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Heather Ehlert

It’s #GivingTuesday! Have you joined the movement?

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#GivingTuesday 2017 is finally here!

#GivingTuesday unites:  individuals, communities and organizations around the world come together to celebrate and encourage giving.

Anyone, anywhere can get involved in #GivingTuesday.  And no matter who you are – individual, family, nonprofit, business – JB+A wants YOU to join the movement:  spread the word, support a cause, make a gift, share your story.

How will you participate?  Looking for ways to get involved?

Visit #GivingTuesday’s online directory to find organizations, charities, events and more!

And a special thanks to Lamar Advertising, for its continued partnership in support of #GivingTuesday!

The largest provider of outdoor advertising in Kansas City again collaborated with JB+A to support #GivingTuesday. Since the inception of #GivingTuesday in 2012, Lamar has generously provided pro bono digital billboards throughout the Greater Kansas City area to promote this global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. This year, Lamar donated eight boards over a two-week period, for an estimated 2,786,382 viewing impressions!

Legislative Update: How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Might Affect your Nonprofit

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UPDATE:

On Dec. 2, the Senate passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (S.1). Now that each chamber has passed a version of the bill, it must go to a conference committee to work through differences and draft a single version of the bill that will be sent for another vote in both the House and Senate. If it passes those, then it will go to the President for signature.

On November 1, The House released H.R. 1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with several representatives from the nonprofit sector voicing concerns that it would generate dramatic and negative consequences for America’s nonprofits and their constituents.

The Senate bill on tax reform was released November 9, and while many analysts in our sector feel the Senate’s version is not as potentially damaging as that of the House, there are still concerns that the bill does not fully address the components necessary to preserve charitable giving, as it limits the charitable deduction rather than expanding it to all taxpayers by way of a universal charitable deduction. Read The Independent Sector’s summary of the Senate’s tax reform  and its recommended call to action.

The Charitable Giving Coalition is urging all members of the Senate Finance Committee to vote yes on an amendment introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Ron Wyden that would allow an above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions. The maximum deduction would be limited to 60% of modified adjusted gross income and would phase out at higher income levels (by 3% for every dollar of taxable income above $266,700 for single taxpayers, $320,000 for married, and $293,550 for head of household.  View the Coalition’s full release here.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Charitable Giving Coalition are urging everyone to continue to reach out to the U.S. Senate regarding its tax reform bill and push Senators to support a universal charitable deduction.  Visit AFP’s website for talking points and sample messaging for communicating with your Senator.

Even though the Thanksgiving holiday is approaching, please reach out to your two U.S. Senators, and encourage your Board members to do so as well.  Your engagement in this critical issue matters.

Tax Reform: What’s the Nonprofit Sector Saying?

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Heather Ehlert, Vice President of Client Services

Whether seeking to end the federal estate tax or adopt a universal charitable deduction – both of which are being discussed by the current Administration and Congress – tax reform is tricky.  While it’s difficult to predict the exact impact these changes would have on charitable giving and nonprofits, we can reasonably conclude they would affect our sector. There’s a lot at stake with tax reform, and nonprofit professionals need to stay abreast of these public policy issues.

Our sector is fortunate to have a number of highly competent bodies monitoring situations like this and advocating in support of nonprofits. For example, Dr. Patrick Rooney, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a key participant in the research and writing of Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, wrote an article that was recently published on The Conversation.

In his piece, “How closing the door on the estate tax could reduce American giving,” Dr. Rooney illustrates how the estate tax is a significant revenue generator for the U.S. government and the charitable sector – specifically bequests, which accounted for 8% ($30.36 billion) of total giving in the United States in 2016 (according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016.) He provides an analysis of what could happen after a repeal of the “death tax” and notes the fiscal consequences to federal revenue (a reduction by nearly $270 billion within a decade, according to a bipartisan congressional committee) and the estimated ranges of decline in charitable giving (both bequest and non-bequest giving.)

The Congressional Business Office estimated a 6% decline in charitable giving if the estate tax was repealed.  But that analysis was way back in 2004, and a much different scenario exists today.  Other studies estimate a decline of between 12% and 37%, but Dr. Rooney feels these figures probably underestimate the actual effects of a repeal, and walks us through what actually happened in 2010 when the estate tax was temporarily paused to support his hypothesis.  He concludes that if the estate tax was eliminated, giving to charity would be negatively impacted – by reducing giving both during and after donors’ lifetimes. Be sure to check out Dr. Rooney’s full article on The Conversation.

