#TBT Spalding University

Spalding University

Spalding University

As graduation season comes to an end for secondary and post secondary schools in Kentucky, we thought we would take a look back at one of our education clients. JoAnn Rooney, then president of Spalding, invited GF&M to provide additional leadership for an endowment campaign. The campaign was to directly support the students through their scholarship fund. Since Susan Griffin is a proud graduate of the university and it’s one of the oldest educational institutions in the city of Louisville, we were thrilled to be a part of the effort. In a limited time frame, we were able to complete the goal of one million dollars and secured a matching grant from the Brown Foundation. The campaign was supported by fabulous community volunteers, like  Mac and Tori McClure and through their leadership the campaign was a complete success.

The campaign in 2008 was a great experience for GF&M and personally for Susan to be back on campus. It is always exciting to work with such dedicated educators like those at Spalding.

Since 2008 went so well, in April 2013 GF&M was again invited to facilitate a strategic planning retreat with the Advancement Team. Under the new leadership of president Tori McClure, we spent 2 days in closed door sessions reviewing and updating the goals for Spalding’s  future. The pennant pictured above was a thank you gift from the entire Advancement Team to Susan Griffin, who acted as the facilitator for the retreat. Each member of the team signed the pennant. Honored and flattered by the gift, she keeps that pennant in her office.

GF&M’s #TBT To Intel ISEF

This week we are headed back to ’97. It’s the year Kentucky first hosted the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

1997 Intel ISEF poster

1997 Intel ISEF poster

GF&M helped two Kentucky Governors and the Mayor of Louisville in bringing the world’s largest competition for high school students in math, science and engineering to Louisville not once but twice. I personally believe that this week long event helped strengthen the perception that Kentucky is a state of innovation and technology. At the time, some 1200 student competitors from 35 foreign countries came to Louisville. There were over 1000 judges and some 1500 volunteers. Now, the competition has well over 80 countries involved with many more judges and volunteers.

The Opening Ceremonies for the event were held at night on the Churchill Downs track. It was the first time Churchill had ever hosted an evening event and the first time the general public were allowed to walk on the same track used for horse racing at the Kentucky Derby.

Susan Griffin with six Nobel Laureates who were invited to Kentucky as part of the Intel ISEF in 1997.

Susan Griffin with six Nobel Laureates who were invited to Kentucky as part of the Intel ISEF in 1997.

As a part of the Intel ISEF 1997, GF&M helped to invite six Nobel Laureates. They visited Jefferson County Public School classrooms to interact with middle and high school students. This marked the largest gathering of Nobels in the state of Kentucky and the first time Nobels were involved with secondary school students. What a first that was for the state of KY. I bet the guys from “The Big Bang Theory” can’t say they’ve met so many Nobels.

The 1997 Intel ISEF really held the bar high for future fairs. With the support of Kentucky’s Govenor, we increased the number of scholarships awarded to the student finalist. That had never been done before. The result provided Kentucky Higher Education with the opportunity of awarding ISEF finalist to come to Kentucky for their bachelors degree. Talk about injecting international award winning innovators directly into our higher education systems and ultimately our economy.

Because of GF&M’s leadership during the 1997 Intel ISEF the Host Committee for the 2001 Intel ISEF requested our services in support of their fair in San Jose, California.

Services Provided By GF&M

  • Developed all sponsorships for the 1997 Intel ISEF.
  • Managed staff Kentucky’s Govenor provided for the identification and solicitation of Kentucky scholarships
  • Supported Kentucky Host Committee in the identification and solicitation of cash and budget relieving items.

#TBT 30 Years of FREML

In this addition of #TBT we jump back to September 2013 . Susan Griffin, Founder and CEO of our firm, is one of the past presidents of the Fundraising Executives of Metro Louisville (FREML). As part of the 30 year anniversary last year, many of them gathered to be honored for their hard work by the organization. She was flattered to be invited to participate and is proud to be part of Louisville fundraising industry. Still today Susan and Liz are dues paying members of FREML.

FREML presidents




It’s Throw Back Thursday! (AKA: #TBT) GF&M is combing through our archives and collecting the cool memorabilia we have at our office to hop on the band wagon. Our first installment takes us all the way back to 1997. During that year, Louisville flooded almost as bad as the ’37 flood, Kentucky Kingdom was sold to Six Flags and Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby.

