Grantwriting scam revealed

The Nonprofit Association of Oregon has alerted its contacts that an organization (The Funding Institute) is perpetrating a scam by advertising a grant training in Portland Sept. 16-18. NAO was alerted by a grantwriting instructor who was victimized earlier by The Funding Institute.

Here is the email thread from NAO:

From: Jennifer Bugley []
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 5:55 PM
To: Phil McCorkle
Subject: FW: Beware: The Funding Institute
Importance: High

Hi Phil,

Wanted to give you a heads up about this scam grant training that is being advertised to take place on Sept 16-18 in Portland.

NAO has notified the Department of Justice but wanted this to be on your radar. Can you notify your network?



Jennifer Bugley
Training Director
Nonprofit Association of Oregon

p 503-239-4001, ext. 102 / f 503-236-8313

From: Wendy Traylor []
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 4:31 PM
To: Jim White
Subject: The Funding Institute

Hi there,

Thank you for taking my call! You are saving me a lot of time and stress by contacting folks who can make an immediate difference in this matter. My professional website is and outside of my outdated photo.

Below, you will find the text of the email I sent to Kathy Liang at the University of Richmond:

I just got off the phone with Laurie Rogers, who I found in a search for grant writers in the Richmond area. I am hoping to prevent another grant writer/instructor from being deceived by a company that calls itself The Funding Institute. I am an independent grant writer living in Albuquerque, NM, and I was contacted in June by a woman identifying herself as Patty Jones. She had read my resume online and asked about my teaching experience. After a few phone calls, she offered me a contract position teaching a 3-day “Grant Funding and Proposal Writing Essentials” course to be held at the University of New Mexico. The job paid $1,500, so I agreed, signed the contract, learned their curriculum, and within a few weeks, taught the course at a conference room at UNM. The course went off without a hitch (outside of my having to edit sections of the textbook due to inaccuracies), and everyone went home happy.

I had not performed proper research beforehand (and me, a grant writer!!), so I was not aware that The Funding Institute is known on the internet to be a scam. Thirty days passed after the conclusion of my class and I still had not been paid as my contract promised, so I called, texted and emailed Patty without success. More than sixty days later, the University also remains unpaid. I have since learned that “Patty” is actually Patchree (or Patchtree) Patchrint of the Los Angeles, CA, area, and she has a long history of perpetrating similar scams with a man named Anthony Christopher Jones.

The FBI has started investigating the case, but I wanted to notify you right away that The Funding Institute intends to hold a workshop in Richmond, Virginia on September 16-18, 2015 (see, though they do not mention where it will be held or who will be teaching the course. They typically hold these courses at large universities and send emails to encourage development professionals to register at a cost of $495. Students are promised a “Grant Funding USA Certificate in Professional Grant Writing,” but as Grant Funding USA is one of their former scams and not an accrediting body, their certificates are worthless.

In your position as the Manager of the Institute on Philanthropy, I hope that you will help Laurie and me to spread the word about this company. My goal is to prevent the Funding Institute from victimizing anyone else. I will also do my best to contact universities, AFP chapters, Centers for Nonprofit Excellence and individual grant writers in other states (and Canada) where The Funding Institute plans to present a course. As you may have noticed, I believe that defrauding universities and nonprofit workers of their money and time is inexcusable.

Thank you for reading my extremely wordy email. I promise this is not indicative of my grant writing style. 🙂 Feel free to contact me with any questions, and I hope you have an enjoyable evening!

Wendy Traylor

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Nonprofits urged to counter intimidation

– The Agitator –

Urgent Alert to U.S. Nonprofits–Immediate Action Needed

If you’re willing to turn over the list of your top donors to the government then you need read no further.

However, if you’re not sure, or you’re absolutely certain you’d be unwilling to give up the donor list, then take this post to your CEO and General Counsel. Immediately.

