Pottery, nonprofits and for-profit consulting. Exploring synergies between the three and ideology specific to each.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

PBA Pottery Gets Published?

Sometimes I forget this is a pottery blog too...

So... for those of you that are more interested in pots than nonprofits, you heard right - I recently found out that I'll have a couple of pieces in Sojourn - an annual arts journal published by the University of Texas at Dallas.

It appears that the journal will be published within the next month or so, and I'll probably post a scanned version of the content once I receive a copy.

Thanks for readin'. pba.

Empty Bowls in a Box - Help Us Help You...

I'm currently participating in a volunteer opportunity that represents the first chance I've had to use my college degree (BA in Studio Art from Bethel University) in a somewhat professional fashion.

The opportunity is to work with representatives from a local elementary school to coordinate an Empty Bowls fund raiser for PRISM, a local nonprofit in Golden Valley, MN.

As a part of that effort, we are creating an event-specific web site (still in development) that will be used for publicity and fundraising.

You might be thinking, "So what, Pete? Good for you and your little nonprofit - why should I give a rat's patootie?"
  • What if YOU could put on an Empty Bowls fundraiser for a nonprofit helping folks in YOUR area?
  • What if YOU are a nonprofit with limited resources that wants to put on an Empty Bowls fundraiser for yourselves?
  • What if you're a local business looking for great ways to get yourself some publicity (why not give empty bowls a shot and support YOUR local nonprofit)?

Betcha you wouldn't have immediate access to a web site structure, a basic project plan including timeline and technical support (i.e., how do I actual make a ceramic bowl? how long does it take? how many volunteers do I need? how much will it cost to put on the event? what else do I need to be thinking about as I plan? etc.)

Well... I'd like to change that by documenting the process that we go through over the next few months and sharing it with you. If you're looking to learn more about Empty Bowls or to organize a similar event, drop a line and I'll be happy to share what we're doing.

The only reason I can even think about doing that is because I have a great employer by the name of Rhumbline Partners that has decided to "GiveAhead" instead of giving back - using my goofy set of skills to help meet the needs of local nonprofits, while attempting to cover the costs of my existance with discounted consulting services (the pro bono work we're doing doesn't really cover costs...).

Part of the spirit of the "GiveAhead" program is the desire to impact multiple organizations with reusable materials - this is the perfect opportunity to do just that. If your nonprofit has needs that align with the rest of what Rhumbline has to offer, then faboo! If not, atleast you can benefit from one small effort we've contributed to along our little journey....

MNCN & MAP Combine for Donor Database Brown Bag

For those of you unable to attend the session on Friday, August 6th, here's a quick low-down from the sessions presenter - a ton of great links and practical information:

1. Advice a great general resource.

Nonprofit Tech Talk is the local email list I manage that I suggest you try and where you will find several of the people at the session who work on these issues a great deal. Go to: and click on Subscribe. It is free.

2. Software to Try for Free
The places I would go to try out some of the development databases that are already built. (free until you have 500 or more records) (local Microsoft Access based too, free to try for 30 days) (open source, free to download and use)

3. The Tools Mentioned in our Discussion
Here is a list of the databases that came up in our conversation in addition to the three above (tools your neighbors are using): (Raiser’s Edge is their fundraising software) (site is down right now) (CTK) (though the organization is not using CTK for development)
Organizers Database
Metrix (developed by the Fund for the City of New York)

4. Users Groups:
I did some quick searches of the companies above:
Blackbaud does not seem to have meetings on their web site, but they do have online forums at:
ebase has an online community and monthly in-person meeting (contact Barry at
Symphony Information Systems has an email list and some in person meetings (contact Steve at
CTK does not have local meetings but might in the future with the help of the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
ResultsPlus’ web site was down.
DonorPerfect does not appear to have users groups or an online forum.
Sage Fundraising- Users Group meets every other month (contact Daniel Campion at Paradigm (which is now Sage Fundraising):

5. Donor Management Software Comparison Worksheet
The Donor Management Worksheet

6. Other Articles and Resources: Other Database Information/Articles at TechSoup:
Database Needs Assessment Questionnaire
Basic Database Assessment
Writing Your Database Plan
Simple database plan
Avoiding Disaster: The Database Planning Process
*CompuMentor Database Planning Guide
Just published an article on “Inexpensive Donor Databases”
TechFinder (with to help find services NPower OneNorthwest Summit Collaborative

7. Inexpensive Donor Management Software
By Robert Weiner of Rober L. Weiner Consulting (

Please go read the short article, but here are the development databases for under $500 and the options Mr. Weiner found that are free:

Donor Databases for Less Than $500 For this price, you'll usually get a license that allows one user at a time to use your database. You may also be limited in the number of records you can store. Some of these products are designed for particular types of organizations, such as churches or clubs. Keep in mind that TechSoup is not endorsing the software listed here. You need to make sure the software products -- and the companies behind them -- are right for your organization.

Donation Solutions
DonorPerfect Online
Donor Records from Executive Data Systems
Easy Gift from Summit Software
Exceed! Basic from Telosa (also available to qualified organizations from TechSoup Stock for a small administrative fee)
FileMaker Donations
FundRaiser Basic
LifeLine from Straight Forward Software
Membership Director from Advanced Data Solutions
Membership Management System – Lite from Linked Software
Member Ties from Myrro International
GiftWorks from Mission Research
Free Fundraising Software So what do you do if you can't even spend $100? Don't despair, you still have choices. The following products are free:

BasicFunder from Jellyware
The Compleat Angler from Schoolbench
Devolio from NPower: (still available, but reportedly no longer being enhanced)
eBase from GroundSpring (free for one user, and also available bundled with FileMaker from TechSoup Stock for qualified organizations)
eTapestry (free for up to 500 records)
InfoCentral (Open Source)
Microsoft Access Donor Database template
Organizers Database
Metrix (developed by the Fund for the City of New York)
VisibleResults (Open Source)
Willow Mountain Giving database

We hope that you find this information helpful.
To contact Rick directly call MAP at 651-632-7231 -