Thanks for making NPH the success it is. Please accept our wish for a happy holiday and prosperous new year.
And to say thanks, here's our annual Christmas video with our friends at JohnSuart.Com.
SEE THE VIDEO: http://youtu.be/PANtRJPiB4I
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Welcome to our third annual awards - NP LOL!
Every year, we pick some of the best stories and ask you to vote for story of the year. This year, we have 10 finalists. Seven were selected because they had the most page views and three were just stories we liked. Go online now and vote for the top story. If you do, you'll be entered into a draw for a free gift from our online store. We'll announce the winners in January. Good Luck!
Conspiracy Theory Foundation suspicious as to why capital campaign is going so slow
Anti-social media foundation launches new social media fundraising campaign
Foundation to Stop Procrastination delays its new strategic plan, again
47 local charities mistakenly have gala fundraiser all on the same night
New study finds most fundraising consultants consult other consultants about consulting
Cash-strapped charity hands out new titles instead of pay raises
Work/Life Balance committee told to work late, weekends to get report done
Charity offers cash to get people to donate
Darth Vader named head of this year’s Imperial United Way Campaign
Gen Y pledges to support charities after Boomers pass as long as it somehow involves helping a cool band make their first album
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The largest charity scoring service in the US has given Santa Claus a poor rating. The jolly old elf received a zero star rating from Charity Watchdog Trust – the lowest rating possible.
In its annual release of charity ratings the Trust cited a number of concerns about Santa’s North Pole operations, especially transparency and financial accountability.
Santa received just 18 out of a possible score of 70. The Trust noted that fundraising efficiency – the key measure used to rate financial performance – was just $0.90.
“More than 90 percent of this charity’s budget was taken up by non-program expenses, including 66 percent spent on reindeer food. Program budgets haven’t risen in decades. This is a charity that spends very little on charitable activities,” the report noted.
“In fact, a review of this charity’s filings shows it only carries out charitable acts only once a year – there is no evidence of any charitable activity on the 364 other days of the year.”
The report also faulted Santa for not providing audited financial statements to donor, listing key leaders or listing the CEO salary. It also criticised the practice of hiring relatives of the CEO into key management positions, especially Mrs. Claus, who was recently made privacy officer on top of her current role as Chief Financial Officer. The Trust also was critical of non-humans in key operational roles, such as Rudolph and various snowmen.
The Trust noted that a review of Santa’s tax filings found most of the charity’s labour was provided by unpaid, indentured servants in violation of international labor agreements. “The work of this charity rests largely on small, human-like creatures who apparently work for no or little pay besides room and board and green work outfits and hats.”
Santa’s ageing infrastructure and supports also came in for sharp criticism. The Trust rated the North Poles data management system as the worst it has ever seen.
“The entire system appears to run on paper, powered by a crystal ball. There is no provision for quality controls, access barriers or privacy standards. The system is centuries old and substandard,” the report noted.
The overall poor rating puts Santa at the bottom of the trust’s charity rating list, even lower than several hospital foundations and Tea Party political organizations.
In response, Santa Claus called the Trust report “disappointing”.
In a related story, Trust officials found all of their Christmas presents replaced by lumps of coal.
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Saturday, December 7, 2013
Charity grinds to halt over whether to capitalize “Foundation” on second-reference, other grammar rules
Metro’s largest charity has closed its doors temporarily because of a heated dispute among its top leaders about grammar issues.
The Metro Hospital Foundation ran into trouble during the production of their latest print newsletter that no one reads when the Communications Director and the Finance Director nearly came to blows about whether to capitalize the word “Foundation” on second-reference.
“Shelia was very capitalizing the ‘F’ in Foundation throughout the newsletter and Wendy kept on crossing it out. Wendy told her that Associated Press style wouldn’t allow the capitalization of ‘Foundation’ unless it was a direct reference to our official name,” said a Foundation source.
Things went from bad to good when old school major gifts manager Marvin admitted that he never capitalized the titles of any of the senior leaders of the Foundation, including Executive Director Durbin Snidely. According to what he was taught in school, all titles were lowercase.
Snidely reportedly was extremely angered by the revelation and demanded to see all of Marvin’s correspondence with donors, telling him that since her business card had her title in caps, he should follow suit.
“I see he’s been lowercasing me all this time. Who does he think he is not capitalizing me. I’m the one in charge around here,” Snidely reportedly said.
The real crisis came after staff began to actually read the material they send to donors. More instances of capitalization came up, reducing some meetings to yelling matches where staff battled with grammar books and dictionaries.
“This is a capital campaign we’re doing here and it starts with a capital ‘C’,” Snidely angrily told a hurried staff meeting in the reception area near the end of the day.
Board Chair Burt Investment tried to calm the situation down, but lost all control when he found that his title was only capitalized some of the time.
“I’ve been capitalizing the ‘Executive Director’ for years only to find that she lowercases me,” he reportedly said. “She’s always been a loose cannon. She’s never realized that the Board is in charge. She will now!”
Sources say the Foundation could be closed for days until the capitalization row is settled.
“These people are just crazy,” said one source. “I just hope no one notices that we appear to be using two versions of dates – month/day/year and day/month/year.”
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
|Major Gifts Man?|
The long-time debate about whether Jesus favoured an annual giving or major gifts approach to fundraising has written a new chapter with the discovery of what appears to be an ancient tax receipt for the early church.