As nonprofit professionals, philanthropic leaders and American citizens it is also our duty (and privilege) to interact with, educate and influence our representatives in government. There are many ways you can advocate for the philanthropic sector. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Jeffrey Byrne’s piece on Advocacy in Philanthropy from the JB+A archives.

JB+A Client Partner Mattie Rhodes Center Awarded Missouri Neighborhood Assistance Program Tax Credits

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Mattie Rhodes Center (MRC) enriches the lives of individuals, families and communities in a respectful, multi-cultural environment. Since its inception more than 120 years ago, MRC’s call to community service has been to champion the needs of others. Today, its community service calls for them to campaign for the continued evolution of cultural arts as a tool for education and unification.

MRC identified the need to expand service space and decrease costs within the cultural arts area of the agency, which is based out of the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. It acquired land to build a new Cultural Center and JB+A helped it begin its EXPLORE. LEARN. CREATE. BELONG. Campaign to raise funds for constructing the new Center. Part of its fundraising plan included applying for tax credits from the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP).  This program provides assistance to community-based organizations that enables them to implement community or neighborhood projects in the areas of community service, education, crime prevention, job training and physical revitalization. The Department of Economic Development will issue 50% or 70% tax credits to an eligible taxpayer who makes a qualified contribution to an approved NAP project.  MRC was notified by the Missouri DED in late August it was awarded $200,000 in NAP tax credits to utilize in raising funds for its new Cultural Center.  The $200,000 in 50% tax credits can generate $400,000 in contributions to the MRC campaign for its new Cultural Center. Congratulations Mattie Rhodes Center!

The new Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center will be a safe and welcoming environment that will supplement its other facilities. The building will be anchored by four pillars: 1) educational programs, 2) gallery/exhibit space, 3) cultural exchange and 4) event/gathering space. The new Center will be an energy-efficient building that is artistically and culturally appropriate and inviting for the neighborhood. The facility will be constructed to accommodate flexible, multi-functional exhibition and classroom space. Off-street and handicap-accessible parking will be provided. The new Cultural Center will provide a permanent home for Kansas City’s only collection of international folk art – the Hand-In-Hand Folk Art Collection, gallery space, open classrooms, community event space, gift and retail space.

Learn more about MRC and its new Cultural Center here.

To learn more about the Missouri DED NAP tax credits and eligibility criteria for donors, visit here.

 

 

Leadership is Fundraising, Says the Philanthropy Professor

By | Commentary, Fundraising, Organizational + Personal Development, Uncategorized | No Comments

JB+A is pleased to share this blog from Dr. Amir Pasic, our friend and colleague.  Dr. Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, joined us in Kansas City on September 14 for a special presentation on the value of research and how it informs leadership and fundraising success.

I like to praise the virtues of excellent fundraising in pursuit of a great mission conducted ethically by leaders of exemplary integrity. Seasoned fundraisers, wherever they sit within an organization or in its supporting environment, understand the virtuous cycle that appears with a successful fundraising program. There is focus on strategic priorities, buy-in from inside the organization and throughout the community of supporters, clear plans for interacting with donors and friends across all segments and phases of engagement, and there is celebration of the people who provide the resources that enable progress in pursuit of the organization’s vital vision.

I often wonder if leadership that does not emulate the process of fundraising even makes sense. When does a leader not ask others to do things differently, or to stop doing certain things, or to let go of possessions or practices, which they then do willingly and happily? And not only do I like to think of leadership and fundraising as synonyms in many ways, but as fundraising practitioners well know, your title or your position does not necessarily reflect your ability to succeed. Indeed, virtuosos of leadership and fundraising manage to make a difference regardless of their official position.

In such challenging and often ambiguous situations how does one grasp what to focus on and decide where to direct one’s activity? One key resource that any leader needs is research. How do we know what works, and just as importantly, what does not? How can we understand the complexity of what motivates a donor? How can we assess the impact of our efforts? And, in the bigger picture, how can we hope to address societal problems or develop effective strategies unless we have reliable insight into new developments in our field and into the patterns and trends that help us understand the ever-changing context within which we work. Rigorous, high quality research is an important component in virtually all aspects of the work of philanthropy, and it is through better research that we will achieve even better results.

Check out a recap of Dr. Pasic’s presentation in Kansas City.

Dr. Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Joined us in Kansas City

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Dr. Pasic spoke to a captive audience at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center on September 14 as part of Nonprofit Connect’s 501(c)Success National Speaker Series.  Dr. Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, shared his expertise and experience in the value of research, and how we can use this valuable tool to improve fundraising and philanthropy.

