Empowering Communities through Strategic Philanthropy

Empowering Communities through Strategic Philanthropy: Lessons from the Kauffman Foundation

Imagine a world where every community thrives, where opportunities are equitable, and where every individual has the chance to succeed. This isn’t just a dream; it’s the vision being realized at the Kauffman Foundation under the leadership of Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace. 

In the realm of philanthropy, the focus has traditionally been on monetary donations. But today, the Kauffman Foundation is redefining this concept. It’s no longer just about writing checks; it’s about strategic philanthropy – a method that combines generous giving with a tactical approach to solve societal issues effectively.

Empowerment and Impact

At the heart of the Foundation’s work is empowerment. This isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a commitment to enabling communities to flourish on their own terms. How? By focusing on education and entrepreneurship – the two pillars that Dr. Burns-Wallace believes can propel communities towards sustainable prosperity.

But empowerment isn’t just about providing resources; it’s about breaking down barriers. Many communities face systemic challenges that hinder their progress. The Kauffman Foundation is actively working to dismantle these barriers, ensuring that opportunities are not just available, but also accessible to everyone.

Involving Communities in Strategic Planning

The Kauffman Foundation understands that real change cannot occur in a vacuum. That’s why they’re deeply involving communities in their strategic planning process. This approach ensures that the solutions devised are not only practical but also resonate with the actual needs of the people they’re meant to serve. By bringing diverse voices to the table, the Foundation is ensuring that their strategies are inclusive and effective.

The Legacy and the Future

Ewing Marion Kauffman, the founder, left behind a legacy of innovation and community focus. Dr. Burns-Wallace is building on this legacy, steering the Foundation towards a future where their impact can be even more profound. The strategic planning phase, while rooted in the Foundation’s history, is a stepping stone towards a future where the Foundation’s work is more aligned with the evolving needs of communities.

Equitable Opportunities for Underrepresented Communities

A significant aspect of the Kauffman Foundation’s work under Dr. Burns-Wallace is creating equitable opportunities for underrepresented communities. Recognizing that certain groups have historically been marginalized, the Foundation is investing in these communities to level the playing field. This means not just providing resources but also ensuring that these groups have the support and tools they need to succeed.

The Influence of a Diverse Background

Dr. Burns-Wallace’s diverse background in public service, education, and diplomacy brings a unique perspective to the Foundation’s work. Her experience helps her understand the complex tapestry of societal issues and the multifaceted solutions they require. This experience is invaluable in guiding the Foundation’s strategies and ensuring that their work is not just impactful but also culturally sensitive and globally informed.


As we explore the journey of the Kauffman Foundation, we see a powerful example of how philanthropy can evolve to meet the challenges of the modern world. Under Dr. Burns-Wallace’s leadership, the Foundation is not just a benefactor but a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change. It’s a testament to the power of strategic philanthropy – a blend of generosity, vision, and tactical acumen – in creating a world where every community has the power to thrive.

By focusing on empowerment, community involvement, and equitable opportunities, the Kauffman Foundation is not just changing lives; it’s changing the very fabric of how we approach philanthropy. And that, dear reader, is a journey worth following.

Engaging Donors Effectively: Strategies for Nonprofits in a Changing Landscape

Engaging Donors Effectively: Strategies for Nonprofits in a Changing Landscape

Listen up, folks! If you’re in the nonprofit world, you know that engaging donors isn’t just about asking for money. It’s about building relationships, creating trust, and telling a story that resonates. And let me tell you, in this ever-changing landscape, your old playbook might not cut it anymore.

The Giving USA report, the philanthropic bible, has just dropped some truth bombs. Corporate and foundation giving? Up. Individual giving? Not so much. The donor base is diversifying, and the economy is doing the cha-cha. So, what’s a nonprofit to do?

First off, don’t panic. Change is not a disaster; it’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to shake things up, to innovate, and to connect with your donors in ways you haven’t before.

Meet Donors Where They Are

Your donors aren’t just ATMs. They’re people, with passions, interests, and values that align with your mission. So, engage them on that level. Understand their motivations, their preferred communication channels, and their giving capacity. Personalize your approach. A one-size-fits-all strategy? That’s so last decade.

