Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Column Every Monday: "The Fundraising Guru"--Sept. 30, 2007

To Cyberspace for your fundraising answers!
by Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein, author of 30 Days to Successful Fundraising, producer and host of "Fundraising Success" on WXEL/National Public Radio available at any time from anywhere in the world at

Today, boggle your mind and toggle through Cyberspace to find your next fundraising inspiration or answer. If it’s really true that we’re all just six people away from everyone, just imagine how much closer you may be to what you need because of the Internet. Here are a few choice places to start exploring:

1. The Nonprofit Resource Center’s site is a gold mine. Start at the top. You can click on subsets of information under “Legal & Boards of Directors, Support Organizations,” “Finance, Accounting and General Management,” and “Fundraising.”

2. If it’s data you want, it’s data you’ll get — and much more. Maintained by the Urban Institute’s Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy, the National Center for Charitable Statistics puts it all “out there” for you. It’s even got a free “990 Online” system for creating, verifying, printing and e-filing a non-profit’s IRS return, as well as state filing forms. If you need to build a case for charitable giving, you can get all the facts you’ll need — that there are now more than 1.8 million nonprofits in the U.S., reporting nearly $1.1 trillion in total revenues and just over $1.9 trillion in total assets in 2004. (I’ll let you discover the expanding nonprofit picture in Florida for yourself. I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun.)

3. The motto of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance is “Investigate before you donate.” It helps contributors make informed giving decisions by evaluating charitable organizations. Fundraisers would be wise to go to it to make sure they’re following high standards.

4. The Nonprofit FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is based upon questions and answers about nonprofit organizations exchanged on the Internet since 1994 — on everything from “Board of Directors” (63 Q&A) to “Compensation” (17), “Charitable Solicitations” (16), “Volunteer Recruitment” (22) and “Grants” (24) — in all, 75 areas. Seriously, don’t get addicted to it!

5. Visit the Foundation Center online, even if you’re a tiny nonprofit. You should become energized just from knowing that it maintains profiles of up to 80,000 foundations and half a million grants — proof that there’s “gold in them thar hills” and you may be closer to it than you think.

Don’t get lost in Cyberspace. Return to terra firma.

E-mail questions and comments to Stephen Goldstein at

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