Monday, October 29, 2012

Fundraising report says last campaign sucked Metro completely dry

A report by a national fundraising consultant says Metro’s largest charity has sucked all the donations that can possibly be sucked out of the city. According to the new report the Snidely Metro Hospital Foundation has done such a thorough job during their last campaign that there are no new donors left in Metro.

The report, done by New York fundraising consultants Big Invoice, found that every man, woman, child and pet in Metro gave to the Foundation’s last capital campaign. The campaign was so successful that every available donor in the entire city is on a pledge to the Foundation or has no money left except to pay for basic food and housing.

“The last capital campaign reduced Metro to a subsistence level economy. It so  completely fleeced every single penny from the people of the city that most can’t afford to make another donation in the foreseeable future,” the report concluded.

The $150 million campaign, called Until We Get Enough, was launched five years ago to pay for a new wing of the hospital. The Foundation let loose more than 50 major gift officers on the city. The ravenous fundraisers were sent back again and again to get every single person on their lists. The Foundation threw out its database and instead used the yellow pages telephone book to ensure the maximum number of potential donors. Roadblocks were set up at all city entrances and exits so that no donors could escape. More than 3,500 direct mail appeals were sent and nearly 300 donor recognition events were held.

Last month, Metro banks reported that there was limited cash in the city. Most of the loose change had been put into the Foundation’s 13,000 “Please Give” boxes at area stores and offices. Personal bankruptcies skyrocketed nearly 400 per cent.

Some 37 local charities closed their doors during the campaign, including the Metro United Way. They ran out of donations the first year after the Until We Get Enough started.

The campaign went through nearly 30,000 volunteers, changed over staff four times and had three different campaign chairs. The Snidely Metro hospital had a 67 per cent upswing in cases of nervous breakdowns and PTSD during the campaign, including all three campaign chairs.

“I just can’t believe this,” said Foundation CEO Dibble Brewer. “There’s surely got to be more money out there somewhere. I mean there was this guy at the grocery store the other day who paid with cash. Cash! I mean he could be spending that on our campaign.”

City officials have asked the Foundation to delay or cancel their planned new capital campaign, Never Say Never, due to launch next month. The $300 million campaign has Metro’s Mayor Vince Mayonnaise worried.

“I don’t think Metro could take another Foundation campaign,” he said. “The last mayor died after his 120th straight campaign event for the hospital, and he was a few years younger than me. I’m not throwing my life away like that.”

But Brewer said the new campaign will be launched right on schedule. “Nothing can stop this. Metro gave last time, so I know it can give again this time. Last time, we went after the cash and the stocks and the wills. This time, we’ll be going after the houses and  cars and first-borns,” she laughed maniacally.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Small business asks Federal Government to designate them “Not-that-much Profits”

America’s hard hit small businesses have petitioned Congress to change their designation from “for-profits” to “not-that-much profits” and allow them to collect donations and issue tax receipts.

“Our small businesses have been so battered by the economy that they actually make less than many of the charities in their communities. So, we want government to allow us to act like not-for-profits,” said Hollis Snidely, CEO of Americans Who Love Small Businesses, at a press conference in the nation’s capital.

Small businesses want to be allowed to ask customers and even employees to give them donations to keep them afloat. The plan would see gigantic money jars appear next to cash registers across the country. Many want to hire full time fundraisers. Some small businesses also want to use direct mail campaigns and launch full-fledged capital campaigns to repair their buildings.

“We need charitable donations even more than most US charities,” said Snidely. “Without fundraising support we estimate that tens of thousands of small businesses will close in the next year.”

In a study, the group found that even a modest fundraising campaign would save tens of thousands of small business jobs and create 10,000 new fundraising jobs. A survey found that Americans were sympathetic to the plight of small business and would likely give generously to local “mom and pop” stores and manufacturers. However, the survey found that Americans would only give a limited amount to larger businesses like Kmart and Walmart, and only during sales.

The group plans to launch a public advertising campaign featuring stories of small business owners who ask for donations to keep their stores open.

US charities are welcoming the initiative, hailing it as proof that non-profits must be doing something right for a change.

“The fact that small business want to be like us is a major acknowledgement that perhaps we’re not the inefficient, ineffective organizations people think we are,” said Dibble Brewer, CEO of the League of Big Honking Charities. “We heard about this and thought, hmmm, maybe we’re not losers after all.”