The discovery, made last month in the Dead Sea, unearthed the receipt on a scroll of a tax collector in Judea who took note of a “100 Sestertius” gift to the “Church of Jesus”. The scroll, say theologians, backs the idea that Jesus and the early Church backed major gifts over annual giving.
“This is the earliest tax receipt for a donation ever found and it clearly puts it in the realm of a major gift. It wasn’t just a few coins every month, this was a large amount all at once,” says Dr. Newt Snidely, head of the Center for Major Gift Fundraising Antiquities at the University of Southern North Dakota. “It shows as I have always suspected that Jesus was likely a major gifts proponent.”
Snidely says the receipt fits with what is known about donating from the bible. For example, in Luke 12:33 Jesus tells followers to “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.”
“Jesus was always talking about rich people and how they should give up their wealth for the poor and follow him – sounds like the perfect major gifts pitch to me,” said Snidely.
But not all theologians and fundraisers agree. Dr. Dibble Brewer of the Moneybags Institute for Research into Annual Giving at the University of Upper Lower Athabasca says the receipt proves nothing.
“The local authorities back then didn’t write many tax receipts, especially for smaller, more frequent gifts to the church. This scroll may in fact show how rare major gifts were to the early church,” said Dr. Brewer. “This proves once again our interpretation of the Bible, which clearly shows that the Lord favour annual giving.”
Brewer says the scripture clearly favours annual giving, such as in Luke 21:1-4 . In that passage, Jesus sees a poor widow putting two small copper coins in a the temple poor box and praises her by saying “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
“That shows that Jesus was well aware of the power and symbolism that only annual giving can bring to a campaign. Big gifts once in a while aren’t as holy as giving all the time. It’s as plain as the light of day.”
The debate will likely continue next month when Catholic scholars plan to release a new research paper on whether Jesus preferred stand-alone fundraising databases or ones that are integrated with a website.
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Sunday, December 1, 2013
|Fundraise or DIE|
The Klingon Home World United Way has named its 2014 campaign chair. Hegh qaD of the House of Owch will be taking over from WanHa' ghIch, who was killed in a pitched battle at the United Way campaign board of directors last month.
Hegh qaD, which roughly means “Death Face” in English, says he is pleased to lead the United Way in its 10 million darsek campaign.
“I am honoured to be a part of this glorious campaign. We shall paint the Empire with blood and donations – preferably both. Death to non-donors!” said Hegh qaD in a prepared statement.
Hegh qaD was until recently the commander of a renegade band of Klingon fundraisers that raided other worlds seeking enforced donations or planned gifts. In the last ten years, Hegh qaD has raised more than 2 million darseks and elevated thousands of donors to planned gift status in space combat and personal battle with his d'k tahg knife named “the donor stick”.
“We are very lucky to have a warrior of such skill and daring to be the leader of our United Way campaign. I have personally fought side-by-side with Hegh qaD against all manner of enemies. His work in fundraising has been glorious,” said Klingon High Chancellor Taj Lang.
The United Way campaign, which raises money for disadvantaged Klingons who need help learning warrior skills, did not make its campaign goal last year. Campaign officials immediately ordered a battle to the death among the senior campaign leaders.
“I know the heart of Klingons. I know their generosity, their kindness and their thirst for bloody battle in which they show no mercy to their enemies,” said Hegh qaD. “With this new campaign, we will try to reach deep into the soul of Klingons everywhere.”
Hegh qaD plans to visit key donors and challenge them to a battle with edged weapons until they fulfill their campaign pledges or die. In a new move, annual gift donors will be placed in a draw to fight Hegh qaD and other campaign leaders with disruptors at the Campaign touch down breakfast.
“We are not soft humans who need a tax receipt to make them give. We are Klingons. We live to fight. And this campaign will be the greatest battle of all time.”
Hegh qaD says he hopes to die in the service of the campaign or at least wear a terrible scar or lose at least an arm. In campaigning for the new Death Gym at Imperial University three years ago he lost an ear and the tip of one finger.
“I am not afraid to be killed like some human fundraiser. To fundraise is to battle. To battle is to die or be horribly mangled.”
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Metro’s largest charity has come with a new, ground-breaking grant proposal for some of the largest giving foundations in the US. The Metro Hospital Foundation is asking for a grant to fund more grant-writing.
“We used to write grants for new pieces of equipment, expansion of the cancer center or new parking spaces for doctors, but we were never that successful,” said Foundation CEO Denzel Snidely. “Plus, it was expensive and time-consuming. Grant writing was a real pain in the neck.”
Snidely says they got the idea for the proposal to get more funding for proposals after wondering how much they were spending on grant writing. It turns out that almost 80 per cent of the grants they were writing proposals for never went anywhere. Snidely said they were seriously thinking about getting rid of grant-writing all together when it hit them that there might be a source of funds to keep the function.
“We thought that if all these foundations make us do so much hard work about writing grant proposals that maybe they should help pay for it,” recalls Snidely. “We wrote a new proposal for $5,000 so we could have the resources to write more proposals. It was brilliant.”
Initially, the ten giving foundations they sent the proposal to were confused. The Sid and Ethel Moneybags Fund called a month later to say that the Foundation had not used the proper form when writing the proposal and to ask if they had made a mistake in asking for grant to write more grants.
