Category Archives: Uncategorized

Souper Bowl of Caring

While visiting Austin in January, I was accosted in the local supermarket. The perpetrator? The HEB cashier, who after ringing me up, singsonged what’s become a common refrain heard in supermarket check-outs across the country: “would you like to make a donation today?”

I looked up and there was the unexpected: the donation itself. Usually, I’m presented with an electronic choice on the credit card machine, a simple yes or no accompanied by a bored-sounding cashier’s “ask.” Having created a personal philanthropy plan I usually stick to it, only saying yes when the donation is earmarked for one of my chosen causes.

But this cashier was holding up a brown grocery bag. Inside were cans of vegetables and meat, enough to feed four people who wouldn’t otherwise eat dinner that night. $5 per bag. I looked down at the snack pack of goldfish crackers and bottle of wine I’d thrown into my cart on a whim. How could I say no? And WHY would I say no?

I didn’t know at the time, but I’d just contributed to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas’ local Souper Bowl of Caring Campaign: mine was one of $1,000,000 meals that were donated. I also didn’t know that in January, 2012, 3,000+ groups participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring raised $5,323,124 in cash and food for charities fighting hunger in seven US cities.

Food donation drives are no novel thing. But the Souper Bowl is not a drive, it’s a “national youth-led movement of schools, congregations, community organizations and compassionate individuals joining together to fight hunger and poverty in their local communities, transforming the time around the Super Bowl into the nation’s largest celebration of giving and serving.”

One of my favorite Hebrew words is “Dayenu,” translated roughly as “it would have been enough” and used in this context: if I had only paid for the contents of that shopping bag and fed a family for one night, then “Dayenu.” But I contributed to building a transformative movement in the fight against hunger. For now, this too is “Dayenu.” But speaking as a kid who was involved early on, through Quaker schooling and family practice, in volunteerism and generous acts, I know that the children who’ve built the Souper Bowl of Caring in the last 20 years will continue their good works into adulthood and change their communities. So someday, perhaps we can say, “We fed the world. Dayenu.”

Since the Souper Bowl of Caring started in 1990, volunteers have collected more than $81 million in dollars and cans, with 100 percent of all donations going directly to community food banks, soup kitchens or other charities chosen by each group. For more information or to join the team, visit For more informational about the Capital Area Food Bank, visit





Nonprofit Job Sites Reviewed and Rated

A big shout out to Blue Avocado for their “best of” list of nonprofit job sites. They collected input from your colleagues, reviewed and rated 31 sites to help jobseekers get organized.

Their findings:

Another good one for you specific food-related changemakers to check out is They launched within the last year and I’ve been enjoying watching them grow.


Cultivating Major Donors Workshop Next Week at CVNL

I’m looking forward to talking to the good folks doing major gifts fundraising in Marin County next week at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership in San Rafael, CA. I was a member of their 1st “Emerging Leaders” training class several years ago and they did a great job. I definitely feel…emerged.

But seriously, I prepared this workshop for an earnest group of Executive Directors, Board members, and fundraising staff last spring and it was rewarding for me to be a useful resource. I believe so strongly that developing closer relationships with donors results in a big win for everyone – most importantly the people and causes you’re serving. Here’s the info:

Cultivating Major Donors
January 13: 9:30am to 12:30pm
$55 for Members / $75 for Non-Members
Presenter: Cassie Gruenstein

Are your supporters happily “stuck in a rut”? How can you build your donor relationships to raise more money? In this workshop, you’ll learn best practices and practical solutions for ways to:

• Use the resources you have
• Find your best next major donor prospects
• Build systems for success
• Stay connected to your top supporters
• Increase the number of face-to-face meetings with donors

This workshop is designed for professionals from small- and mid-sized organizations who are ready to grow a major donor program to the next level.