Unfortunately, news coming from Wall Street over the last few days (or months for that matter) hasn’t been positive. This time the headlines were focused on a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by former NASDAQ Chairman, Bernard Madoff and the nearly $50 billion that he fraudulently managed.

While many of these articles mentioned the exposure that large corporations such as HSBC had to Madoff’s now insolvent firm, there initially was little mention to the exposure that many leading philanthropic organizations had to Madoff.

Unfortunately, as the names of those affected came out over the last few days, it appears that there were numerous charities that had trusted Madoff with large sums of money, all which now appears to be gone.

Here is a list of some of the charitable organizations affected by Madoff:

While this list is by no means comprehensive, I think it gives a good glimpse into what impact these schemes have on the nonprofit community.

It’s important to remember that the charities mentioned above are those that were reported facing direct exposure. This means that it is feasible to assume that there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of charitable organizations that could be impacted by Madoff’s actions indirectly, simply because his clients were some of the nation’s wealthiest, and most charitable.

The timing of this couldn’t have been any worse. With the weak economy, an uncertain auto-industry, and now a $50 billion blow to some of the nation’s biggest givers, I have a feeling that there will be many organizations that will be forced to make cuts to stay afloat.

December is traditionally a huge month for non-profit fundraising professionals. With all of these major financial events happening so close to each other, I have a feeling that many traditionally large donors may be extremely apprehensive in making large contributions.

This means that development professionals are going to have to not only be more aggressive, but also be more creative in approaching their donors, as creating a sense of fiscal-confidence is now going right on par with creating a sense of purpose and necessity.

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