“They couldn’t seem to get it. Writing their proposals is like trying to juggle while having pins shoved into your eyes. We’re not going to do their dirty work for them for free. They will have to pay for it,” said Snidely.
So far, there have been no other responses, but Snidely is optimistic.
“You know, this is the face of grant writing today. We need a grant to write more of these proposals. It’s just the way of the world,” he said. “These big giving foundations need to know that if they don’t support us, pretty soon no one is going to be writing them proposals. And then where will they be. They won’t be able to spend their money.”
A spokesperson for the League of Big American Giving Foundations would not comment on the story, but denied that writing grant proposals was onerous and unnecessarily complicated.
“I’m sure these charities can just write one of these things in an afternoon,” said League spokesperson Dibble Brewer. “You know, they’re ridiculously easy. We even get children writing them. And though we don’t read half of the proposals we receive, we really don’t think we’re asking too much when we ask for it to be double-spaced in a 10-point font in a PDF that is under 250K and that has the same ten categories to cover and all the detail, references and prices in just 2,000 words.”
“Do that in my sleep, I could.”
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Sunday, November 24, 2013
- - -
Metro’s largest charity has announced a 48-hour sale on all annual gifts. The Metro Cancer Center Trust says it’s cutting prices on all donations for two days only during its special “Don’t pay a cent” Sales Event at the Cancer Center.
“If you’re looking for philanthropy, you’ve found the right place. We have the best quality philanthropy on sale right now at not 15 percent, not 25 percent, yes, at 50 percent. But it’s only for 48 hours this weekend at the Cancer Center,” said Trust Executive Director Sam Snidely, who recently took over the failing charity after a career in used car sales. “You’ve got to be there.”
Last year, the Trust didn’t make its capital campaign goal. That led to a major shakeup at the charity, with the exit of several long-term fundraising leaders. Snidely was hired shortly afterwards.
“It was pretty clear what this organization needed – more sales, sales and sales. They were asking people for money just like a girl guide would asking for cookies on your doorstep. Pitiful. You need to get people’s attention with a big sale. So, we’re cutting our prices – big cuts, too,” said Snidely.
The half-price sale is backed by a whole new advertising campaign that features the word “Sale” more than 42 times as well as scantily-women in bathing suits. The TV spots feature Snidely wearing a cowboy hat in the parking lot of the Cancer Center with his “sales girls”.
Snidely says the Trust has also repackaged pledges into “Don’t pay a cent” events that give donors 12 to 15 months to pay off their outstanding balances. At the same time, the Trust has abandoned its major gifts and gift planning programs in favour of hiring more sales people and opening sales offices at local malls.
“These fundraisers don’t understand people. If you want to make money, you don’t go begging people to put you in their will. No, you just blow them away with sales promotions and keep after them night and day until end up in a hospital like this one,” said Snidely.
“Maybe these fundraisers care. Maybe they are nice to their kids. I don’t care. There’s just two types of people in this business, sales people and losers,” he said, sounding a lot like the Alec Baldwin character in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”.
“That’s why I’m wearing a diamond ring the size of a baseball and those guys are unemployed.”
Next month the Trust will be offering “Cash back” on donations of more than $250 or more.
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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Charity finance directors agree to reduce paperwork for funding innovation from 1 year to 11 months, three weeks
US charity finance leaders have announced a major breakthrough on innovation.
Meeting at their annual conference in Las Vegas, the League of American Finance Directors announced that it would be dramatically reducing the paperwork required to fund new, exciting innovative projects at the nation’s charities. Under the new initiative, doing the paperwork on new ideas will now be 11 months, three weeks instead of 1 year.
“We’re often accused of being the party-poopers on new ideas at US charities, and that’s really not true,” said League CEO Parnell Snidely. “This new breakthrough in innovation paperwork will transform the US charity sector. It’s a revolution.”
Until now, the League’s members have saddled all new ideas, good and bad, with the same obligatory crushing weight of paperwork, including budgetary requests, insurance forms, risk management reviews and requests for additional paperclips. Under the new agreement, finance directors will now remove all the paperwork requiring background checks on the pets of the staff involved with a new idea. The move will shave off a significant portion of the 1 year wait time.
“As finance directors, we’re always looking at ways to improve how our charities work. Here’s another example of how we have introduced dramatic change that will liberate a whole new generation of bright ideas at US charities,” said Snidely. “Instead of a year to get a new idea off the ground, it’ll now take 11 months and three weeks.”
The League says the public has nothing to fear from the accelerated process – finance directors will still exercise their due diligence to ensure all new ideas meet the minimum standards of safety, budgetary responsibility and neatly filed forms.
Snidely also warned operations managers and especially marketers at US charities to not misinterpret the agreement as an open season on new things. Just because a new idea is possible doesn’t mean it should be implemented with a thorough, bone-crushing amount of good old fashioned American charity bureaucracy.
“These charity marketers are just like children. They do the first silly thing that enters their head. It’s up to us, the responsible finance directors, to set things straight. The public has nothing to fear,” said Snidely.
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Sunday, November 17, 2013
|All that could be found - an old agenda|
The first meeting of the Metro Hospital Foundation’s new quality project committee came to a screeching halt yesterday when they couldn’t find the charity’s quality plan.
