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#NONPROFIT: The 501(c)4 Conundrum & The IRS’s Challenges To Tea Party Groups

The scuttlebutt over the IRS’s double-standards concerning political nonprofits associated with the Tea Party and those associated with other center-right causes is likely well known to our readers. What underlies the conflict has less to do with politics, though, and much more to do with semantics. If the case forces the issue of tax reform upon our politicians, then perhaps that outcome is for the best (both parties agree to the need for reforms, though reformed in which directions remains terribly contentious). But as reforms are discussed − perhaps even implemented − nonprofits should stay aware of where new lines might be drawn.

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| Category Advocacy, Civics, Community, Conference/Congress, Cross-Post, Development, Education: General, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Opinion, Politics | | Comments Off

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Trickle-Down Lives On at Nonprofits

Curing the Charitable Curse

Dan Pallotta’s viral video  (Photo credit: jurvetson)

 

If you haven’t yet seen Dan Pallotta’s 18-minute TED talk, the viral video of the month with more than 1.2 million views, here’s your chance.  Pallotta, who founded AIDS Ride and raised $581 million for AIDS and breast cancer research over nine years, argues that philanthropy is being undermined by our beliefs about it – in particular, the belief that low overhead is worthy of praise.  He contends that overhead – including investments in fundraising and marketing capacity – is the only way to grow nonprofits large enough in scale to tackle society’s most intractable problems. What makes more sense, he asks: 94% of a small pie, or 60% of a pie 100 times larger?*

Palotta argues that in a capitalist economy, nonprofits are restricted from playing by the same rules as every other type of organization. While others feast, nonprofits compete against one another for the crumbs – for four decades, a consistent 2% of Gross National Product. Or, it seems to me, nonprofits may be the last Americans who act as though they still believe in the Trickle-Down Theory.

*For the math-impaired: 94% of $1 million = $940,000; 60% of $100 million=$60 million.

 

| Category Conference/Congress, Events, Fundraising, Nonprofit | | Comments Off

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#FUNDRAISING: Register for Maryland Governor’s Grants Conference

Plenary Speaker of Governor's Grants ConferenceAs the calendar year unfolds and the fiscal year 2013-2014 appears over the horizon, so too does registration begin for the Maryland Governor’s Grants Conference. This year’s conference will be held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus on Thursday, February 21st. The one-day conference − sponsored by such organizations as the National Grant Management Association, the Grant Professionals Association, and Deloitte − offers plenary talks by leaders in the grant-providing and grant-winning fields, as well as breakout sessions allowing networking and specific assistance for your organization’s needs.

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| Category Advocacy, Civics, Conference/Congress, Cross-Post, Event, Events, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Local/Maryland, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Public Relations, Resource | | Comments Off

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#FUNDRAISING: Maximizing Your Organization’s Return on Fundraising Events

Susan Emfinger, Fundraiser at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

We are pleased to welcome back Susan Emfinger of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. For her previous posts on institutional fundraising, please click here.

In today’s post, I ask readers to imagine a world in which fundraising staff and programmatic work closely together with a variety of “programmatic” events in order to expose the organization to those very individuals who have the financial capacity to enhance and/or to ensure the organizations’ future. My prediction: your fundraising results will surprise you.

Given how much time, energy and effort tends to go into organizing fundraising events, I thought we might start with one question: Just what is a “fundraising” event?

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| Category Advocacy, Campaigns, Communications, Community, Conference/Congress, Development, Events, Fundraising, Gala, How-to, Marketing, Nonprofit, Planned Giving, Planned Giving, Public Relations, Resource, Sustainability | | Comments Off

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#interview: Tom Ahern — Author, Award-Winning Journalist, and Communications Consultant

MKCREATIVE blog - Tom Ahern PhotoTom Ahern is the author of four books on fundraising communications, with a fifth on the way. An award-winning magazine journalist, he has written case statements for numerous campaigns and is a popular communications trainer and consultant. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: You’ve written four books. You’ve trained hundreds, maybe thousands of communicators, and by now you’d expect everybody knows what to do. Yet you’re still in high demand! How do you explain this?

