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Fundraising

Do Your Homework, Sit Still and LISTEN

By | All Posts, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Prospect Research, Volunteers | No Comments

Jeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO

We know to do our homework on prospective donors. You’ve heard me say time and again “Don’t commit fundraising malpractice!” (See my blog piece on the benefits of prospect research here.)That means do your research – because it reveals information about the wealth and capacity of prospects as well as information about philanthropic giving history, community involvement, natural partners and connections. And your donor database should contain important notes about your prospects and interactions with them. Prepare for your visit.

Sitting still tells your audience you really care about what they should say. Don’t shuffle your papers. Don’t check your phone. Don’t fidget. Sitting still lets you hear what your prospective donor should tell you about their life story and experiences – maybe even how a single instance changed their life. You can learn why they are passionate about your organization and its mission.

I believe in order to be a great fundraiser, you have to be a good – if not great – listener. Human nature might urge you to fill quiet moments with a remark or an anecdote. Of course you are nervous, and anxious to impress. You certainly want to make a connection you can build upon later. But it is in those quiet moments that you, as a volunteer or professional, can learn the most.  Waiting for the prospective donor to share might result in hearing firsthand how your healthcare institution saved their life. You might learn a relative was a long-time volunteer. You might learn how an agency similar to yours provided their mother with safety and refuge from domestic violence.  Resist the urge to talk about yourself.  Ask prospective donors about themselves…and then listen to what they say. Some good lead-ins might include:

  • “Tell me more about that …”
  • “What did she/he say about that…?”
  • “What happened next …?”
  • “What made you decide to …?”

You get the idea. You can think up your own list of “conversation engagers” that will help you get to know your prospective donor and involve them in the meeting. The bottom line is this: regardless of with whom you are meeting, when you get your prospective donors talking about themselves – when you ask about them – your prospective donor will come away from the visit feeling much more satisfied and positive about you and your organization than if you had used the time trying to tell them the 50 wonderful things you are doing to make a difference.

However, all of this doesn’t mean you should not educate your listeners about your organization and your mission. I’d suggest you use the 80/20 rule. Inform 20 percent of the time and LISTEN the other 80 percent.

In training staff and volunteers to make major gift solicitations, we place considerable emphasis on setting the appointment, sharing the vision and asking for the gift. Think about all the times we practice the script for the call or role-play the visit.  But how often do we practice listening? If you have volunteers who are reluctant to go on solicitation calls, think about how can coaching them on listening style can help them overcome their jitters about making the “ask.”

And finally, care about what’s being said and commit it to memory. Make notes when you leave if you need to capture details. This kind of active listening and remembering stems from truly caring about the donor. Don’t let the lure of a gift keep you from truly caring and listening to the prospective donor’s words. If you are listening and caring (and, of course, remembering to ask for the gift,) the gift will come.

Summer + Planning = #GivingTuesday Fundraising Success

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Fundraising, Insights, News You Can Use, Social Media, Uncategorized | No Comments

Katie Lord, Vice President

It’s officially summer and you know what that means: “special summer deal” ads are bombarding us on TV and reminders that it’s time to start thinking about the year-end holidays are already starting to pop up on social media.  As consumers, we either love or loathe these very early reminders of the impending holiday season; for nonprofits, it is a reminder we need to begin thinking about something else associated with the holiday time of year: #GivingTuesday.

Celebrating its 5th anniversary, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28th this year. In 2016, #GivingTuesday raised more than $177 million through $1.64 million gifts in 98 countries around the world. November may seem like a long way away with countless other deadlines in between for you and your organization, but there are three important steps you can take now to get a jumpstart on a successful #GivingTuesday this fall:

  1. Identify your #GivingTuesday Program Focus

When crafting a #GivingTuesday campaign, it is best to highlight a specific program or immediate need with in your organization to grab donors’ attention. Granted, we all need general operational support, but your annual appeal supports that. Since social media is the main vehicle for #GivingTuesday, your #GivingTuesday campaigns need to be targeted and more specific, enabling the goal of the day to be reached through viral sharing and support of your followers and donors.  Examples include a special project in your facility or purchase of technology or supplies.

