The Call to Transformational Philanthropy

On December 24, 2010 Haiti suffered from a massively destructive earthquake. In the days that followed, newsfeeds across the globe shared heart-wrenching images of an aftermath which left an island of rubble, 220,000 people dead and 1,500,000 displaced. Over a few short months, more than $13 billion from charities and nations around the world poured into the country. Immediate needs were met, but much of the good will was lost to waste and greed. As a result, Haiti has yet to recover.

According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, more than 50% of all disaster support is directed to response and relief. Compare this with the just 12% of disaster giving that is earmarked for reconstruction and recovery. Response and relief support is emotional, spontaneous, and in many regards valuable; however we know this giving does not effectively align with the financial realities faced by a community in times of disaster. Perhaps a different type of philanthropic response would have changed the course for Haiti.

As we inch into the post-COVID reality, what lessons can be learned from historical disaster-giving trends? While a thorough analysis of charitable giving in 2020 has yet to emerge, experts in our field will not be surprised to see that the disaster-giving trend remains true. We know, for example, that over the year, across the country, contributions to food banks skyrocketed while nonprofits that support cancer research, prevention, and advocacy were unable to meet budgetary needs. Meanwhile, foundations, in an attempt to be more responsive during the crisis, broadened support – often drifting outside of core mission elements – and relaxed typical grant reporting and oversight requirements.

Band-aid relief and checkbook giving have their place, but fail to solve the community’s more significant problems. Furthermore, it has come at the expense of valuable mission-driven organizations with focuses on education, the arts, and COVID-sidelined medical research. Now, the role of the strategic transformational giver is particularly valuable as personal philanthropic missions are put to task.



reacts. It’s quick, easy, and spontaneous! Most commonly, transactional giving is an asset in times of crisis.

addresses needs. Often, the purpose of the gift is simple and clear.

responds to an organization. The grant is gifted to philanthropist’s friends, in response to the well written appeal, or the charming Executive Director.

is low impact. The transactional philanthropist requires little in return for their gift. With no expectations, the impact is less.

is modest. Often transactional gifts are comfortable and safe amounts that result in feel good acknowledgment.

helps. The transactional philanthropist feels good helping others.



is proactive. It’s planned and thoughtful. Transformational giving requires an assessment of a more significant problem. It takes time and requires support.

solves problems. Solving problems requires analysis and understanding.

gives to an issue and an idea. Giving in this realm seeks cooperation in problem solving. The transformational giver wants to ensure that entities collaborate to solve problems.

is high impact. The transformational philanthropist desires for their gift to be a change agent. This impact requires relationship building.

is substantial. Solving problems is an investment of time and money. The philanthropist may step outside of their comfort zone.

changes lives! The transformational philanthropist often feels an authentic transformation in their self-worth. It’s an investment in their legacy.



As we transition out of pandemic mode and hit the reset button, we hope that foundations and individuals, like you, with the capacity to give, will reflect on how they can make a lasting impact. Philanthropy is a vital investment tool that changes lives and shapes our community. When done well, it is transformative for donors as they engage in creating meaningful change.

At Empreinte Consulting, helping those who help others is our business, and we are ready to help YOU! Our team of Philanthropic Advisors has supported numerous philanthropists in their decision-making and helped maximize the impact of transformational giving. At a time when generosity and philanthropy are needed more than ever, we can ensure that your mission and vision are fulfilled in a way that genuinely advances the missions you care most about.

What’s your mission? Are ready to invest in your legacy? Are you looking for the recipient of your next bold transformational gift? Your investment in our community may provide one of the most rewarding returns of your life.

What Are The Top 5 Things You Should Be Thinking About When It Comes To Fundraising Activities?

This article was written and produced by Nancy Synder, Partner at The Bonadio Group, and Marc Misiurewicz, President and Founder, Empreinte Consulting, LLC.

