August 27, 2010; Source: The Business Review | “Gone are the days when corporate donors wrote checks for the ‘nice’ programs or the ‘cute’ girls,” according to the CEO and chief fundraiser for Girls Inc. of the Capital Region. Donors ask for financials and business plans, and “they want to know how you’re changing the communities in which you exist.” For those of us who have never been characterized as “nice” or “cute,” this might not be a newsflash. But the Albany Business Review piece contained a couple of nuggets of additional interest.

The Girls Inc. person reported preparing several months to make a grant request from Time Warner Cable, including developing an on-site video and lots of other accoutrements to convince the corporate grantmaker that eventually gave them $15,000. Doesn’t it feel like the cost of the CEO’s and COO’s time over several months might have cost Girls Inc. nearly as much as they actually raised? The article cited a private foundation and the United Way of the Greater Capital Region receiving less grant requests this year or not getting grant requests from previously funded groups, suggesting, according to the foundation rep, that “some aren’t asking because they’ve had so much rejection elsewhere.” Add to that the relative paucity of major foundation funders in the Albany area, and groups like Girls Inc. may be working very hard to pitch for a small pool of money.

Doug Sauer, CEO of the New York Council of Nonprofits, says that nonprofits in the Albany area, despite its being the state capitol, don’t have access to large local funders like the Dyson Foundation serving Dutchess County or the Gifford Foundation in Syracuse, not to mention the diverse array of funders in New York City. Nice and cute don’t work if there’s no one to pitch to.—Rick Cohen