Tell Authentic Stories

People don’t give to organizations; they give to people and causes. So, tell your story. And not just any story, but an authentic one. Show the impact of their donations. Highlight the lives changed, the communities transformed. Make your donors the heroes of your story.

Adapt and Innovate

The world is changing, and so should your strategies. Explore digital fundraising. Leverage social media. Host virtual events. The pandemic has shown us that physical distance doesn’t have to mean disconnection.

Build Long-term Relationships

Donor engagement isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a long-term commitment. So, nurture those relationships. Show appreciation. Communicate regularly. And remember, it’s not always about the ask. Sometimes, it’s just about saying thank you.

In the end, engaging donors effectively is about more than just surviving; it’s about thriving. It’s about building a community of supporters who are as passionate about your cause as you are. And let me tell you, there’s no better foundation for success than that.

So, go ahead. Embrace the change. Innovate. Engage. And watch as your nonprofit reaches new heights. Because, my friends, the future of philanthropy is here. And it’s looking brighter than ever.

Topics Discussed: Philanthropic Trends, Nonprofit Strategy

7 Effective Ways for Nonprofits to Tell Their Story and Communicate Impact

7 Effective Ways for Nonprofits to Tell Their Story and Communicate Impact

Storytelling has become an essential tool for nonprofits to communicate their impact and engage with their stakeholders.

In today’s world, people are inundated with information, and it can be challenging to get your message to stand out. However, storytelling allows nonprofits to connect with their audiences in a meaningful way, build empathy, and create a lasting impact.

In one of our recent Ask The Expert episode, Bobby Keys, a nonprofit consultant who produces video and websites and owner of Bobby Keys Media, says that storytelling is a powerful way to communicate the impact of your work and inspire action. In this article, we’ll explore seven ways nonprofits can tell their story and communicate their impact.

Personal Stories

Personal stories are a powerful way to connect with your audience and bring your work to life. By sharing the stories of the people you serve, you can illustrate the impact of your work and create a deeper connection with your audience. Personal stories can also help to humanize your organization and make it easier for people to relate to your work.

Data Stories

Data stories are a way to communicate your impact in a clear, concise, and compelling way. By using data, you can demonstrate the impact of your work and show how you are making a difference. Data stories can also help you to demonstrate the need for your work and make a strong case for why your organization is essential.

Visual Stories

Visual stories are a powerful way to communicate your impact and engage your audience. By using images, videos, infographics, and other visual elements, you can make your story more engaging and memorable. Visual stories can also help you to communicate complex information in an easy-to-understand way.

Collaborative Stories

Collaborative stories are a way to involve your stakeholders in your story and create a sense of community. By working with partners, supporters, and the people you serve, you can create a collective narrative that demonstrates the impact of your work. Collaborative stories can also help you to build relationships with your stakeholders and create a sense of shared ownership.

Storytelling through Events

Events are a powerful way to bring your story to life and engage with your audience. By hosting events that showcase your work, you can create an opportunity to connect with your stakeholders and demonstrate your impact. Events can also be a way to build relationships with your stakeholders and create a sense of community around your work.

Social Media Stories

Social media is a powerful platform for telling your story and engaging with your audience. By using social media, you can reach a wide audience, create a dialogue with your stakeholders, and demonstrate your impact. Social media is also an effective way to build relationships with your stakeholders and engage with your audience in real-time.

Storytelling through Content Marketing

Content marketing is a way to communicate your impact and engage with your audience through educational and informative content. By creating blog posts, e-books, webinars, and other content, you can educate your audience about your work, build relationships, and demonstrate your impact. Content marketing can also help you to establish your organization as a thought leader in your field.

In conclusion, storytelling is a powerful tool for nonprofits to communicate their impact and engage with their stakeholders. By using a variety of storytelling techniques, including personal stories, data stories, visual stories, collaborative stories, storytelling through events, social media stories, and storytelling through content marketing, nonprofits can create a lasting impact and connect with their audience in a meaningful way.

If you’re looking to improve your nonprofit’s storytelling, consider these seven ways to tell your story and communicate your impact. By using these techniques, you can build empathy, create a lasting impact, and connect with your audience in a meaningful way.

