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Heather Ehlert

The “Case” for the Case for Support

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By Heather Ehlert, Vice President of Client Services

For most of us, speaking confidently about our organization’s mission comes naturally. But we can best respond to the question “Why should I donate or support your organization?” after we’ve gone through the process of developing a Case for Support.  Good advocates for any organization – Board members, Executive Directors, fundraisers and program and administrative staff – will not only fully understand the Case for their organization, but will be able to eloquently share it.  This is just one reason why a strong, well-developed Case for Support is essential to your organization’s fundraising success.

Case for Support – just what is it?

The Association of Fundraising Professional’s Fundraising Dictionary defines the case for support as “the reason why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support, usually by outlining the organization’s programs, current needs and plans.”  “Case for Support” is also a broad term, often encompassing many different end uses. Variations of an organizational Case for Support can be developed for specific types of fundraising activities – such as a Fundraising Feasibility Study (concept paper) or Capital Campaign (campaign brochure). These pieces incorporate the general summary of the organization’s activities and purpose plus items that are specific to the fundraising effort in which it will be used.

What’s your “Case” for the Case?  

A Case for Support is much more than an informational brochure that you leave with donors. It should be required reading for every one of your organization’s advocates. This includes your staff, Board members, volunteers and anyone else who could be speaking on behalf of your organization.

Aside from functioning as an educational tool, the Case for Support is the foundation from which all marketing and development collateral is based. It could be used for developing materials for an annual campaign, special event or as supplemental information for government grant and foundation proposals.

The Case for Support should be used as part of the recruitment process for new Board members and other key volunteers, in staff orientations and training events, for internal committees who may be looking at expanding or changing the types of services offered to the community and as part of the strategy when educating public officials about the organization’s role in the community.

These are just a handful of ways that a Case for Support can enhance your organization.

What goes into a Case for Support?

Before you get started, ask yourself  – Why does your organization exist? What do you do? Whom do you serve? What makes your organization unique? Your answers provide the core elements for your Case that will define your role in the community. Some critical elements that should be included in the “Case for Support” include the following:

  • Your mission (or purpose statement) and how it creates passion in your staff, Board members and volunteers
  • Your organization’s vision, values and long-range plans; your goals
  • A history of your organization, including “founding families” and other milestones
  • A listing of programs and services that you provide to the community
  • Descriptions of your programs/services stated in terms of the impact they have had in your community over the last three years, and your projected impact in the near future (number of people served, outcomes achieved, economic impacts or impacts stated in other terms that are consistent with the mission and goals of your organization)
  • Your financial strength, or capacity to do the work you do – this demonstrates your financial stability and good stewardship of donors’ funds
  • A list of board members, other key volunteers, staff and donors

The first of JB+A’s Six Criteria for Success in fundraising is A Case for Support that is Realistic, Relevant and Compelling. A fact-based and compelling story will have urgency, significance and appeal.  An effective Case for Support is specific in scope and will clearly communicate the purpose, programs and financial needs of the organization.  It will explain why the organization seeks funding and will demonstrate potential benefits to stakeholders.

Facts are all well and good, but be sure to use these facts to tell a human story that moves people to get involved. Speak to a supporter of your organization and find out what they love about your mission. Interview an individual served by your organization – what does it mean to them to have this resource in the community?

A short, sweet and compelling Case is your key to success. Put yourself in your prospective donors’ shoes and ask yourself, “What would YOU want to know in order to drop everything and help them make a difference?”

#GivingTuesday 2016 sets more records!

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Congratulations!  The early results are in:  #GivingTuesday 2016 was another resounding success:  an estimated $168 million raised online through 1,560,000 gifts.  The estimated amount raised surpasses last year’s total of $116.7 million and is more than 16 times the amount raised in #GivingTuesday’s inaugural year, 2012.

Data is still being gathered, so stay tuned for more information about the global day of giving…

Growing Popularity of Donor-Advised Funds: Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund Tops Philanthropy 400

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photo_73754_landscape_370x247This year’s release of the Philanthropy 400 confirmed what many nonprofit professionals have suspected over the past few years – the way we give and the way we raise money is changing. In The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual ranking of nonprofits that raise the most from individuals, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund claimed the number one spot collecting $4.6 billion in 2015. Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund is an arm of asset-management firm Fidelity Investments. In the 25 years since its launch, it has become one of the biggest grantmakers in the country awarding $3 billion to nonprofits in 2015. In the last year alone, Fidelity donors have recommended grants to over 106,000 charities, with over 220,000 nonprofits supported since its inception in 1991.

A year ago, as we celebrated our 15th anniversary of nonprofit fundraising success, JB+A hosted speakers Matt Nash, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Client Experience at Fidelity Charitable, and Debbie Wilkerson, President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, in exploring the role of donor-advised funds in the powerful future of philanthropy.

