Lars Ward

The Mistakes of a Crisis

posted by
Lars Ward,

Research Aid,
ASU Lodestar Center  

Today the power and decisions of an organization’s top leadership are more apparent than ever. Susan G. Komen has been stumbling since the ill-fated decision to end its partnership with Planned Parenthood. Komen’s leadership responded quickly to the public’s and their supporters’ criticism by restoring their partnership days later, but the organization has not looked the same since.  Recently, Komen’s president Liz Thompson announced that she will be stepping down in September but she leaves the organization with its long-term health in jeopardy; in some cases fundraising is down 20 to 30%, and as numbers for fall fundraising events come in, that figure may grow.

Susan G. Komen’s misstep is a loss for the entire nonprofit sector. Last year Komen was one of the most respected and well-known nonprofit brands, and served as a model for many organizations to aspire toward. Even for students of public relations crises, few predicted that Komen’s actions would prove to be this difficult to overcome.  Like many others, I hope to see Susan G. Komen regain its form and come out of these events as a stronger organization, but the mistakes made earlier this year provide an excellent learning opportunity.

The Next Generation of Giving

posted by
Lars Ward,

Research Aid,
ASU Lodestar Center  

What is your nonprofit doing right now to attract my money? As a 20-something, I have encountered few nonprofits that reach out in a meaningful way for my charitable dollars. Understandably, most nonprofits (and probably yours) design fundraising campaigns for my parents and grandparents knowing that they indeed have more charitable dollars than I do. But I would argue, Generation Y or “millennials”, those born in the 80’s and 90’s, are poised to be the next big thing in charitable giving. Establishing relationships with millennials today can yield immediate results and is absolutely vital to the long-term success of your nonprofit.

Going after the charitable dollars of millennials may seem like “small fish,” but keep this in mind, millennials are now the largest generation in terms of population. Today, there are 79 million millennials in the US, compared to 76 million boomers. Additionally, as my generation moves out of their dorm rooms (or, more aptly, into their parent’s homes) and into the professional world, we will quickly have the kind of incomes that merit your nonprofit’s attention.