  1. Find a Matching Gift

It’s been shown that #GivingTuesday and year-end appeals with matching funds have better results.  Now is the time to look through your donor database and current major gift relationships to identify, cultivate and solicit a short list of prospects for matching funds to your #GivingTuesday project and goals.

  1. Create your #Hashtag

It is not too early to create your unique #hashtag for your #GivingTuesday campaign based on the program or theme you have selected. Be sure to make it short and relevant to your organization and something easy for people to remember.  Not only will this allow you to stand out on the actual day by having a unique hashtag, it also provides increased opportunity for your specific campaign to “trend.”

It is not too early to start “pre-sharing” your plans for #GivingTuesday, and building the anticipation and excitement that will keep your organization’s campaign top of mind for donors, volunteers and staff who will be involved in planning and executing a successful #GivingTuesday.

For more tips about creating a solid #GivingTuesday campaign, download your own “JB+A #GivingTuesday Guide.”

Top Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Commentary, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, Insights, Stewardship, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Giving USA is a powerful tool:  it is the most trusted annual report on the sources and uses of philanthropy in the U.S., but it’s also a valuable resource in helping us improve philanthropy.  Nonprofit organizations can (and should) use Giving USA to help identify trends as well as opportunities to strengthen resource development efforts.

Here are my Top Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA to improve their fundraising:

5. Understand the correlations between giving and economic factors
The stock market, personal wealth, personal income, GDP, corporate pre-tax profits and unemployment rates impact giving by all four sources (individuals, foundations, bequests and corporations). Trends are closely monitored by people “inside” and “outside” the philanthropy sector.
Be aware of changes in these indicators, anticipate how changes will impact donors and adjust fundraising strategies accordingly

4. Confirm or dispel myths about giving
Economic and political scenarios, complex societal issues, diverse giving platforms, wealth and capacity are just some of the drivers behind philanthropy.
Understand the context of these drivers, help manage expectations about giving and set realistic and achievable goals

3. Educate Board members, volunteers, donors and staff about the broad context of philanthropic giving
Help stakeholders better understand your organization’s funding patterns and potential

2. Be nimble in your fundraising and stewardship
Nonprofit fundraising must evolve as philanthropy evolves.  We are seeing an increase in the popularity of non-traditional giving vehicles (such as donor-advised funds and non-cash assets) and donors want more evidence of the impact of their gifts.
Listen to your donors and prospective donors – and tailor your strategies to match their needs and expectations

1. Recognize the “individual giving effect”
An estimated 87% of total giving in 2016 came from individuals, bequests and family foundations.
There are human beings involved in every gift; focus on developing and maintaining meaningful relationships

And remember:

Strengthen your case for support:  the best cases are realistic, relevant and compelling while being supported by the facts and clearly communicating the purpose, programs and financial needs of your organization.

Celebrate your impact: Americans give an average of more than $1 billion a day to help others.  Nonprofits and donors are doing great work.

Giving makes a difference, to both giver and recipient, but we can do more.  So spread the word about the good philanthropy has done – and the good it will continue to do.

I encourage you to download the two traditional pie charts illustrating 2016 source contributions and recipients and share with Board members, your CEO and development staff.

View JB+A’s recap of Giving USA 2017  findings here.

Check out key takeaways from Dr. Rooney’s 2017 Giving USA presentation in Kansas City.

About Giving USA
For over 60 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy in America, has produced comprehensive charitable giving data that are relied on by donors, fundraisers and nonprofit leaders. The research in this annual report estimates all giving to all charitable organizations across the United States.  Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA FoundationTM and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Giving USA FoundationTM, established in 1985 by The Giving Institute, endeavors to advance philanthropy through research and education. Explore Giving USA products and resources, including free highlights of each annual report at its online store at www.givingusa.org for more information.