The plan was created six months ago and involved a four-week process involving staff and members of the Board of Directors and led by an outside consultant. Foundation Executive Director Phyllis Snidely says when the seven people tasked with taking the next big step into the new world of quality control got together they couldn’t find the 100-page plan.
“We spent weeks on it. I remember writing lots of stuff down and talking to that big consultant we hired. And reading things about quality processes. But then it all goes blank. I can’t even remember where we put it,” said Snidely, who has been leading the Foundation for more than a decade.
A look in the filing cabinets found the “Quality Project” folder filled with the files from the staff coffee fund project instead. Further searches could not find any trace of it in the filing cabinets. A search of the Foundation’s computer network found the “Quality” folder was also empty, except for one old agenda and Snidely’s grocery list from a month ago. Staff said they didn’t keep a copy of the report on their computers because they thought Snidely, the project leader, was doing that. Snidely’s has been through two executive assistants since the plan was created, making the situation worse.
“We were only able to find a beaten up copy of the first page of the plan under a coffee pot in the lunchroom,” said Snidely.
The Foundation asked their outside consultant for a copy of the report, but he has since retired to become a painter in the Azores. His firm says they don’t have a copy of plan.
“Our last hope was to ask the two members of the Board who helped us write the plan. One of them has since resigned and we can’t find his phone number. The other said they she really wasn’t paying attention and just came for the free coffee and muffins.”
Snidely says they may have to just start the whole process over again from scratch. They have already started work on a new RFP for another quality consultant, but it could be months before someone is in place.
“We had the RFP ready to go, but someone forgot to order letterhead and we couldn't find our logo image files. We’ll get them, though. Right after I remember where my pen is.”
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Fundraising just barely funNew NPHumour survey finds that only 52% say it is fun
A new survey by the world’s only comedy website devoted to non-profits has concluded that fundraising is only barely fun.
The real, serious online survey done through the NPHumour website found that only 52 percent of respondents said that it was fun. Of those, 46 percent said that it was mostly fun and 26% said it was sometimes fun.
“Let’s face it. A thing that is only barely fun isn’t much fun,” said NPHumour Editor-in-Chief John Suart. Just over 40 percent said it wasn’t fun at all.”
A further 12 per cent said they didn’t know whether fundraising was fun or where web-bots trolling the Internet and had no opinion. The survey was conducted over three months and is considered as inaccurate and likely unreplicable 19 times out of 20.
“The survey confirms what we know here at NPHumour – fundraisers take themselves too seriously and don’t know how to laugh at themselves or our work,” said Suart.
“It also shows that our services at NPHumour are desperately needed.”
NPHumour celebrated its 2nd anniversary in October. More than 172,000 people have visited the website since it was created. Modelled after The Onion, the site publishes non-profit and charity satire every week for free. The site is based in Canada, but has subscribers in the US, the UK, Australia and Europe.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
A new survey of US non-profit managers has discovered that most of them haven’t read the management books on their office shelf.
The survey of 2,000 nonprofit managers by a team of researchers from the University of Southwestern North Dakota found that 70 percent couldn’t recall one conclusion or recommendation from the management books currently on their shelf. Half said they actually hadn’t read them, but were going to. A third said they just bought or borrowed the books and had no intention of reading them.
“People have always thought that this generation of non-profit managers was one of the best-educated. Charities have poured millions of dollars and hours of time into training them. But now we learn that most of them haven’t even read the management books on their shelf,”
said lead research Dr. Dibble Brewer.
Researchers say that follow-up interviews and focus groups found that managers fell into three groups. The first group was well-intentioned and had every intention of reading the books like Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins. However, none of them had any time.
“I got that Good to Goat book or whatever that the CEO is raving about at every one of our meetings and I was going to read it. But then, I got bogged down in the new coffee fund policy and stuff and I forgot it. It’s been sitting on my shelf for about a year,” said one respondent.
The second group identified by researchers were less well-intentioned.
“I got The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and put it on the corner of my desk,” said one focus group member. “Immediately, finance started taking my ideas seriously. My staff started listening more in meetings. I’m getting more management books.”
The third group was hard to quantify. Dr. Brewer said at least ten percent of the respondents and focus group members denied that they read the books and then denied even buying them in the first place, and, in some cases, denied they could even read.
“In one case, we had a manager in the focus group who had The Practice of Management by Peter F. Drucker on her shelf. She said he hadn’t read it. Then she said he was Peter F. Drucker. And to top it off she produced a hand-puppet who said she was too busy to talk to us any further,” said Dr. Brewer.
“And that person was the head of a major hospital foundation.”
|One customized thank you video per donor|
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
|Stopping Alumni fundraising fraud|
The US Justice Department has issued a public warning about most university alumni associations. Officials says alumni associations are a front for fundraising scams that prey on university graduates.
“Alumni associations say they are all about friendship, pride and being a part of the university community, but a 10-month investigation has found that these are false. Most are just simply fundraising money machines bent on squeezing every last cent out of hapless graduates for a gym or something,” said US Attorney Derek Snidely in a press conference in New York.
In a national sweep, FBI and local law enforcement officials arrested more than 200 university alumni association leaders in New York, Massachusetts and California. Most were arraigned on charges of racketeering.
“In the indictment we have handed down this morning we are charging these university officials with
|Cash seized by the FBI|
The government alleges that some universities purposely hire fundraisers to lead alumni associations and have seized documents that show universities assign fundraising targets to alumni organizations.