The new designation, if granted, would label all US small businesses as “not-that-much profits”. An alternative being proposed by some in Congress is “small business charity cases.”

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Non-Profit/For-Profit leaders agree to keep US charities only “Two Generations” behind

Leaders at the US Non-Profit/For-Profit Summit have agreed on a formula to keep the nation’s charities only two generations behind small business and medium-sized manufacturers.

The agreement, hammered out after an all-night bargaining session, will see the level of progress at non-profit organizations capped at a fixed rate based on the average of similar-sized for-profit companies. The formula of “two generations” represents a major increase for US charities.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome of these talks with the for-profits,” said Maurice Snidely, CEO of the League of Big Honking Charities and chair of the US Non-Profit negotiating team. “Our members have been using a formula of at least three generations behind for the last decade. This new agreement will see some of our members actually be as effective as for-profits were perhaps as little as five years ago on some key issues. That’s major progress.”

The stumbling block in the negotiations was over social media, which was not part of the last set of negotiations in 2002. Many US charities have been actively trying to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which caused friction with for-profit leaders. According to the last agreement, charities weren’t allowed to introduce new technologies until the for-profit world had them mastered. With social media still an unknown force to both the for-profit and non-profit, critics complained that charities could not use social media under the agreement.

“Our position was that non-profits should be restricted from introducing social media or at least prevented from making it even remotely interesting or exciting, but because it wasn’t covered in our last agreement we couldn’t do anything about it,” said Dibble Brewer, CEO of For-Profit America.

Non-profit leaders say the inclusion of social media was a major coup, that ranks with the 1999 decision that saw for-profits agree to charities could use accounting software.

“It was a very hard point to make because small business has had a hard time with social media,” said Snidely. “We finally were able to convince them to let us have it only after we pledged to make half of all of our content out-of-date and out-of-touch with our stakeholders. It’s a great first step towards our eventual goal – to be just one generation behind.”

For-profit leaders say that a one generation behind world will have to wait for better economic times.

“Now’s not the time to start introducing radical ideas like making charities as efficient as small business. Americans are just not ready for that. They still expect their local charities to be backwards and behind the times,” said Brewer.

Immediately after the agreement was signed in Washington, DC, several major US charities began to stop daily posting to Twitter and started using last year’s content on their Facebook pages. In a statement on its website, the US National Cancer Trust said it would be introducing 20% “boring” material to its Facebook page because of the agreement and only allow its most immature junior staff to use Linkedin.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two Major Gifts Officers to have High Noon showdown over McCurdy ask

Kansas Pete

Two cowboy fundraisers are expected to have a showdown near Boot Hill at High Noon today over which one will ask the Sid and Svetlana McCurdy for $250,000 for the Metro Hospital Foundation’s capital campaign. Only one is expected to walk away with the ask.

“Tex” Snidely, the Foundation’s senior fundraiser has had dibs on every ask since he gunned down Elisabeth “Whiskey” Wannamaker in a gunfight over the ask to the Moneybags Foundation five years ago. Since then, he’s been the undisputed cowpoke among the Foundations ten major gift officers. That was until “Kansas Pete” Towers came to town. The young, singing fundraiser who does horse riding tricks and brands cattle with one hand challenged Snidely to a showdown over the coveted McCurdy ask.

“Tex was the undisputed king of the fundraisers in this town, before Kansas Pete came along,” said Foundation CEO Hairdoo Malone. “Nobody ever tried to mess with Tex. He buried three young major gifts officers who crossed him on asks just last year. None of them had a chance. He just gunned ‘em down, and laughed. But Kansas Pete is different, and Tex aint a laughing now.”

Towers, who hails from Dodge City, is known as the fastest fundraiser in the West. He has made more asks for more money than most fundraisers half his age. At the Dodge City Community Trust, he took down all the major gifts officers and the Executive Director by raising twice as much as they did. He also sings cowboy tunes, plays guitar, drinks twice as much as any man, woman or animal and gets “duded up right purdy” like no other man who is comfortable with his own masculinity.

Snidely is known for his tough, gruff demeanor. He is said to have been more meaner than any fundraiser alive or dead. It was no surprise to many when the two men clashed.