America's Promise is a national non-profit organization

America’s Promise is a national non-profit organization

The Facts
The Date:                                     September 1997
The National Non-profit:      America’s Promise
The Campaign:                          Campaign For Kids
Campaign Chair:                      Mayor Jerry Abramson
The Client:                                 The Mayor’s Office (Louisville)
The Partners:
Bank of Louisville, BellSouth, Children’s Hospital Foundation, City of Louisville, Office of the Mayor, City of Louisville, Dept of Community Services, Community Foundation of Louisville, Metro United Way, UPS Foundation, IGLOU, Elizabeth Lawler, Videobred. Business First, Cox Radio, Public Radio and more

America’s Promise is the national organization with a mission to keep five promises to American’s young people. 1. Caring Adults 2. Safe Places 3. A Healthy Start 4. Effective Education 5. Opportunities to Help Others

Campaign for Kids was in intensive six-week campaign to challenge the citizens of Greater Louisville to commit volunteer time, service, and other resources to benefit children and youth in our community.

Our role: Griffin Fundraising and Marketing was requested by the Mayor’s Office to develop the local program for Louisville to “raise” volunteers. With just a little over seven weeks, we developed the materials, tracked volunteers and corporate involvement, and kept Mayor Abramson informed of progress. By the end of the campaign over 65,000 volunteers had been “raised”.

GF&M's All Access Pass to the Kick Off event for Campaign For Kids

GF&M’s All Access Pass to the Kick Off event for Campaign For Kids

Colin Powell, the chairman of the national campaign, visited Louisville in September because of the success Louisville was having and to inspire other cities to rise to the occasion. It was a true demonstration of the compassion Louisville has for the city and its community members. Susan Griffin reminisced about the campaign and remembers, “The city [of Louisville] really showed up to help kids.”

To this day you may still see a Campaign for Kids’ plaque in the businesses that “gave” volunteers to the campaign. America’s Promise just recently had a youth Summit here in Louisville. Making Louisville a continued example of stepping up for the youth.

Non Profit Communication Infographic

I love a good Infographic. I saw this on Charity Digital News and just had to share it.

Check out this infographic which highlights the key findings of Nonprofit Marketing Guide’s 2014 Nonprofit Communications Report, which surveyed over 2,100 nonprofit professionals.

The eyebrow raising highlights for me were 31% of professionals do not have time to create a clear communications strategy even though the #1 communications goal is to acquire new donors. Reminds me of a quote by Ben Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

I also loved seeing that the Executive Directors think In-person communication is the #1 effective vehicle for communication. In our experience, at Griffin Fundraising and Marketing, non profits who take the time to communicate their needs to interested donors face to face are the most effective in raising funds during a capital or major gifts campaign.

Lastly, I wish more non profits would experiment with LinkedIn. I happen to think that social media site has loads of potential, especially for the Development Officer within Non Profits. It’s a great way to connect with donors, research potential new donors and corporations.

What do you think? Do these numbers mirror your non-profits communication goals and challenges? Or is this a bunch of bologna?


The Non-Profit New Year!

2014 goals




We are less than two weeks away from 2014. The year of the horse. Happy New  Year….almost.

It’s a clean slate. A chance to restart, dream BIG and make progress towards goals. So I have to ask, is your non-profit organization ready for January 1, 2014? If not, these three To Do’s should give you a good place to start.

The First 3 To Do’s to Prepare for 2014:

1. Review Goals from 2013.

To me, this is the FIRST place to start when planning your goals for 2014. Maybe you just finished your annual end of the year ask campaign or your year end report. If not, dig through your files and find that wish list, prioritized goals sheet, strategic/marketing or development plan from way back and review it. Sit down with individual staff members to review their goals from 2013 and then set new ones for 2014. Ask the Board of Directors about their goals and new initiatives from 2013 to 2014. It’s a great opportunity to showcase their wonderful accomplishments and motivate for the new year.

Three different categories should immediately jump out at you when you look back:

  • Goals that were hit and/or exceeded! Great Job!
  • Items that may not have panned out the way they should have. It happens.
  • Items that still need improvement. Opportunities for 2014!

2. Spring Forward!

You’ve reviewed previous goals. You know where you’ve been and have a better idea of where staff and the board want to go. Now, set your goals with your staff and volunteers. Remember, this is a fresh start. Dream big and aim high! These goals should be how_do_you_eat_an_elephantchallenging but attainable.

Don’t forget to make a plan to hit those challenging but attainable goals. Add action items to each goal during each season or quarter. For example, what three action items can be done during the Spring to attain the overall goal? By breaking each goal down into smaller action items throughout the calender year makes them more attainable and “do-able” for busy volunteers and staff members.

3. The 2014 Fresh Look

You’ve reviewed and you’ve set new challenging but attainable goals. Now what? I’d shout it from the roof tops!

It’s not easy to look back and then set new goals for staff and volunteers AND keep the ship sailing forward. This is a busy time of year with holiday parties, shopping, end of the year reviews/reports/grants/etc. Having a plan for 2014 is just one of many items on the check list.