About The Giving Institute
The Giving Institute, the parent organization of Giving USA FoundationTM, consists of member organizations that have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence and leadership in advancing philanthropy. Serving clients of every size and purpose, from local institutions to international organizations, The Giving Institute member organizations embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices. For information on selecting fundraising counsel, visit www.givinginstitute.org. Jeffrey Byrne has the honor of Chairing The Giving Institute Board of Directors (2015-2017).

Giving USA 2017: An Estimated $390.05 Billion to Charity in 2016

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Current Events/News, Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use | No Comments

Giving by American Individuals, Foundations, Estates and Corporations Reaches a New High for the Third Straight Year
Giving by individuals drove the rise in total giving; all nine major philanthropy subsectors experienced giving increases–
for the sixth time in the last four decades

Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc., U. S. Trust and Nonprofit Connect recently presented Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016 in Kansas City. Special guest Dr. Patrick RooneyAssociate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy shared highlights from the report to a full house at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Conference Center. 

Americans donated an estimated $390.05 billion to charity in 2016, achieving an all-time high for the third year in a row. This figure also represents a 2.7 percent growth in current dollars (1.4 percent when adjusted for inflation) over the revised estimate of $379.89 billion for total giving in 2015. Total giving cumulatively grew 6.8 percent between 2014 and 2016.

These findings are contained in Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016.  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.

The single largest contributor to the increase in total charitable giving was an increase of $10.53 billion (3.9 percent over 2015) in giving by individuals. “Despite three quarters of stock market volatility in 2016 and a turbulent election season, individual giving continued its incredibly important role in American philanthropy,” said Jeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO of Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. “In addition, this strong growth in individual giving appears to be less attributable to ‘mega gifts,’ which were not as robust as in previous years, suggesting more of that growth came from donors in the general population.” Byrne is also Board Chair of The Giving Institute, sister organization to the Giving USA Foundation, a public service and public trust dedicated to providing the highest-quality information about philanthropy.

Giving to all nine major categories of recipient organizations grew, making 2016 just the sixth time in the past 40 years that this has occurred:  religion, education, human services, giving to foundations, health, public-society benefit, arts/culture/humanities, international affairs and environment/animals. “This growth in every major sector illustrates the resilience of philanthropy and the diversity of donor motivation,” said Byrne. “It also reinforces the importance of getting to know our donors better.”

As has long been demonstrated, there continued to be a link between the economy and charitable giving trends in 2016. National-level economic indicators include personal consumption, disposable personal income and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index – all of which are associated with households’ permanent and long-term financial stability and affect giving. In 2016, both personal consumption and disposable personal income grew by nearly 4.0 percent over 2015. The S&P 500 finished the year up 9.5 percent after uneven performance for much of 2016 and a mixed economic picture in 2015. Total giving as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to hover around 2.0 percent as it has for the last six years.

Download the two traditional pie charts illustrating 2016 source contributions and recipients here.

Be sure to check out Jeffrey Byrne’s Top Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA.

Check out key takeaways from Dr. Rooney’s 2017 Giving USA presentation in Kansas City.

The Numbers for 2016 Charitable Giving by Source
Three of the four sources that comprise total giving—individuals (72 percent of the total), corporations (5.0 percent) and foundations (15 percent)—increased their 2016 donations to America’s more than 1.2 million charities, according to the report.

 Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $281.86 billion, rising 3.9 percent (2.6 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016. Giving by individuals grew at a higher rate than the other sources of giving.

  Giving by foundations increased 3.5 percent (2.2 percent adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $59.28 billion in 2016. Giving by foundations rose more slowly in 2016 compared to the stronger increases seen in recent years. Data on foundation giving are provided by Foundation Center.

  Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 3.5 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016, totaling $18.55 billion. Corporate giving increased modestly in 2016, in the wake of slower GDP growth and little movement in the share of pre-tax profits directed to giving.

 Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $30.36 billion in 2016, declining 9.0 percent (10.1 percent adjusted for inflation) from 2015. Gifts from bequests frequently fluctuate from year to year and are less influenced by economic factors.

The Numbers for 2016 Gifts to Charitable Organizations
Giving USA’s research also examines what happens within nine different recipient categories of charities.  In 2016, giving increased to all subsectors, but there were deviations from patterns seen in recent years. Giving to education saw relatively slower growth than in previous years and giving to international affairs, humans services and public-society benefit organizations grew despite few widely publicized natural disasters, which often drive contributions to these types of organizations. Environment/animal organizations experienced the fastest rate of growth of the nine subsectors in 2016, at 7.2 percent.

 Giving to religion increased 3.0 percent (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation), with an estimated $122.94 billion in contributions.

 

 Giving to education is estimated to have increased 3.6 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) to $59.77 billion.

 

 Giving to human services increased by an estimated 4.0 percent (2.7 percent adjusted for inflation), totaling $46.80 billion.

 

Giving to foundations is estimated to have increased by 3.1 percent (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation), rising to $40.56 billion.

 

Giving to health organizations is estimated to have increased by 5.7 percent (4.4 percent adjusted for inflation), to $33.14 billion.

 

 Giving to public-society benefit organizations increased by an estimated 3.7 percent (2.5 percent adjusted for inflation) to $29.89 billion.

 

 Giving to arts, culture and humanities is estimated to have increased 6.4 percent (5.1 percent adjusted for inflation) to $18.21 billion.

 

 Giving to international affairs is estimated to be $22.03 billion in 2016, an increase of 5.8 percent (4.6 percent adjusted for inflation).

 

 Giving to environment and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 7.2 percent (5.8 percent adjusted for inflation) to $11.05 billion.

Giving to individuals is estimated to have declined 2.5 percent (3.7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) to $7.12 billion. The bulk of these donations are in-kind gifts of medications to patients in need, made through the Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations.

New to this year’s edition of Giving USA is a special section on donor-advised funds, which provides analysis of major trends in both giving to and from these charitable vehicles.  Contributions to national donor-advised funds (such as Fidelity Charitable Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund, Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program and National Philanthropic Trust) are counted in the Public-Society Benefit subsector, and the proportion of giving to these funds as a percentage of giving to Public-Society Benefit has increased dramatically in recent years. Giving to donor-advised funds held in community foundations is counted in the Giving to Foundations subsector. Charitable giving to Foundations recovered in 2016 after a decline in 2015.

“As philanthropy is evolving, so are the tools and platforms through which people give,” says Byrne.  “As giving in America continues to reach new heights, I hope everyone can find ways to give that are meaningful for them, and feel confident that their giving is making a powerful difference and improving the way we all live.”

Explore Giving USA products and resources, including free highlights of each annual report at its online store at www.givingusa.org for more information.

The Giving Institute, the parent organization of Giving USA FoundationTM, consists of member organizations that have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence and leadership in advancing philanthropy. The Giving Institute member organizations embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices. For information, visit www.givinginstitute.org.

For more information about the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy visit www.philanthropy.iupui.edu.

Just Ask.

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Prospect Research | No Comments

Saber Hossinei, Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

Have you seen those shirts with JUST DO IT across the front? It certainly makes for a catchy phrase, but the meaning behind it is so much more than that. It’s a message of action. Regardless of one’s condition, level of experience or ability, don’t forget what’s truly necessary: action. And with action, come results.

