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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Research and recommendations for effective, day-to-day nonprofit practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

AAPI Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander philanthropy has a long history spanning back to a multitude of cultures. From the Filipino tradition of pasalubong to the Chamorro tradition of chenchule’, giving in AAPI cultures goes back for generations. The culture of giving that originates in these cultures informs the philanthropy and generosity that Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities demonstrate throughout their entire lives. Whether it be between people or between organizations, the origins of giving and philanthropy in AAPI cultures must be acknowledged and celebrated today. 

This AAPI Heritage Month, the ASU Lodestar Center will be exploring a few of these cultural roots in connection to modern-day philanthropy.

Chinese Americans

Giving starts early in the life of Chinese Americans. Around 1 month into the life of a newborn, the Red Egg and Ginger Party is held to officially welcome the new family member. At the event, the baby of honor is presented with many gifts: a new set of clothes, gold…

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

arms of multiple people holding each other in a knot

The intersection between diversity, equity, and inclusion (D.E.I.) exists to ensure nonprofit organizations value different perspectives and backgrounds, provide every employee with equitable access to opportunity and learning, and create spaces where all voices are heard. An organization must prioritize all three issues, otherwise, they risk completely missing the mark. Enacting intentional D.E.I. strategies in the nonprofit workplace is essential to maintaining the organization's mission, cultivating high performance from staff, and creating sustainable funding and programming.

Other benefits of intentional D.E.I. work include:

  • Expanding the organization's reach.
  • Fostering a healthier work culture.
  • Mirroring the community it serves.

Organizations that deliberately implement D.E.I. policies attract more creative and innovative employees who combine their unique knowledge, skills, and experiences to create a welcoming work environment and improve the organization's impact. Failure to prioritize diversity in the workplace may lead to segregated groups, communication strains, and…

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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

person wearing suit and cape with money flying around

One of the most underutilized and misunderstood donor bases for nonprofit organizations is their board of directors. A board of directors is extremely important to a nonprofit organization’s governance, ethics, decision making, financial oversight, mission, and policy. As part of their financial oversight, financial giving should be at the top of their priority list.

There are many reasons why individuals are inspired to serve on a nonprofit board, getting to what that motivation is and cultivating financial support is extremely essential to a fiscally healthy nonprofit. Without the board of directors being financial stakeholders in the nonprofit organization, there is a group of individuals who are dedicated to the work that the nonprofit does without showing so financially. There are three ways that nonprofit boards can lead nonprofits to financial success.

Board member buy-in

Board member buy-in is essentially the way in which they can show they are true stakeholders in the organization. If they do not believe financially in the nonprofit, why should others who are not serving the nonprofit? By showing good faith in the organization and how it performs financially through a personal gift, the board member shows that the mission is worthwhile to the community. If a board member publicly gives to the nonprofit it…

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Links of a chain

Strategic alliances can help organizations achieve their missions more efficiently and affordably. When two organizations come together, whether they have a similar mission or a totally different one, the new, more diverse group can bring about numerous new competencies and perspectives to help the organizations reach their common goals in new and innovative ways.

The benefits

The utilization of strategic alliances is especially significant now that the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the nonprofit sector in terms of availability of funds, volunteer willingness and costs of necessary changes to operations to provide safe services while still providing mission support. The following benefits are not only helpful in our current pandemic climate but are also important as we return to normal.

  • Cost savings
  • Joint planning responsibilities
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Monday, April 3, 2023

illustration of man in a suit with a briefcase running while coins and dollar bills surround him

Nonprofit organizations face extraordinary challenges in a constantly evolving business world. Prioritizing planning for financial resiliency is needed now more than ever to ensure continuation of service delivery. Planning will help ease concerns of uncertainties for the future. So, how can leaders support financial resiliency through planning?

Why should you plan?

Planning for financial resiliency is the act of thinking ahead to reach a desired financial goal. It will produce stability and adaptability during times of change or crisis while also preparing the nonprofit for periods of recovery. Planning is an active engagement of adapting and learning while supporting the mission of the nonprofit, which leadership can use to help guide decisions in the future. Developing a plan and clearly communicating how that plan supports the vision of the organization is necessary for nonprofit leadership to build resiliency.

Where to start?

Nonprofit leaders should focus on building financial reserves as well as implement strategic and contingency planning, while clearly defining how these strategies support their organization’s mission. Communication is key to developing and implementing these tools for financial resiliency. Start by analyzing the specific needs of the nonprofit, what are the goals, values, and intentions? How can implementing a strategic plan support the mission of the nonprofit and build financial…

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ASU Lodestar Center Blog