchorage worked with the Department of Revenue to assure that organizations requesting to be listed met all legal requirements.  Each year of the three-year program, organizations will go through an application program to be included.

The list of qualifying organizations is available on The Foraker Group website.  Go to

he Foraker Group is pleased to help facilitate the Rasmuson Foundation 2008 Sabbatical Program.

Anchorage – This year executives from tribes and all nonprofit sectors will be eligible to apply for the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program that is designed to provide time away from the office for rest, personal renewal and professional growth. The postmark deadline for applications is Oct. 1, 2008. 

Those who hold the positions of CEO, president, executive director or tribal administrator can apply by downloading application materials from the Rasmuson Foundation website. In addition, anyone knowing a nonprofit or tribal leader that would benefit from a Sabbatical can nominate that person online at the website, and an application package will be mailed to their nominee.


The Foraker Certificate in Nonprofit Management program began this week.

It is a statewide program offered in partnership with the University of Alaska. This is a non-degree program offering 10.4 Continuing Education Units (CEU's).

The program is designed for Alaska nonprofit professionals in leadership positions who want to enhance their management skills and explore a full range of issues and best practices to use in their organizations.

To find out more, visit The Foraker Group web site. Information about the next session will be announced later in the year.

The Foraker Group Benefit Plan
The Foraker Group in cooperation with Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska (PBCBS) will provide an update on The Foraker Group Benefit Plan. This will be an excellent opportunity for Q and A. 

This is a free session but please sign up today.

Upcoming briefings:

Sept 5
10:00am - 11:00am
Anchorage, Camp Fire

Sept 8
11:00am - 12:00pm
Palmer, AT&T Sports Center

Sept 11
3:00pm - 4:00 pm
Anchorage, Camp Fire

Sept 12
9:00am - 10:00am
Fairbanks, Food Bank



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