Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New York Times: "Charities Struggle With Smaller Wall Street Donations"

In today's New York Times, Ben Protess and Kevin Roose report that many nonprofit organizations are struggling while many big banks are retaining their cash or rethinking their giving strategy to maximize their dollars. The article highlights nonprofit powerhouse Operation Hope which built a solid foundation over the last decade, spinning a stockpile of donations from Wall Street.

“Companies don’t realize I’ve got payroll and lease payments just like they do,” said John Hope Bryant, who started Operation Hope after spending six years as a banker.

On the other side of the argument, Curt Ritter, a CIT spokesman, said “although we believe it’s important to support the volunteer work our employees perform and the philanthropic activities they support, it was a prudent decision on behalf of our shareholders to scale back our corporate philanthropy.”

Later the article pinpoints that Operation Hope is relying heavily on its' financial literacy efforts, a pitch which is starting to pay off as the organization is close to closing deals with seven financial institutions, which would emplement greater expansion. The $715 million dollar Girl Scout Cookie Program is far and away the most successful entrepreneurship program for girls—and only girls—in the world. Barbara J. Krumsiek, who serves on the National Board of Directors, GSUSA, is Chair, CEO and President of Calvert Group, Ltd., which manages over $14 billion in assets. In 2010, Krumsiek told the New York Times that her experience in Girl Scouting contributed greatly to her success.

However, Girl Scouts can certainly forge new paths in fundraising. What ideas do you have to ensure a nonprofit organization's financial success during turbulent economic times?