Monday, March 24, 2014

It’s no joke...

NPHumour Ends

We’ve decided to end NPHumour. It all started nearly three years ago with one joke, then a story and then a website. Since we started, we’ve had nearly 200,000 visitors. Not bad, but sadly, not good enough, either.

There’s always been a part of the charity sector that never laughs. And while we’ve certainly tried to do our part to change that we just haven’t been able to break through to the larger sector. This publication has always been run on a shoestring, and in fact, we probably lose money on it. But lately, writing these stories has become harder and more burdensome. 

We are signing off at what we hope is the height of our success. Please accept our thanks for visiting us. Thanks to our loyal subscribers. Thanks to our many sponsors.

We’ll be keeping the website up for the time being, so enjoy our more than published 230 stories. 

Maybe one day we’ll be back. 

All the best.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Magic mirror tells charity CEO she is no longer best fundraiser of them all

The CEO of Metro’s largest charity is no longer the best fundraiser of them all, according to her anthropomorphic, malevolent magic mirror.

Metro Hospital Foundation CEO Cindy Maleficent has been using the magic mirror every day before starting work since she took over the charity ten years ago. Upon moving to Metro from Texas she was granted the mirror by an evil spirit in a Faustian bargain to receive superior fundraising skills, unnatural beauty and a savvy evil fashion sense. The mirror is in a hidden alcove in her large office at the hospital, next to the dungeon where she makes magic potions that enslave major donors and force them to give to the Foundation.

Everything changed last week when for the first time the mirror told her she was not the best fundraiser of them all. “Alas, my queen, you are the fairest fundraiser in America so true. But Snow White, the new major gifts officer you just hired, is a thousand times a better fundraiser than you,” the evil prognosticator said.

“Alas for her, you mean!” Maleficent was heard to grumble upon leaving her alcove and leading a staff meeting where Snow White was making a presentation.

The slim, black-haired White is a recent university graduate from Boston. She was hired by Maleficent for her brief stint as a major gifts officer at Boston’s Snidely Children’s Hospital. Maleficent told Finance Director Dibble Brewer that White was just the perfect “bimbo” she needed to complete the major gifts team at the Foundation, which is dominated by people Maleficent can easily dominate and outshine. The Foundation has had a high turnover in fundraisers since Maleficent took over. Some left quickly for other jobs, one or two simply disappeared, but most were fired for one reason or another.

But White wasn’t what Maleficent expected. Her perky personality and clever fundraising skills soon distinguished her from her peers. Within a short period of time she was bringing in more donations than all of her colleagues. She also had a better grasp of the Foundation’s database and twice as many connections then Maleficent on Linkedin.

Staff said they found the normally cold and vindictive Maleficent strangely quiet and “all smiley” during White’s presentation, in which the young fundraiser proposed a new major gifts strategy. Staff members were impressed with White’s plan.

Maleficent was seen to call on Annual Gifts Director Jeff Woodsman aside for a brief, heated private conversation before inviting Snow White to make a presentation at the local AFP chapter at a downtown hotel.

“You have such heart, my dear,” Maleficent told Snow White before leaving the staff meeting and heading back to her lair. “I wish I had it,” she added, chuckling on the way down the hallway.

White, oblivious to death stalking her, is making plans for a cool PowerPoint for the supposed AFP chapter meeting. Woodsman later made an excuse to get time off work and started searching the web for a butcher shop that sells pig hearts.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Charity plans to sacrifice virgin fundraiser to satisfy the gods of capital campaigns

Metro’s University’s Advancement office is planning an offering to the gods of capital campaigns to ensure their $100 million “Another Gym” campaign is successful. On Friday, when the moon is full, they plan to sacrifice a virgin fundraiser on a stone altar near the site of the future third gym the campaign is raising money for.

“Our campaign is nearly ready to begin. We want everything to go well, so we thought we should satisfy the gods with an offering,” said VP Advancement Erin Snidely. “And what better than a virgin fundraiser?”

The gods of fundraising have not always smiled on the University. The last capital campaign, “The Second Gym” was only partly successful. This time, Snidely says, they’re taking no chances.

“Last time we wanted to raise $50 million, so we said our goal was just $40 million knowing that we would go way over the top. But we only raised $40 million. It was a major disaster. The gods were angry with us for our arrogance,” she said.

As well, the last campaign saw a number of signs and events that showed the gods’ displeasure. The previous VP Advancement was run over by a cement truck on its way to build the second gym. Then, the sheep entrails the University Chancellor opened up at the secret pre-launch ceremony were the wrong colour and had a bad odour. Many took the events as signs of a curse.

Snidely, who was hired a year ago to get ready for the campaign, said that this time they have taken every step possible to satisfy the gods.

A shaman was brought in early to bless the site of the third gym with water, grass smoke and chicken blood. Then fundraising staff held a two day long vision quest in a sweat lodge on the University commons. Finally, they hired a young fundraiser for sacrifice.

“We realized that the only thing that would please the gods would be the blood of the innocent. So, we hired a young, inexperienced graduate to be Director of Fundraising last month and kept her busy doing paperwork so she wouldn’t do any asking for money.”

There was a scare a week ago when the virgin fundraiser tried to solicit a two dollar pledge for the University’s staff United Way campaign. Luckily, advancement staff were quick to realize what was going on and diverted the virgin fundraiser’s attention to picking out colours for her new office.

“We almost lost it, but some quick thinking by our people kept the essence of the virgin fundraiser intact. She will be ready for the sacrifice when the time comes,” said Snidely.

“And it’s about time. This woman is so annoying. She’s always suggesting dumb ideas and wanting to create a new Facebook page.”

The hardest part of the campaign so far, says Snidely, has been doing the HR paperwork on the virgin fundraiser.

“You know how hard it is to hire someone who has to be killed? The HR guys couldn’t figure out if she was a temporary hire or a permanent employee without death benefits. Geaz!”

The sacrifice will be attended by several dozen university officials and lead donors for the campaign. Matching white, hooded robes have been purchased as well as an Obsidian knife that will be used for the ceremony.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Consultants recommend Old Man Winter extend his non-profit activities into Spring, Summer

One of the US’s oldest non-profit organizations has been told to expand its activities or face the loss of a whole new generation of stakeholders.

The recommendations were contained in a consultant’s report handed down to the board of directors of Old Man Winter, the non-profit that creates the Winter Season in the US and around the world. Created at the dawn of time and run by the same hermit-like pixie for hundreds of years, the charity recently commission the study on how relevant its activities are today, especially with Generation Y (also known as Millennials).

The report by Big Invoice, a large non-profit consultancy based in Boston, recommended that the organization scale back on severity of Winter and expand into Spring and even Summer.

“Our research shows that Americans are really quiet fed up with Winter. This organization is not really doing itself any favours by laying waste to large parts of the US with freezing rain and snow. It needs to find a way to reach stakeholders with a better message,” the report concluded.

A survey done by Big Invoice found that support for Old Man Winter’s programs and services have fallen to drastically low levels. Only one in five Americans now say they appreciate the positive impact that Winter brings to farmers, lakes and rivers and snow-based tourism. Worse, ten percent of the survey said that they were violently opposed to the organization.

The research also had bad news about the generational impact of Winter. While support for Old Man Winter is falling steadily, it is falling twice as fast among Generation Y than Generation x or the Boomers. Big Invoice predicted that when the Boomers retire in large numbers over the next few years support for Winter will crumble to the point where the non-profit organization will be no longer viable.

The report explored a number of options, including bringing on a new Ice Age to cover the globe. However, it recommended expanding the organization’s activities into more popular months such as Spring, and eventually Summer.

“Spring gets much better numbers that Winter, and Summer more than Spring. This is an untapped market for the organization that could bring it back from certain demise,” the report said.

Big Invoice created a 10-point action plan that will see Old Man Winter target skiing slopes with more snow right up to July and sponsor snow sculpture contests year round. Most importantly, Old Man Winter will whistle-up a series of short snow squalls on in Southern US states during heat waves in July and August.

“The deep summer is when people will appreciate a little snow the most. When the temperature goes beyond 100 in key US cities, Old Man Winter should bring down an hour or two of light fluffy snow. This will get American associating the organization with positive things in their lives again,” the report said.