Why? Because right now the Attorney General of California is set on requiring that any nonprofit seeking a license to solicit funds in the nation’s largest state first turn over their lists of top donors that are filed with the IRS on a supposedly “confidential” schedule of your tax return.

This dangerous and unconstitutional power grab in the name of ‘fundraising regulation’ and ‘consumer protection’ must be stopped.

And it’s up to all of us—nonprofits and the companies that serve them to stand up now and take action.

Whether or not your organization or one you serve solicits funds in California the battle ahead will affect the freedom of speech and privacy rights of every nonprofit in the U.S. and their donors.

In a moment I’ll outline the steps you can take immediately to head off this threat. But first some background.

A year ago this week The Agitator warned [1] about a sinister move by the Oklahoma Attorney General and his special interest contributors to silence the Humane Society of United States (HSUS) using that state’s fundraising regulations.

HSUS has boldly and, so far, successfully fought back.

As I pointed out last August there have been relatively few occasions in modern history where politicians have blatantly sought to use the power of their office to silence nonprofits that opposed them or whose views and ideology they disagreed with.

At the end of the day, Americans and the U.S. Supreme Court have shown little tolerance for political zealots and bullies who abuse U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and due process.

NOW …The Intimidators Are At It Again. And We Must Make Sure They Lose. Again.

Right now, in an approach reminiscent of the 1958 attempt by the State of Alabama to intimidate and silence the NAACP by seeking to compel it to turn over its membership and contributor lists, the Attorney General of California is also attempting to intimidate a nonprofit by forcing it to give up the names of top donors in order to be granted a permit to solicit funds.

History repeats itself with slight variations. This time it’s a liberal Attorney General (Kamala Harris) in opposition to the conservative Center for Competitive Politics [2]

It doesn’t matter whether your organization is ideologically ‘liberal’, ‘conservative’, ‘neutral’ or ‘agnostic’ the threat to free speech and due process is exactly the same.

And that’s why it’s time for every organization, every agency and every nonprofit supplier cares about basic constitutional rightsto join the fight to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • The Free Speech Coalition [3] along with dozens of nonprofits and some fundraising agencies are preparing to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court.
  • The greater the number and the more diverse the nonprofits signing on to this brief the greater its impact with the Court. The Justices need to know that regardless of our missions, regardless of our ideologies we are all united in standing up for free speech and due process rights and against the threats and intimidation by political office holders.
  • Here’s draft of the Amicus brief. [4] It offers an excellent summary of the issues involved in this case and the dangers posed by states attorneys’ general abuse of fundraising regulations.
  • These are nonpartisan issues that cut to the core of the privacy of association for donors and members and the right of nonprofits to criticize powerful institutions and public figures.
  • Please take a few minutes right now and share this post and the Draft Amicus Brief with the key folks in your organization.

[ If you’d like more information or wish to refer your general counsel, CEO or someone in your organization to the attorney in charge of building this coalition of the concerned please contact Mark Fitzgibbons at 703-392-7676 or ]

  • And remember success will come only if we stand together and if each of us does our part.

For freedom.


P.S. Mark Fitzgibbons, the attorney who prepared the draft Amicus Brief, is a long-time warrior on behalf on nonprofit constitutional and donor rights. He’s been part of the active core of the Free Speech Coalition for years and I’ve joined in battle many times. He’s a fighter.

He also serves as President of Corporate Affairs at American Target Advertising whose founder is direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie. In the 40 years Richard and I’ve been battling each other ideologically and politically I think there’s only been one thing we’ve always agreed on: the importance of the Constitutional guarantees of free speech and due process unhampered by the meddling hands officials who abuse their power in attempts to silence those with whom they disagree.

So, once more we go into battle together. I hope you’ll join us.

P.P.S. Time is short. We need to hear from as many organizations as possible. So, when your organization is ready to sign on please identify the name of your organization, and whether it is a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).  I ask that you reply by Friday, August 21. 

Please send your reply to [5] or to me at [6] .