Earlier this year, pre-pandemic if you can even remember back that far, our firm hired a consultant to look at the impact of our philanthropic activities. The consultant we hired was Rochester-based, Empreinte Consulting LLC, led by Marc Misiurewicz and Carrie Donnelly. Never heard of them and what is Empreinte you ask, let me briefly introduce them to you before we jump into our 5 areas to consider. The company name draws from Marc’s French, New Orleans, Creole heritage. Empreinte is the French word for footprint, imprint, or impression, and isn’t that what you want for your philanthropic endeavors, to have a lasting imprint? Empreinte is a team of consultants who provide outsourced development strategies to tax-exempt organizations and consultants to philanthropists on how to maximize the impact of their charitable donations. They provide a variety of services to tax-exempts including, but not limited to, functioning as the outsourced development team, teaching how to ask for money, prospect strategies, training development staff, and volunteer boards, and grant writing. I interviewed Marc so he could share some of what he has learned over the years and what follows will hopefully help your tax-exempt organization think differently about fundraising.

  1. Outsourcing Grant Writing– Has your organization considered the benefits of hiring a grant writer but thought you couldn’t afford it? It may not be cost-effective for your organization to have a full-time grant writer on staff but have you considered the funding you may be missing out on by not having an experienced grant writer? Without a grant writer, most tax-exempts look to another member of their staff to write grants without considering the full return on the investment (ROI). Is the staff member qualified to write the grants? Is that staff member’s time better spent someplace else i.e. if it is the Executive Director should he/she be running the organization rather than writing that grant? Partnering with Empreinte allows you to minimize your expenses and maximize your ROI from grant funding.
  2. Interim Leadership During Times of Transition– When your development team has turnover, it can be easy to say that you can get along without that leader in position. Consider that a good search for an experienced, well-qualified candidate can take 3-4 months or more. How much is your organization missing out on during that time and how will that vacancy impact, not only current but, future fundraising capabilities of your organization, and for how long? Interim leadership can work with current staff, advise management and the board, develop efficiencies, and train volunteers. Best of all, interim leadership can keep your fundraising endeavors on track without skipping a beat.
  3. Strategic Partner to Board and Management– Utilizing the expertise of a consultant can assist with strategic decisions related to a variety of fundraising activities. How do you have an impact on the donors and how does your message become compelling? How do you reach out to donors and how often? Is now the right time for a capital campaign; what should your goal be for dollars/donors; how do you begin? Do you have the right complement of staff on your team? Do you need a team of fundraisers? All these questions can be addressed, and you can utilize the expertise of someone who has years of experience in this space and learn from other organizations missteps and successes.
  4. Shift from Events Being Your Sole Source of Fundraising– The last 6 months have pointed out some reasons not to solely rely on events, but there are other reasons to consider alternatives to planning events to raise much-needed funds for your organization. Consider a holistic development strategic plan and how you get started down that path. A consultant can help direct the organization’s fundraising success in the future. Focus on a three-part giving philosophy of annual giving, aspirational gifts, and planned gifts. Having a plan on how to approach different donor audiences and knowing what will cause them to give is intentional not a chance event. What will motivate people to give of their time, talents, and treasures because your organization needs all three to survive.
  5. Leveraging the Strengths and Passion of Your Volunteers– Boards and committees can be an incredibly valuable tool in your fundraising efforts if trained and directed properly. Many volunteers are intimidated by the thought of fundraising and do not want to participate in a meaningful way. Imagine if your volunteers were trained properly and supported to help in donor outreach and solicitation. Selecting and involving passionate, mission-driven volunteers can make all the difference. They can function as an extension of your professional staff and open doors to funding sources that previously did not exist.

All these services and more are available to you by partnering with a consultant like the exceptional team at Empreinte Consulting. We have seen the benefit in relation to our own philanthropic activity. Hopefully, this article has sparked interest in how these services may help your organization.