The FBI says they have evidence that many universities have targeted unemployed or underemployed students who recently graduated with a large student loan debt.
“Here we have big universities using their alumni associations targeting the most helpless, vulnerable and best educated people in our society,” said Snidely.
“When you get an email about a Nigerian who wants help smuggling cash out of the country, you don’t believe them. You know it’s a scam. Same thing when you get an email from an alumni association talking about being part of their community. What they really want is your money.”
University leaders across the country have reacted angrily at the police raids, calling them “blown out of all proportion.”
“I know for a fact that when universities contact you about being in their alumni association that your donation is the farthest thing from your mind,” said US League of Alumni Associations CFO Cliff Moneybags. “But that being said, we do have a campaign on and I’m sure any right-thinking graduate of this university will want to help us build another gym.”
Sunday, November 3, 2013
The Metro Community Trust Foundation’s new social media strategy has seen its Facebook likes increase an astronomical 2,000 times in just the last week. Metro’s largest charity says it from 187 Likes to more 374,000 after introducing the strategy, which replaced pictures of Foundation activities and real people it helps with pictures of cute puppies and cats that do amazing tricks.
“We’ve seen an amazing increase in our Likes at our Facebook page. It’s unbelievable,” said Foundation CEO Dibble Brewer. “Before we started this new strategy, we had only mediocre results with social media. But this new way of reaching donors by featuring a constant supply of puppies and cats that do tricks is really hitting the mark.”
The new strategy was developed by famed social media agency Big Invoice, which determined that Facebook posts about what the social service activities the Foundation actually does were acting as a “social negative”. They recommended that the Foundation adopt a “token message” designed to reach more donors and not be “so fucking boring.”
“I could only understand every third word in the brief 20 minute phone conversation we had with their team in New York,” admits Brewer. “When they said we should flood Facebook with puppies and talented cats that could do tricks I was kind of skeptical. But they were absolutely right, and the proof is in the 300,000 extra Likes we’ve received. Definitely worth the $50,000 we paid.”
Two days after accumulating a hundred pictures and videos of cute puppies and cats that do tricks, they started the strategy. Results started pouring in within a few hours. Likes kept climbing and didn’t stop. The response was so strong that even the videos about how the Foundation helps the poor and homeless in Metro got a few clicks.
Most of the traffic came from out of state Facebook users and a substantial number from overseas. Brewer says Big Invoice told them that the extra traffic was a great victory.
“They told us having the fact that 98 percent of our Likes were from outside Metro showed that our message was having a global impact. They told us to just watch and wait for the global wave of support to reach Metro,” said Brewer.
So far, the avalanche of Likes has only led to a modest increase online donations.
“We’re very pleased so far that online donations have increased threefold from $100 a month to $300 a month. That’s quite an accomplishment I’m told,” he said. “And soon, all those clicks will lead to a lot more donations. That’s what Big Invoice told us.”
The next part of the strategy is to switch to stories about cute babies wearing funny hats. Brewer says he hopes this will turn the Foundation into one the largest charities in the US.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
- - -
Metro’s largest charity says it has placed a secret remote control explosive device into the pledge agreements for large donors. In a letter to donors who gave more than $50,000, the Metro Hospital Foundation says that if pledge payments are not made on time the agreement will explode.
“We have noticed that many of you have stopped making payments on your pledge, and others have been late,” said Foundation CEO Dennis Snidely. “What you don’t know is that we have planted an explosive device within the agreement and we intend to set it off if you do not meet your philanthropic obligations to helping Metro building the best hospital in the USA.”
Snidely told reporters that the Foundation secretly planted the devices years ago when pledge payments began to drop sharply. The devices, which he refused to give details on, were powerful enough to destroy an entire city block, he said.
The announcement caused a stir among movers and shakers across Metro when it was sent. Major donors across the city stampeded to the Foundation to make delinquent payments on their pledges. At least one called the police, but the local bomb squad could not find any trace of explosive on the ten page document in question.
In the letter to donors, Snidely said the Foundation would be setting off one device a day starting tomorrow until all pledges were paid and then asked donors to consider a further gift by leaving a sizeable amount of money to the hospital in their will.
Donors say they are sure the Foundation is serious, and have taken steps to save themselves.
“Once I read the letter I knew. I just knew that the agreement was going to explode and kill my entire family. That Snidely always had an evil look about him. I went and paid what I owed,” said Ethel Moneybags, who gave $100,000 last year.
“They put my pledge agreement in an oversized envelop,” said Turner Werner, who made a $1 million donation just a month ago. I always wondered why that was. Now I know. It smelled like pesticide.”
Snidely says he has been satisfied with response from major donors so far, but there are still a handful who have not yet paid.
“These fat cat donors think they can pledge whatever they want and then renege. Not on my watch. I’d rather see them die in a fiery explosion,” he said.
The letter to donors included a picture of Snidely caressing a huge explosive plunger device in his office next to his espresso machine.
“You’d better not make me wait,” said a caption under the picture.
- - -
Sunday, October 27, 2013
|Wants to donate to the gym|
Metro University is sure its tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed Generation Y graduates really want to donate to their new capital campaign. It believes it so strongly that it’s planning to send them a wall of fundraising emails, letters and social media messages.