Article printed from The Agitator:

Posted in donors, fundraising, philanthropy, stewardship | Leave a comment

An insider’s view of crowdfunding success

Ghazal Vaghedi, a committed proponent of “crowdfunding,” presented the case to MVDP Thursday for why and how nonprofits might adopt this technique.

Ghazal (left) and MVDP's Lynn Youngs

Ghazal Vaghedi (left) and MVDP’s Lynn Youngs

Ghazal, the vice president for digital philanthropy at in San Francisco, said that crowdfunding is “using the Internet to fund a project by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people.”

Four years ago crowdfunding produced an estimated $1.5 billion in donations. Last year the revenue generated totaled $16.2 billion. In 2015 it is expected to produce $34.4 billion.

Ghazal said that the average successful crowdfunding campaign generates $9,000 for nonprofits. The essentials for a successful campaign are:

  1. Developing a strategy utilizing a unique story;
  2. Identifying and quantifying measurable and attainable goals;
  3. Creating a simple, personal story; and
  4. Testing the ask to make sure it’s working.

She offered several case studies to support her points. Click here, here and here for three sample case studies. Her PowerPoint slides are stored here.

Razoo, which is one of several platforms that host crowdfunding campaigns, has no up-front charges to launch a fundraising drive. There is technical help available, too. Razoo charges a 6.9 percent fee to handle donations through the site, although some donors are willing to absorb the fee so that 100 percent of the planned donation goes to the nonprofit conducting the campaign.

Coming next to MVDP is a May 21 program featuring Bill Kemp from Bend presenting ideas on “building a development plan on a shoestring.” The event returns to the Central Willamette Community Credit Union in Albany from 1 to 5 p.m. Register attendance at

Kay Sprinkel Grace, a nationally known consultant speaker and writer, returns to Salem for an afternoon presentation June 10 on retaining donors through a conscientious stewardship effort. This program is co-sponsored by MVDP and the Center for Community Innovation, which will host the event at 1255 Broadway NE. Special pricing will be in effect: $30 for MVDP season-pass holders and CCI members and $60 for guests and non-members.

Posted in crowdfunding, fundraising, MVDP, online giving, technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Assessing digital fundraising at MVDP April 16

OnlineGIving“Nonprofit crowdfunding is changing the landscape of online fundraising and growing at an exponential rate.”

That’s the assessment of Ghazal Vaghedi, who comes from San Francisco April 16 to present “Best Practices for Building a Successful Online (Crowdfunding) Fundraising Campaign.”

Ghazal is vice president for digital philanthropy at, a firm that specializes in online fundraising. is the company that helped Willamette Valley Development Officers and 75 Portland-area nonprofits develop a Giving Tuesday site last fall.

Her presentation will be at the Central Willamette Community Credit Union in Albany from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please note the time, as it is out of the ordinary for MVDP programs.

She said, “We’ll go over:

  • Essentials for your campaign;
  • Determining rewards and donation tiers;
  • Activating your ambassadors;
  • Crafting a compelling story and using technology to tell your story;
  • New donor cultivation strategies after your campaign; and
  • Opportunities to participate as part of bigger giving events that can help boost your organization.

“There will also be opportunity for small group discussion and Q&A. Bring your ideas and get feedback from the presenter and your peers.”

A light lunch will be available.

For a Blackbaud discussion about “crowdfundamentals,” click here.

Registration for this event is accessible at the MVDP website here.

Season-pass holders have already paid for the event. Non-pass holders and guests are welcome. The fee is $35, if registered by April 14, or $45 at the door.

Posted in crowdfunding, e-mail, fundraising, MVDP, online giving, philanthropy, Uncategorized, website | Leave a comment

Samantha Swaim: Special appeal is where the money is

nancy and samSamantha Swaim emphasized the “special appeal” as the most important element of a nonprofit’s fundraising auction, because that’s where the money is. She spoke Thursday to Mid-Valley Development Professionals in its 2015 kickoff event.

