Thursday, December 07, 2006


Returned to my pile of reading today to see some interesting stuff. To wit:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an excellent story about cities that lose a great deal of property taxes to charities who own their own buildings. Some cities have been charging fees for years, and I don't think that this is a bad thing in some form. After all, the organizations use police, fire, and other services just as much as for-profit or private citizens. The three cities where the issue is most severe are Boston, Baltimore and Seattle, based on the key indicator of "unpaid" nonprofit property taxes as a percentage of the city budget. Boston's is 11.6% (and Boston does charge fees), Baltimore 5%, and Seattle 4.9%. No right answer here.

Another Chronicle story worth reading is about "The Vanishing Donor", donors who aren't giving over and over because the nonprofit they give to is not meeting their needs. Interesting research is cited about how donors feel that nonprofits don't tell them what they do with donations, never contact them without asking for money, waste money on trinkets (90% of which are pitched), and don't say thank you, either enough, or at all.

Sounds pretty straightforward to me. Be transparent, say please and thank you, and worry about customer service in fund raising as much as you do in other charitable services. Sp why don't more organizations do just that?

Business Week this week talked about companies who are banning emails once a week--making people actually talk to each other....another good idea, but sad that it has to be mandated.

Another story was on a cell phone for tech-averse people that is just a...wait...wait...wait...a just makes phone calls. Nothing else. And the phone is incredibly popular.....To me this is a great and long overdue product, but more importantly a warning to all of us that think that the more tech we add in to any recipe of services, the better.

Tech IS terrific, and no one who knows me would ever call me a Luddite, tech works for nonprofits ONLY when it is used to enhance mission capability. But when it just pisses people off....not so much.

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