Jim Toscano, the retired president of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, is a principal of Toscano Advisors. With over 50 years in nonprofit management, his consulting focuses on strategic planning, governance, resource development, impact measurement, and social entrepreneurship.

Having served on over 50 boards and commissions, he is past chair of the Minnesota Charities Review Council and of the State Health Department’s Medical Education and Research Committee, which received $400 million in the State’s tobacco settlement. A chair and co-chair of the committees that published the three editions of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofit’s “Principals and Practices for Nonprofit excellence,” he has taught graduate courses in nonprofit management at the University of Saint Thomas’s and Hamline University's Schools of Business.

He is a graduate of Rutgers College and Yale University.

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How Many Board Members Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

How many times have we read, heard or said something like, “board members must not only give, they must get” or one of the variations of that message? I have read it, heard it, said it, taught it, written it a few thousand times in my fifty years in nonprofit management and consulting. And who…

Bad Planning, Misuse of Mission, Contradictions of Cause Marketing?

Certain specific demographic cohorts flock to the annual swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated each year, presumably to experience nature and the environment up close. Some of our friends at Nature Conservancy were intrigued with the demographics of these readers, clearly holding the prospect of adding to NC constituency and donors, so they entered into a…

We’re All Development Officers Now!

A much emailed and referenced article from McKinsey Quarterly by Tom French, Laura LaBerge and Paul McGill, “We’re all marketers now,” stresses the need for commitment from everyone in an organization to fully engage customers. The authors advocate a total organizational approach to marketing. Quoting the article: “…customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it…

Results, Results, Results

The director of a start-up nonprofit was livid, “We worked our — — off trying to do something real for AIDS victims, and all the donations still go elsewhere…to the big boys.” What’s going on here? Certainly we’ve all heard it before, but why do, indeed, most of the major gifts go to the brand names? History, tradition,…

The Courage of the Lead Gift

There’s a special breed of donor, possessing courage, commitment and vision, who is capable of a lead gift in a major campaign. Most donors are not. Often when asked for a major gift, the prospect responds with a question: “Who else has given?” It’s a logical request from the prospect’s point of view. There’s a…

What Really Provokes a Donation? It Isn’t About Money!!

A new non-profit organization with a Board of dedicated, eager, enthusiastic true believers once asked me to review their emerging development plan. One of the first things they wanted to do, as soon as they could afford it, was to buy a mailing list of the “50,000 Richest Individuals in the United States”! Obviously well-intensioned but off on the…