Swaim heads Swaim Strategies, a Portland firm that focuses on nonprofit events and fundraising strategy. She is pictured above, right, with MVDP President Nancy Duncan.

Research shows that 87 percent of major donors prefer to give at events, she said, indicating the importance that events should have for nonprofit organizations.

A special appeal, often held during the live auction at a nonprofit’s special event, generates the most income. It contains three parts: the story, the ask and the collection.

The story is where you build your case for support, she said. Ideally it’s a one-person story, which has the most impact. She quoted Mother Theresa who said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”

The ask is a call to action, usually an appeal for unrestricted funds.

The ask leads to collecting gifts through participants either raising numbered bid cards or paddles to indicate giving amounts or completing envelopes containing checks or credit card numbers. Bid cards are most effective, she said, especially when there are pre-committed donors who raise their cards at giving levels, prompting others to do the same. “Money begets money,” she said.

Posted in donors, fundraising, major gifts, MVDP, special events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kim Klein shows how to make the ask

Kim Klein, flanked by Nancy Duncan (left) and Lynn Youngs

Kim Klein, flanked by Nancy Duncan (left) and Lynn Youngs

Author/trainer/consultant Kim Klein was on her game Thursday as she presented a workshop on how nonprofits can improve their asking for gifts.

This was the third of six programs on the schedule for Mid-Valley Development Professionals, and Kim did not disappoint.

“Kim Klein is the quintessential speaker on this subject,” said one of the attendees. “Thank you for inviting and bringing her to Salem.”

Several others commented in their evaluations that they hope she can come back to Salem.

One person was perplexed about Kim’s wit. “Her humor was terrific,” the person wrote. “How do I translate to my board that kind of humor if I am not naturally funny?”

Kim encouraged her audience to ask their donors more often to give to their organizations. She said seven out of every 10 people in this country give to nonprofits. Americans are more likely to give than to vote in elections or to go to church, she said.

How is it that we don’t like asking people to do what they love to do? she asked.

Kim used a PowerPoint presentation, and the file is saved here.

Next up for MVDP is a Sept. 17 program on developing a bequest and planned giving program. Look for details at


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How to succeed at major donor fundraising

Jim Shapiro of The Edge Group in Seattle brings a concrete set of best practices to our April 24 meeting, designed to increase revenue and deepen relationships between nonprofits and their major donors.

The program will be held at the Central Willamette Community Credit Union in Albany from 1 to 5 p.m.

“If your organization is like most, approximately 80 percent of your revenue comes from

jim shapiro pic

Jim Shapiro

less than 20 percent of your donors,” Jim said. “We’ll help you apply the powerful Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat system to major donor fundraising.

“The system is effective because it is based on a clear understanding of what’s really happening when a major donor gives a gift and on studying the fundraising results from hundreds of organizations to see what works and what doesn’t.”

For a fast-paced afternoon full of practical suggestions, be sure to join us. The location is in Central Willamette’s administrative offices at 7101 Supra Drive SW.

Season pass holders have already paid, but they are encouraged to register in advance. Non-pass holders may register and attend. Their fee is $60, if registered by April 22, or $70 at the door. Please register at

Following the April program, the 2014 schedule is:

June 5–Kim Klein, Oakland consultant and author of Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times and Fundraising for Social Change, will talk about making the ask.
Sept. 17–Jeff Comfort, a national planned giving expert now at the Oregon State University Foundation, will talk about developing a bequest and planned giving program. (Note the change to Sept. 17 from Sept. 18.)
Oct. 23–Marjorie Dudley of Sandler Training will introduce her seven-step system to step out of the “donor development dance” and build a sustainable stream of donors.
Dec. 4–Jennifer Morrow of the Creative Company will describe innovative marketing approaches for nonprofits.

Season passes cost $180 for individuals and $500 for organizations (up to five people).

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