TOM: How fast can you actually change the characteristic habitual behavior of communications in an industry as big as the nonprofit industry? At one point there were 1.6 million charities in the United States alone, and we’re not the only mature philanthropic market.) Some of the models that are well entrenched are just, I think, wrong. Yet everybody borrows from each other, they copy each other. And so you’ve got widespread bad practices, not best practices.

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| Category Communications, Community, Conference/Congress, Cross-Post, Design, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Graphic Design, How-to, Interview, Major Gifts, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Newsletter, Nonprofit, Publications, Publications Design, Social Media, Special Series, Storytelling, Strategic Marketing, Writing | | Comments Off

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#Tech: Cloud Computing Campaign Highlights Benefits To And Concerns For Nonprofits

In technology terms, ‘the cloud’ is the internet used as storage space (space traditionally taken up on a hard drive in a computer) and as software server (software traditionally installed on that hard drive to run applications). The internet is not new, but using it in this way is because storing gigabytes of information for millions of users was not practical before a majority of them had access to fast wireless connections (Wi-Fi).

In practical terms, the cloud offers great potentials for nonprofits. Costs can be reduced as files and spreadsheets are stored on a secured server online rather than within the office on a series of drives taking up space and eating up electricity. Moreover, any staff member of the nonprofit can gain access to those files and spreadsheets from any wi-fi device while at a meeting or on the way to a conference.

But so to are there concerns about security and reliability. To help navigate the pros and cons of cloud computing for the nonprofit community, TechSoup and TechSoup Global Partner Network are presenting their ‘Cloud Computing Campaign‘ through the month of October. It is an online forum, so you can still join the conversation and catch up with discussions over the last week.

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| Category Advice, Blogs, Communications, Conference/Congress, Event, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, iPhone Apps, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Public Relations, Resource, Site Administration, Social Media, Technology, Technology for Nonprofits, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#PublicPolicy: Net Neutrality Remains Hot, Unspoken, Political Issue

Internet Censorship as a First Amendment IssueYou might recall a great line from a little ditty from the 1780s. It is from a song we like to call The Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Amendment I)

The amendment contains no ‘Unless…’ clause. Nor, admittedly, does it expressly name freedom of the people to access the internet. So why does net neutrality continue to be such a hot political topic, even at it remains one of the unspoken issues in the lamestream media (yes, on this topic, I’ll tip my hat to Sarah P. for that moniker)?

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| Category Civics, Communications, Community, Conference/Congress, Marketing, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics, Public Media, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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Sustainability: The Ultimate Guide To Green Conferences

The helix of sustainability - minimum environm...

Image via Wikipedia

Kerry Given, a writer with Green Marketing TV, has published a very useful list of conferences focusing on sustainability and green issues that will take place in 2011.

Kerry writes that, “with [the] many different green conferences to choose from, how can you decide which are most important for your business to attend? Choosing wisely will not only save your business time and money, it will also reflect your commitment to green principles.”

Check out the comprehensive listing here.

| Category Climate Change, Community, Conference/Congress, Environment, Events, Greening, Nonprofit, Research, Resource, Revitalization, Sustainability | | Comments Off

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Aging: The Business & Strategy of Seniors Housing & Care (Classes)

The Erickson School, at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is hosting an entrepreneurial seniors housing and care executive education course at the UMBC Technology Center, May 17-20.

Led by Mark Erickson, and featuring a diverse lineup of instructors, Business and Strategy provides 3 1/2 days of intensive education on strategy, positioning and trends, and the unique nature of the seniors housing and care sector.

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| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Community, Conference/Congress, Education: General, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nonprofit, Nursing Home, Resource, Retirement Living, Seminar, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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Event: Growing Season Kicks Off With GreenFest in Howard County

Though we are still being teased by a spring that has not quite broken the last of winter (at least not in the Chesapeake Bay region), we have entered the early days of the growing season and green festivals throughout the region. MKCREATIVE will be highlighting regional festivals through the spring, summer, and early fall of 2011, and we encourage our readers to contact us at events@mkcreative.net with information about such events in your area.