Things came to a head in the Foundation’s lunch room when Snidely came in and found Towers singing and doing cow-roping tricks for the staff. The two had sparred only minutes earlier over the McCurdy ask – a lucrative donation solicitation.

Mean Tex Snidely
“Tex, he saw Kansas Pete a singing and a laughing and making like he was the king. And that didn’t sit well with him,” said Malone. “So, he says to Kansas Pete ‘I don’t likes your singing – you sing like a young gifts processing assistant at tax time – all squeaky.’”

Towers reportedly put down his guitar and said Snidely was “full of wind as a corn-eating horse”. Snidely then said that Towers could put his donor meeting notes in the oven, “but that don't make ‘em biscuits”. A short scuffle followed before Towers called Snidely out to a duel near Boot Hill at High Noon.

“This foundation ain’t big enough for the both of us,” Snidely reportedly said.

The two fundraisers then separated to prepare. Snidely sat drinking strong coffee in the lunchroom surrounded by his admirers and supporters from gift processing and IT. Towers calmly sat singing his guitar to the girls at the events department.

The Foundation is split over who will prevail. Many think Snidely has had his day.

“I gots my money on Kansas Pete,” said Juney Simpleton, an events coordinator. “He’s younger and smarter and faster than that smelly old Tex. Why Tex is tighter than bark on a tree, he is. Kansas Pete will air him out some!”

“Tex has been doing fundraising longer than Kansas Pete has been alive, and in a fight like this, with the sun in your eyes and your hand on young smart phone, experience always counts,” said Cynthia Twotimer, finance director. “The Kansas Pete has sung his last fundraising ballad.”

The two men are scheduled to meet at 12:30 right before the meeting of the staff decorating committee.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Strange little man threatens to take donors babies away unless they renew their pledge…or guess his name

Metro’s largest charity has been getting complaints about their latest fundraising program which features visits from a strange little man who threatens to take away donors’ babies if they don’t renew their pledge.

“We’ve had a few calls,” admits Metro Community Trust CEO Dibble Snidely. “But that’s sometimes the price you pay when you introduce something new and successful. This new program has tripled our monthly fundraising. Donors are obviously giving to it. How wrong can it be?”

The program began last spring when a strange, elf-like creature approached the Trust with an offer to increase fundraising revenues. At first, Snidely says they were skeptical, but then they heard how successful the program has been in New York and Chicago.

“This strange little man, whose name we can’t reveal, we call him Bob, had an equally strange presentation. He just appeared out of thin air and started talking in his creepy little voice about spinning straw into gold and we were mesmerized,” said Snidely.

“Bob” said that he had created a total pledge engagement solution that would yield almost 99 percent renewals. This was welcome news to the Trust, which has seen pledge renewals drop 50 percent over the last three years. Last year, a quarter of the Trust’s donor pledges were not renewed or fulfilled.

The program involved personal face-to-face renewal meetings between “Bob” and key donors. In the past, the Trust found these were counter-productive, but “Bob” promised his approach would be different.

“We found that when we went to talk to people about renewal they hemmed and hawed and didn’t really appreciate us reminding them of their promise,” said Snidely. “But Bob said his approach of threatening to take their babies away, and in some cases doing so, would be much more effective. And darn it, that smelly, creepy little guy was right.”

The only catch was that for some reason which “Bob” couldn’t explain if donors could correctly guess his real name he would be forced to disappear. Snidely didn’t think that was a problem since no one at the Trust knew his name, which supposedly sounds something like “Pumpernickel”. Snidely said “Bob” seldom talked about himself, although many people reported seeing him late at night dancing around a fire and singing a strange song in the wooded area outside the Trust’s office building.

“Bob” started by visiting some of the most notoriously unreliable donors, including Mildred and Sid Moneybags, who haven’t met a single pledge target in the past decade. He came back with a series of cheques to cover off past renewals and a further pledge of $100,000 over ten years. Instead of asking for major recognition as they had the past, the Moneybags only requested that “Bob” not ever visit them again and stop sending them “presents” to their 1 year old daughter Kate.

Other visits followed and more renewals came in. Soon, most major donors had renewed.

“It was amazing to see Bob work. His message got through to them. And no one ever guessed his real name,” said Snidely. “The only thing that really bothers me is what he wanted to do with those babies. But I’ve come to learn that one should never question the logical of fairy tale creatures. And besides, we’re ahead of our revenue projections. So, who cares?”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Charity makes typo, asks for $1 Billion instead of $1 Million

Could this be Metro's fate?