Jeffrey, Matt and Debbie “unshrouded” some of the mystery surrounding donor-advised funds by explaining the dynamics of donor and fund relations, the benefits to donors who use donor-advised funds and the continued need for donor stewardship. (Check out the JB+A anniversary event here.)

Fidelity’s top standing in the annual ranking is significant:  it is the first time an organization that primarily raises money for donor-advised funds has held the top spot. It’s also worth noting United Way has consistently held the top spot and has been usurped only twice since the list started in 1991. This year, United Way saw a 4% drop in funds raised while Fidelity saw a 20% increase.  Fidelity credits its rise to the top to investments in technology, claiming its online platform has turned charitable giving into an easy digital transaction that allows for more transparency and easier record keeping.

But not everyone is celebrating this trend. Critics of donor-advised funds argue money can sit in these accounts for years, but could be used for critical causes now. Others say these funds look to the future by offering donors alternative ways to be charitable. Despite all the differing perspectives surrounding donor-advised funds, data shows they aren’t going anywhere and are quickly becoming an attractive option to the modern, busy donor.

Therefore, it is critical for nonprofit professionals to understand donor-advised funds, remain aware of trends and data and learn how to make this giving vehicle part of their fundraising efforts. For both donors and nonprofits to fully benefit from the powerful capacity of donor-advised funds, JB+A recommends focusing efforts in three areas:

  1. Creating a culture for investment.

The movement happening in local and federal government will affect what we do in daily practice. We need to carefully follow these happenings and advocate for policy that supports a culture of long-term giving.

  1. Providing donors with options.

By offering different mechanisms or vehicles for giving, we can encourage charitable giving and facilitate the process in a way that is comfortable for donors. We especially need to capitalize on new technologies that enable maximum giving potential such as the giving widget, which encourages giving on a nonprofit’s website through a donor-advised fund.

  1. Continuing to tell our stories.

As donor-advised funds grow in popularity, we must remember that behind these giving vehicles, there are people. In fact, 92% of donor-advised funds are not anonymous, so we must engage these stakeholders by sharing stories of all the good works nonprofits do.

Introducing JB+A’s Newest Team Member

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sd-headshotAs JB+A positions itself for a transformational 2017, we are delighted to welcome Suzanne as an Associate Consultant. Suzanne’s background in fundraising, nonprofit administration, marketing and business development will help take our expert fundraising services and marketing activities to the next level.

-Jeffrey Byrne, President + CEO

A Kansas City native and graduate of the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Suzanne recently returned home after working in Edinburgh, Scotland, as the marketing manager for a firm of conservation architects and engineers. Prior to her adventure abroad, Suzanne graduated with honors from Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs where she majored in arts management and music.

Suzanne brings a history of success in fundraising and marketing with a particular enthusiasm for brand positioning and social media. She has worked for several major nonprofit organizations including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender & Reproduction. Now, she is eager to immerse herself in Kansas City’s thriving nonprofit sector and is delighted to join JB+A.

Suzanne is particularly passionate about promoting, developing and participating in the philanthropic activities of Kansas City’s Jewish community as well as local animal advocacy and protection organizations.

Suzanne looks forward to helping you and your organization achieve fundraising success. You can reach Suzanne at 816.237.1999 or at sdicken@fundraisingJBA.com.

Community Crowdfunding: Together, We Can Do More

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sharon-greenCommunity Crowdfunding: Together, We Can Do More
Sharon Green, Chief Development Officer for WonderWe

Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Sharon Green as a guest contributor to this month’s issue of News You Can Use. Sharon is the Chief Development Officer at WonderWe, a multi-campaign, crowdfunding social network that enables individuals, nonprofits and faith-based organizations to raise funds and awareness. Sharon is passionate about helping organizations grow to serve the community, and has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, including Hannah & Friends, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs and 3rd & Goal – Veterans Home Aid, which assists veterans facing homelessness and requiring home improvements in order to make their lives more accessible.

When we act as a community, goodness flows.  WonderWe, a free fundraising company located in Kansas City, Missouri, is committed to using technology for the good of communities around the world, knowing a community can consist of an individual, a handful of individuals, or dozens of handfuls (even dozens of dozens.) Size doesn’t matter.  Goodness does.  WonderWe supports those who do good, wherever and however that goodness is shared.

Crowdfunding is a contemporary, click-away opportunity to learn about the needs of organizations and individuals around your neighborhood, your city and our collective world. If an issue tugs at your heartstrings, it will take you only a moment to make a meaningful difference. WonderWe elevates crowdfunding technology to a fresh new level with exclusive design and inspired patent-pending features, including the We#code—a unique code assigned to every campaign. The We#code makes it easier to give—and manage giving—to any campaign WonderWe supports. Because WonderWe embraces a pricing model that relies on the goodwill of the donor, WonderWe is free to everyone.