The University’s new campaign, The Moneybags Gym Campaign, will seek more than $50 million in donations to match the $5 million pledged by rich philanthropist Sid Moneybags. The new gym complex, which will be built next to the existing gym complex, will feature more gyms, a second swimming pool and more lockers. University Vice-President of Advancement Sandra Snidely says it’s something that Gen Y’s would just love.
“This is a great opportunity, a chance for our unemployed and debt-ridden Gen Ys to really leave a powerful legacy for future unemployed and debt-ridden generations,” Snidely says. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a difference in the world…well, until the next capital campaign starts.”
Half of the University’s 50,000 graduates are now under 30. Recent Alumni surveys found that as many as half of each graduating class were unemployed, underemployed or simply hiding out in their parent's basement. The average debt load of graduating students was $25,000, and nearly a third were in default on payments. Despite that, Snidely says she thinks Gen Y graduates have such pride in the university that they will find the money somehow to make at least a $100 monthly gift to the campaign.
“Once they read about the new basketball courts and the larger bathrooms in this new gym, they will realize that they can’t pass this opportunity to make their mark on our university,” said Snidely. “They don’t need that new phone, that trip to the mall or food to eat. Those are frivolous things. A gym that will last 30 years that they had an infinitesimal hand in creating. That’s worth spending money on.”
The campaign ran into opposition when it sent out a massive direct mail piece to 10,000 recent graduates asking for gifts of more than $200 each. A number of graduates complained, and others went on social media to protest against the targeting of Gen Y graduates. Snidely says she’s sorry that some people were miffed by being asked for a donation to the university that put them into debt and left them without a job when they graduated.
“You know my heart goes out to them. It really does. But this gym is so absolutely amazing, I believe it is our duty to let each and every one of them know about it. It’s that’s special,” she said.
“And you know they gave us thousands of dollars in tuition while they were here. What’s a few hundred more? It’s not a lot to ask, really.”
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Thursday, October 24, 2013
Leaders of Metro’s largest charity discovered last week that their annual publication listing donor names contained a major error. The Metro Hospital Foundation Donor Honour Roll was supposed to list the charity’s top 2,000 donors. But in addition to those names, the magazine-type publication also listed one name, Dibble Brewer, 6,000 times by mistake.
“We found out quite by accident that the name ‘Dibble Brewer’ was mistakenly published 6,000 times, but strangely none of our donors seemed to notice,” said Spooley Snidely, CEO of the Foundation. “Thank goodness no one ever reads those things.”
The honour roll was published two months ago, but it was only last Tuesday when a board member reading the publication for the first time actually noticed the mistake.
“Burt Blurry was having insomnia again and he started reading the honor roll to help him go to sleep. In the past, it’s helped him nod off. But then, he noticed that on page three that every name was Dibble Brewer. And it was the same on page four, five and more,” said Snidely.
Snidely said in hindsight there were a number of clues that should have told them that there was something wrong with the publication, since it was three times as long as it usually is. The publication has always listed every name of every donor alphabetically. During production, the communications coordinator did check every name, but then handed the list over to an outside designer who mistakenly added 6,000 extra insertions of “Dibble Brewer”. When the design came back for approval, it wasn’t checked.
“I don’t blame my staff for not checking the list, I never do. In fact, in the past, we’ve had really trouble when people read every name. Two years ago, one of our people had a nervous breakdown because of it,” said Snidely.
Donors remained oblivious to the error. The only on to notice the problem was Dibble Brewer herself, who sent in a nice letter of thanks to the Foundation.
“I never read the thing, except for looking at my own name,” said Sid Moneybags, a major donor to the Foundation.
“I just thought there were a lot of people named Dibble Brewer who lived in Metro,” said Ethel Cash, another donor.
Snidely said a review of previous honor roll publications turned up similar errors, including several names inserted hundreds of times. In 2010, the honor roll actually contained the designer’s shopping list by mistake. In 1999, the entire manual for the Foundation’s new photocopier was somehow included. And last year, someone actually listed several names in Klingon, the make-believe language developed for the Star Trek TV series.
“If this had been an annual report or a brochure, I would have been really worried. Someone is always reading that shit,” said Snidely.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Scientists have announced that the ancient Mayan Calendar is predicting that all fundraising software in North and South America will blow up Nov. 27th. The only exception will be the smart, simple, easy-to-use fundraising solution called @EASE, made by The Batsch Group in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The new interpretation of the Mayan Calendar was published in the Journal of Fundraising Science & Horse Grooming. It says the 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar clearly indicates that all fundraising databases and management software will “meet their doom in smoke and fire”.
Lead research Dr. Turner Snidely says the revelation came when his team from the University of Eastern Southern Alberta tried to come up with an explanation as to why scientists were wrong when they said the calendar predicted the end of the world in 2012.
“We Mayan experts were sitting around wondering why we were still alive when it just hit us. We had the stone calendar upside-down. When we turned it the right way, we saw the ancient Mayan symbol of fundraising and the one that means Armageddon right next to the date that now means November 27, 2013,” he said.
A third symbol meaning machines was also deciphered sandwiched in-between the two other symbols. The research team concluded that it could only mean that every fundraising machine, device or software will explode.
“The symbol of Armageddon they choose for the calendar is the really, really bad one. As Armageddon goes, this really bad. We’re talking really ouchy, here,” he said.