Donors and funders across Metro are reeling from an urgent request by the Community Trust for $1 Billion in donations to keep local social service programs operating.

The Trust launched an emergency fundraising campaign last Tuesday when it sent a letter to government and foundation funders as well as key donors for an urgent infusion of $1 Billion to continue urgently needed social programs. “The demand for our programs is such that we need an immediate increase in our program spending by $1 Billion,” the letter said.

The Metro United Way immediately announced that it would be seeking bankruptcy protection and laid off half or its staff. The United Way has an emergency funding agreement with the Trust that would match any emergency funding requests made to government. United Way CEO Spooley Snidely said they had no choice but to pull the plug on their entire operation once they got the letter asking for $1 Billion.

“We took one look at their letter and one look at our bank account and we realized that our $25 million operation would take decades to make that happen. Most of us are near retirement and we wanted to spend the golden years of our careers golfing. So most of the senior managers retired and we closed up shop,” she said.

The City government followed the United Way announcement by declaring Metro a disaster area and asking for Federal funds. Mayor Dibble Brewer held a news conference on the steps of City Hall shortly after receiving the letter.

“Citizens should not panic. We realize that a billion dollar shortfall in key services is a major challenge, but the City is ready to respond. The police and fire departments are on alert to protect against looting and the Governor has promised to send National Guard troops. A FEMA task force has been formed and has already bought up all the mobile home trailers in the Metro area,” he said.

“Wherever you are, go home, lock the door, load your gun and await further instructions,” said the Mayor. In a few short minutes, Metro’s entire business district was empty of people.

Meantime, major Trust donors have pledged their support to the urgent billion dollar campaign. Noted philanthropists Henry and Judith Moneybags pledged more than $1 million to the Trust last year.

“When we got the letter from the Trust that they needed $1 Billion, we were moved. I immediately said to Henry that we should do something,” said Judith. “So we cashed in our stock portfolio, all our possessions and our entire life savings. We came up with roughly $7 million. It’s not much, but it’s the best we can do.”

The Trust offices were flooded by children bringing in spare change to help. Many businesses turned in cash they had collected from customers and employees. Metro’s ten banks said they would be donating as much as they could to meet the crisis and sent over 27 armored cars full of money. Metro hospital reported that one patient had placed one of his healthy kidneys up for auction on eBay in order to raise money for the Trust. The Kidney eventually sold for $576,000 and was removed an hour later by doctors and sent to the winner.

Trust officials were shocked by the outpouring of generosity. By mid-afternoon, they had so much cash laying around their offices they couldn’t see over the top off the reception desk. CEO Shelia Hairdoo told the crowd of donors, citizens, police and National Guardsmen they are grateful.

“Uh, I think we…uhm. Well, to tell the truth, we sort of uh… Well, Chris, our proposal writer has a bad habit of not checking her work. And I usually don’t read the stuff we put into proposals, you know? There’s a big difference between $1 million and $1 Billion, but on a keyboard it’s just one different key. I mean, the ‘M’ is just two keys away from the ‘B’. So, while we’re very grateful, we don’t really need all this….well, we do need it, actually, but what I’m trying to say is…” Hairdoo began before police evacuated the building and locked down the entire area. Martial law was declared a few minutes later. A dusk to dawn curfew is in place.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Supreme Court outlaws capital campaigns as “cruel and unusual punishment”

Cruel and usual?

The highest court in the land has struck down capital campaigns across the US for being “cruel and unusual punishment”.

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the capital fundraising campaigns violated the US Constitution’s Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts said capital campaigns promote “needless suffering and pain that are out of proportion to the need” and “unlawfully deprived persons, namely alumni members, of life, liberty and property without due process”.

In its ruling, the court rejected arguments from the nation’s universities and hospitals that capital campaigns were necessary to ensure public order. “The law must balance the needs of the social organs of society, such as universities, with the rights of individuals to not suffer punishment that is degrading to human dignity,” the judgement said.

The case, Jones vs. The Bad Fundraisers, involved a disgruntled alumni member from an Ivey League university who objected to being asked for a donation 20 years in a row. Jones’ university and others who intervened in the case argued that the university had an unqualified right to send Jones solicitations for donations until the day he died and perhaps even after that if it could be made to work. It also argued that Jones was in fact an asshole. However, the Supreme Court ruled that Jones should not receive any further donation appeals from the university and outlawed the institution any additional capital campaigns.