Topics Discussed: Nonprofit Impact Communication, Nonprofit Storytelling

5 Awesome Ideas To Jump Start Your Year-End Fundraising Campaigns

For non-profit directors, the end of the year is already here…

It’s just the way we think. And, with the approach of the new year, it’s not the time to slow your roll regarding donations and fundraising. In fact, we can say that for us, the work in terms of year-end giving is just starting. Now more than ever is the perfect time to kick our non-profit fundraising strategies up a notch.
For non-profits, year-end giving is crucial and essential to closing the year strongly—that and the donor retention numbers for the non-profit. In fact, about 50% of all donations non-profits receive come between October and December. Hence, there’s a need to make sure our year-end appeals hit home with the target audience. To help you do that, we will discuss 5 awesome ideas to boost year-end giving campaigns. But first, what is a year-end appeal?

What Are Year-End Appeals?

Year-end appeals are donation requests non-profits send out annually to stimulate contributions from new and old donors. Typically, we can choose to send out year-end appeals in different ways.
They may be sent out through postcards, emails, and direct-mail letters. We can even choose to send out year-end appeals through online media (as is the case nowadays). The point is, it’s usually the last major fundraising campaign of each year.

Why Do We Need Year-End Appeals?

There’s a straightforward answer — to ensure year-end giving. Sure, most people like to do their giving at the end of the year. However, it doesn’t mean they’ll do this without an extra push. With certain non-profit fundraising strategies, you can ask your audience to give.

Basically, it puts our non-profits high in the minds of donors. This way, they will remember to give. Furthermore, they’ll be more likely to retain faith in the non-profit. This can also affect the non-profit donor retention numbers positively. We simply must ensure our year-end fundraising campaigns are effective.

5 Non-profit Fundraising Strategies for the End of the Year

Wondering how to increase your year-end giving numbers? Here’s what your non-profit needs to do:

Build anticipation with a story

Top of the list of effective non-profit donor raising strategies is to build a narrative. The only way to do this is by making sure the messages you send out tell a story. These stories are the best way to connect with an audience that is mostly made up of prospective donors. A thrilling, heartfelt narrative has a way of warming up and inspiring supporters. When they believe in our story, they will definitely give.

So, before we launch our year-end campaigns, we must select a story that all forms of communications will revolve around. It will be the central point of all campaigns, making messages across all media align in cohesion. With this, we can increase anticipation for year-end giving and even interest a new audience.

Make contact with donors

Year-end campaigns will not automatically find their way to the intended audience. It is the job of our non-profit to make sure the campaign finds its way to the intended recipient. You have to let your prospective donors know that there is indeed a campaign happening.

It all starts with the announcement of the year-end giving campaign. When doing this, make it loud and ensure it reaches all available channels. Also, make it specific. We need to let our prospective donors know what the dollar goal is. Furthermore, announcements should include why we need specific amounts and the projected impact of achieving such projects.

Combining all of the above details with a narrative will be a big boost to our year-end giving campaigns. In fact, it can even boost the non-profit donor retention rate. Thankfully, there are many ways we can make contact with our audience:


Sending out an announcement mail to carefully curated subscribers and donors. Direct Mail: Even an old school postcard can do the trick of spreading the word Social Media: Everybody uses social media nowadays. We have to make sure we post our campaigns across all social media platforms.

Take a look at the donation web page

Non-profit fundraising strategies should not be limited to offsite measures. Sometimes, it may be that our donation pages are putting prospective donors off. To really ramp up year-end giving, it is crucial to provide a smooth experience online.

To improve non-profit donor retention, we can do the following for our websites:

Make sure the donations landing page is optimized for both web and mobile use Verify a non-profit reputation. Adding ratings from Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Give.org. This lets our donors know we are for real.
Ensure the page is fully secure Include testimonials from past donors or influencers. Pictures, videos, or written text will do the trick here.

Get up close and personal

Every non-profit has a select group of people that give consistently. For people who belong to this category, sometimes the best way to spur their year-end giving is to get up close and personal. There is nothing wrong with directors and CEOs of non-profits reaching out to consistent givers.
We can start by looking through our past donation campaigns and noting the most consistent names. We can specifically lookout for those who haven’t participated in the year-end giving yet. Then, we will reach out to them via mail or a phone call, if possible.

