Strengthening Donor Relationships and Overcoming Challenges with Dr. Mark Scott


Are you looking for strategies to strengthen your donor relationships? Or how to overcome some of the many challenges nonprofits are facing today? In today’s episode, we chat with Dr. Mark Scott from the Oishei Foundation, an organization dedicated to strengthening and supporting nonprofits. We dive into how his organization provides support for nonprofits and discuss new demands and challenges nonprofits are facing around staffing shortages, competition with the corporate sector, and the struggle to find good help. Plus, Dr. Scott gives us some strategies to help overcome these obstacles.

He also talks about how nonprofits can be more realistic with their overhead costs when submitting grant proposals to funders and how to build better relationships with them. He gives great strategies for strengthening these donor relationships like taking small relationship-building actions over time and how this can help your organization succeed and better serve your community. This episode is full of practical tips nonprofit leaders can take action on today.


About Dr. Mark Scott

Mark joined the Foundation in January 2022 to lead Oishei’s philanthropic support practice that is designed to strengthen and support the WNY nonprofit ecosystem. He works closely with Foundation staff to enhance the capacity and work of grantee organizations and community partners. He oversees the Foundation’s initiatives in leadership development, network building, and convening, most notably the Karen Lee Spaulding Oishei Fellowship for Leaders of Color, Community Conversations for Leaders of Color, and the Oishei Leader program.

Mark holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Policy, an MBA from Niagara University, and a BS in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Cheyney University in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, the nation’s oldest Historically Black College & University (HBCU).


Read the podcast transcript here.


Episode Summary

In this episode, you will learn strategies for strengthening donor relationships and overcoming obstacles in the nonprofit sector, like:

•Providing support for nonprofit organizations (8:20)

•Building capacity in your communities (12:05)

•New demands nonprofits are currently facing (15:00)

•Overcoming challenges of not being able to find good employees (18:35)

•Being realistic with overhead costs in grant proposals (22:45)

•Making the funding process easier (29:05)

•Tips for nonprofits to build better donor relationships (34:45)



“But what we are finding is that because nonprofits stepped up and they had become so heavily dependent on government resources during the COVID pandemic period, they have kind of lost their way.”

“Nonprofits really need unrestricted support.”

“People are doing nonprofit work and not being paid a living wage. So it’s like helping to fight poverty, but being in poverty themselves because they’re not making a living wage.”

“When we play with the ask, we perpetuate this vicious cycle of undercutting the work.”

“If you build that relationship over a period of time, and you don’t always have to ask, the funder will see it.”


Huge thank you to our sponsor!

This series is sponsored by Blackbaud, the essential software provider for the organizations and people who change the world. Blackbaud has been working with finance professionals at nonprofit and social good organizations for almost 40 years with its Blackbaud Financial Edge, NXT Fund, accounting software expertise, and services. You can streamline your financial operations, strengthen your accountability, and make data-driven decisions to increase your impact. To learn more, visit   



The OiShei Foundation 

Connect with Dr. Mark Scott on LinkedIn: 

Blackbaud Nonprofit Accounting Software:   

Keep up to date with the podcast: @100degreesconsulting

Follow Stephanie on Instagram: @stephanie.skry/ 

Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn: 

Visit the podcast page: 


Want more of the podcast?

New episodes are released weekly! Find them all plus show notes and exclusive bonus content at

Leave us a review! Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Let me know what you loved most about this episode!

Subscribe to the show so you don’t miss a thing!