Other distinctive features of the WonderWe crowdfunding platform include team fundraising, built in social networking and other communication options, the We#Code for sharing and promoting and a mobile video ask for peer-to-peer viral, personal fundraising requests. The app is mobile-ready with native and responsive products.

When we contribute our resources as a group—as a community—we can do more.  Consider a truck.  A four-wheeled vehicle doesn’t usually inspire an emotional sigh.  However, when the truck is used to deliver food to children of abused women, to clear parking lots for women seeking shelter from violence, to take in donations for families who left home with only the clothes on their back, the truck becomes a lifeline.  Hope House, Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter, needs $50,000 to replace a 15-year old truck. Repairs have been made, and made again. Soon the truck will no longer serve any useful purpose.  When we—together—start thinking of a truck as a lifeline for food, donations, supplies and safety, it somehow becomes more than a four-wheeled vehicle. It becomes an essential part of a caring community. However, Hope House, like so many nonprofits serving community need, has more pressing priorities and a new truck, though necessary, falls to the bottom of the priority list.  With WonderWe, tapping into the power of group sharing, it’s just possible the funds for that essential, yet essentially dull and boring, truck can become reality.

When you tap into the influence of a crowdfunding resource such as WonderWe, you can browse the site for background, testimonials and endorsements. You can take your time as you tease out that particular need that sparks your personal passion—whether for a domestic violence shelter, a softball team of motivated young girls, or a hospital tucked into the jungles of Ecuador.

It’s easy to give. It’s easy to create opportunities to give. And it’s free.  Click here  to walk through the steps. Then talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Encourage them to join a community.  When ten people share a little, the gifts multiply.  When 100 share what they have, goodness grows beyond measure. Clearly we’re a community of individuals, yet together, how much more we become.  Communities matter.  You matter.  Believe in the wonder of the “we” who can do more.

Jeffrey Byrne to Speak at DonorPerfect Community Network Conference

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Jeffrey Byrne, JB+A Firm President + CEO, is honored to be presenting with our Prospect Research Partner, DonorSearch, and the Belcourt Theatre, Nashville’s nonprofit film center, at the 2016 DonorPerfect Community Network Conference in Philadelphia, PA , September 19-20.  They will be discussing how to effectively utilize prospect research in capital campaigns.

DonorPerfect’s Community Network Conference is an annual gathering of industry experts from around the nation to speak about ways to improve fundraising success. It’s also a great time to network with other fundraising professionals to share best practices, tips and success stories.DP CNC LOgo

Jeffrey will join Ryan Woroniecki, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at DonorSearch, and Brook Bernard, Director of Development for the Belcourt Theatre, to illustrate the value of prospect research in campaign planning and implementation. Using the Belcourt Theatre’s recently completed campaign as a Case Study, Jeffrey, Ryan and Brook will share their processes and best practices for utilizing prospect research. Check out Jeffrey’s recent blog post on how to utilize research to improve capital campaigns.

Recognized for his distinctive client-focused philosophy to fundraising, Jeffrey is a frequent guest speaker at workshops and conferences across the United States.  He has also been quoted in numerous publications including the New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Kansas City Star, and interviewed on many public radio and television stations.

As national consultant thought leaders in philanthropy, JB+A team members share our fundraising leadership, industry best practices and the latest sector research and trends.  If your organization is looking for a speaker or workshop presentation, reach out to JB+A here.

DonorPerfect provides complete fundraising and donor management nonprofit software – including managingdonorperfect logo constituent contacts and donor development, sending personalized communications, managing and scheduling fundraising events, online donation pages and DonorPerfect mobile – while integrating with other industry products and services.

SofterWare is based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1981 with a mission to develop and support software that is easy to learn, easy to use and adaptable to users’ unique needs. The company has grown over 30 years from a small entrepreneurial business to a $35 million+ company with over 10,000 nonprofits and childcare, camp, school and payment processing clients. To learn more about DonorPerfect, click here.

donorsearch logoDonorSearch was founded in 2007 to provide more accurate, more comprehensive, more actionable data to help nonprofits of all types achieve better fundraising and outreach results. Using information from 25 databases, DonorSearch uses proprietary algorithms to help clients find the best philanthropic prospects. Its data can be easily integrated with most common donor management and general sales software, putting critical donor information at a client’s fingertips. (Learn more about DonorSearch here.)

The Belcourt Theatre’s mission is to engage, enrich and educate through innovative film programming in its historicbelcourt theatre, its community and beyond. A unique Nashville treasure with a vibrant historic past and deep roots in the community, this cultural institution is dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary, world, repertory and classic cinema. Learn more about the Belcourt Theatre here.

