What’s happened to the humanities—once the center, and now the wallflower, of American higher education? The subject of their decline and fall has become a familiar lament.
But are students really fleeing the humanities? Brooks cites a fall-off in humanities majors at Harvard. But Harvard and other elite schools do not represent the larger national picture. Seen in absolute numbers, humanities majors have actually risen slightly over the last 50 years. What’s changed is the proportion of undergraduate students majoring in humanities. Students haven’t simply switched from English to, say, physics. Instead, the number of students, and of majors offered, have greatly increased. The humanities have gone from being a main course within a relatively narrow menu of options to just one plate among many at a bounteous buffet.
This frames the real challenge for the humanists: to demonstrate the relevance of the humanities within this broader landscape....
In May 2011 I launched an ongoing blog series that profiles Social Velocity’s work with Charlotte Chamber Music, a small performing arts organization that has a big vision, but lacks the capital to get there. Charlotte Chamber Music enlisted Social Velocity’s help in 2010 to create a strategic plan and a capacity capital pitch to raise the money to execute on their big plan. You can read the whole series here.
Capacity capital (or “philanthropic equity”) is the money so many nonprofits desperately need. Capacity capital is dramatically different from the day-to-day operating revenue for which nonprofits are always fundraising. Capacity capital doesn’t fund delivery of nonprofit services (beds for a homeless shelter, new productions in an opera house, books for an after-school program). Rather, capacity capital builds the organizational infrastructure of the nonprofit (technology, systems, administrative or fundraising staff, materials) that allows the organization to become more effective or grow. But you cannot simply go out and ask for capacity capital. First, you must develop a compelling, inspiring, actionable and measurable plan for what you would do with the capacity capital.
The principles of the Cause Communications Manifesto are timeless values that align your values with your organization's purpose, character and culture; and help inspire, engage your audience, and connect them with your mission.
Underlying much of my recent debate with Paul Brest was my view that funders should emphasize investing in building great nonprofit more than working with
It is time for the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to incorporate the concept of “philanthropic equity” into its standards for nonprofit accounting.
Without equity to shield them, America’s nonprofits are systematically undercapitalized. Since 1970, only 144 of them have grown to surpass $50 million in annual revenues. During the same time period, 46,136 for-profits have broken through the $50 million mark. Even small nonprofits, the backbone of our social purpose sector, are plagued by a chronic hand-to-mouth existence that can only be overcome if equity can find its way to the balance sheet. Achieving scale, gaining the necessary size to tackle systematic social problems, are buzzwords of the social sector. But until nonprofits and philanthropists understand the role of equity in the building of world class organizations, true scale will be a farfetched goal for most nonprofits.
NFF Capital Partners’ Portfolio Analysis Finds that Philanthropic Equity Recipients Tripled Program Delivery and Doubled Revenue
New York, NY – September 21, 2010 – A new report released today by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) reveals the promise of philanthropic equity for the nonprofit sector. NFF Capital Partners’ Portfolio Performance Report, which analyzes the role of philanthropic equity in the nonprofit sector based on its own engagements, found that philanthropic equity has, on average, more than tripled program delivery, and doubled revenue for nonprofit organizations that have conducted comprehensive philanthropic equity campaigns.
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