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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To Give...And Receive

When I was a young…and presumptuous….development officer, I remember saying such smart alec, cynical things about donors as“They say they don’t want to be thanked for their donation, but just forget to send them a letter.”Or “Just leave their name off the annual report, or misspell it, and you’ll see!” I was really on to something, only backwards!…

Bah, Humbug!! — Ebenezer Scrooge Might Have Been Right

Just after he responded to those two proper gentlemen, asking for an end of year donation for the poor, with his classic, “Bah, Humbug !” Ebenezer Scrooge must have mumbled under his breath, “The only time I hear from them is when they need money.” How many of your donors might say the same thing?…

Give Something They CAN’T Throw Away

A number of years ago, we had a prospect interested in donating a  significant piece of equipment to our healthcare organization. The prospect and his spouse had been long-time patients — grateful patients, who had established a solid history of generous giving. The husband was self-made, having risked all on a new business, which he…

Constituency: They May be Sitting Right in Front of You

As part of a group organizing a development office for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra years ago, I ran a number of mailing lists by the committee. Certainly all agreed that season ticket holders were clearly a prime constituency.  When we got to the single ticket buyer list, derisive comments emanated from staff about a…


Almost forty years ago, I was just settling in to the position of Vice President for Resource Development and Public Affairs at the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, then parent to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the College of Art and Design and the Children’s Theatre Company. An intercom from my secretary told me of my…

To Give...And To Receive: Examining the 'Exchange' ProcessTo Give...And To Receive: Examining the 'Exchange' Process

Editors Note: This is the second in a series of articles by this author introduced in the first issue of this year. When I was a young...and presumptuous...development officer, I remember saying such smart alec, cynical things about donors as, "They say they don't want to be thanked for their donation, but just forget to…