In my background with sales and sales training, the recurring obstacle for many of the trainees I worked with (rookie and veteran salespeople alike) was “making the ask.” How is it that most folks can be trained to do an excellent job with all aspects of the sales process, yet drop the ball when it comes to asking for the sale? Anecdotally, I can tell you that the best sales reps had the opposite problem. They weren’t great planners or polished presenters, but they asked for a sale with each and every visit, and as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Recently, I had the privilege to serve on the silent auction subcommittee for a nonprofit’s annual gala fundraiser. It was my first time in such a role, and in fact it was my first time ever asking for donations. Armed with just a letter about the event and a donation request form, I hit the street and went door to door in a shopping center to ask for donations. Of course, I was very excited to receive a nice item from the first business I approached, and by the end of my walk, I had received not only merchandise and gift cards for the silent auction, but also referrals to other businesses to solicit for donations! The bottom line is, I might have felt poorly prepared, but by showing up and asking for donations, I received them.

I am certainly not making a case against proper and thorough preparation for solicitations. The qualification, cultivation and solicitation process with prospective donors is critically important, and today, we have many valuable resources readily available to help us develop strong strategies for relationship-building with our prospects/donors. (Check out Jeffrey’s article “Don’t Commit Fundraising Malpractice” about how nonprofits should “do their “homework” on prospective donors.)

But nonprofits suffer when leadership, staff and volunteers are reluctant to “make the ask,” or want to wait until everything is “perfect.” Don’t get “paralysis by analysis.” Your Boards, staff and volunteers should be taught that making an “ask” is not only the most important element in obtaining donations, but it is also the right thing to do. You owe your supporters action, your potential donors the opportunity to support your cause and you owe those who benefit from your nonprofit your best work! JUST ASK.

What is the Google Ad Grants Program?

By | All Posts, Capacity Building, Fundraising, Grants, News You Can Use, Social Media | No Comments

 

What is the Google Ad Grants Program?

Guest Contributor Stephanie Higinbotham of SH Marketing shares her insight.

 

Let’s start with the basics before jumping into any how-to-get-started guides. Google Ad Grants is a program offered exclusively through Google that provides qualifying 501(c)3 organizations with $10,000 of in-kind spend per month to spend on advertising. Nonprofits enrolled in the program are subsequently eligible to show their ads on the Google Search Network and, given they make at least one change to the account per month, the allowance will continue to renew at the start of each month.

How does this help my nonprofit?

Among the many benefits of using Google to advertise, the most significant benefits are user accessibility and reach. Google processes over 40,000 searches per second all around the world. Imagine having this potential at your fingertips! As daunting as it may be, you can customize your campaigns to reach as far or as near as best fits your organization. Now that millennials are the largest living generation, and given how tech savvy they’ve proven themselves to be, to not take advantage of digital marketing is to largely ignore a very significant volunteer and donation pool.

What types of campaigns can I run?

First and foremost, Google Grants participants are only eligible to run campaigns on the Search Network, so no Display Network, YouTube, e-commerce, etc., but if you set the account to run as such, the possibilities are endless. To get started, I recommend setting up the following before branching out into anything more complicated:

Branded campaign

This is where you can include any search terms related to your organization’s brand name. For example, if I am working on a campaign for the Kansas City Humane Society, I’ll want to include any search terms that include that phrasing. Here are some ideas:

  • Volunteer with Kansas City Humane Society
  • Donate to Humane Society
  • Adopt animals Humane Society
  • …and so on!

Volunteer campaign

  • This is self-explanatory, but you can use your Google Grant to help drive volunteer outreach.

A campaign related to your primary objective

  • If you’re an organization who works to rehabilitate homeless individuals, then include keywords as such. Customize this step to fit your organization’s purpose and needs.

Have more questions? Feel free to contact me! I love making new friends and teaching nonprofit professionals about AdWords. You can reach Stephanie at stephhigmarketing@gmail.com or at 816-787-1941.

Eager to get started with your Google Grant? JB+A and SH Marketing are hosting a Google Ad Words Webinar on June 22 from 12-1 pm.  Register here for the webinar and we’ll send you a free set-up guide for Google Ad Words with simple step-by-step instructions!