GreenFest LogoThe season gets under way in Howard County – between Baltimore and Washington DC – with its free “GreenFest,” this Saturday, April 2nd from 10:00am to 4:00pm on the campus of Howard County Community College. Though the festival was launched by the county’s administration in 2007 as a hastily-developed local workshop to tie in with Earth Day, it has steadily grown under the care of co-chair Lindsay DeMarzo, Environmental Planner and Sustainability Projects Manager for the Howard County government, into a full-fledged festival in just four years. She took time away from the busy run-up to the festival to speak with us.

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| Category Conference/Congress, Environment, Events, Greening, Interview, Local/Maryland, Measurement, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter | | Comments Off

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Fundraising: Resources and Seminars

macro pixels url cliche

(Photo credit: Cubosh)

One of the services we periodically try to provide our readers is a timely compendium of resources about fundraising and the skills thereof. In this installment have some online resources to find and to apply for grants from the federal government and from private sources.

To start off your spring drive, get some tips and inspiration from a free webinar: this Wednesday, GrantSpace.org is sponsoring an online text/chat seminar entitled “Turning Your Volunteers Into Fundraisers.” It is free to register and the seminar runs 1:00pm to 2:00pm. The event is entirely text/chat based (no audio), so one could easily enjoy one’s lunch and participate as well!

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| Category Banking & Finance, Communications, Conference/Congress, Development, Donor Acquisition, Events, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Major Gifts, Resource, Seminar, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#Aging: Hearings On Fed Aid For Assisted Living

The passage of Health Care Reform last year hardly ended the debate about health care reform. Since the Republican takeover of the House in November, symbolic efforts have been made to repeal the law. Though repeal will go nowhere unless or until President Obama leaves the White House, hearings and committees have sprung up to find ways to de-fund or curtail the original statute. Indeed, Democrats seemed capable of explaining and defending the bill only after they gave the opposition a three-month head start on attacking it.

Today, two sets of hearings will focus on funding the Affordable Care Act, in particular its provisions concerning assisted-living services for older Americans.

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| Category Aging, Assisted Living, Conference/Congress, Healthcare, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Nursing Home, Politics | | Comments Off

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2011 NIC Regional Symposium Dates

The playing field has changed for the seniors housing industry, and strategies must also change if organizations are to score future success. At the 2011 NIC Regional Symposium in March, attendees will gather with other private-pay operators and investors with locally—or regionally—focused portfolios to learn how they can adapt their playbook to position their organizations to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

According to the organizers, these are the folks who should consider attending:

  • Owners, Operators and Developers of seniors housing properties
  • Lenders and Investors
    • Institutional Investors
    • Pension Fund Managers and Advisors
    • Real Estate Managers and Advisors
    • Commercial Finance Companies
    • Venture Capitalists
    • REITs
    • Regional and Community Banks
    • HUD/FHA Lenders
    • Other Debt and Equity Financiers
  • Financial Intermediaries
    • Brokers
    • Investment Banks
    • Loan Servicers
  • Securities Analysts and Research Professionals
  • Association/Industry Groups

Click here to download the full 2011 program.

Registration information can be found here.

| Category Adult Kids, Assisted Living, Conference/Congress, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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Abigail Disney Can Help Your Organization Attract Big-Name Donors

Abigail DisneyShe is the daughter of Roy O. Disney, the brother and business partner of Walt Disney. She was born to wealth, and her name opened doors most people have to try for years to break through. And she is using those resources not only to strengthen the Daphne Foundation in New York City, but also to bring peace to Liberia in West Africa. She also wants to help your organization expand its philanthropic base by reaching out to the bigger fish on your donor list. So please join Abigail Disney for an online discussion group on Wednesday the 26th of January.

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| Category Conference/Congress, Development, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, Major Gifts, Marketing Skills, Nonprofit, Sustainability | | 1 Comments

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HAMP, or ‘Extend and Pretend,’ Continues To Hurt Troubled Mortgage Holders

We drew up a report about the Obama Administration’s ‘Home Affordable Modifications Program‘ (HAMP) in early August this year, in which we looked at news stories and even the government’s own figures that demonstrated the slow start, and middle stretch, the program was having. The program was meant to offer those who were behind on payments, but with a history of good-faith compliance on their mortgage, a chance to have a three-month trial period of a notably reduced mortgage payment. If/when that period was successfully completed, the mortgage owner would receive a refinanced mortgage with lower monthly payments for up to five years.