Dr. Pasic reminded us that essentially, leadership is fundraising, and asked the poignant question, “If a leader isn’t fundraising, is he really a leader?” Dr. Pasic pointed out leadership and fundraising both involve 1) building relationships, 2) engaging, asking and recognizing and 3) creating vision and buy-in. Check out Dr. Pasic’s blog on this very topic.

Key highlights from Dr. Pasic’s presentation included some great examples of people putting research into action:

  • Jane Chu, PhD, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (Rockhurst grad, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy alum and previous director of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Center) and how she used research to illustrate the impact of the arts and cultural industries on the nation’s gross domestic product.
  • Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, measures the financial scope of philanthropy in the U.S. and is fundamental to fundraising. The seminal report on charitable giving, Giving USA is the longest-running and most comprehensive evaluation of philanthropic trends in the United States. Giving USA is published by the Giving USA Foundation and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Dr. Pasic also pointed out that in addition to utilizing research for evaluation or benchmarking purposes, we can also use research to help identify impact, areas needing funding and other issues in our sector, such as recruiting and retaining talent.

Jeffrey Byrne (JB+A), Dr. Amir Pasic and Lewis Gregory (US Trust)

Dr. Pasic also address some of the “hot topics” in fundraising research now, such as Crowdfunding, Donor-Advised Funds and disaster giving. Crowdfunding is on the rise, and in 2015, $34.44 billion was generated in Crowdfunding, with $2.8 billion of that total raised for formal charitable purposes.

The prevalence of Donor-Advised Funds is increasing as well, both in the number of funds and the total assets held within them:  in 2006, there were 140,000 DAFs holding assets of $33.6 billion.  By 2016, those figures had grown to 269,000 and $78.6 billion respectively.  And in 2015, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund unseated United Way Worldwide as the largest fundraising charity, having collected $4.6 billion. And three of the Top 10 largest fundraising charities on the list are commercial DAFs: Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund and National Christian Foundation. More than half of all DAFs are held in commercial funds and this hot topic is raising questions about their usage: what are the benefits versus the costs to society and the nonprofit sector?  What is the overall impact?  Are DAFS displacing other forms of giving?

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has been tracking disaster giving since the attacks of 9/11.  Typically following a disaster, we see a sharp uptick in donations in the first six weeks, with continued moderate growth through six months then finally leveling out.  Celebrities are very prominent in disaster giving (J.J. Watt raised more than $30 million for Hurricane Harvey relief) and the key element in disaster giving is mass participation.  And in times of disaster, we overcome our differences and unite as one force to help those in need.

Dr. Pasic discussed the different types of research:

  • quantitative studies (such as Giving USA, Million Dollar List and The Salvation Army Human Needs Index)
  • experiments (take us away from our “rules of thumb” and comfort zones, but help us discover more effective ways of doing things)
  • humanities (qualitative exploration – such as the Smithsonian Exhibit on Philanthropy (Giving in America is a permanent exhibit that looks at the historical role of philanthropy in shaping the United States)
  • studies of the profession (gender composition of the field, diversity in the field and other issues like compensation and tenure
  • public policy (tax reform, regulations, ethical guidelines for dealing with grateful patients and better educating legislators about our field)

Research asks the questions, in a variety of ways, “Why do things fail? Why do things succeed?”  Bottom line, research helps us cultivate judgement, create communities of discovery and develop leaders – all of which will help us strengthen philanthropy and our world.

Join us on September 19 for Bob Woodson and Panel Forum

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Join JB+A and AFP Mid-America Chapter on September 19 as we open up a special Forum to the entire Kansas City philanthropic community. (Event details below.) We’re inviting civic leaders, leaders of faith communities and all those interested in exploring new directions in philanthropy and activism.
Venture Philanthropy: Bob Woodson will address issues raised in his book, Triumphs of Joseph: How Today’s Community Healers Are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods.  During this lively discussion, Bob will describe his approach to empower faith organizations and local leadership to transform the struggling neighborhoods in which they live from the inside out. Discover how his organization helps residents of underserved neighborhoods identify their own strengths and capacities to effectively address the problems in their communities and how public/private partnerships can be a powerful tool in these efforts.
Following Bob’s presentation, a panel of local experts will continue the discussion with their experiences in Kansas City, and how we can adapt Bob’s lessons for our local use.