With personal contact, don’t be pushy. Instead, remind them of how impactful the non-profit projects are. Try to engage them in a lively conversation while also showing gratitude for past donations. After this kind of personal contact, they’ll get the impetus to give. This is one of the most effective non-profit fundraising strategies to try out.
Community-driven fundraising campaigns

The end of the year often comes with holidays. Most people are often looking for events to engage with. With a unique storyline and personal contact, creating a community-based outreach can do wonders for year-end giving numbers.

There are many advantages to looking into our immediate community for donors. One, we engage with older contributors, thereby increasing non-profit donor retention rates. Also, the intrigue of an event can attract a lot of new donors.

There are many types of community-based fundraising campaigns we can try out. We can try asking our current audience to involve friends and family(and give incentives for doing so). There’s the option of organizing a 5k community-run, mixers, and other special events. Finally, we can even recruit people for door-to-door campaigns.

Try it out now!
With the non-profit fundraising strategies above, we can even receive more than our intended target numbers. Now isn’t the time to slack on fundraising campaigns. Let’s get to work!



How To Align Your Corporation and Nonprofits

How to Align with Nonprofits and the Benefits

Corporate social responsibility has taken a whole new meaning in today’s world. Gone are the days when society was satisfied by large businesses’ meager corporate donations as part of their corporate philanthropy plan. Modern society is much more aware of the role of corporate social responsibility and accountability as a tool for societal progress.
It is safe to say that organizations that are stingy with charitable giving do not have a good brand image in society. So, although corporate donations are an excellent way to ensure communities’ progress, they have numerous direct benefits for the organization as well.
One of the best ways to improve an organization’s corporate social responsibility is through nonprofit alignment. Nonprofit alignment is not a new concept. However, more and more corporate giants are now leaning towards this often-ignored practice because of the numerous benefits it carries.
There is no rocket science behind nonprofit alignment. However, strategic steps can be taken to ensure that organizations reap maximum benefit from such partnerships. After all, such an alignment has tremendous potential for benefiting both the nonprofit and the corporate organization that should not be ignored.

How to Align with a Nonprofit Organization

From a broader perspective, corporate social responsibility usually refers to the adherence of large corporations to well established legal and ethical standards. This can translate into their business operations and the company’s vision, mission, and values.
However, the most apparent aspect of corporate responsibility is corporate philanthropy. Organizations select ways to give back to the community they have gained so much from. Nonprofit alignment is an effective method of practicing corporate social responsibility that has countless benefits for the organization as well if done in the right manner.

Pick the Right Nonprofit Organization

Picking the right organization is key for successful nonprofit alignment. After all, organizations make sizeable corporate donations that must go into the right hands and the right causes. For this reason, it is crucial to pick a nonprofit organization whose values align with that of the corporate organization. Using strategies that align corporate philanthropy with the company’s core values will help make it easier for the organization to make a sizeable donation.

Take Time to Build Trust, Respect, and Understanding

Corporate organizations that engage in nonprofit alignment must thoroughly believe in the values of the nonprofit. Only then will the corporate organization truly engage in promoting and helping the nonprofit to grow.
However, this trust and respect come with time and understanding. Therefore, organizations need to do their due research and learn as much as they can about the nonprofit before they engage in any sort of alignment. Take meetings, engage with the organizations, and build a relationship with action as well as money.

Communication Is Key

As with all partnerships, it is essential to have open communication. A lack of communication can lead to numerous unintentional pitfalls for both parties involved. Both organizations must openly communicate their expectations and plans of action before going forth with the partnership. An open dialogue can help organizations plan the best way to assist each other and avoid controversies and complications.

Assign Roles

An excellent way to move forward with any project is to have a concrete plan. This holds true for nonprofit alignments as well. There must be an allotment of responsibilities to streamline the partnership process and ensure that all the goals that have been set forth are fulfilled in the most efficient manner possible. Not assigning roles can lead to confusion and a lack of communication, leading to mistrust between both organizations.

The Benefits of Aligning with a Nonprofit

As discussed earlier, nonprofit alignment has numerous benefits for organizations. Although the nature of these benefits might be specific to the type of alignment and the organizations involved, some advantages are common to all sorts of corporate-nonprofit partnerships.