Love is in the Air! How Couples Make Philanthropic Decisions

By | All Posts, Fundraising, News You Can Use | No Comments

By Suzanne Dicken, Associate Consultant

Forget the box of chocolates or the candlelit dinner for two this Valentine’s Day. According to Fidelity Charitable’s latest study on how couples give, philanthropy is a great way to bond with your partner. The How Couples Give report is based on a study of 694 Fidelity Charitable® donors who are married or live with a partner. The study explores how couples make giving decisions – from how they approach these choices, to how much they agree on certain aspects of giving, to who takes the lead in deciding.

What did we learn?

The key takeaway from the report is that giving is and will remain a joint decision for the majority of couples and families.

  • 81% of the donors surveyed make giving decisions as a couple and they overwhelmingly agree on those decisions
  • The majority of couples support organizations that are important to each other with only 11% saying that, at times, they disagree with their partner on which causes to support
  • 52 percent of couples discuss an overall charitable budget for the year
  • 31 percent of couples discuss what assets to contribute
  • 76 percent of couples discuss which charitable organizations to support
  • 70 percent of couples discuss how much to give to specific charitable organizations

Although most couples feel they are on the same page regarding their charitable giving, the study suggests this isn’t always the case when it comes to the mechanics of giving. Only half the donors surveyed say they discuss an overall charitable budget for the year, and less than one-third discuss what assets to contribute. Couples generally agree upon who and what to support, but not always how.

Fidelity Charitable suggests having a conversation with your significant other about giving – it’s a great way to reaffirm the values you share as a couple. (And what a fantastic way to spend the most romantic day of the year!)  To access the full report, click here.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 219,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $25 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple, effective, and accessible. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org.

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?”

Time, Talent, and Treasure: Part Three of a Three-Part Series

By | Boards + Leadership, Commentary, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Stewardship, Volunteers | No Comments

By Katie Lord, Vice President 

In this series we have examined both “Time and Talent” as it relates to the “Time, Talent, and Treasure” paradigm in nonprofit donor management and cultivation.  This final segment of “Treasure” is often the one that we, as nonprofits, are most interested and influenced by because it affects our pressing financial goals.  It can often be to our detriment to focus too much on “Treasure” and, in so doing, approach our donor’s “treasure” in a transactional way, without respecting and acknowledging generational differences and preferences of how to cultivate the gift of “Treasure.”

When approaching our donors about giving their “treasure,” remember that in order to create lasting bonds and build solid, long-term relationships we must have conversations with our donors about their “time” and “talent,” which they may also be willing to give.  Research has consistently shown that donors who give treasure combined with time or talent are much more engaged for longer periods of time.  Through the combination of treasure, time and talent, it becomes easier to steward our donors through extended communication and demonstrations of their efforts and how it impacts the overall mission of our organizations.

What is Treasure?

“Treasure,” as it relates to the big three of “Time, Talent and Treasure,” often seems to be the easiest to define and measure by most common practices.  What is treasure, if not the dollars that our donors donate to us and invest in our cause?  Treasure is the easiest to track, as most of us have systems and processes in place to receive, acknowledge and report donations to our organizations and Boards.  It is important to note that the very experience of giving treasure can make or break repeat donations, but that is for another article.  As we take a closer look at “treasure,” the generational differences about how treasure is given are vast.  By acknowledging these differences, we are better able to meet the needs and expectations of all of our donors which ultimately benefits our organizations in the broadest and best possible way.

Generation to Generation: The Boomers

When beginning to examine the generational differences in the giving of “treasure” it is easier to look first at the Baby Boomers.  We have the most experience and data for this generation to date and their giving habits have influenced our sector greatly. However, the giving of this generation, and its long hold as our most generous treasure givers, has not prepared us for the shifts we are seeing in the giving habits of other generations.