William (Bill) High is the Chief Executive Officer of National Christian Foundation Heartland. At NCF, he works with families, individual givers and financial advisors to inspire and facilitate biblical generosity. Practically, he works with families to develop multi-generational plans, address income tax, estate tax and complex gift transactions, including the sales of businesses. Bill is a recognized speaker, including recognition as one of the Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers in the country by Philanthropy Media.. He speaks frequently at conferences around the country.

Bill is the founder of iDonate.com, a donation platform software company serving the non-profit community. He also helped found FamilyArc.com, a family legacy company committed to helping families preserve their stories online. As the President of Ignite Consulting, Bill works with families to design their multi-generational legacy plans.

As a published author, Bill recently co-authored with David Green of Hobby Lobby, Giving it All Away and Getting it All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously (Zondervan 2017).
Pat Macdonald joins us in her role as Executive Director of the Black Community Fund, an Affiliate of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation where she serves dually as a Senior Philanthropic Advisor.

Pat joined the Community Foundation in 2006 but has a long history in nonprofit management, strategic planning, resource and community development, and the arts. In the mid 90’s Pat spent 9 years with BEU a Community Development Corporation, in the Historic 18th and Vine district. While there, she represented Kansas City as one of eight individuals selected nationally to participate in the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild’s Community Development Arts Resource Initiative at Harvard Graduate School of Business.  In the early 2000’s Pat enjoyed independent consulting as a museum design content researcher for Eisterhold Associates. With Eisterhold, Pat contributed to such projects as the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in North Carolina, Rosa Parks Children’s Annex in Alabama and Ralph Nader’s Tort Law Museum in Connecticut. Ever committed to applying personally and professionally acquired skills toward improving the quality of life in Kansas City, she has served on a number of boards affecting both sides of Kansas City’s state line and is currently on the Board of Trustees of City Trusts for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, KCUR, VisitKC, and Rotary Club 13.

Pat is a past President of the Mid-America Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and attained CFRE credentials in the field.

Desiree Monize is the founder and Executive Director of Avenue of Life, a nonprofit with the aim of breaking the cycle of poverty through community development in KCK and KCMO.   For six years, Desiree served as the Executive Director of Hope Faith Ministries, where she took a small soup kitchen to the largest homeless day center in Kansas City.

Prior to working with the homeless, Desiree held the position of Equipping Pastor at Vineyard KC North, serving a congregation of 2000 through volunteer management, assimilation, leadership development and pastoral care.

Desiree has over 17 years experience in the field of domestic violence, serving as a legal advocate and shelter liaison. She is a visionary leader with a talent for rebuilding inefficient businesses with the effective leadership, policies and procedures needed for healthy growth and expansion.  She is passionately committed to urban ministry and community development.

She is a mother to two sons and a daughter-in-law.  She recently became a grandmother to identical twin boys who are 15 months old.  Desiree currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Bob Woodson Presentation 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Panel Discussion 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Register here.

Join JB+A, U.S. Trust and Nonprofit Connect for Dr. Amir Pasic on Thursday, September 14

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Dr. Amir Pasic is the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Pasic leads the world’s first school devoted to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

The school is an internationally recognized leader in philanthropy education, research and training and is dedicated to improving philanthropy to benefit the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change.

Dr. Pasic will address how an organization’s leadership and fundraising staff must be focused on the same things to make fundraising efforts successful. How do leaders and fundraising practitioners grasp what to focus on and decide where to direct their activity? One key resource that any leader needs is research:

  • How do we know what works, and just as importantly, what does not?
  • How can we understand the complexity of what motivates a donor?
  • How can we assess the impact of our efforts?
  • How can we hope to address societal problems or develop effective strategies unless we have reliable insight into new developments in our field?

Rigorous, high-quality research is an important component in virtually all aspects of the work of philanthropy, and it is through better research that we will achieve even better results.  Join us to meet Dr. Pasic and discuss how research can inform success.

Reserve your spot and register here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast | 7:55 a.m. – Program
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110
JB+A is a proud sponsor of the 2017 501(c)Success National Speaker Series,
a program of Nonprofit Connect
501(c) Success National Speaker Series

Join JB+A and AFP Mid-America Chapter for Bob Woodson on September 19

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Robert L. Woodson, Sr. founded the Woodson Center in 1981 to help residents of low-income neighborhoods address the problems of their communities. A former civil rights activist, he had headed the National Urban League Department of Criminal Justice and has been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Foundation for Public Policy Research.