Help your nonprofit make the most of #GivingTuesday 2016: 501 (c) Success with Asha Curran – September 15, 2016

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Lessons Learned in Nonprofit Innovation
Thursday, September 15, 2016
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center

Reserve your spot and register today.

Lessons Learned in Nonprofit Innovation with Asha Curran is a program of the 2016 501(c)Success National Speaker Series. Make sure to attend, and help your nonprofit make the most of #GivingTuesday 2016 and other powerful innovations.

Asha CurranAsha Curran is the Director of the Center for Innovation & Social Impact with the 92nd Street Y in New York. In her role with one of the most respected and historic cultural institutions in New York, she leads initiatives that have garnered national and global attention, most notably, #GivingTuesday.

You won’t want to miss Asha as she shares her expertise and lessons learned in embracing innovation – working in the paradigm of the entrepreneurial world to increase social good.

Check out this recent article by Asha Curran and Henry Tims (Executive Director of the 92Y) in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “Five Lessons on Innovation and the Institution” outlines solid principles for nonprofits to follow as they re-define how they will remain relevant and impactful in an ever-changing world.

 

Jeffrey Byrne Re-Elected Chair of The Giving Institute

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Representing National Consultant Thought Leaders in Philanthropy 

Jeffery ByrneThe JB+A Team is proud to announce Jeffrey D. Byrne, firm President + CEO, has been re-elected to Chair of the Board of Directors of The Giving Institute. The Giving Institute is designed to help elevate the fundraising consulting and nonprofit services industry and enhance the philanthropic sector. JB+A is the only Kansas City firm to be accepted to The Giving Institute and has been a member since 2005.

giving_institute_logoThe Giving Institute was originally founded in 1935, and beyond its original charge of promoting the evolution of a professional and ethical fundraising field, its other commitment is to promoting philanthropy. To this end, in 1955, it first published Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy and later incorporated the Giving USA Foundation to carry out and expand its public service goals.  Today, Giving USA is the most influential publication reporting on the sources and uses of longitudinal giving data for the past 62 years in the United States.

In his role as Chair of the Board, Jeffrey will continue to serve on the Giving USA Foundation Board. This term marks the 12th year that Jeffrey has served on The Giving Institute Board and his 8th year on the Executive Committee. Jeffrey leverages his position with The Giving Institute to bring more awareness to the field of philanthropy, and has been quoted in the New York Times and numerous television, periodical and radio interviews.

“These next 12 months will continue to be very special to me and JB+A, as I begin my second year in this role. It is an honor and privilege to serve in a leadership capacity for this great organization and for philanthropy,” says Jeffrey. “I am proud to work alongside such committed fellow Board members to elevate the nonprofit services industry and to enhance the impactful work being done through philanthropy.”

For more information about The Giving Institute, visit www.GivingInstitute.org .

For more information about Giving USA FoundationTM visit www.GivingUSA.org.

#GivingTuesday 2016

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#GivingTuesday 2016 will soon be here:  November 29.

Be sure to watch for #GivingTuesday billboards throughout Kansas City, courtesy of Lamar Advertising. For the fifth year in a row, Lamar Advertising is collaborating with JB+A to support this global day of giving, by generously providing pro bono digital billboards throughout the Greater Kansas City Metro.

Is your organization ready to be a part of this powerful, annual tradition of giving?

The fourth year of #GivingTuesday (2015) set another milestone:  an estimated $116.7 million in donations were made on December 1, 2015 – a 181% increase over 2014. What’s in store for 2016?

A solid plan for the big day will increase your chances of fundraising success.

Here are some quick tips for getting started now:

  • Examine last year’s results
    Gather input from staff, volunteers and donors who participated in #GivingTuesday.  What went well?  What are areas for improvement?  Look at your data.  Did you hit your goals?
  • Set goals
    Do you want to raise awareness?  Attract volunteers?  Raise dollars?  Clearly defining your goals and objectives will help you map out tactics.
  • Gather your resources
    Do you have everyone and everything you need for the big day?  #GivingTuesday has lots of moving parts:  people, content and platforms, just to name a few.  Make a list of activities and who’s responsible.
  • Start ramping up on social media
    Send out “Save the Date” reminders.  Put a banner on your website.  Add a footnote about #GivingTuesday to your newsletters and blog pieces. Let your friends and followers know you are gearing up for the big day.
  • Brainstorm
    Do you have a specific project that has #GivingTuesday appeal?  Who could be a matching donor to double the impact to your organization? How can you tell your organization’s story concisely and creatively?

Want more ideas and tips in mapping out your #GivingTuesday plan?  Click here for the JB+A #GivingTuesday Guide.