Boomers often give their “treasure” first and their “time” and “talent” second.  This post-war generation grew up knowing about the sacrifices their parents made for the war effort.  Sharing their “treasure” with their neighbors and country was ingrained in them from an early age.  Giving was an accepted expectation and giving on any level was appreciated.  This is a generation that does not expect major fanfare for their giving efforts, but who do value the donor acknowledgement in a timely fashion

For many Boomers the motivation to give to organizations that matter to them is “because they always have,” often to the point they may not even know why they continue to donate years later.  A perfect example of this is my own mother.  My mother gives to an organization that was important to her mother and she has kept up the tradition.  When I asked her why she still gives to them, even though her own giving priorities are different, her answer is “because it was important to my parents and I just always have.”

Boomers have been your most loyal annual fund donors by focusing their “treasure” on annual gifts.  Many Boomers are past the prime of their peak giving years, but many continue to work and still have large amounts of “treasure” to give and share.  Boomers appreciate being “cultivated” for their gifts in traditional ways with personal visits, on site tours and communication from staff.  As Boomers are starting to age and to live on fixed incomes post retirement, now is the time to focus on planned giving and legacy contributions with this generation.

The Gen Xers

Gen Xers, on the other hand, are truly in the middle between Baby Boomers and Millennials and exhibit far more balance in their “treasure” giving.  They usually have three to five causes that are important to them based on personal experiences or interests.  They give to organizations not only their “treasure,” but also their “time” and “talent.”  Gen Xers are a generation where all of their treasures and giving work together to make the biggest impact they can in areas of greatest interest and need.  They saw the giving of their parents, but want to be less passive in the giving of their “treasure.”  Therefore, Gen Xers combine their dollars with time and board service; staying longer term with their organizations than the Millennial generation.  Your Gen X givers will want to see their impact of “Time, Talent, and Treasure” in different ways through annual reports, metric measurements against goals and objectives and how it all relates to a long term strategic plan.

The Elusive Millennial

Millennials, on the other hand, give completely differently than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers.  They first like to give their “time” and then, if they see an impact, their “treasure.”  This is partly because Millennials are not currently in their highest earning years, but also because they value their “time” as a commodity and therefore part of their “treasure” to give.  Through stewarding Millennials to give “time” and then a follow-up with a small gift solicitation, you have a better chance of slowly upping their giving over time with incremental moves illustrating their impact and value immediately, while simultaneously capturing their longer-term attention.

Another unique trait of Millennials is that they are very social in their giving; supporting causes of friends and expecting their friends to support them and their causes in a reciprocal way.  Thus, Millennials are perfect for peer-to-peer giving campaigns.  They usually have large social and business networks that they are comfortable tapping into and their competitive nature is a strong incentive.  When soliciting “treasure” from a Millennial, more weight is given by them on who is making the ask of them at the beginning of cultivation and how it makes them feel versus the facts and figures of a campaign.  Due to their lower disposable income at this time and their social giving tendencies, Millennials disperse their “treasure” to many organizations in smaller gifts.

A word of caution when working with Millennials; even though they are not currently in their highest earning years, they will be at some point.  Millennials have a short attention span, but a long memory.  They often devote themselves to organizations for several years and then switch causes.  It is important to show them appreciation through acknowledgement, an opportunity to become more involved through junior board service or the achievement of higher levels of knowledge and responsibility in service to the organization.

Conclusions

In closing, as with “Time” and “Talent,” the giving of “Treasure” differs among the three current generations and each has their own unique nuances.  By understanding and recognizing that solicitations and approach for each generation should be different, you allow your organization to cultivate and steward your donors by meeting them where they are.  Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials have differing interpretations of the nonprofit paradigm of “Time, Talent, and Treasure.”  We, as fundraising professionals for our organizations, must adapt to the expectations, current economic state, and personal interests of our multi-generational donor base in order to cultivate long-term, consistent donor relationships and financial growth for our organizations.

