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One of the latest social media trends is sharing selfies - a picture you take (usually) of yourself. The Oxford Dictionary named "selfie" as word of the year for 2013 and this year the word was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Love or hate the trend, selfies aren't going away anytime soon.

When Ellen DeGeneres took that famous selfie at the Oscar Awards last March, nonprofits sat up and noticed when it resulted in $3 million in donations from product sponsor Samsung. Since then, supporters and nonprofits have come up with some creative ways to leverage the selfie moment while it's hot. 

The #nomakeupselfie viral trend raised ₤2 million via text donations within 48 hours for Cancer Research UK. Even more extraordinary is that the organization didn't start it. When author Laura Lippman tweeted a photo of her face au naturel in response to criticism about actress Kim Novak's looks, another person added a donation link in their retweet and it snowballed from there.


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A man is walking along the road wearing only one boot. "Did you lose a boot?" a passerby asks sympathetically. "No, I found one," the man answers happily.

— from Tiny Revolutions in Russia


Some years ago I was the new person in a development position and it wasn't long before I realized that the board was not very involved with or invested in fundraising. Some were quite vocal in expressing their negative opinions on the topic. Needless to say, I was taken aback. I wondered why I had even been hired.

But there was one board member who did a rare thing – he spoke up in favor of my plan against what appeared to be a group consensus. In the months that followed, this board member was THE ONE I could count on to make a call to a potential donor in his network.

Tagged in: Fundraising Management

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b2ap3_thumbnail_failroom.jpgDuring his lifetime, James M. Fail (1926 - 2010), a big supporter of the University of Alabama, made regular major gifts to the Crimson Tide Foundation in support of the University's athletic department. His contributions made him eligible for various naming rights but he always declined to use his own name and honored others instead. But in 2008, the perfect opportunity to put his name to effective use presented itself.

"When I saw the visitors' locker room as a potential naming right," said Mr. Fail, "I figured it was the most appropriate opportunity I would ever have to use my name."

So now whenever an opposing team arrives at the Bryant-Denny Stadium, they go straight to The Fail Room.

Image via, l-r Mal Moore, director of athletics, and James Fail at The Fail Room dedication in 2008.
Tagged in: Fundraising History

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