Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising Ethics

Today's blog post is in the form of a video.

When should a nonprofit refuse a donation? When does an association with the wrong donor reflect poorly on your nonprofit's brand?

Please watch the video (click on the big arrow on my nose to start it) and respond with your answers...

(BTW, "kenrg" is my nom de 'Tube)


  1. Ken, love your message and your medium. How did you create this video?


  2. Hi Nancy,

    Thank you! This was an easy one (if you own a recent Mac). It was shot and edited all within iMovie using the Mac's built-in iSight webcam.

    Even the "editing" was fairly non-existent, as I did it all in one long take.

    I do have a "real" video camera and make more creative videos for fun, but for a serious talk I just stuck with straight "vlogging."

    - Ken

  3. Hi Ken, and thanks for the great thoughts and messages on your video blog. I just found your site, and as an up-and-coming grant-writing consultant, I find that your information is very valuable.

    I have worked for non-profits for many years and tried to convince them of branding and identity. Sometimes a committee develops the idea; sometimes nothing is done or said about the concept. The Taco Bell/Boys and Girls Club co-op is a perfect example of where today's society is headed. In short, funding is drying up and folks will take money where they can find it. Another symptom of this is privatization. As a development person, I can't blame folks for taking money but people really need to do some homework first and make sure that everything is on the up and up.

    Comedian Kathy Griffin states it well:
    "My gripe is I have a big problem with where that money really goes. And I have to say, after 9/11 it was a big wake-up call for everybody. What bothers me is that charities aren’t run like businesses at all. People aren’t accountable. The people that run these charities get giant salaries. I don’t want to do a charity event that is going to cost $100,000 to put on, end they make $100,000. That’s what pisses me off. You know what my least favorite phrase in the charity world is? "Portions of the proceeds." I don’t like that phrase. How much is going where, and when is someone going to check up on it?"

    In the same light, the Taco Bell poster tells a story...where is that $18,000,000 going? How many six-figure salaries are being supported? How many donors really care?

    Times are strange, indeed.

    Thanks again,

  4. Your video was interesting. It was exceptionally cool that you pulled out the Taco Bell ad, because I feel most of the time whenever a business markets with a nonprofit, it is the business that gets the better end of the marketing. It is sad whenever I see ads like that, because I see it as an opportunity wasted for a nonprofit organization to be more visible. Like you said, The Boys and Girls club offers a lot of programs and services, however the image didn't show that. Instead I see the ad showing young adults, which I believe allow Taco Bell consumers related themselves to the men and women in the ad. So it makes me ask, what do the Boys and Girls Club get from this marketing? My hypothesis is nothing...except for the $18 million that the organization was getting anyway.

    There are some business-nonprofit marketing that I think are really good. Examples are for Breast Cancer Research with many of it's retailer partners such as Barnes & Noble, and Gap's RED fundraising to fight HIV/AIDs in Africa.

  5. Hi - I just stumbled upon your blog while researching fund raising for non-profits for a graduate class I'm in.

    I love the ethical questions you raised!

    I think Hilary Clinton is a money lauderer. Her donation to "my charity" would clean the money and we would put it to good use. Just a thought.

    Happy blogging