The consultants also recommended an ad campaign celebrating Winter featuring an array of Hollywood stars and a total make-over of Old Man Winter himself.

“The image that most Americans have of Old Man Winter is of a strange, icy creature that is heartless and relentless. We need to soften that by getting them to see his friendly, warm nature.”

The report recommends Old Man Winter appear on a variety of reality TV shows, such as Dancing With The Stars, and make the rounds of late night talk shows.

There’s no word when or if the recommendations will be accepted by the board of the organization, which is currently busy trying to freeze Georgia and damage parts of the orange crop in Florida.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

“I’m not here to ask for money” named all-time greatest pitch at Fundraising Hall of Fame

The US Fundraising Hall of Fame has named “I’m not here to ask for money” as the world’s greatest fundraising pitch.
The Hall of Fame made the announcement at its annual induction conference and trade show in New York City. The pitch was one of ten nominated by a committee of fundraising experts, with the winner being selected by the Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame. “I’m not here to ask for money” becomes the first fundraising pitch entered into the Hall of Fame, which annual recognizes achievements in the philanthropic sector.

“We had a tough time picking the all-time greatest fundraising pitch. There were so many great candidates,” explained Hallof Fame CEO Dibble Brewer.

“I’m not here to ask for money” was created in 1903 by fundraisers at the University of Northwestern South Dakota. Brewer says the Hall of Fame was able to determine that the pitch originally came from the insurance industry, which in turn adopted it from the travelling snake-oil salesmen that roamed the American West at the end of the 19th Century.

“This pitch was perfected specifically for reluctant donors. It took the barriers they presented to making a donation and used them to the fundraiser’s advantage. It was the successful because it said exactly what the donor wanted to hear at the right time,” said the archivist’s write-up in the nomination submission.

The pitch has had a long life because of its many variations. Some notable examples are “I’m not here to ask for money, just to talk about the alumni association” and “I’m not here to ask for money, but to ask your advice about who would give to our upcoming capital campaign.” The Hall of Fame identified nearly 200 such variations, including “I’m not here to ask for money, just to ask about your horse” from 1904 to “I’m not here to ask for money, just to ask you about our new Facebook page” from 2011.

The Hall of Fame says the pitch has likely raised several billion dollars’ worth of donations in its time and still continues to be on the frontline of fundraising pitches today.

Fundraisers across the country hailed the selection as a milestone for the charity sector.

“That’s the first pitch I used when I started in this industry 30 years ago,” said VP Development Chris Snidely at the Big Honking University of Texas. “It kind of brings tears to my eyes.”

“If I tallied up all the times I used that pitch, I probably never asked anyone for money!” said noted US fundraising guru and author Turner Pitchfork.

But not all fundraisers are welcoming the selection. Many, like Sara Twofaces, CEO of Big Invoice, the largest philanthropic consultants in the US, say there were better alternatives.

“I certainly like ‘I’m not here to ask for money’, but there are better pitches that should have been selected. ‘Wouldn’t you like your name on X’ has probably raised more money in the health sector than anything else. That should have won.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Grocer set to introduce new frozen, quick-rising fundraisers that can be prepared in a microwave oven

Great-tasting, hot fundraisers will soon be available in your charity’s lunch room. A national food maker has announced the release of a new line of frozen fundraisers that can be made in microwave oven. Called Jack-and-Jill-in-a-Box, the line will feature a variety of fundraisers, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving and fundraising manager.

“The Jack-and-Jill line is a breakthrough in food manufacturing. We’ve been able to take a recipe for highly effective fundraisers and turned it into something you can make in a microwave oven. It’s cheaper than hiring a real fundraiser and tastes just great!” said Jason Snidely of Snidely Foods, the Iowa-based manufacturer.

The process to make a Jack-and-Jill fundraiser starts in a large food plant in Armpit, Iowa where food scientists study what makes a great fundraiser.

“We looked at a wide-range of fundraisers, trying to find what makes the best one – ability to raise money, brilliant smile, golf game and such. Then we broke those down into their basic inputs, like pork, toothpaste, calculators and body-spray, so we could duplicate them,” said Snidely.