So post your goals for staff. Add goals for the board’s review for their next meeting. Give everyone a short “script” to tell donors, volunteers, program partners, etc what is on deck for your non-profit. The organization will be stronger and more focused if all members are well informed.

Hopefully, these three steps can help set you on the right path for the New Year.

Did you find these helpful? Have more questions? Leave me a comment or give us a call.

Thoughtful Volunteer Gifts

Halloween is over. We all know what that means. The Holiday Season has begun. It’s the busiest time of year with shopping, baking, cooking, family and friend events, work functions and a great time to show appreciation towards your volunteers and staff.

Does your non-profit exchange gifts at the office? Maybe your board wants to chip in for an end of the board term gift for the chair. Or perhaps you are wondering how to show your appreciation to your donor and volunteer base with almost no budget to do it. This post will at least spark some good ideas that fit your organization, staff and Board of Directors.

Four ‘Thank You Bunches’ Gift Ideas

The Sweetie Tooth
Have a few chocolate lover volunteers? Show them that you care during the holidays with A 100 Grand candy bar and attach a note that says, ‘Volunteers are Priceless”.  Another idea is to use gold wrapped chocolate coins can be pared with a note that reads, “Volunteers are worth their weight in gold.” Gourmet Mints are also a nice touch with a note that says, “Your service is worth a mint to us!”

Want to take it up a notch? Go gourmet and local! Find a local sweet shop that hand makes these yummy thank yous. The Cellar Door Chocolates fits that bill in Louisville Ky.

Green Thumbs Up
Maybe your organization is all about our environment. Keeping it green and clean is part of your mission. So celebrate that vision with a mum or poinsettia with a card saying, “We grow stronger every day you are with us.” A painted clay pot with a set of gardening gloves and a card that says, “Thanks for getting your hands dirty with us this year.”

Take it up a notch by drawing your mission on the side or attaching a picture of the board to the clay pot. If your non-profit serves children perhaps they could help with the project.

Success Stories
Want to remind your Board of Directors and staff what has been accomplished this year? With just a minimal budget and Internet access you create a Year in Review memory book. Is there one picture that sums up the major accomplishment this year? Get it printed on a canvas as wall art.  Canvas On Demand and Shutterfly are my two favorites for this type of project.

Personalize it
Was there a running theme for this year’s Board of Directors at your organization? CafePress, a local to Louisville business, lets you personalize pretty much anything you can think of with almost anything.

Do you have other ideas for holidays gifts this season? Leave a comment to share your ideas

Non-Profit Website Choice

This past weekend, I attended the WordCamp Louisville conference. WordCamps are held all over the US to bring together users, programmers, and designers who are interested in WordPress. So it’s a camp (or conference) on how to best utilize the website engine, WordPress. I think WordPress is a great tool for non-profits to use for their websites.  Scratching your head a bit still? Let me try again.

WordPress is a platform that many many groups use to build their website with all over the world. In fact, 1 in 5 websites are using WordPress right now as their platform of choice. Think of WordPress as a car frame and engine. Every car needs a frame and engine. On that frame you can add an exterior, wheels, doors, mirrors, leather interior even the fuzzy dice to customize your car. That’s what WordPress is like. There are themes, widgets and plugins to customize your site to your wants and needs.

Themes and Widgets
Themes are like the exterior to your car. They determine the color, placement of your logo, where your home and sub menus will be located on the page and so forth. Widgets are like the added features to a car that usually don’t add much functionality to it like cup holders or interior color. Widgets are sections of information that are typically displayed on the side bar areas of your site. Like our affiliations section on the home page of our site is a widget. A non-profit might use that space as a “Volunteer Spotlight” section or promoting an upcoming event.

Plugins bring extra functionality to your site like power windows or seat warmers on a car. At the conference this past weekend, the most interesting plugins were the event calendar, the countdown to your event and some of the security plugins to keep your site from getting a lot of spam.

GF&M feels the WordPress platform is the right choice for non-profits because it is so easily adapted to fit your over all and everyday needs. Want to start counting down to your annual gala? You can do that. Want to keep your donors up to date on the upcoming programs? You can do that too. Want to start a newsletter? Yes you can. Plus you don’t have to know HTML or be a programmer to change the information on your site. It is very user friendly.

Have questions on WordPress or how it could fit your organization’s needs? Leave a comment, email or call us.

Start the Conversation

Hello World!

We are so excited about our new website and blog posts. We want to provide our visitors with education, information and growth opportunities. Stay tuned for original posts, information from credible sources and news on what’s happening in the fundraising and non-profit industry.

Here are some of our ideas:

How to’s
Best Practices
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And other things we seen, tried, avoided and just think is cool while working with our non-profit clients over the last 2 decades.

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See you real soon!