Philanthropy & Fundraising

David Whitehead is the senior vice president and chief development officer for AARP and AARP Foundation. He leads all fundraising efforts, including efforts to support charitable, advocacy and social impact programs. Follow him on Twitter @Whitehead_Dave.

Being More Efficient isn’t Always the Answer

As your typical husband, I sometimes find myself asking, “I wonder why my wife does it that way?  It would be a lot more efficient if…”  As if the value I bring to our marriage is to help her be more efficient.  What a mistake.  That is not it (and the subject of an entirely different blog), and I often have to remind myself, efficiency is not always the most important or end goal. Same goes for nonprofits. As a …

Millennials: a New Hope for Philanthropy

As a Boomer, I have often shared my disappointment with my own generation on its performance and commitment to philanthropy.  We have a lot to learn from the preceding generation — the greatest generation — that not only recognizes the importance of giving and giving back, but sees it as a responsibility to be shared with the generations to come.  Actually, I think the Boomers will get there.  It will just take some time. Enter the Millennials (Generation Y or …

4 More Ways to Cut Back on Your Fundraising Mail

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on how to cut back on the mail/email you receive from well intentioned organizations. There were some excellent  comments from readers that pointed out some additional issues that may increase the volume of mail or emails you receive. So, here are some additional suggestions on how to clear the email/mail box: 1.  Call and ask organizations you support not to sell or exchange your name and address.  It is standard practice for …

Three Ways to Cut Back on Fundraising Mail

 “Why do I get so much fundraising mail?” If you are in my position as a development professional, you sometimes get that call (or letter) from a donor that starts with, “Why do you send me so many requests for support?”  Obviously, if it’s “so much” it must be “more than I want.”  I usually get right to the point – how often would you like to hear from us?  Would you rather join our sustainer program? (A sustaining donor …

In a Time of Enmity, the Charitable Deduction May Be Too Good to Give Up

The Federal Government is looking for money.  I know, big surprise.  Next target: remove the charitable gift deduction. In a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Jack Shakely shares that in this time of deficits, the deduction may be too costly to keep. And he has a point. An individual giving a million dollar gift to a building project or a new national program – doesn’t need the tax deduction. Seventy percent of Americans don’t itemize and don’t get the …

It’s the Donor’s Money

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a tube of toothpaste from the grocery store, that you never think the money you spend still belongs to you? Fact: you exchanged the money for the toothpaste. Toothpaste belongs to you and the money belongs to the store you bought it from. Quid pro quo, tit for tat, or as some say, “We’re square.” Not so with donations! After 23 years in fundraising, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve …