Saturday, August 18, 2012

SFMOMA: Major Gifts Fundraising Analysis

As an art history geek, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is one of my favorite Nonprofit Organization to case study.  Founded in 1935, the SFMOMA is one of the first museums on the West Coast dedicated to modern and contemporary art.  Today, 77 years since its founding, the museum is still strong with almost 400 employees, 267 volunteers, 40,357 members, and over 28,666 works in their collection (  In their 2009 IRS 990 form, they reported over $41 million received in contributions and grants, doubling that of competing art museums in San Francisco, such as the Asian Art Museum (

The website is visually appealing and accessible through a mobile and main site, users can easily to navigate through their content and find information on exhibitions, programs, projects, and events. is actually one of the first museums websites launched in 1995. 

Assessing their website, I was impressed by all the content provided.  For example, their Annual Report is readily available in their about section, and there is even an iPad application for those who wish to download it onto their tablet (

For individuals wishing to donate to the museum, there is a get involved link that directs users to support SFMOMA, from there users can gain information on their various levels and methods of giving.  I was a little disappointed that there is not a convenient donate now link, instead users have to create an account with SFMOMA. While they might lose a few impatient users because of this, having users create an online account is an excellent way to keep track of donors for future solicitation.

Consistent with Kim Klein’s chapter on Building Major Gifts Programs, the SFMOMA’s major gifts program is determined by the size of the gift (Klein 279-292).  There are two donor support levels: Artist’s Circle and Director’s circle.  The Artist’s Circle is comprised of gifts ranging from $1,500-14,999.
The benefits of joining the Artist’s Circle include:

Meeting with artists
After hours exhibition tours
Travel opportunities with curators to places such as Chicago, New York, and DC
Visiting private bay area collections
Those interested in joining the Artist’s Circle must contact Alexis Miller, Assistant Director of Individual Giving.
Individuals who want to give more than $14,999 can join the Director’s Circle.  Members of the Director’s Circle enjoy benefits such as:

Recognition on the donor’s wall
Unlimited free admission
Priority consideration for facilities rentals
Catalogs for major exhibitions
Behind the scenes tours of private art collections
Annual black-tie dinner
Exclusive travel opportunities to places such as China, France, Japan, and Venice
Conversation and Cocktails with the Museum Director, Neal Benezra
Priority invitations to  select museum events including, annual artist salon, lecture series, galas, and Bay Area Treasure Award luncheon

Individuals interested in becoming part of the Director’s Circle must contact Jonathan Peterson, Director of Development.  Peterson has been SFMOMA’s Director of Development since January 2011.  His experience in Nonprofit Arts Development is extensive, previously serving as Deputy Director for the San Francisco Opera, Vice President of Development and Community Engagement for the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Associate  Director of Development for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Annual Fund Manager for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  At the SFMOMA, he is responsible for the annual support from individuals, corporations, and foundations, while also providing strategic leadership in developing philanthropic relationships throughout the bay area (
The Asian Art Museum is another San Francisco-based art museum that competes with the SFMOMA.  Their website layout is similar to and provides users with a lot of information on how to make a donation.  In their support section, I enjoyed their summary chart provided prospective donors with a list donor’s goals, methods of donations, and benefits received from their donation.  Regrettably, I did not find their Annual Report anywhere on the website (
Unlike the SFMOMA, their major gifts program is comprised of donors who contribute $3,000 or more annually.  There are two donor support levels: Jade Circle and Avery Brundage Circle.  The Jade Circle’s gifts range from $3,000-24,999.  Benefits of joining the Jade Circle include:

Invitations to special openings, lectures, and programs
Consular Corps receptions
National and International travel opportunities
Access to the Peterson Room (a private lounge)
For individuals making contributions of $25,000 or more, there is the Avery Brundage Circle, named in honor of the museum’s founding benefactor.  Benefits of being in the Avery Brundage Circle include:

($25,000-49,999 contributions)
Recognition as an exhibition sponsor
Copies of selected exhibition catalogs
Invitation to Avery Brundage Circle dinner and receptions
($50,000-99,999 contributions)
Lunch with the Director
Access to facilities to host private receptions
Private exhibition previews
($100,000+ contributions)
Customized  benefits

Individuals interested in joining the Jade or Avery Brundage Circle must contact Liz Bacchetti, Deputy Development Director for Individual Gifts.  Bacchetti has been involved in development for 25 years, as Deputy Development Director, she is responsible for museum membership, special events, information systems, and planned giving.  Before working with the Asian Art Museum, she was Associate Director at Colorado Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and Director at High Museum at Georgia Pacific Center.
Compared to the Asian Arts Museum, the SFMOMA’s vision is of a much larger scale.  In May 2010, they revealed an Expansion Project that will increase their exhibition facilities by 120,000 square feet and hold three times more work.  Their projected budget for this plan is $555 million, and so far they raised $437 million in pledges and $100 million in endowments.  Their ability to raise over $500 million in 2 years is impressive.  Consistent with Kim Klein’s section on Apportionment of Gifts (Klein 282), their 2010 Annual Report reveals that they have a smaller number, 18 donors, with gifts of $100,000 or more, the majority of their gifts are $1,500-2,499 with 300 donors ( As a Bay Area resident, I look forward to seeing SFMOMA’s groundbreaking in 2013, and their opening in 2016, hopefully by then I will be somehow directly involved with this great institution.

