Local Government Innovation & Redesign

To support local government redesign efforts and recognize the innovative work already underway, the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center has partnered with state associations to create the Local Government Innovation & Redesign Guide and host a yearly Local Government Innovations Awards ceremony.

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Countercyclical messaging

New research presented at the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in March 2009 gives nonprofit organizations reason for optimism as all sectors compete for a shrinking resource pool. In addition to noting that giving through charitable bequests (i.e. leaving money to a nonprofit in one's estate plan) tends to increase during recession, the scholars suggested ways to both identify those donors most likely to make a bequest and craft a message that appeals to their sense of social responsibility.

Among the findings was that bequest-minded donors tend to think on higher level, looking past the importance of their gift to the impact that the organization itself has on the community.

While donors who give once a year tend to respond to appeals that use concrete results — such as the fact that a $20 gift will inoculate a child against disease — people who make bequests tend to think in more abstract terms.

Similarly...unlike people who give yearly, bequest donors are less interested in how an organization will fulfill its mission than in why the mission is important.

In many ways, this seems like the mindset that a Board member or visionary leader might take--less concerned about "nuts and bolts" than the big picture. The notion that these donors place less emphasis on measurable results highlights the importance of speaking multiple "philanthropic languages" to describe one reality.

Readers interested in exploring "philanthropic discourse" further may start at one of the articles linked below. (Dig through the citations for further reading.)

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