An economic quarter later, and the news for homeowners is still not good.  Economists are poking holes in the program, and – unlike in August – the knives of political opposition have been sharpened as well.

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| Category Affordable Housing, Banking & Finance, Conference/Congress, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics | | Comments Off

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‘Lame Duck’ Seems A Misnomer – Or A Political Attack (On Net Neutrality)

Lame-duck Congresses refer to those sessions that follow a November election through the winter holidays. Some number of Congress people have just lost their seats, but the newly elected replacements do not get to move in until they are sworn in in January. Thus the ‘duck’ is too ‘lame’ to fly, though it is alive and could continue to do whatever ducks do. In the case of Congress, the group in the minority (especially if it is going to be the majority in January) tends to want to stall any activities its members are unhappy with. The majority, on the other hand (especially if they are about to become the minority) try to cram through as many things as they might get away with. Even when the roles are reversed, somebody gripes that the lame-duck session should not tackle serious concerns until the newly elected representatives are situated – newly elected because they represent the will of the people. Unless you are a Republican or you do not see the irony of the slogan “Ignorance is Strength.”

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| Category Communications, Conference/Congress, iDevice, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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Twitter And Philanthropy In The Holiday Season

A Twitter Table At A Fundraising Event

A Twitter Table At A Fundraising Event

“Twitter and philanthropy. They go together like a horse and carriage….” Well, it does not rhyme, but at least you are not hearing my Sinatra impression. The philanthropic and nonprofit communities have been on the forefront of many extensions of the uses of social media, largely because the financial investments are minimal. The rewards can be striking, though: many organizations have raised incredible sums of money via Tweet-Ins, and many political movements are being conveyed online.

The last couple of weeks of the year also tend to be the weeks in which Americans give the most of their time and money to charitable organizations. Whether the motives come from the ideals of Hanukkah or Christmas and/or from the prospects of a quick tax write-off, the second half of December can be the moment that carries an organization through much of the next year. For those of our readers who want to ensure that their time investment in social media pays off through the holiday season, we recommend two recent stories from our peers at Philanthropy.com. (more…)

| Category Communications, Conference/Congress, Development, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, Marketing, Nonprofit, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology, Twitter | | Comments Off

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#INTERVIEW: Kristen Cambell of the National Council on Citizenship

Kristen Cambell, Director of New Media at NCoC

Kristen Cambell, Director of New Media

When was the last time you tested your ‘Civic Health’ to find out if your actions, attitudes, and behavior indicated your full participation as an American citizen?

The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) has established a ‘Civic Health Index’ to measure this very thing. Founded in 1946 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1953, this non-profit organization leads the way in promoting our nation’s civic life. Established to track, measure, and promote civic participation and engagement in partnership with other organizations on a bipartisan, collaborative basis, NCoC focuses on ways to enhance history and civics education, encourage national and community service, and promote greater participation in the political process.

The NCoC relies strongly on New Media (NM)—often referred to as Social Media for this readership—to get its message out to citizens across the country, and this week’s Perspectives spotlights their NM outreach director Kristen Cambell. (more…)

| Category Conference/Congress, Interview, Nonprofit, Politics, Special Series, Technology, Video Interview, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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Media Pundits Scramble To Explain ‘Rally To Restore Sanity/Fear’

Some humorous and apolitical signs at the Rally To Restore Santity/Fear

A good deal of e-ink has been posted on the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear this past Saturday, much of it impressed by its size yet unsure what it was for. How it might (not) sway voters leading up to tomorrow’s midterms also has been a running theme in today’s 24-hour news cycle. Our posting today is a brief and small compendium of the conversation about the event. What we hope to see is long-term involvement with issues, any issues.

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| Category Community, Conference/Congress, Local/Maryland, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Politics | | Comments Off

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Philanthropy And Health Care Needs: Some Resources

A rally debating health care reform in 2009

The politics of health care has taken up most of the oxygen over the last couple of years, as the Obama Administration sought to reform the ‘system’ from the top in the midst of the worst recession since 1932. But the need for health care has not gotten so much media coverage, even as the percentage of Americans under the poverty level and without health insurance has mushroomed over the last couple of years. Unsurprisingly, philanthropic groups focusing on supporting or even directly offering health care are being hard pressed to meet the need. We wanted to share some of the needs and resources that we have come across during our preparation for our next Perspectives.