Works Cited
Asian Art Museum website
Guidestar website
Klein, Kim.  (2011).  Fundraising for Social Change.  6th Edition, Jossey Bass.
SFMOMA website

Tides: Marketing Analysis

Tides Center is a nonprofit organization focused on social change through fiscal sponsorship and donor advised funds.  Fiscally sponsored nonprofit organizations, also  known as Projects receive services that include: financial management, human resource management, and risk management.  Projects such as Global Community Monitor use social marketing techniques to change public opinion about industrial operations that pollute neighboring areas, and generate community action against industrial toxic pollution.

About Tides:
The Tides Center is a San Francisco based independent 501 c(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1996 by the Tides Foundation in an effort to oversea projects once handled by the Tides Foundation Projects Program.  Tides Center’s mission is to partner with individuals, nonprofits, and donors to implement programs that accelerate positive social change, this includes programs and activities that create and promote a healthy society, one which is founded on principles of social justice, broadly shared economic opportunity, a robust democratic process, and sustainable environmental practices.  Tides Center believes healthy societies rely fundamentally on respect for individual rights, the vitality of communities, and celebration of diversity.  Tides  Center supports over 300 projects in forty states and twelve countries ( 

Target Public and Positioning:
Tides Center uses market segmentation to attract an input public, or individual donors, and consuming public of start up organizations working towards social change.  By focusing on social change in their mission, the Tides Center is able to position itself as a social-minded organization.  Other ways the Tides Center differentiates from other nonprofit organizations is through their 4P marketing mix that includes: their product, offering fiscal sponsorship and donor advisement, their place, being accessible to individuals and groups locally in the Bay Area and nationally, their promotion, through the various projects they  sponsor, and price, charging sponsored projects 9% of their annual revenue.  Tides Center implements a needs-center orientation by upholding their social-minded mission focus, while at the same time centering on the needs and wants of their target publics.  Willa Seldon, former Tides Center Executive Director, believes Tides Center success is due to their concentration on infrastructure and partnership with various nonprofit organizations (
    Tides Center brands itself as being  the nations leading fiscal sponsor providing innovative technology and efficient infrastructure.  Other fiscal sponsors in the Bay Area, such as Aspiration and Community Initiatives, offer similar administrative services to nonprofits at a cost of around 10-15% of the organizations revenue.  Unlike Tides Center, these competing fiscal sponsors do not require the sponsored organization to work in areas that affect social change (,

Unique Value Proposition:
Through Unique Value Proposition, the Tides Center exemplifies how donors and nonprofits will benefit from the services offered.  Philanthropic services include donor advised funds, family giving, and philanthropic advice.  Donor advised funds focuses on donor benefits, as donors are able to recommend how their money is to be utilized.  Donations are tax-deductible and anonymous, if desired. 

The anonymity of the funds received by the Tides Center has raised controversy. As some websites suggest, there should be a paper trail for donors and their suggested projects., for example, accuses the Tides Center and Tides Foundation of money laundering, stating that Tides obscures their funding sources, allowing large public charities such as Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Heinz Endowment to indirectly fund projects in which they do not want to be publicly identified with (  In a similar article, Western Journalism-Who Funds the Radical Left in America,  writer Steven Baldwin claims, the social-minded agenda of Tides is dedicated to “destroying the American way of life” that includes, the “Christian-based culture and a free enterprise system“.  To prove his point, Baldwin lists various Tides-supported groups that are allegedly environmental extremists such as the Ruckus Society, pro-terrorists (Iraq Peace Fund), pro-Islamic (Council for American Islamic Relations), radical legal groups (The National Lawyers Guild), and voter fraud groups (ACORN) (

Whether or not Tides Center actively supports “radical leftists groups” is arguable, however, to ensure financial clarity, Tides Center’s IRS 990 forms are available on their website listing the assets, receipts, and expenditures.  In 2008, their revenue totaled $97,956,171 with $88,985,021 coming from contributions and grants, and $7,333,213 from program service costs. $232,916 was used towards professional fundraising fees.  Tides Center provides the names and amounts of each grant, however, the purpose of the received funds is often listed as “general support” (