Looking to get in touch with Nancy or Marc? Reach out today:

Corporate and Foundation Philanthropy Programs—Giving with Impact

Corporations and Foundations can have a profound impact on nonprofits through philanthropy. With all that is happening in the world today, this is a perfect time to build, reevaluate or expand philanthropic giving programs. Corporate philanthropy (corporate giving or corporate social responsibility) are becoming increasingly important—companies that haven’t given back in the past are taking a hard look at how to change, while foundations that do have a history of philanthropy are reevaluating their programs to make social responsibility more of a thoughtful process and priority.

Corporate philanthropy is a voluntary investment in social causes, issues or nonprofits. “Doing well by doing good,” is certainly a good start when positioning a program, but to see genuine change, corporate giving should be so much more.

Philanthropic giving programs must be strategic, cost-effective, value-enhancing and deliver a meaningful impact. It should never be treated as a “check the box” program. It must be executed just as professionally and proactively as any other core business plan.

In our experience as philanthropic consultants, we’ve witnessed a majority of giving program as being scattered and unfocused—an occasional donation made to a random gala, university or hospital; an in-kind donation to a golf tournament; or a haphazard sponsorship budget that is given out here and there without regard for a company’s mission, vision or goals. When there is no genuine, cohesive plan or consistent community investment, there’s no community impact.

A corporate philanthropy program must align with philanthropic pursuits that best match the existing corporate culture of your business, mission statement, products, services, social and economic goals. Most importantly, you need to understand how to make those pursuits mean something. At its core, those pursuits can consist of:

Employee & Community Engagement

Corporate giving programs help deepen the relationship with employees, customers and community. It can also increase employee and customer happiness and retention.


Make a name for your business and help to shape the values of the next generation workforce. Additionally, giving programs can be used as a benefit to attract employees and top talent.


Fostering meaningful partnerships with nonprofits, making a difference in the local community where you live, work and play. It’s important to measure your giving programs and communicate impact, celebrate success and evaluate on how to continuously improve.

From the ground up, strategic corporate giving programs must involve your employees, your customers and the community to ensure that your actions will harvest maximum change. If done right, philanthropic efforts can be a success for the communities you support, engage your employees, enhance your brand, build relationships with customers and improve your bottom line.

The Consultants at Empreinte Consulting, LLC help businesses and foundations enhance the impact of their philanthropy. We can help you establish a philanthropic plan or enhance your current corporate giving program—making your charitable dollars work smarter and reach further. We look forward to talking to you about how that can help your organization and the communities you serve.

CARES ACT: What’s in the Law for Nonprofits

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

Empreinte Consulting provides strategic guidance and support on fundraising, charitable giving, and philanthropy programs for nonprofits by always staying abreast of current and relevant topics and industry news. With the COVID crisis impacting so many organizations, the CARES Act provides significant funding for governments, businesses, hospitals, schools, and social support programs, among many other things.

The National Council of Nonprofits outlines the key provisions of sector-wide interest to charitable nonprofit organizations. Among the provisions outlined:

  • Paycheck Protection Program Loans
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
  • Self-Funded Nonprofits and Unemployment
  • Charitable Giving Incentives
  • Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit
  • Delayed Payment of Payroll Taxes
  • Economic Stabilization Fund for Mid-Size Nonprofits
  • And other significant provisions related to nonprofits

Read the full document from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Stay in the know with Empreinte Consulting by connecting with us on LinkedIn.

How Nonprofits & Philanthropists Can Adapt During COVID-19

This is a unique time in our history as we are all adapting to a new way of living with COVID-19 in our communities.  Nonprofit organizations are living in a world of uncertainty as they must cancel events and limit their interactions with donors. Philanthropic revenue is such a critical part of every nonprofit’s operational budget and there is no question that this virus will put a financial strain on several nonprofits. During this temporary shift in activity, the organizations that plan and strategize will prove to be the most effective moving forward. Ask yourself, will you be prepared to fundraise effectively once this is behind us?

