Webinar: How we survived the financial crisis

Update, 3/29/12: Watch the webinar via the Nonprofit Quarterly archives.

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So grateful for this community. (Photo: Daniel J. Sieradski)

“I need your help to save Idealist.org.” That’s the title of an email our executive director Ami Dar wrote just two years ago. It began:

Dear ___,

You know how sometimes in life you go through a bad moment, and when your friends hear about it later, they say, “Why didn’t you say something? Why didn’t you ask? We would have helped.”

That’s where Idealist is now, and I am writing to ask for your help.

Very briefly, here’s what happened…

Ami went on to explain that after the financial crisis in October 2008, thousands of nonprofits froze hiring – which meant that we could no longer depend on that revenue stream. We had to get creative. We expanded other revenue-generating efforts, including our Grad Fairs; made some painful decisions to streamline our operations and staff; and got by “on faith and fumes” and with a lot of help from our friends. By January 2010 we had no choice but to turn to you, the people who had attended our events, subscribed to our Email Alerts, and contributed to this community for more than a decade.

Ami sent the email to 500,000 people who had registered on our site. Your response—donations large and small, stories of how Idealist had touched your life, warm wishes—touched us immeasurably, and allowed us to get through that rough patch.

On March 28, the Nonprofit Quarterly will host Ami for a free webinar called When your Financial Model goes Bust: How Idealist Took a Risk and Pulled Through. Join us to hear more about this critical time in our history and to discuss how the lessons we learned might help in your own work.

Space is limited. Reserve your seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/220154626

And to all of you who pitched in back in January 2010: thank you again. We can never thank you enough.

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Comments (8)


  1. Cavell Stephenson writes:
    March 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    It feels good to have been part of the solution.


  2. Meg writes:
    March 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Like many, I’ve relied on Idealist to network within the nonprofit community so I readily donated in response to Ami’s request for emergency funds. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall ever receiving a “thank you” note or an update on Idealist’s financial health. I felt like my funds were taken for granted and like I was “left hanging” with no idea of how the emergency funds had been used. I’m obviously glad to see that Idealist is in a better position now, but I would have greatly appreciated some follow-up.


  3. Julia S. writes:
    March 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Meg, I’m so sorry to hear that. I know that Ami wrote back personally to hundreds of our supporters, and all of the 10,000 people who donated then should have received our automatic thank you note which, among other things, made it clear that this was a tax exempt donation. In addition, we did send out another email a few months later with an update about how things had worked out. I am so sorry that did not reach you. I really appreciate your comment and will continue to work on this blog space as one where we update supporters about all aspects of our work.


  4. Julia S. writes:
    March 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    @Cavell – Thank you! Your support means a lot to us.


  5. Lisa Bracken writes:
    March 28, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Crikey! This is news to me.

    I have been a raving fan of Idealist since its inception and would have been mortified to learn of its risk of failing. There is absolutely nothing like it online or anywhere. It is unique in its service model, superb in its actual service and emanates the kind of collective, positive vibe essential to the non-profit sector. I just love Idealist and plan to be a fan for the long haul.

    Congratulations on pulling through the rough patch as well as gaining an opportunity to share your uplifting story of success! What a testament to the power of an invested community! Onward and Upward!


  6. Ami Dar writes:
    March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks Lisa! That is so good to hear!


  7. gladys reid writes:
    March 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Idealist has been extremely helpful to me by assisting me with information to LMSW positions for many years. Although, I have yet recieved any feedback on outreach to said positions. This is depressing and at times frustrating.


  8. Idealist writes:
    March 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I hear you, Gladys. We wrote a blog post awhile back about this, How to Write a Rejection Letter, because we’ve heard from lots of job seekers that they often don’t get a response to their applications or interviews at all: http://www.idealist.org/blog/en/how-to-write-a-rejection-letter/


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