A giant extruder then turns the raw slurry into a pre-measured fundraiser that is put in its own microwave-safe tray and then flash-frozen. Snidely says the trick with the new line was to find technology that would make the half-pound box quickly rise and grow into a full-size fundraiser who could walk, talk and raise several million in donations before breakfast the next day.

“Our early experiments led us to a secret process of nano-food technology that could build the fundraiser piece-by-piece as it thawed. As long as charities follow the instructions to turn the product twice during the ten minute cooking cycle on high everything should be just fine.”

Charities must also be careful not to remove the plastic film surrounding the new fundraiser when it comes out of the oven or they could receive nasty steam burns.

Snidely cautions charities that the instant fundraisers are not designed to replace their current diet of fundraising professionals, but only act as a supplement. Charities should consume them right away after preparation. The Jack-and-Jill fundraisers have a shelf-life of about 30 days after being made. On the plus side, charities don’t need to pay them or give them health benefits since they weren’t technically alive.

The line, which was introduced in a test market in New England last month, has netted a number of early favourable reviews.

“When I saw this in the frozen aisle off my grocery store next to the peas and carrots I knew I wanted to try it right away,” said Boston charity CEO Dibble Brewer. “We took it back to the office and ten minutes later we had a major gifts fundraiser ready to get to work making us millions.”

“The frozen fundraiser did a better job than the real ones I had on staff. They were nicer, faster and knew a lot more. I was so impressed, I’ll never get a real fundraiser again. But I will need to get a bigger microwave for the lunch room,” said Turner Durner, a Vermont hospital foundation CEO.

But not all the reviews were favorable. One AFP chapter president found that the Jack-and-Jill fundraisers weren’t cooked all the way through and began to go bad just after a few days. Snidely says early versions of the products had a few flaws, but most have been now fixed.

“We found in the first few test batches that about ten percent of the fundraisers tried to kill the donors they were assigned to, but in subsequent batches we’ve managed to reduce that by 90 percent.”

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

CFRE introduces new organic fundraising certification

The world body that certifies fundraising skills has introduced a new organic classification that recognizes all-natural fundraising skills.

The new Certified Fund Raising Executive credential to be introduced next month will be called the “Green CFRE”. To win it, fundraisers will have to prove that they use no fertilizers or synthetic chemical inputs, genetically modified organisms or irradiation when asking for donations.

“We introduced this because so much of fundraising is artificial – the pitches, programs, brochures and even the people,” said CFRE Earth spokesman Dibble Brewer. “We were worried about the long-term impact of all that on the environment.”

The Green CFRE was first suggested after a report by the Association for Green Fundraising that showed that greenhouse gas admissions created by the US fundraising sector was ten times higher than equivalent for-profit industries like marketing, real estate sales and funeral homes. The report found the average US fundraiser made more methane than 20 cows and at least six pigs.

At the same time, the CFRE became aware of a new green generation of major gifts fundraisers who have been gaining fame and fortune through environmentally sustainable fundraising techniques.

“We were excited by a group of Seattle fundraisers using new organic techniques like free-range donations and fertilizer-free major gift solicitation, apparently without too much loss of reach. We just knew it was time to go green,” said Brewer.

Under the new certification, fundraisers will need to show they are all-natural in their form and approach to all fundraising activities. Candidates will need to take a series of blood tests and submit to announced and unannounced inspections for a period of six months. They will have to use recycled paper in all printed material and take major donors to only vegetarian meals. And they will not be allowed to use hormones or antibiotics or drink lattes out of paper cups.

Like other organic products, fundraisers will need to prove they are made up of organic materials to meet certification, but the CFRE will allow fundraisers to have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients to qualify. Exceptions will be made for fundraisers who have artificial legs, arms, hips or hands.

Those receiving the Green CFRE will be able to add special letters after their name and have a special logo attached to their left ear, which the US Department of Agriculture makes mandatory for all “live organic species” before they are sold at market or to a registered slaughterhouse.

The new certification has ran into some criticism, especially from older fundraisers. Brewer says such opposition is to be expected.

“These old fossils started fundraising in a time when they didn’t think about the kinds of emissions they made. We have to move with the times. Mother Earth can’t take our old ways of asking for donations,” he said.

“If chicken farmers and coffee purveyors can do this organic certification than so can we.”


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