Brand Recognition and Reputation

Nonprofit organizations often have a large following. Since nonprofits are usually in partnerships with numerous other organizations, and even individuals, associating with them will inevitably help the partner organization gain more recognition as well.
After all, brand recognition is an essential marketing tool that organizations usually pay a hefty price for. By associating with a good nonprofit, the organization will undoubtedly be recognized by its followers as well.

Positive Image in the Media and Increased Goodwill

Having a positive brand image is crucial for corporate organizations to flourish in a highly competitive modern society. One of the most effective ways to increase a brand’s goodwill and create a positive image in the media is by having a solid partnership with nonprofit organizations.

Opportunity for Improvement

Organizations often learn from trial and error. However, these errors often cost brands tremendous losses as well. Whether these mistakes are made in marketing, management, or leadership, they cause an unavoidable loss of customers.
However, by increasing operations and partnering with viable nonprofits, corporations can improve and polish their overall strategies and management techniques.

Improve the Quality of Life in Your Community

One of the best rewards of corporate philanthropy is the fact that an organization is directly responsible for the improvements in the community they have invested in. The more the surrounding communities will prosper, the better the chances of the organization flourishing alongside them.


The world has grown much more socially conscientious over the years, and today’s consumers are more aware of social responsibility than ever before. It is also a well-acknowledged fact that corporate donations and corporate social responsibility are indeed responsible for communities’ progress.
However, if corporate social responsibility is fulfilled strategically, it can have numerous benefits for the corporate organization. Therefore, corporate charitable giving and nonprofit alignment must be viewed as an opportunity by organizations to benefit from and improve themselves instead of as a liability.

How Tech Can Help Nonprofits

3 Way Technology Can Help Your Nonprofit

How Tech Can Aid Nonprofit Growth


Non-profit organizations usually don’t have the luxury of operating with endless budgets, meaning they often skimp on technology in favor of allocating cash flow to the most fundamental aspects of their operation. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Netchange, only 11 percent of nonprofits considered technology a vital component to improve their operations.

But in reality, technology could exponentially change the efficiency levels at any non-profit organization. Here we’ll show you how. 

Data Management 

Every non-profit organization has a vast amount of data to sift through. Most importantly, being able to track its own data allows an organization to accurately interpret the results of advocacy campaigns. Data science is key to analyzing datasets, allowing organizations to properly interpret campaign results and areas in need of improvement. 

And this isn’t the only benefit nonprofits could derive from data management tools. For example, telling donors a certain community lacks access to water or educational opportunities is not enough. Being able to back up that claim with numbers is vital. Nonprofits cannot underestimate the power of numbers. 

A nonprofit’s call to action would be more potent if it revealed statistics to back up its claims of the need for aid in a particular community.

Amanda Stevenson, founder of the Omaha Children’s Choir, confirmed the importance of statistics during charitable campaigns when speaking with Idealware.

“Instead of stating generally that not enough children have access to choral music, we have started to collect numbers that back that statement, increasing the validity of our grant narratives,” she said.

IT Infrastructure

Adequate IT infrastructure improves the productivity of a nonprofit. This may sound like a minor detail, but consider this: Having sufficient bandwidth can save an organization a lot of money. 

For example, with the proper IT infrastructure installed, the time it takes employees to complete simple tasks like sharing a document will be reduced, improving efficiency and therefore saving money. And with the time saved, employees can turn their attention to more important matters like interpreting the effectiveness of recent campaigns.

Efficient Communications

Nonprofits that fail to embrace tech tools for their Digital Marketing efforts spend too much time managing their social media presence. Tasks like posting content or sending emails could take hours doing it manually.

However, these tasks could be completed automatically and within minutes by using the proper tech tools. For example, scheduling posts for automatic publication and creating synchronized email campaigns will drastically improve efficiency.


Nonprofits can benefit from the use of tech tools to improve operations. They must first identify which technology they need to meet their goals, that way they can allocate the proper budget to improve the overall operation of the organization. With most nonprofits running on tight budgets, it is imperative they only invest in tech which will boost performance and ensure targets are met.