Good morning.

Nearly every conversation I have with nonprofit leaders these days ends up landing on concerns about staffing — especially how to hang on to the most talented staff members.

That’s why I was so glad Emily Haynes decided to take a look at how one slice of the nonprofit workforce is faring: its fundraisers. Long before the pandemic, the fundraising job market was hot because demand for talent outstrips supply. But now it is even tighter.

Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier, who leads Edgehill Neighborhood Partnership in Nashville, offered Emily a perspective on why things have changed. She says the situations that have long frustrated fundraisers — like punishing performance metrics, poor pay, and toxic workplaces — now won’t be tolerated because everyone has experienced so much personal grief in the past 18 months.

“People, after coronavirus, have realized that your time is limited and you could lose anybody at any time,” she says. “The time that you’re spending at work needs to be productive and fulfilling and helping to advance your personal life as well.”

Now is the moment to pay special attention to these concerns if you are not yet doing it, Emily reports. The fall is the time fundraisers put out feelers for new roles with the goal of making a transition in the new year.

To combat recruitment and retention challenges, executive-search experts and fundraising leaders told Emily it’s vital to provide employees with lots of feedback, offer clarity about the nonprofit’s mission to ensure it is appealing to workers, and make genuine efforts to advance equity.

What’s more, it’s essential for leaders to understand that some of their employees are all-in on remote work. “There are still people out there who think that unless they can eyeball their employees, they must not be working,” says Dennis Barden, senior partner at executive search firm WittKieffer. “Those people are not going to be able to hire anybody.”


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Leaders of the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations are leading a call to action on global vaccine equity.

Just ahead of the start of the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, leaders at the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations — grant makers that have committed billions of dollars to test, treat, and vaccinate against the coronavirus — warned that without larger government and philanthropic investments in the manufacture and delivery of vaccines to people in poor nations, the pandemic could set back global progress on education, public health, and gender equality for years, Alex Daniels reports.

As part of its annual evaluations of progress on global development, the Gates Foundation noted that during the pandemic, childhood immunizations overall dropped 7 percent. And while men’s employment is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, 13 million fewer women will have jobs than in 2019, according to the report.

Those problems are exacerbated by lack of Covid vaccinations available around the world, Bill Gates says.

“We face the very real risk that in the future, wealthy countries and communities will begin treating Covid-19 as yet another disease of poverty,” Gates warned. “We can’t put the pandemic behind us until everyone, regardless of where they live, has access to vaccines.”

(Boston, MA, 04/30/14) Protestors block the main entrance to Harvard University President Drew Faust?s office, calling for an open meeting with Harvard?s governing body about fossil fuel divestment on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Staff photo by Christo

Harvard’s decision last week to divest from fossil fuels could have a ripple effect on other endowed institutions.

None of the nation’s top 10 philanthropic foundations, nor many major climate grant makers, have publicly committed to getting and staying out of fossil fuels, notes Stephen Heintz, head of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, in an opinion essay. But with Harvard’s move, pressure on all endowed institutions will intensify, he says.

What’s also notable, says Heintz, is what led to the Harvard action. “The divestment movement is a case study in the power of sustained, strategic advocacy to challenge the status quo.”

More context: Read about how the activism worked in this article from the Nation.

A new foundation-supported effort is seeking to get philanthropy to do more to help create better jobs, not just better-trained workers.

The Institute for the Future this week launched the Equitable Enterprise Initiative with initial support from four major grant makers — the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Marina Gorbis, its executive director, writes in an essay about the new effort that an important first step is to “change the narrative about the root causes of low wages and economic insecurity from a focus on individual worker responsibility to a focus on how the corporate structures that predominate today create economically precarious conditions for many workers.”

The approach, she says, is analogous to the narrative shift about Type 2 diabetes from “blaming individuals for not eating well or exercising to emphasizing changes needed in a larger system responsible for producing unhealthy foods and lifestyles.”

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We’re especially pleased this week to welcome the second season of the Giving Done Right podcast from our partners at the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

We hope you’ll take some time over the next few days to hear hosts Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette talk with Cathy Moore, executive director of Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services in Houston.

Moore discusses her experience working on the front lines during Hurricane Harvey and the Covid-19 pandemic, how she believes donors can best step up in a time of crisis, and how to think about the tension between giving to meet immediate needs and addressing an issue’s root causes.

And we have more to listen and view: The session I moderated last week about the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act is now available online. You’ll want to hear how proponents and critics are thinking about the measure.

Get ready for the week ahead: Be sure you’ve signed up for next week’s webinar on promoting planned gifts in pandemic times.

I hope you have plenty of time to recharge over the weekend.

Stacy Palmer

More News and Opinion


An insurer for the Boy Scouts of America has reached a tentative settlement with the organization and with tens of thousands of men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts. (Associated Press)

Backers of a new project to save local newspapers aim to turn it into a $300 million venture philanthropy fund. (Poynter)

Some students at National University in California are urging administrators to return hundreds of millions in donations from billionaire Denny Sanford, who is reportedly being investigated for possession of child pornography. (Daily Beast)

George Soros’s sprawling global philanthropy is getting trimmed and reshaped to sharpen its focus on the threat of rising authoritarianism. (New York Times)

CBS’s planned reality show pitting activists against one another has gone back to the drawing board after raising hackles far and wide. (Guardian) (Los Angeles Times and Washington Post)

An Oklahoma pastor is offering to sign anyone’s claim form for a religious exemption from the coronavirus vaccination, but he is suggesting that first they donate to his church. (Washington Post)

Some of the richest colleges and universities would get a tax break under a $1.2 trillion package of tax cuts proposed by congressional Democrats. (Bloomberg and Politico)

Refugee-resettlement groups across the United States are reporting a rush of donations and volunteers to help welcome immigrants from Afghanistan. (Washington Post)


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Public health. The State and National Public Health AmeriCorps program seeks to enable the recruitment, training, and development of a new generation of public health leaders. Grants are awarded to organizations proposing to engage AmeriCorps members. The program helps provide support in state and local public health settings and advance more equitable health outcomes for communities that are currently or historically underserved. In addition, the program supports efforts to help local communities respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The application deadline is November 8.

Humanities. The Public Humanities Projects program supports efforts to bring the ideas of the humanities to life for general audiences through public programming. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. The focus is on projects that are intended to reach broad and diverse public audiences in nonclassroom settings. Projects should engage with ideas that are accessible to the public and employ appealing interpretive formats. Optional drafts are due December 8. The deadline for final applications is January 12.