It is easy to panic during these uncertain times and question what steps to take as an organization. However, this may present the perfect opportunity to assess your operations, develop a thoughtful strategic plan and create a clear message of need that will resonate with your donors. Looking inward during this time will allow you to engage your donors in a meaningful way in the future. Nonprofits that are organized, well run and impactful when using philanthropic dollars will continue to be the most appealing to donors and have the greatest impact on our community.

When we council our philanthropic clients, the first thing that we assess is the organizational efficiency of the nonprofits they are looking to support. What is your cost to raise a dollar? How well are you able to clearly articulate the need for philanthropic support and the impact it will have on your mission? Are your nonprofit leaders strategic, thoughtful and mission driven? These are critical questions that will determine whether a donor makes a gift to your nonprofit or chooses another organization. This is especially true for major and principal gift donors.

As an altruistic philanthropist looking to help a mission that is important to you and your family, how do you decide where to allocate your limited budget? This is a critically important question that may not always be easy to answer without proper guidance.

The consultants at Empreinte Consulting bring more than 100 years of collective fundraising experience and are positioned to partner with you during this difficult time. Whether you are a nonprofit looking to develop your strategy and determine how to engage donors, or the philanthropist and corporate leader looking to impact your community, we are here to help. Taking the time now to develop a plan will make all the difference in the world and ensure the greatest impact on our community.


 Marc Misiurewicz


Empreinte Consulting, LLC

The value of a Philanthropic Advisor

As an altruistic philanthropist, you look to have the greatest impact possible on the missions you care about most. Giving of yourself is one of the most important and intimate things you will do in life. When making the decision to give of yourself to advance important missions, you often consult your lawyer, accountant, and/or investment advisor. For many of you—especially those of you with complex business needs—each advisor plays an important role on your professional “team”. They help ensure that you are making the best decision based on your personal situation. However, there is one additional subject matter expert that would help you tremendously…

A Philanthropic Advisor has skills that complement those of the other professionals who provide you advice on legal, tax, and financial matters. We have worked in nonprofit organizations and understand the power of philanthropy in a way that many will never know. If you are already giving to charity or considering a gift at some point in the future, connecting with a Philanthropic Advisor at Empreinte Consulting, LLC can help you create a thoughtful and personal giving plan to make a meaningful difference on the causes you care about most. When making a decision this important, why wouldn’t you want an expert guide in the process?

Here are six reasons to team up with a Philanthropic Advisor from Empreinte:

1. We know the options. Charitable giving can be a complex field. There are so many ways in which you can have an impact. Which way is the best for you? The Philanthropic Advisors at Empreinte Consulting are well-versed in the various giving vehicles and strategies that you may want to consider. Should you establish a family foundation or a Donor Advised Fund (or both)? A Charitable Remainder Trust or a Charitable Lead Trust? Our Philanthropic Advisors can help you evaluate these options and make smart, informed decisions.

2. We know the causes. In contrast to many financial service firms that offer Donor Advised Funds, Empreinte Consulting is staffed with experts who can provide you with information about the issues and organizations you are interested in supporting. Our experience working for nonprofits large and small provides us with a perspective that can be extremely valuable in your decision making. We will help you develop a philanthropic mission statement and guidelines for your philanthropic decisions. Whether you are passionate about education, healthcare or environmental conservation, our Philanthropic Advisors can help you vet nonprofits and make thoughtful choices about your giving to ensure the greatest impact.

3. We know the community. Our Philanthropic Advisors are connected to the local nonprofit sector. Through one-on-one meetings, donor events, and site visits to nonprofits, we can help you connect with local organizations that are doing innovative work, as well as like-minded donors and community leaders that align with your values. In addition to forging useful social connections, you may also discover opportunities to join more structured networks, such as funder collaboratives that team up to address specific community needs.