Groups interested in gaining fiscal sponsorship through Tides Center must work on issues that include: civic engagement, community development, economic opportunity, education/training, environmental sustainability, health services/health care reform, housing/homelessness, human rights, human services/social services, international development, social justice, sustainable food and agriculture, violence prevention, and youth development and organizing.   (  Along with working on the issues above, interested groups must have $100,000 in confirmed funding and a minimum first-year operating budget of $200,000 in order to be eligible for fiscal sponsorship.  The fee for eligible groups is 9% of their annual revenue, 15% if the income is from Government sources, and 6% if their revenue is over $1 million ( 

Fiscal Sponsorship Services:
As a Tides Center Project, groups receive the following services: 
Financial management that includes online donations, bookkeeping, general ledger, financial reporting, and compliance.  

Grants management of Foundation and Government grants. 
Human Resource management that includes employment administration, benefits administration, risk management, compliance, and Human Resource policy development. 
Risk Management that includes liability management and government compliance. 
Payroll management of payroll processing, tax deposits, and filings.  Project relations that include, staff expertise, thorough communications, learning and networking  opportunities, and capacity building. 
Advisory Board Consultation that consists of  year-round consultations, new project assessments, Governance and Guidelines Handbook, training, managing conflicts of interest, annual review and goal setting.

Tides Center prides itself on their expert staff  and partners to provide services to its projects.  Service partners consists of Boardsource, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofit boards through consulting practice, publications, and membership programs.  Foundation Center, a resource for organized philanthropy.  Give Something Back, an office supply company that uses cause-related marketing by donating a portion of their net profits to community groups concerning the environment, public health, arts and culture, human services, and education. a nonprofit that uses internet technology to assist other nonprofits with fundraising and donor management.  Techsoup a software product philanthropy service for nonprofits (
The Tides Center Board is responsible for all legal and fiduciary aspects of Tides Center Projects and employees.  This includes: taxation, audit, whistle blower policy, conflict of interest disclosure policies, compliance issues, regulator issues, policies and procedures (  In most cases, the Board is not actively involved with Projects.  Projects are instead directed by an Advisory Board.

Program Director
Tides Center Projects are managed by the Program Director, who is in charge of overall programmatic operations, fundraising and financial sustainability, and supervision of project employees and volunteers (

Global Community Monitor:
Tides Center promotes itself through the numerous projects they sponsor.  Sponsored projects often employ social marketing techniques to gain public and media attention to  influence and create social change.  Global Community Monitor (GCM), for example, is a Tides Center project that focuses on environmental sustainability and justice.  GCM’s mission is to empower communities affected by industrial pollution and toxics, to recreate a healthy and sustainable environment.  GCM’s target public is individuals living in polluted communities near industrial operations, also referred as industrial fence-line neighbors.  GCM provides these communities with technical assistance and training to monitor, record, and confront continuing industrial pollution.  This includes makeshift air monitoring devices.  Consistent with the social marketing mix method, GCM ultimately wants the target public to hold industrial operations accountable for their unsafe environmental practices, this is their product.  Clean, unpolluted communities is their price and perceived benefits.  The communities living near these industrial operations is their place.  The data collected by the target public often attract media attention that, in turn, attracts policy makers.  Gabriel Meyers, a former Project Coordinator with GCM, worked on a campaign targeting Pacific Steel Castings (PSC) in West Berkeley, California in an effort that established a coalition of neighbors near PSC in the West Berkeley, Albany, and Kensington area, the Healthy Air Coalition.  Through a massive door knocking campaign to raise public awareness and conduct outreach about PSC’s toxic pollution. Through Meyers’ efforts at the door, he was able to mobilize community members to form the Healthy Air Coalition.  Together with GCM, the Healthy Air Coalition, and another environmental justice nonprofit: Green Action,  they demanded clean air and mobilized to take action for environmental justice for the West Berkeley, Albany, and Kensington area.  Similar efforts by GCM gained mainstream media attention from Newsweek writer Anna Kuchment, who featured West Oakland high school students who used monitoring tools supplied by GCM to test the air quality outside their campus, and found high levels of heavy metals such as lead and nickel.  Articles such as Kuchment’s attracted further attention from Bay Area neighbors and the city council.  The efforts of GCM and Bay Area neighbors were able to influence the public opinion of holding polluting industries accountable for their unsafe actions by demanding a change in their toxic use reduction.

Tides Center’s clear sense of their social-minded mission is present in the services offered to fiscally sponsored groups and donors.  Their attentiveness to all publics that include, donors, staff, partners, and clients, allow Tides Center to become one of the leading fiscal sponsors in the Nation with over $90 million in revenue.