Surprisingly, the team also found a reference to an ancient Mayan prophesy of the “One” in the same Calendar reference. The prophesy predicts that an all-powerful, benevolent fundraising solution will emerge to bring peace and light to the world. Snidely said, they immediately thought of the fundraising solution made by @EASE because it is so powerful, intuitive and yet so easy to use.
“We’ve been using @EASE for years. When the Calendar talked about this One, we knew what it meant. It said it would emerge from somewhere north, and Alberta is far north of where the Mayans used to live. And the creation date of the @EASE system matches that of the birthday of the most famous Mayan fundraiser who lived 3,000 years ago. @EASE has got to be it,” he said.
Charity leaders and other fundraising solutions makers say they are alarmed by the new report. Tests by one large fundraising software maker where the dates of their systems were advanced to Nov. 27th led to a major explosion in their labs in New Jersey. Two people were injured. However, company executives say they are not sure whether the explosion was due to the Mayan Calendar since their complicated, expensive and difficult-to-use systems explode all the time.
“We’re telling every charity in the world to not turn on their fundraising systems on Nov. 27th. It’s too dangerous. Instead, we’re asking people to call the @EASE folks at The Batsch Group and get a demo ASAP. It’s free, and it might save your life,” said Reilly O’Brewer, CEO of the League of Big Honking Charities.
Call The Batsch Group 1-877-489-9911
Or go to www.batschgroup.com
Thursday, October 17, 2013
|Addicted to fundraising?|
The White House is working together with national sports associations and educators to take action on the growing problem of adorable seven-to-10 year olds who are addicted to starting their own giving foundations.
A new study released earlier this year that three out of every four adorable US pre-teens have launched their own fundraising campaign, started a major giving foundation or written a book about charity in the last two years.
“The days of your neighbourhood adorable seven year old running a lemonade stand are over,” said Health & Human Services Under-Assistant-Deputy-Secretary Dr. Dennis Snidely. “These kids are becoming addicted to powerful charitable activities. They’re giving up sports, education and even careers to become the CEO of their own major giving foundation. It’s terrible.”
Addiction centers across the US report that they have been overwhelmed with requests for support from parents whose children want to end Malaria in Gambia, increase eco-tourism in Nepal or cure some of the rarest forms of cancer.
Last week, Missy Smith, a super-adorable nine year old in Virginia was hospitalized after working day and night for weeks on getting her whole town to use social media to stop racial discrimination. Her parents, Joe and Zeta, say Missy tried fundraising at a party at a friend’s house and became completely addicted.
“She lost all interest in school, dancing, horseback riding and all of the other adorable things over-achieving kids do. She just wanted to write a book about stopping racial discrimination and start a mega-foundation to raise a billion dollars to do it,” said Joe Smith. “It was completely senseless.”
Health & Human Services announced the formation of a new task force headed by the First lady to study the issue and make recommendations. Snidely says the move is in response to calls for action by educators and national sports figures.
“This new, deadly form of addiction is hitting our adorable pre-teens hard. All across the country parents are struggling with kids who just want to raise millions and millions of dollars for charity,” he said. “It’s destroying countless thousands of lives.”
The wave of addictions to giving foundations has prompted police and the US charity sector to issue warnings to parents and teachers.
“If you’re adorable pre-teen comes home with an idea how to end poverty in Calcutta or wants to visit people who live in garbage pits in Brazil, see a doctor or your mental health provider immediately,” said US League of Big Honking Charities CEO Dibble Brewer. “It could be a sign that something sinister is going on.”
“Real fundraising is actually boring and is only partially successful,” said FBI spokesperson Turner Jones. “If you kid tells you it’s exciting and could change the world, they are probably high.”
Monday, October 14, 2013
A new study has found that workplace discrimination against Annual Giving fundraisers is still quite common at US charities.
Published in the Journal of Charity Hiring Practices & Scrapbooking, the new study by scientists as the University of Northern Southern Dakota found that more than thirty per cent of Annual Giving fundraisers say they face on-the-job discrimination by their Major Gifts colleagues. Half of those who reported discrimination say they face daily harassment in the workplace.
“We found that Annual Gifts people still face blatant discrimination and prejudice from their Major Gift dominated charities,” said lead research Dr. Dibble Brewer. “We heard from many Annual Gifts people that they have to use different bathrooms, they can’t drink out of the same coffee mugs and they have separate Christmas parties.”
The study found that as many has a third of US charities have restrictions on Annual Gifts fundraisers, including lunch rooms, bathrooms, types of office furniture and stationery. In a small number of cases in the US South, Annual Gifts staff were forced to work in “Mailrooms” in separate buildings from the rest of their colleagues.
Joe, an Annual Gifts Manager in Minnesota, says he was forced to use a separate water fountain at one charity he worked for.
“The Major Gifts people wouldn’t let be use the same water fountain as them. They said it was because I would gum it up with all the letters I had to lick closed. But I knew what they meant. They just didn’t want any of us dirty Annual Gifts people anywhere near them,” he said.
Sally, a direct mail specialist in Florida, said she was shocked when she was told that Annual Gifts people had to drink out of separate coffee mugs and use an older, pre-espresso coffee machine.
“They told me that they didn’t like my kind and that all I was good for was asking people for gifts under $100. And for that, I couldn’t get a latte like the Major Gifts fundraisers who regularly bring in gifts of tens of thousands of dollars,” she said.
Such conditions against Annual Gifts fundraisers supposedly came to an end twenty years ago after Federal legislation banned workplace discrimination in US charities. But Dr. Brewer says it still lives on in US charities across the country under different names.
At one major US charity, where Annual Gifts staff were prohibited from dating Major Gifts, Gift Planning or Gift Processing staff, managers said the discriminatory practice was a health and safety practice.
Dr. Brewer says until Federal and state authorities intervene the discrimination will likely continue. Wilma, an Annual Gifts office from a charity in Denver, says she hopes the study will change minds and hearts.
“I just want to be like everyone else. Just because I get people to make a donation every year instead of a pledge once every five years doesn’t mean I’m not a real person,” she said.
Meantime, Major Gifts leaders are dismissing the study as “unscientific” and “provocative”. Dennis Snidely, the President of the League of US Major Gifts Executives, told a news conference in New York that the study overstates the actions of a few, isolated US charities.
“The majority of American charities treat their Annual Giving people fairly and in accordance to the law,” he said. “Why, I myself have several of those Annual Giving people as my friends and they all say they don’t know anything about this discrimination stuff.”
Sunday, October 6, 2013
The international organization in charge of certifying fundraisers has made the first move in a process that will one day see fundraising become a recognized martial art, like Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu and Worlds of Warcraft.
The CFRE Foundation of Earth And the Universe announced yesterday that it was ditching its 32-year-old exam-based certification system in favour of a martial arts program. The first step in what is expected to be a year-long process was to introduce a new system of black belts for fundraisers. Foundation CEO Sara Snidley, now known as Hanshi Grand Master 1st Black Belt Snidley, said the move came from the realization that fundraising was more of a test of individual combat skill and physical prowess then just an exam and a bunch of letters after someone’s name.
“The skill of fundraising is more like the skill of a master warrior. It involves great strength, but also poise and
|Have you voted yet?|
The new belt system involves ten black belt categories and a host of other multi-coloured, lesser belts. Candidates for the CFRE will now have to enter a “Fundraising Dojo” at the age of 16 to begin their training. They will graduate only after they have mastered the mysteries of the Gift Pyramid when they reach the fifth level black belt at 22. Practicing fundraisers will be grandfathered into the system through testing and personal combat.
“In Dojos across the US we will begin testing existing fundraisers for the worthiness. They will have to demonstrate the ‘Kata’ or detailed choreographed patterns of movements corresponding to annual giving, major gifts or gift planning. Then they will have to battle the Sensei of the Dojo to see if they have learned their lessons well,” said Snidely.
As part of the plan the Foundation plans to submit an application to the International Olympic Committee to include Fundraising as a martial arts sport in the next summer games. It is also building a mountain fundraising monastery in Colorado where elite fundraising warrior monks will instruct advanced classes and research the mysticism and martial arts traditions of asking someone for a donation.
Snidely admits the changes will not be easy for all fundraisers, many of whom she says have become “soft and weak” with exam-based certification.
“The way of the warrior is the way forward. This will not be an easy transition. There will be much hard work and blood to become the ultimate fundraising black belt warrior,” she admitted.
“I myself have already broken two tax receipting manuals with just my bare hands. And that is only the beginning.”
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Metro’s largest charity has replaced all of its human fundraisers with a fleet of self-checkout machines that you might find at your local supermarket.
The Metro Hospital Foundation announced yesterday that it would be laying off 12 of their human fundraisers and buy 10 self-checkout machines. Foundation CEO Dennis Snidely said the move, the first of its kind in the US, illustrates the changing needs of the Foundation and of fundraising.
“Our people weren’t bringing in enough money. I was going to fire them and then replace them with new fundraisers when it hit me one day while I was out buying some beer and a side of bacon – why not use the same technology that my grocery store uses?” he said.
Snidely contacted the manufacturer of the self-checkout machines and together they modified the machines to fill a major gifts role. The units were made mobile and given GPS navigation systems so they could be programed to visit major donors in their homes and workplaces. The customer interfaces were also improved, with more conversational overlays and ability to flash pictures of the Foundation’s new capital projects. The grocery bag holders were replaced with brochure holders and the giant revolving grocery scale was replaced with a gigantic image of the Foundation’s logo. Each new fundraising unit only cost $25,000.
“I did the math. With maintenance and the occasional need for a tow-truck when they break down these self-checkout machines cost about a third of what I pay for these so-called fundraisers I already have. There’s no health benefits. And, they also give cash back,” he said.
In testing the machines did better than expectations. One unit raised more than $25,000 during one day at a local nursing home for the mentally deranged and the other did more than $5,000 after sneaking into a grocery store by mistake. The units ran surveys for donors after every interaction and only one person expressed any dissatisfaction with them, and then only after the unit exploded because of an overheated battery.
Snidely says he’s not worried that the machines won’t be able express the warmth and personal touches a human could.
“I’ve worked with some of these humans I hired for years and I can tell you most of them don’t have any personality to speak of,” he said. “This is a shiny, friendly machine that people use all the time. And it takes debit, credit and cash. What’s not human about that?”
The Foundation next plans to press ahead with plans to replace the entire gift processing department with cash registers that can talk and make coffee.