Introspection: The Path to Inclusion. An Interview with Laura McCargar, President of The Perrin Family Foundation

Laura McCargar HeadshotAccording to Laura McCargar, true diversity, equity and inclusion can result only when an organization is willing to take part in an organizational introspection. This can be daunting and sometimes painful as there may be some hard truths to learn. But if an organization has the institutional courage and wherewithal to see something like this through, it will be profoundly more effective inside and out as it forges a deep connection to those it serves.

It’s no secret that nonprofits, overall, have struggled with diversity, both on staff and on boards. In what other ways have you seen nonprofits falling short on diversity?

One of the ways that nonprofits – and I include the philanthropic sector as part of the broader nonprofit sphere – have fallen short is by limiting their line of sight to solely the question of diversity.  If you’re focused only on diversity then you’re actually missing the full scope of what’s needed to build organizations that are truly inclusive, and truly equitable, in their desire and capacity to really share power with the communities that they are serving and anchored in – and accountable to. [Read more…]

A Tribute to Kathy Kingston

Kathy Kingston CC Banner 2

Behind the microphone or behind the scenes, Kathy Kingston created magic. On January 30, 2020 Kathy peacefully passed away after conducting a two-day training program in Florida. It doesn’t seem possible that she is no longer with us. She was an incredible champion of fundraising professionals across the world. And she was my friend.

I first met Kathy 15 years ago, when I hired her to turn-around a fundraising event where I worked. From the moment I met Kathy, I knew I had met a friend. Her energy was boundless, her commitment to helping nonprofits sincere, and her ability to bring people together was inspirational.

When I started my own business, Kathy became both a trusted advisor and continued to be a dear friend. We started doing workshops together, and had a lot of fun creating ways to engage people in the fundraising process. I remember so many evenings having long conversations by phone. Kathy was always interested in transforming the fundraising event – using it to engage donors and build a sustainable program. While her auctioneering skills were legendary – her real talent lay in helping people understand and build a true platform for raising funds. [Read more…]


By Sharon Danosky

     Diversity has been in our nonprofit vernacular for some time now. I see it in discussions in boardrooms all the time. Yet, I feel as if many nonprofits use it as a word without embracing it as a norm.

We think about diversity instead of being inclusive. One place where this is so apparent is in marketing materials. Having a picture depicting diverse populations is not being inclusive. If you are serious about tapping into diverse markets – it takes a lot more than an occasional picture and printing business cards in another language. Here are some suggestions: [Read more…]

Your 2020 Year-End Appeal Begins Today


Hooray – you just got through December and I hope everyone raised more money than they expected. Now it’s time to lay the foundation for your 2020 appeal.  No rest for the weary!

Like everyone, I received my fair share of appeals in December. Sadly, this was the only time I heard from many of these nonprofits all year. A few had sent me newsletters, which is good – but most didn’t tell me how they used my contribution. Only a few nonprofits kept me informed – telling me how my funds made a difference before asking me again. Those are the charities I supported. The rest – their appeals went in the wastebasket or were deleted.

So here’s my question to you: if the only time you hear from your charity is when they want money –how does that make you feel? Probably the same way I feel – And I won’t give again. Nor do most donors. That is one reason why retention rates among donors continue to plummet: 57% of donors do not renew their gifts. [Read more…]

Do You Know More Than Your Donors’ Names?

Pile of colorful paper notes with question marks and magnifying glass. Closeup.

By David Deschenes

It is the new year. This means a brand new period of looking forward and planning for success. I hope that 2020 brings you all that you ask for and more. But before we look forward, I’d like to take a quick look back.

This past December, like all Decembers, my mailbox was bending to capacity with mail. LOTS of mail. Holiday sale flyers that reminded me of the shopping I hadn’t done yet, holiday cards from friends and relatives that reminded me of the family card we didn’t do this year (again), and bills (oh, the bills). Then in equal number to all of the aforementioned pieces, there was an ever-present pile of year-end appeals from every organization known to man, woman and family pet. All addressed to me. David. But while they used my name, I felt that most didn’t really know me. It would impress me as a donor if any one of these organizations asked me directly. “Hey, David. What are your interests? What do you want to know?” [Read more…]