$390.05 Billion! Just Wait ‘Til Next Year- Sharon Danosky

After a tumultuous 2016, one that included a lot of non-profit angst, there were also a considerable number of giving surges that extended from last year into this one. Planned Parenthood raised $80,000 within three days of the election. ACLU received more than $24 million in online donations over a single week-end.

If nothing else – philanthropy won in 2016. In fact, giving in 2016 was very good and hit a record high with $390.05 billion contributed and 72% coming from individual contributions

What does that mean going forward, though?

In the June 13th issue of Nonprofit Quarterly, Ruth McCambridge explores that question with some interesting observations. The first – even though some headline organizations raised considerable funds, it did not diminish giving to other, less visible organization. Indeed, a rising tide does float all boats.

Next, individual giving increased, and not necessarily all attributable to large contributions, though there were plenty of those to be had. Still, the highest increases were in the environment, health, international affairs and the arts – all areas that many perceived as being ‘under siege’ and where there was a considerable amount of advocacy, with many people visibly rallying around these causes.

And here is where I think the future is particularly bright: activism sparks philanthropy. Concerns that motivate action also motivate giving.

It is as if a sleeping giant has awoken.

The gentle complacency many have felt during the past 8 or so years, even a post-recession malaise, has been brought up short. People are more willing to fight for the values and beliefs they hold dear, especially if those values or beliefs are threatened. Take, Meals on Wheels. Whether or not you know someone who benefits from this program, many of us believe that providing a meal and friendship to someone who is unable to leave their house shines a light on the better side of humanity. So, once there was a possibility of it being caught up in budget cuts – people responded!

What can we take away from some of these findings?

That non-profits are finding their voices. Their angry, just, robust and passionate voices for the people and causes they serve. And with their voices being heard, more people are listening.

We have no idea what the future will bring, but what we do know is that we can play a role in shaping it, and people will follow with both their voices – and their money.

Reach for The Stars- Sharon Danosky


A client recently asked me to review their sponsorship book.  They are trying to promote an upcoming event and developed a booklet that would hopefully attract business leaders.

It was a very attractive booklet.  In it they listed all the benefits of sponsoring their organization: where they were going to advertise, the radio spots, the reach they have on Facebook and Twitter, how many people access their website where the company logo would be featured – and more statistical information. While this kind of information is valuable in measuring reach and ROI, it doesn’t quite get to the “heart” of the matter as it relates to persuading long-term support of clients and services.

Nowhere in the booklet was mention of their mission, or anything about the people they help.  And, trust me, this organization makes a significant difference in the lives of many people they serve.

They aren’t the only ones who do this.  In fact, I think this is the approach that many organizations take.  You will find hundreds of examples on Google.

But here’s the problem … You don’t sell your organization based on activities and exposure.

You sell your organization because of the feelings you evoke when people hear the story of what you do.  I was mesmerized by Zillow’s ad, called “Stars.”  Yes-Zillow.  I won’t go into details, but if you watch for only 1 minute, it tells a story that tugs on your heart.  And they are selling a database that promotes real estate.  Certainly, with all the amazing stories your organization has, you can do better than statistics and reach.  Take a page from Zillow, and reach for the same star.

By the way – business leaders are people too …  and we all want to be touched by a good story.


Categories:  Fundraising and Campaigns, Communications, Video

D&A Welcomes David Deschenes to Our Team!

Danosky & Associates Welcomes a New Associate and

Gains New Consulting Offerings in New Media



Danosky & Associates is pleased to announce that David Deschenes, founder of Spectrum Media LLC, will join the organization as Associate Marketing, Communications, and New Media beginning in April.

“We are thrilled to have David join our team at Danosky,” said Sharon Danosky, founder and President of D&A. “David is well known and respected throughout the local nonprofit community, and has helped many of these organizations to develop engaging mission-based content with a particular focus on video – something we have been looking to help our own clients expand upon.” In addition to specializing in video production for nonprofits, David brings to Danosky & Associates a diverse mix of marketing, communications, and research experience from both the nonprofit and corporate sectors.

David started his career at a Fortune 500 company in NYC where he directed the services of its corporate research center that provided qualitative research to more than a thousand employees across three locations in New York and Virginia.

“That was one of my first jobs in the corporate sector,” said David. “It was a fascinating position that offered opportunities to collaborate with so many people across different business functions within the company, and share a lot of great information – and that served as the foundation for my future interests in outreach, internal communication, and new media.”

As Press Liaison and Editorial Manager at the financial services consultancy, Greenwich Associates, David worked closely with editors and reporters at high-level publications including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times,  Financial Times, Barron’s and many others. An interest in doing something that had a positive and direct impact on the lives of those in his community led to David’s entry to the nonprofit sector where as Director of Brand Management at United Way of Western Connecticut in Danbury, he ensured that the results of the organization’s work across western Connecticut were promoted through traditional and new media. It was there that David developed an interest in video production.

David founded Spectrum Video Productions – now Spectrum Media LLC – in 2011 and he has worked with a number of nonprofits and small businesses to develop custom marketing and content strategies with a focus on video outreach. “When I started Spectrum Video Productions, my focus was primarily on creating video that communicated what the nonprofit wanted,” said David. “But since I had a general marketing background and social media experience, I found myself naturally guiding my clients to expand their thinking on their video projects. And that turned into telling people, ‘don’t think about this as a video – think about it as a content development project with a focus on video.”

As a consultant at Danosky & Associates, David will continue his approach to helping nonprofits develop mission- and vision-based content as well as with traditional marketing & communications interests. Interestingly, David’s first client with D&A will be a land trust in upstate New York that would like to develop its video marketing strategy and train some key staff members and volunteers on creating engaging videos in-house. “I’m looking forward to this project,” said David. “I couldn’t ask for a better start with Danosky & Associates. This workshop will be a new addition to D&A’s capacity building products, and something that I’m extremely passionate about. What better way to engage with a new client than to tap in to their creativity and commitment to their environment and community through video and new media.”

David can be reached at Danosky Associates via email at ddeschenes@danosky.com or by calling 860-799-6330.

The Philanthropy Therapist’s Top 10 to do before December 26th

Everywhere in America, fundraisers are planning year-end activities, trying to raise as much as they can before December 31st.  So do that data dig, get your lists in place and take a look at my list of the top 10 things you need to do to get ready …


  1. Is your year-end appeal ready to be mailed and your Giving Tuesday strategy in place? (If not, hurry up!)


  1. Do you have your reminder letter ready to go? (Don’t leave any donor stone unturned?)


  1. Are you all set to make your phone calls to remind your best donors to give (if they haven’t    already)?  (PS – you need your list to be in good shape and ready to go)




  1. Did you update your voicemail letting those special donors know how to reach you if you’re not in the office and they want to make a special gift? (Hey, you never know!)


  1. Is your tax and estate attorney on speed-dial, just in case someone wants to make that complicated planned gift? (It happens ….)


  1. Did you take a minute to call and thank your best donors? (It is so rewarding) (Do you  know who they are?)


3. In all the craziness – did you remember to breathe today?  Pace yourself – you still have a few   weeks to go.


  1. Are you tallying up how much you’ve raised this year …. Giving USA wants to know!


  1. Have you decided how to relax and replenish? Be good to yourself.  You deserve it.  And get ready …. I think 2017 is going to be a very good year.