Writing for the minority, Justice Scalia said that while capital campaigns were “major pains in the neck” and he gets “calls and letters from my alma maters all the damn time” that they were “mostly harmless and seldom cause any physical or emotional harm.”

Supreme Court watchers say the case hinged on whether receiving 250 donation solicitation  pieces a year from a university you attended 40 years ago was appropriate.

“The Court has concluded that charities who ask people for money actually have to have a shred of an excuse to do so, otherwise it is excessive,” said Dr. Dibble Brewer, a professor of fundraising law at the University of Southern North Dakota.

The reaction from the university and hospital fundraising sector was mixed. Many universities say that the decision will create a major hardship for them.

“The main reason we have graduates from our universities is so we can ask them for donations,” said Spooley Snidely, spokesman for the League of Big Honking Universities. “We’ll have to make changes in light of this decision, perhaps not allowing people to graduate until ten or twenty years after they finish their exams.”

For his part, lawyers for Jones say the litigant grew to miss the continual communications from his alma mater during the lengthy court case and wound up giving them a major donation. He will be featured on the cover of next month’s alumni magazine

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dead business woman named chair of local Zombie United Way campaign

Zombie Campaign Cabinet

The Metro United Way has named a popular dead woman to be the chair of their first ever local Zombie campaign, which hopes to raise $1 million.

Liesel Snidely, who in life was a small business owner and now walks the Earth neither dead nor alive, becomes the first monster to join the United Way’s board of directors. United Way CEO Dibble Brewer said Snidely is the perfect un-person for the job.

“We’re very pleased to have Liesel Snidely heading up this new campaign aimed at Metro’s Zombie community,” said Brewer. “This community is so vibrant and alive, so we picked someone who was both dead and animated to lead it. That’s Liesel to a tee. Nothing stops her when she puts her mind to something…even though part of her brain is protruding from her skull. We expect great things from Liesel and her team this fall.”

Snidely owned the operated her own woman’s fashion store before becoming a Zombie two years ago after a retro-virus was mistakenly released from the US Army bio-weapons research lab in Metro’s east end. Since then she has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Zombie community, organizing food kitchens and advocating for Zombies with the secret Zombie-inducing corporate cabal that is seeking the overthrow of society as we know it.

Attempts to engage the Zombie community for last year’s United Way campaign were not very successful. In fact, Brewer says all of the staff and volunteers assigned to reach out to the Zombie community never came back. Those that did came back in pieces.

The United Way says expanding their annual campaign to the local Zombie community fits with their strategy of engaging different parts of Metro society. Zombies are one of the largest group of users for United Way funded programs and represent a new untapped source of fundraising.

“When we looked at our programs we saw Zombies. A year ago, there were only a few of them, but in the last few months they’re everywhere. This is obviously a community in need,” said Brewer. “We’re hoping that the Zombies will be able to help us fund our important community programs through payroll giving and our event fundraising programs.”

Brewer says they arre already planning their first ever Zombie event – a Downtown Zombie Food Festival. Next month, local chefs from downtown Metro restaurants will be serving up an array of delicacies for local Zombies at the Main Street Hotel. A local children’s choir will be providing entertainment.

“We’re expecting to attract several hundred Zombies from all across Metro to this event. There’ll be plenty of nice things to eat and things to see, like the Metro Children’s Choir – they’ll just eat them up. We will have extended hours for the event because some Zombies take a long time to walk anywhere and others only come out at night,” said Brewer.

Snidely will be joined on the Zombie campaign cabinet by a number of other community leaders, including the dead bald man with half his stomach missing who looks like Ralph Zwitze the insurance salesman who will be co-chair.

Local businesses are being asked to get Zombie customers to fill out “sunshine” stickers, which will be displayed in shop windows. Each sticker will retail for $2.00.

A Zombie campaign thermometer was to have been erected at the entrance to Main Street Park last week, but the crew putting it up strangely went missing. Once dusk has fallen and a light fog rolls in another crew will be dispatched to finish the job. They include a grizzled old construction foreman, a young teenager who will likely be the first to be eaten and a strong male lead who will eventually be the only human left in Metro.