Head Spinning About New Fundraising Terms and Phrases?


Let Three Experts (and one special guest) Help Clarify Them!

CSR Word Map

CSR Word Map.

If you are a fundraiser or need to generate revenue for your organization, you have no doubt heard a whirlwind of phrases, such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, Triple P, conscious culture, responsibly sourced, impact investing, traceability and transparency, and the list goes on. If your head is spinning, relax! While the above terms sound flowery and important, rest assured they have strong roots in the established world of fundraising and nonprofits.

To illustrate this point, we have selected three leaders in the social service sector to provide a phrase that reflects their approach to these new fundraising models: Madge Vasquez, CEO, Mission Capital; Lucila Lagace, Consultant, Lagace Consulting; and Ellen Bettis, Development Manager, Whole Planet Foundation. These experts come from the nonprofit world, the corporate social impact community, government sectors, and the niches in between.  

Our goal here is not to be comprehensive, but rather to highlight specific movements and individuals whose approach is both innovative and built on a foundation of proven models. And as a nonprofit professional, your background and perspective are ideally positioned to utilize these expert insights to elevate and expand your revenue generating strategies. Read on!

Term: Aligned Impact 
Madge Vasquez, CEO 
Organization: Mission Capital 

Madge VasquezMadge Vasquez

Madge Vasquez, CEO of Mission Capital, leads a diverse team of professionals working to solve big community problems through strategic public and private partnerships, with Mission Capital serving as the conduit to bring out the best that each sector has to offer. A key component of this is Aligned Impact. Defined as a practice, Aligned Impact brings together nonprofits, government, philanthropy, and businesses to tackle some of the community’s most pressing and oftentimes complex challenges, such as the Central Texas foster care system.

The Aligned Impact Team at Mission Capital serves as the backbone support for this diverse group of stakeholders and service providers. The team does this through strategic guidance, logistical coordination, stakeholder engagement, and outcomes data collection. 

What highlights the team is its awareness of its role with these contributors, and its ability to effectively enhance the existing efforts of community partners in the foster care system, so that as a community, duplication of efforts can be avoided, and resources and expertise can efficiently work together toward the long-term goal of ensuring children in care remain close to their community and on the path to a healing and a permanent home.  

Vasquez sums it up:

By participating in meaningful, productive partnerships, the organizations we are working with gain more resources to work toward their mission, measure their success, demonstrate results, and most importantly, improve the lives of those they serve. When we align our efforts, we achieve the greatest possible impact.

Interested in learning more about Aligned Impact? Visit Mission Capital’s website.

Term: Collective Impact
Lucila Lagace, Consultant
Organization: Lagace Consulting and Soma Vida 

Lucila LagaceLucila Lagace

As an internationally renowned grantwriting professional and nonprofit consultant, Lucila Lagace works directly with entrepreneurs, nonprofit professionals, and community leaders to create a sustainable business model each stakeholder can contribute to, thereby increasing both impact and output – individually and collectively. Lucila defines this approach as Collective Impact.

Currently, Lagace works with Soma Vida, a support system and coworking community, to use Collective Impact as applied to both nonprofit and business best practices. The group has found both success and camaraderie that will last for years to come. 

Lucila picks up the story from here:

I met Laura Shook Guzman, CEO of Soma Vida, a year ago through a conversation on the intersection of the workspace, entrepreneurship, and charitable nonprofit work. Although her coworking space was one of the first to open in Austin, her unique approach has evolved, making it a perfect laboratory for both a workspace and a social impact revolution. 

At Soma Vida, we have been able to test and also build out a community that is a blend of models: membership association, business subscription, real estate/property management, incubator space, community building, health and wellness studio, and social event center. Yes, all under one roof! 

I recently took the Collective Impact model to a group of community advocates and start-up entrepreneurs on the U.S. and Mexico border who adopted this model and began working through what they have termed the Co-Impact Creation Space. 

Think of it this way: Collectively, collaboration and impact happen both organically and intentionally. This business model measures both bottom line revenue and also community engagement. Do paying members in this model love where they work and love how they work thereby producing more impact for themselves, their family, and their community? The early answer is yes – and I see this model actively expanding.

You can learn more about Soma Vida and Lagace Consulting.

Term: Conscious Capitalism
Ellen Bettis, Development Manager
Organization: Whole Planet Foundation

Ellen BettisEllen Bettis (center), with clients from
the Whole Planet MFI (Microfinance Institution)
Partner Program

Whole Foods Market® has built its business on a straightforward concept: Conscious Capitalism. Simply put, Conscious Capitalism is a mode of doing business that attempts to create value for all stakeholders —employees, customers, community, and shareholders. Whole Foods Market’s founder, John Mackey, personifies this attitude and instills it across his company and its partnerships – and this phrase serves not just as a guide to best business practices and the brand success of Whole Foods Market, but is integral to the mission of its nonprofit/foundation arm known as the Whole Planet Foundation.  

Ellen Bettis serves as the Fundraising Program Manager for the Whole Planet Foundation, and has worked in the philanthropy sector for the majority of her career. Conscious Capitalism directly informs Ellen’s work as a fundraiser and brand ambassador. When asked about Conscious Capitalism and how it drives the mission of the Whole Planet Foundation, Ellen describes it thusly:

Conscious Capitalism takes traditional corporate responsibility one step further. It embeds social impact strategies into a company’s business practices. 

Whole Planet Foundation helps to alleviate global poverty by supporting entrepreneurship through microloans in regions in which Whole Foods Market sources its products. We are able to do this effectively because one hundred percent of donations that come in to Whole Planet Foundation go directly to funding microcredit, with our parent company covering our administrative costs. That’s something that we are very proud of. 

To date, the foundation has disbursed $70 million through microlending partners worldwide, funding 2.8 million microloans and 15 million opportunities for microentrepreneurs and their families.

By inviting customers, suppliers, employees, and community members to be a part of the mission, Whole Planet Foundation engages all of its stakeholders to make an impact. Learn more about how the Whole Planet Foundation works and get involved with the organization.

Cynthia’s Closing Thoughts

As a way to tie this article together, we have asked Cynthia Adams, CEO of GrantStation, to give her experienced insight into the evolving philanthropic landscape, and how you can best use GrantStation’s resources to navigate and expand your fundraising horizons.  
We at GrantStation are developing a reference sheet to help you stay on top all of the new fundraising terms being thrown around and understand how these terms might apply to the work you are doing as well as the support you are trying to secure. We’ll make an announcement about the new reference sheet in a few weeks – so stay tuned!
It’s an exciting new world for fundraisers and grant professionals, so tuck this new language into your head and charge forward!