 

 

 

Essentials to Starting a Planned Giving Program

By | All Posts, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Planned Giving | One Comment

John Marshall
Senior Vice President

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to speak with many organizations about the merits of including Planned Giving as a component of their overall fundraising program. These have been organizations that were primarily in the process of considering the addition of Planned Giving but were somewhat hesitant to “take the plunge” for any number of reasons. Mostly, such hesitancy was due to their lack of understanding about this unique fundraising opportunity as well as their uncertainty about how to get started.

I have always maintained that every nonprofit should include Planned Giving in its fundraising universe in some fashion. It could be as minor as placing the words “Have you considered leaving our organization in your will?” on the bottom of your organization’s letterhead.

If you are at that stage where you believe now is the time to get started, allow me to offer up what I feel are five essentials for you to consider as you start the process.

  1. Make certain your Board and senior staff understand Planned Giving and are FULLY SUPPORTIVE.

Patience is absolutely required and the organization’s leadership will need to understand that planned gifts do not instantaneously materialize. They take time to be properly cultivated and may not be realized for quite some time. It is important leadership understand that planned gifts are what will help sustain the organization over the long run and can provide the resources required to create the “margin of excellence” every nonprofit desires.

  1. Identify your target audience.

“Aim at nothing and you will hit your target every time” is a phrase that was drilled into my head very early in my career. You must develop a cultivation list of those who are likely to be responsive to your organization through the various opportunities of Planned Giving – usually those who have a history with the organization and who have shown loyal financial support for an extended period of time. Those to consider for your cultivation list should include:

  • Consistent donors. Giving for five or more years or those who have given $1,000 or more at any time
  • Current and former Board members
  • Current and former volunteers
  • Current and former staff

And when considering who to identify, remember the letters F-L-A-G:

  • Frequency
  • Longevity
  • Age
  • Gender (women tend to make more bequests….men make more planned gifts by way of trusts)
  1. Determine which Planned Giving vehicles you can most comfortably offer and manage.

Please don’t promote to your constituents an opportunity you cannot manage/deliver. If you simply want to start by dipping your toe into the pool, encourage participation by way of a bequest. If you wish to take a more proactive approach, then consider the following:

  • Charitable Gift Annuity
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Life Insurance
  • Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Life Estate Contracts

If you decide to be more comprehensive in what you offer, I heartily recommend that you go to great lengths to enlist the support of professionals who can advise you in any number of ways to ensure that you are providing accurate information to your constituents. I have always recruited what I refer to as a PAC group…..Professional Advisory Committee consisting of those whose expertise relates to the estate planning arena. (Attorneys, Estate Planners, CPAs, Real Estate Agents, Life Underwriters, etc.).

  1. Determine how you will promote Planned Giving.

If you envision promoting your Planned Giving program in more ways than simply including the aforementioned sentence on your letterhead, you might want to create a promotional program which could include:

  • Direct Mail
  • Newsletters – include an article in your main newsletter (possibly with a testimonial from a donor)
  • Seminars – an opportunity to invite the professional community to participate
  • All of the above
  1. Make certain to pay particular attention to internal management issues.

It is essential that you have all your ducks properly lined up, otherwise, unwanted cracks in your Planned Giving program floor may start to appear. Consider the following:

  • Personnel: who will be assigned oversight for the Planned Giving program?
  • Budget: the creation of a separate and appropriate Planned Giving budget
  • Policies and procedures should be created to establish the types of planned gifts that are and are not acceptable, gift limitations, donor confidentiality, etc.
  • Buy-in from the finance department: developing a solid relationship with your finance department in an effort to ensure clarity of understanding on policies and procedures as well as communication and accounting for deferred gifts

Taking the plunge into Planned Giving should be accomplished only after very careful consideration occurs among the organization’s stakeholders/decision makers. Properly orchestrated, the Planned Giving program can provide wonderful benefits to your donors today and to your organization in the future.

John F. Marshall is Senior Vice President with JB+A, Inc. with more than 40 years of fundraising development experience and expertise. You can contact him at jmarshall@fundraisingjba.com or call him at 816.237.1999.