Change is the Only Constant

By: Steve Orr

2017 has been a very interesting year in philanthropy.  The landscape is being redefined more and more by the rapid and sometimes exponential accumulation of individual wealth. Today's billionaire class is "first generation".

Carol and Steve Orr
"Early-onset" wealth is driving significant changes in philanthropy. Catalyzed in large  p art by Bill Gates' 2011 'Giving Pledge' initiative, transformational philanthropy has become sta ndard  practice. Billionaire philanthropists are no longer just asking "how can I create change" but "how can I can I create change  in my lifetime?" They are looking to fund initiatives that involve diverse stakeholders and where performance is measured by data and metrics. They are looking to fund  systems change , i.e. for nonprofits to subsume their individual missions in favor of pursuing a shared agenda with other stakeholders, public and/or private.

What we are witnessing is  a new age of philanthropy , defined by collaboration, and by a commitment to metrics.  It is no longer enough for individual organizations to act alone in addressing social issues. Nonprofits must begin to think and act bigger. With billions of dollars in funding opportunities hanging in the balance, civic leaders and social entrepreneurs alike must break out of the nonprofit model that focuses on one organization, and coordinate with other stakeholders around a common agenda. 

This effort requires serious thought and hard work. Nonprofits committed to systems change need a  case for support that highlights key partnerships across both the private and public sectors. They must  build out their systems to track data and align metrics desired by systems change funders. And finally, nonprofits must  build development teams capable of understanding the complexity of systems change and communicating their unique model to key donors.

As we wrap up 2017 at OAI and reflect on the year ahead, change is the only constant.  2018 will bring new challenges, exciting new projects, and new ways to help our nonprofit partners.  Carol and I, and the whole OAI team hope the holidays provide you with a chance to celebrate, relax, and refresh for the year ahead.  We look forward to continuing our dialogue on systems change and other defining trends in philanthropy in the new year. 

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2018!

Steve  and Carol Orr

OAI thanks the following clients for their business in 2017:

    Craig Shelley, CFRE
OAI's Craig Shelley, Vice President, was published in NonProfit Pro this month. His piece lends advice on how to engage and lead successful fundraising teams. Read more here. 

The  Newark Downtown District (NDD) is a civic organization dedicated to revitalizing downtown Newark.  It is working to improve the attractiveness, safety and economic viability of Newark's central business district, and bring more green space to the downtown area, including replacing blacktops and parking lots with green space. A key initiative is the creation of Mulberry Commons, a new three-acre state-of-the-art park in downtown Newark.  In order to raise critical funds to support the maintenance and programming for Mulberry Commons, NDD plans to host a fundraising gala in the park in late 2018. OAI is partnering with NDD to develop and implement a plan and event fundraising infrastructure to help it achieve its fundraising goals.

The  Queens Library Foundation (QLF)  raises funds for the programs, services, and collections of Queens Library, a network of 62 local community libraries that anchor their neighborhoods and provide a destination for learning, reading, relaxing and sharing experiences. OAI is partnering with QLF to strengthen and enhance its development operations by building a major donor prospect pipeline and designing and implementing a moves management process. We will also be providing support and counsel to QLF's Executive Director and the library system CEO as they engage with donors.  

The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) was founded in 1971 by parents of children with diabetes to provide philanthropic support to the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), the largest and most comprehensive research center in the world dedicated to curing diabetes. OAI is partnering with DRIF to undertake a thorough assessment of its organization, operations and fundraising infrastructure, to determine whether its current development operations and structure provide the optimal support for its fundraising goals, and to evaluate potential areas for growth. 
Ronald McDonald House NY
This month some members of our team volunteered at our client, Ronald McDonald House New York (RMDHNY).  We toured the House, served lunch, and met many of the children and families who are staying there.

AFP Young Professionals Affinity Group (AFP-YPAG)
We were honored to host the AFP-YPAG in our DC office on October 30. Jennifer Broome spoke to young professionals about kick-starting a career in fundraising. The 3 key takeaways can be found here.

AFP Hudson Valley Chapter
OAI Director, John-Anthony Bruno, served on a panel at the AFP - Hudson Valley Chapter's National Philanthropy Day Celebration. John-Anthony served by assisting in sponsorship solicitation and participated in the panel discussion "Tools of the Trade" where he provided a presentation on outside partners assisting in their fundraising.

OAI welcomed Samantha Notowich to the team in November. She is a new Associate, supporting the OAI team. Originally from Memphis, TN, she spent this last year living in Berlin, Germany, working for a large humanitarian relief organization. She graduated from Indiana University in 2016 where she earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism. Samantha will be working with the Arthritis Foundation and The Parker Jewish Institute for Healthcare and Rehabilitation. We're excited to have her on board.  

Responding to the increasingly complex burdens on nonprofit leaders, OAI has developed a transformational approach to fundraising and strategy consulting.  Our teams of experienced professionals seamlessly embed themselves with nonprofits to fundraise, to recruit and improve board leadership, to build consensus and direction through new strategies, and to provide executive, fundraising, and financial leadership.  With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, OAI has partnered in our clients' success for more than 25 years, helping more than 600 nonprofits raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their causes. 


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