Additional Sources
Interview with Gabriel Meyers, Former Global Community Monitor Project Coordinator

Sunday, July 15, 2012

MSLO Social Media

About MSLO:  Martha Stewart is an iconic figure in American homemaking.  In 1997, she founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO), a multimedia organization that provides lifestyle content through four segments: publishing, internet, broadcasting, and merchandising.  Their mission statement is the following:  We are the leading integrated content company devoted to enriching the changing lives of today’s women and their families. Our community of how-to experts is committed to teaching, innovating, designing and inspiring with ideas and products that make every day more meaningful, more functional, and more beautiful. We elevate the familiar elements of daily life, infusing them with the pleasure and confidence that come from the growing sense of mastery and discovery we foster in our customers and ourselves. Our products are stylish and distinctive, with a consistently high level of quality. Though our content is timeless, we deliver it in the most current ways: wherever, whenever, and however our customers need and want it (

Core content includes:
Cooking and entertaining
Whole living

Competitors:  MSLO’s leading competitors are large multimedia and marketing companies such as, Meredith Corporation, Time Warner, Inc., and Advance Publications.  MSLO’s leading competitor, The Meredith Corporation, is a publicly held media and marketing company that focus on topics such as: home, garden, cooking, crafting, holidays, parenting, children, health and fitness, and women.  Meredith’s magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, is the largest home and garden magazine with 7.6 million in circulation, while Martha Stewart Living has 1.8 million in circulation (Bonnington, Campbell, Dahlman, Gray, Regan, & Tamayo 1).  Meredith’s large fan base is likely due to their longevity as a business (110 years strong!)  (Brown, Broderick, and Lee 17).

Martha’s Brand:  Unlike her competitors, Martha’s iconic homemaking image has allowed her create a person-as-brand business strategy (Oden & Larsson 3).  Users see her content as a reliable source of information, as she covers nearly all topics of homemaking and fine living.  Her social media profile updates are personable, and in first-person perspective, giving her a friend element.  Users feel like they can relate to her on a human-level.  Her content is easily finable, accessible, and sharable, through her website, and profiles on nearly every social media channel.  She engages her readers through how-to videos and blogs, community sharing pages, and various online applications (Handley & Chapman 26).

Social Media and Communications Staff:  MSLO’s internet business segment continues to grow, especially in the past two years.  Recent hires include, Thomas Mueller: Creative Director, Esther Chen: Corporate Communications Director, and Liz Kennedy: Social Media Manager (
Social Media Strategy:  MSLO’s internet staff manages a comprehensive website that provides readers creative content ranging from entertaining, decorating, gardening, and crafts.  Users have access to the MSLO multimedia library that includes: 1,000 recipes, blogs, articles, video clips and project ideas.  Along with their website, MSLO also makes itself readily available by providing profiles on the following social media sites:

Linked In:

Subscriptions for Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food are available for the iPad.  Popular utility apps include:
Martha’s Everyday Food
Martha Stewart Makes Cookies
Martha Stewart Cocktails
Whole Living Smoothies
Egg Dyeing 101

Social Media Recommendations:  With over 2 million fans and followers, MSLO already has a very successful social media campaign that is easily findable, accessible, and sharable. The following suggestions are key elements for their social media governance model.
Training- MSLO employees should be educated on how to represent their organization on the web.  Training should include responding to customer feedback.
Approval Processes- While employees should be encouraged to engage in social media, there should be a process for getting approval for an official account.
Monitoring- tools such as Radian 6, Hootsuite, and Sysomos should be used for acquiring and analyzing web statistics.
Crisis Management Plan- Given all the bad press received from Martha’s conviction, there should be a crisis management plan that handles all unforeseen incidents and bad press.
Frequent Updates- All content should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, preferably on a schedule that viewers can follow (Dand 7).
Conclusion:  After Martha Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of agency proceedings, and making false statements to federal investigators, many predicted that MSLO would collapse, as her brand was closely tied to her image reputation.  As a result, she voluntarily stepped down as CEO of MSLO.  Despite the fact that she was no longer CEO of MSLO, Martha still carefully managed her brand while in prison.  Upon her release, the MSLO stock rose to almost $35/share (  Today, MSLO reaches about 66 million consumers with 8,500 products in over 38,000 retail locations (  Her ability to bounce back and use innovative social media techniques is truly an inspiration to aspiring business women such as myself.

Works Cited
Bonnington, Alicia, Campbell, Jessica, Dahlman, Paul, Gray, Ashley, Regan, Sara, Tamayo, Rebecca.  (2005). Brand Strategy Report:  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.  The Art Institute of Portland.
CNN Money.  Stewart Convicted on All Charges.  March 10, 2004.
Dand, Mia.  (2010). What is Social Media Governance and 5 Key Elements of a Successful Model.
Handley, Ann, Chapman, C.C.  (2011).  Content Rules.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.#
Safok, Lon.  The Social Media Bible.  (2012).  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.