4. We are highly skilled goal-setters. Many philanthropists say that writing checks is easy. Does that sound like you? What is harder, they say, is crafting a giving plan that reflects their dreams for achieving positive change in the community. Our Philanthropic Advisors are experienced at helping people articulate their personal values and how those values influence their philanthropic goals. We can help you create a values statement for your giving, set a budget, and choose strategies that are both impactful and personally satisfying.

5. We help families give together. “Giving back” often means more than one donation, one day spent volunteering, or one decision to open a charitable fund. For many people, it’s a journey with many phases that they travel with relatives and loved ones. Empreinte Consulting is highly skilled at facilitating the conversations, which at times may be difficult, that help families come together to reflect, learn, and make decisions as collective philanthropists. This process also helps develop a philanthropic succession plan that ensures your legacy lives on.

6. We help maintain philanthropy as a priority. Between jobs, kids, volunteer obligations, and more, many people find that organizing their charitable contributions is an arduous task. We give you back your time and sanity. Our Philanthropic Advisors can help, making it easy for you to focus on the things you care about most while knowing your philanthropic plan is executed.

Philanthropy is one of the most important investment tools that we have at our disposal. Not only does it transform your life, but it forever changes the lives of others. Don’t feel as though you need to go on this journey alone. Empreinte Consulting is positioned well to guide you through the philanthropic process and provide our expertise to ensure you are fulfilling all your goals. Your investment in us will provide one of the most rewarding returns of your life. We would be honored to speak with you further to discuss ways in which we can partner to enhance our communities.



Empreinte Consulting, LLC​

How to Fundraise Effectively

How Can I Fundraise Effectively?

Fundraising is often the foundation for many low- and non-profit organizations. It can be the difference between an entity thriving and folding.  When done inefficiently, fundraising can be an utter waste of time and resources, but when done correctly, it can make all the difference. Here are five steps that you can take to make your fundraising a success. 

1. Set clear expectations. One of the major issues businesses have when it comes to raising money is that not everyone is on the same page regarding expectations. In addition to knowing how much money you wish to raise (the amount you want after expenses are accounted for), it is important that you set up a well researched, thought out strategy in order to achieve your goals. These should be highly focused and take into consideration the organization’s long-term goals. 

2. Budget. In order to keep a good hold on how much your organization is spending, every event necessitates a full budget, itemized by various expenses to be capable of holding the event. This includes things such as space rental, utilities, hired workers, food, and invitations. Your budget should also exist with your fundraising goal in mind. This is so that you end up raising more money than what is necessary to pay for the event. It is also good practice to budget for emergencies or other unforeseen issues. 

3. Clearly define how the funds are to be used. No one wants to donate money when they don’t know where it is going, what it is to be used for, and how that use will help to propel the organization forward in light of its goals. Communicating an internal rate of return (IRR), which demonstrates how a donor’s money is moving the organization towards a sustainable lifespan, is effective for larger donors, who don’t wish to be approached again later on. 

4. Define your target audience. Any plan is inefficient and often ineffective if it does not include a well-defined target audience. It is important to identify which group(s) of people you wish to attend. Your target audience could be anyone and everyone or a specific group of people (e.g. young professionals).

5. Assign the right tasks to the right people. There are several important roles that your team will undertake in order to make the event a success. These include:

  • Askers – These are individuals who understand the skill and timing associated with asking for donations.
  • Connectors – These are the individuals who are well-connected and can help to make valuable introductions.
  • Engagers – These are the relationship builders, who have the ability to communicate well and nurture relationships.
  • Stewards – These are the individuals who interact with, nurture, grow, and promote donor relationships.

It is most important to pair individuals with the positions that play most to their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. 

While fundraising can be time-consuming and at times frustrating, when done correctly it can help to achieve goals and relieve financial pressures that may often arise. To learn how to most efficiently and effectively fundraise, it is a good idea to consider a consultant for your team. These individuals have the knowledge and experience necessary to make a huge impact on your organization, so that your organization can continue to make a huge impact on others.