Join the AFP Mid-America Chapter for a special forum with Bob Woodson, where he will address issues raised in his book, Triumphs of Joseph: How Today’s Community Healers Are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Bob Woodson Presentation 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Panel Discussion 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Register here.

During a lively discussion, Bob will describe his approach to empower faith organizations and local leadership to transform the struggling neighborhoods in which they live from the inside out. Discover how his organization helps residents of underserved neighborhoods identify their own strengths and capacities to effectively address the problems in their communities and how public/private partnerships can be a powerful tool in these efforts.

Referred to by many as the “godfather” of the neighborhood empowerment movement, for more than four decades, Woodson has had a special concern fro the problems of youth. He is an early MacArthur “genius” awardee and the recipient of the 2008 Bradley Prize, the Presidential Citizens Award and a 2008 Social Entrepreneurship Award from the Manhattan Institute.

Is Your Ask Using the Right Emotional Messages?

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Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Grant Gooding of Proof Positioning as a guest contributor. Grant cut his teeth in the mergers and acquisitions world which gave him an uncommon, macro understanding of the hard and soft components of businesses and market transition. He took his knowledge of analyzing hundreds of businesses to consult with entrepreneurs, mostly inventors, to help them shape their brands relative to the market landscape. He then took this concept to the next level creating Proof Positioning in 2012 where he integrated consumer insights research into his market based brand process, allowing him to use statistics to show organizations what they can say to close more business.

When making an ask, taking into consideration the different emotional and psychographic idiosyncrasies of your audience can make all the difference.

Although we like to believe we are highly logical beings and use mostly logic when making decisions, neuroscience has debunked this once widely thought presumption and taught us that all our decision making, regardless of its subject and value, resides in our emotional brain.  The money and time that we give to charities and nonprofits is no different.  This being the case, understanding and measuring those emotions is especially important when considering asks to potential and existing donors.

This was evident in a study where our firm was charged with understanding minority population giving motivations for a fund.  We discovered clear trends that allowed our client to make gentle shifts that increased the emotional resonance and engagement of donors.  While there were many takeaways from this study, one simple, yet fascinating discovery was around the different emotionally resonant value propositions of male vs. female donors.  These are some high-level findings and recommendations from that study:

Women:

The data showed very high emotional resonance of three specific value propositions (i) the organization’s reputation (25% higher than men); (ii) the outcomes the organization has achieved (25% higher); and (iii) the transparency of administrative costs (15% higher).  Based on this data we suggested the organization segment its donor database and send separate communications (email, social, event, etc.) to men and women. Some of our recommendations included:

  • Highlight the reputation of the organization by including specific details around outcomes (either stories or statistics) the programs have achieved.  This was the most important thing to women and we recommended including these “micro-stories” into all non-administrative communication to female donors.
  • Be upfront and provide detail around organizational overhead, program costs and money that goes to the people.  They understand these costs exist and will not only appreciate the honesty but sharing this information will actually increase their emotional engagement.

Men:

The data indicated there were three very DIFFERENT value propositions that resonated with men (i) the organization helped other minorities (27% higher than women); (ii) programs increase quality of life in their local community (12% higher); and (iii) programs impact someone I know personally (8% higher).  We made some recommendations based on this data:

  • Start being more outward and explicit about the organization only helping minorities.  This was the most important thing to men, by far, regardless of the program details or the specific outcomes.
  • Use more donor-centric phrases such as “This will impact your neighborhood,” or “This will help someone that you might know.”  This strategy dramatically increased the probability of creating an ambassador out of a male donor.

The fact none of the top three value propositions were coinciding for men and women was not only shocking to us but to the organization as well.  Based on the data, they were able to make simple changes to their communication strategy and their asks to help better align their messages with the things their donors found most important.

While not every organization has dramatic differences between the sexes, variance exists in every donor population because we are emotional, human beings and we all value different things.  If you consider and measure the emotions of your donors and cater your messages to say the right thing to the right people you will have more successful asks and a more engaged donor population.

Grant Gooding holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from William Jewell College/UMKC and an MBA with an emphasis in qualitative marketing from The Bloch School of Business at UMKC. Grant also serves as a Board member to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including the UMKC Marketing Advisory Board, is an adviser to several startups and is a frequent lecturer, mentor and judge for the entrepreneur community.  Grant is passionate about educating in the areas of entrepreneurship and brand philosophy. You can reach Grant and Proof Positioning by visiting http://proofpositioning.com/.