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The book you've been waiting for...
Funding and Fundraising. We all know it's a bit broken. Let's fix it. Together.
The book you've been waiting for... Funding and Fundraising. We all know it's a bit broken. Let's fix it. Together.
200 backers pledged $11,976 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$11,976

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u·ni·corn

1. one with vision, a persistent and dedicated human

2. a nonprofit or foundation employee that shines with brilliance and humility

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We are inviting all unicorns to participate in changing our sector. Our goal is to change the way we all approach funding and fund raising. 

Jane Leu (CEO of Smarter Good), Vu Le (writer of Nonprofits with Balls), and Jessamyn Shams-Lau (ED of the Peery Foundation), will be writing a book together in 2017. And we want your help!

Smart funders know that the current status quo is inherently funder-centric and are looking for ways to balance the playing field. Adopting grantee-centric practices means creating funder interactions that maximize the input of time and only strengthen an organization’s ability to achieve their outcomes—interactions that put grantees, and hence impact, first.

Wise nonprofits know that current practices perpetuate a broken system. They also acknowledge their role in perpetuating funder-centric processes. More importantly they recognize their power to change the status quo and shape interactions with funders. They know they have more power than many admit and they are looking for ways to exercise it.

This book will delve into both sides -- funder and fundraiser, foundation and nonprofit -- to explore and suggest practical ways all of us can change our ways of operating from 'business as usual' to 'nonprofit as extraordinary'. 

There is much work to be led and done by unicorns. Now more than ever, we need ways to work together that are fast, equal, and efficient. 

Cover Design
Cover Design

There are loads of books on nonprofit and philanthropy. We looked at many of them and discovered a common theme - they are shaped, tempered, and endorsed by foundations. We are turning that model on its head. Instead, we want nonprofits to back this book significantly (and have the opportunity to shape it), as well as philanthropy professionals who are eager to spread a more grantee-centric approach to funding. So we’re asking you, the unicorns, to contribute.

Our Kickstarter campaign launches today, December 1st and will run until December 30th. This campaign will not only raise money for self-publishing (there will be no superfluous padding in our book -- just what you need to make change!), but also to ensure that it is shaped by your perspective and contributions. See the rewards levels for how your ideas and voice can be incorporated.

Chapter Outline
Chapter Outline

We’ll be writing this book throughout 2017, and releasing excerpts to our Kickstarter supporters along the way. We hope that you’ll support us in the coming weeks and share our vision with your network.

Thank you, in anticipation of your support!

Jane / Vu / Jessamyn

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About the authors:

Jane Leu
Jane Leu

Jane Leu is an internationally recognized social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow with more than 20 years of experience in founding and leading numerous social enterprises. Her latest venture is Smarter Good, a global services firm with a dual mission to improve the efficiency and impact of small nonprofit organizations and create purposeful careers for aspiring changemakers in emerging markets. 

Jane’s contributions and leadership have been recognized by BYU Social Innovator of the Year, John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership program, Jefferson Award for Community Service, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneur Award, among others. She is a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Venture Partner, representing the foundation’s investment on the Board of Directors of Reset Foundation, a member of the advisory boards of the Peery Family Foundation, Joshua Venture Group and the Migration Policy Institute. 

She holds a MA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA from Tufts University. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband, Ted Levinson, a social finance professional, when she is not in Manila with the team of Smarter Good.

Vu Le
Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle with the mission of developing and supporting leaders of color to strengthen the capacity of communities-of-color-led nonprofits and foster collaboration between diverse communities to effect systemic change.

Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.

Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at nonprofitwithballs.com.

Jessamyn Shams-Lau
Jessamyn Shams-Lau

High school drop out turned MBA, Jessamyn currently co-creates and stewards the Peery Foundation's Grantee-Centric approach to philanthropy. Jessamyn is an advocate for inter-disciplinary approaches, thoughtful risk taking, and bold ideas developed through apprenticing with a problem.

Jessamyn joined the Peery Foundation as its first staff member in 2009, helping to shape the foundation’s initial approach and portfolios. Currently, as Executive Director, Jessamyn is responsible for supporting the Peery Foundation team, developing and guiding overall strategy, and bringing the Foundation Board's vision to life. Jessamyn utilizes her experience as part of the founding Ashoka U team in her hands-on role as a Board Member of BYU’s Ballard Center, where she has created curriculum now taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Jessamyn has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts London and an MBA from Brigham Young University. She lives in Palo Alto with her ridiculously funny husband and three tiny hamsters.

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Music in video: "George Baker Section - Little Green Bag (CRISSP & The Fixer Remix)” by CRISSP MUSIC is licensed under CC BY.

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Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge for us will be finding time to create the content of the book. We all have full-time jobs, and Jane and Vu have a couple of them.

We already have the frameworks for funders and fundraisers, so we're part of the way there, but it will take a significant number of hours to write and build the rest of the book. This is why we've set rewards levels with deliverables at intervals during the year--to keep us on track. We'll be sure to communicate any delays or challenges along the way.

If you know us personally, you're more than welcome to ask us how our progress is going too!

But most of all we're just excited to do this. Thank you for believing in us, and the importance of this change in our sector.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Shoutout in the back of the book

    We'll have a list of all of our supporters in the back of the book.

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    Unicorn laptop sticker

    Specially designed unicorn laptop sticker
    + shoutout in book

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Early release of chap 1 & 2 + eBook

    We'll pre-release the introduction and the first two chapters as a PDF. Once we're finished you'll also get a soft copy of the book!
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    + unicorn laptop sticker

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Unicorn t-shirt & copy of book

    Specially designed unicorn t-shirt & hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + pre-release intro and chapter 1 & 2

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Your tips included in book

    Provide us with tips that make philanthropy more grantee-centric, and we'll include them in our 'Tips & Tricks' section.
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt
    + hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Book sent to org of your choice

    A book for you and one for another non-profit or foundation--you let us know who you'd like us to send it to!
    + shoutout in the book
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    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A "How To" Kit for Funding

    We're building a 'How To' Kit on talking to your funders about providing unrestricted, multi-year funding or talking to your team about instituting grantee-centric practices at your foundation.
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt
    + hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Handmade unicorn

    Jessamyn is finally putting her Fine Art degree to use and is hand-making unicorns! The materials will be a surprise, but we promise it'll be a great memento.
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt
    + "how to" kit
    + hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Early release of first half (+ editing)

    We'll send you the first half of the book (by PDF) and solicit your input and feedback.
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt
    + "how to" kit
    + hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)

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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    Exclusive Q&A with one of the authors

    Jessamyn, Jane, or Vu will attend your event or happy hour in Seattle or the Bay Area and will participate in an exclusive Q&A with your team or your grantees.
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt
    + "how to" kit
    + hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Exclusive talk by author

    Talk or workshop on practical application of the book by Jane, Jessamyn, or Vu will come give a talk on the book and how your organization can implement it's ideas.
    + shoutout in the book
    + unicorn laptop sticker
    + early release of introduction and chapters 1 & 2
    + unicorn t-shirt
    + "how to" kit
    + hard or soft copy of the book (once released in Nov/Dec 2017)

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Funding period

- (30 days)