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| Category Conference/Congress, Healthcare, News and Current Affairs, Nonprofit, Politics | | Comments Off

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Some Guides To Fundraising In A Tepid Economy

As has been reported over the last week or so, and touted to little effect by Democrats seeking (re)election, the US Economy officially came out of recession in July 2009. What has also been reported, and touted to better effect by Republicans, is that unless you are a Wall Street banker, you might not have noticed the end of the recession or felt that much has improved since. Philanthropic organizations continue to feel the economic strain as well, though the move toward ‘micro donations’ has been a great service to these organizations. What leaders and advisers in the non-profit world continue to emphasize is the need to continue to market one’s organization and the good work its members are doing. An upcoming national conference wants to help nonprofits continue the marketing even as their support struggles to keep ahead of economic realities. (more…)

| Category Conference/Congress, Grants and Funding, Marketing | | Comments Off

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Failure In Philanthropy Should Also Mean Learning

Success

Success (Photo credit: teamstickergiant)

No one enjoys failure as an end. Indeed, few enjoy it as a means either. Nevertheless, a failed project or an unsuccessful step in that project can lead to some great insights and some important team building. In the philanthropic and mission-based world, a failure might seem like a daunting lost opportunity or resource that will rebound onto any number of people depending on your organization’s good work. But within this philanthropic world, many are trying to encourage fundraisers and heads of departments to encourage risk-taking and post-failure reconstruction. Not only might the fallout not be as bad as we fear, but the experience might lead to greater opportunities quite soon.

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| Category Community, Conference/Congress, Grants and Funding, Nonprofit, Revitalization | | Comments Off

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Roundup Of And Registration For Upcoming East-Coast Nonprofit Workshops

Public Lecture on Sustainable Energy


For today’s posting, we wanted to inform our readers about a few workshops, seminars, and opportunities that are coming up over the next few weeks in New York and Washington DC. As our regular readers know, we occasionally pool some of the registration information, links, and tweets for such events both to help spread the word and to encourage our constituents to participate.

The first two are in NYC and are being sponsored by the Foundation Center, from whose materials the MKCREATIVE blog has often culled. A Proposal Writing Seminar will be held there on Wednesday 2 June from 8:30am. Topics include:

• Cover letter, executive summary; your message to the grantmaker
• Statement of need; choosing data to support your case
• Comprehensive project descriptions; your proof of project planning
• Organizational overview, conclusion, appendices
• Researching the funder to position your proposal
• The grantmaker’s proposal review process

Information and registration can be done online here.

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| Category Community, Conference/Congress, Grants and Funding, Sustainability | | Comments Off

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E-Seminar “Freelance Writing for Nonprofits” Filling Fast – Sign Up Now!

Today’s topic is just too topical, and critical, to pass by or put in with other materials. Kivi Leroux Miller (whose work and whose guidance MKCREATIVE have often referred to) is hosting a four-week seminar on “Freelance Writing for Nonprofits,” which is limited to but ten quick registrants (actually, SEVEN as of last count!). If you are writing for nonprofits or want to do so, or if you want to sharpen your game for your nonprofit, get to the registration page quickly.

Why?

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| Category Conference/Congress, Grants and Funding, Marketing, Nonprofit | | Comments Off

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Baltimore Hosting A Number of Homeownership & Greening Events

Earth Day 2010

EcoFest @ Druid Hill Park
Saturday, 17 April

The approach of Tax Day can cloud memories of other opportunities, so we wanted to post reminders of a number of upcoming events for the greening of Our Fair City. First off, please do not forget the fun we will have at Druid Hill Park this Saturday, 17 April, from 12:pm to 6:pm. EcoFest hosted by the Baltimore GreenWorks and a myriad of local vendors and greening organizations. The weather prognosis looks good for the weekend, and what a great way to wash away memories of sweating over your 1040?

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| Category Affordable Housing, Community, Conference/Congress, Education: General, Greening, Local/Maryland, Politics | | Comments Off

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