Author: Nancy Patterson

I have spent the past 24 years working in the nonprofit sector serving community-based causes–educational institutions, arts and cultural organizations, healthcare providers and nonprofit start-ups. I began serving as Associate Vice President of Leadership & Fund Development at Chattanooga State Community College in August of 2013 and was promoted to Vice President of College Advancement and Public Relations in August 2015. I also own a nonprofit consulting business which I started in 2005 and co-founded a legal tech company with my husband in 2011.

Nonprofit Finance Fund 2013 State of the Sector: Change and Innovation

Slide004The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) published its 5th annual State of the Sector Survey this week, a study made possible by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. With the largest sampling to date, 5,983 nonprofit respondents from across the country participated, and the results offer a mixed bag of data for us to consider in this now familiar yet still new reality of economic uncertainty.

According to the survey, nonprofits are adapting under economic and service demand pressures that will require, as NFF CEO Antony Bugg-Levine describes it,  “systemic change and innovation– both within the sector, and more broadly as a society…” (more…)

Workplace Giving Report points to more engagement

Slide104What can we learn from nearly 100 businesses with more than 1.4 million employees contributing $230 million charitable dollars annually? America’s Charities set out to tackle this question in the recently released report: Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving. The data reveals the largest shift in more than ten years as employers introduce strategies to engage employees more in giving.

While employers seek solutions to a more efficient and effective approach to workplace giving, America’s Charities CEO Steve Delfin believes its time for companies to launch a Version 2.0. (more…)

Solicitation Tips from 1891

Slide106Several years ago while preparing for a solicitation training I was to lead for a history museum, I thought it would be fun to weave in some quotes about philanthropy from famous historical figures during the session. I came across an interesting list online dated 1891 and attributed to John D. Rockefeller, Sr. entitled Ten Principles of Soliciting that served as an ideal icebreaker.

Today I discovered that the author was actually Frederick Taylor Gates, not Rockefeller. Gates was a trusted business and philanthropic adviser to Rockefeller who wrote a letter on April 20, 1891, to a gentleman named Sunderland containing 22 tips for “conducting a canvas.” This letter is part of the Rockefeller Archive Center collection. (more…)

The Mobile World Means “Social Change Anytime Everywhere”

Slide002Did you know 42% of email is now opened on a mobile device and only 3% of emails that are opened from a mobile device are also opened on a desktop? It’s no surprise that the nonprofit sector, like the rest of the world, is chasing a mobile audience. Statistics like these remind us why.

Lucky for us, there are resources available that provide social media best practices in order to help us engage our mobile community of smartphone and tablet users.

One of my favorite social media resources is the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog by Heather Mansfield. I also recommend her Social Media for Social Good book and webinars. There is also a ton of social media love found at (more…)

Window Washing Superheroes

Slide04It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! And Spiderman. And Batman. And Captain America— all making a difference in the lives of some children while they clean windows at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Although this news is from Halloween time last year, it just appeared on my radar today thanks to the Twitter feed via Frank Ocean who shared: “Window washers at a children’s hospital – this deserves endless retweets.” Thank you for the inspiration Frank. (more…)

One Skill to Master in the Solo Development Office

Slide39Are you buried under a to-do list that is distracting you from raising more money? It can be exhausting juggling the duties as the solo development officer. I have been there, and so has Pamela Grow.

“Grant proposal writing, individual giving, copy-writing, event-planning, data entry, database management, stewardship and more – how does the small shop fundraiser get it all done?” asks Grow.  Her advice: “You can’t do it alone.”


Pamela Grow knows the solo development officer can’t do it alone.

Pamela is right. You cannot do it alone. To help focus your efforts for maximum fundraising results, you need to master the skill of (more…)

Discover and develop satisfaction in passionate giving

Slide02When I interview candidates for advancement positions, there is one question I lean on that has frequently helped narrow the search. It is a thoughtful question someone once asked me: What has been your most satisfying work experience and why?

How would you answer this question? Perhaps your most satisfying experience is about accomplishments of a dream team you worked with or maybe about a small change you implemented that made a big difference. For me, a mission-focused priority that is connected to a donors passionate gift is among the most satisfying professional experiences I’ve ever had. Let me share an example: (more…)


nonprofitunityIt’s not everyday I decide to make-up a word, but during the creative selection process that came along with finally naming this young blog of mine, well, this is precisely what I did.

nonprofit + unity

I combined these two words because nonprofitunity (pronounced nän präfi to͞onitē) represents a mash-up of three core beliefs I hold about nonprofit success. Let me explain. Having spent more than 20 (more…)

Crazy fun meets doing good with Moolta’s crowdfunding video challenges

images-2Crowdfunding platforms continue to experience growth. When comparing total amount raised in 2012 to 2011, crowdfunding giant Kickstarter reported a 200% increase, IndieGoGo projects raised a respectable 20% more, and Razoo– the number one exclusively charitable crowdfunding platform–reported a stellar 2012, including breaking the world’s record with $16.3 million raised online in 24 hours. (more…)

Infographic: How Americans Give to Charity

Slide40In this recently released infographic provided by Online Psychology Degree is a charitable giving snapshot using data from U.S. taxpayers who earned more than $50,000 in 2008. A key finding in this analysis is that middle class Americans give a larger percentage to nonprofits than the wealthy. See if you are surprised by this or any of the other findings: (more…)