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What is the Google Ad Grants Program?

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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!

Women in Philanthropy: Where Are We Headed?

By | All Posts, Commentary, Events, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | One Comment

By Katie Lord, Vice President

What are some of the complexities, challenges and contradictions you see in women’s philanthropy today? What do you want this narrative in the 21st century to include?

On March 14th and 15th more than 300 women congregated in Chicago to address these very issues, and I was one of them.  My participation in the 2017 “Dream. Dare. Do. Women, Philanthropy and Civil Society” Symposium made me very aware of the diverse array of women participating in philanthropy, and even more committed to strengthening our role in the sector.  This event is hosted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Deborah Mesch was the chair of this year’s event. Dr. Mesch presented “Women in Philanthropy” last year at the JB+A-sponsored Nonprofit Connect 501 (c) Success National Speaker Series.

Held every three years, this two-day symposium brings women philanthropists, fundraisers, funders and organizations together to discuss advancing women-related fundraising causes, women working in the field of philanthropy and raising the profile of women donors and philanthropists.  As part of this year’s focus, attendees were exposed to ways women can dream, dare and do more to advance women at all levels of the field through specific channels of change.

As part of the “dream” section, discussions centered around organizational flexibility to change, including addressing gender and generational differences head on with our donors and constituents, embracing risk-taking in our organizations through venture philanthropy, innovative programming and collaborations with other nonprofits as well as public organizations.

Next, participants were asked to “dare” to think outside the box of traditional philanthropy through emerging nontraditional verticals, including pursuing social entrepreneurship partnerships in business and startup communities, social impact investing partnerships within the financial sector, and the rise of giving circles and collaborations through community foundations and special interest/affinity groups.

Finally, we were challenged to go back home and “do more.” This includes bringing women philanthropists and organizations to larger audiences and making sure we are having a seat at the table at all levels of organizational involvement.  Women still are underrepresented on nonprofit boards, in executive positions within foundations and nonprofit organizations and are often left out of the donor cultivation process, even though most are the key decision makers for financial and philanthropic decisions within their households.

This conversation is timely. With access to more wealth than ever before—some say as much as $13.2 trillion in North America alone—women’s voices, leadership and resources are needed more than ever to address the pressing challenges in our country and around the world.  I know the conversation will continue with this Symposium attendee.  I am grateful for the support of the Women in Philanthropy Institute and the research it provides to help cultivate women donors and to help move the needle.  If you would like additional information on the topics discussed at the Symposium, or are interested in moving the needle, please contact me at klord@fundraisingjba.com or at 816-237-1999.

The Customer (Donor) Is Always Right!

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Nonprofit professionals will tell you that nonprofits exist to meet the needs of our constituents. While that is absolutely true, we also have to maintain strong relationships with our donors who fund the programs that serve our constituents. When you think about it, customer service and donor stewardship are not so different. So how can we utilize the key principles of customer service to develop better relationships with our donors? Here are JB+A’s “Top 5 Customer Service Tips” to make every donor feel like your only donor.

1. Communication is Key
In the for-profit sector, effective and regular communication ensures that customers come back. Why should the nonprofit sector be any different? In fact, there’s an added challenge for nonprofits in that their donors do not directly experience the services they are paying for. For-profits can sometimes get away with a lack of communication through effective branding, word of mouth, etc., but nonprofits don’t have that luxury. The promise of the next gift can only be cultivated through effective and regular communication with your donors.

2. Consider the Competition
Lots of for-profits do a competitor analysis to distinguish themselves from the competition and snatch up the market share. For nonprofits, that market share is the donor pool. There are thousands of organizations for donors to choose from – so what is your organization doing to attract and retain your donors? Outstanding customer service is an effective way for for-profits to keep customers coming back and nonprofits can do the same. Consider how you can set yourself apart. Make donating to your organization more than a pleasant experience for your donors  – an experience that goes above and beyond the organic, emotional satisfaction they get from donating. Create a stewardship program that compels your supporters to stay involved and spread the message about your organization.

3. Embed Customer Service in Your Culture
Many for-profits reward their employees for exceptional customer service and satisfaction. The most effective employee incentive programs reward creativity and initiative when going above and beyond to please the customer. Make sure your organization’s staff are committed to serving your donors as much as you – the fundraisers – are. Give them the tools and space to build their own relationships with key individuals and your donors will feel loved and recognized by the entire staff, not just the fundraisers.

4. Go Directly to the Source
For-profits utilize customer feedback in order to improve their services. Approach your donors in the same way a for-profit looking to improve its services would approach a customer. Does your donor feel properly informed about where his/her donations are going? Do they understand how their gifts are making an impact on the organization’s overall goals? Are they aware of the progress and results of your campaigns? Enhancing your donors sense of access gives them a feeling of ownership in your organization’s activities.

5. Stay Organized
Some of the best fundraisers make their supporters feel like they are the organization’s only donor. Despite the fact that nonprofit fundraisers typically juggle large portfolios of major donors simultaneously, they must be encyclopedic in their knowledge of each and every one of them. A good central donor database is key to effectively managing your donors. A  good system will ensure they aren’t contacted multiple times by different departments and your relationships with them can be tracked clearly. Most of them have built-in alert systems so your fundraisers and Executive Director can stay on top of their relationships. It’s a simply step, but it makes all the difference.

Giving and the Golden Years: A Special Report from GUSA

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The JB+A Team was delighted to attend The Giving Institute’s March Meeting in Las Vegas last week for two days of insight, discussion and projection for the philanthropic sector. The Giving Institute is designed to help elevate the fundraising consulting and nonprofit services industry and enhance philanthropy across the United States. JB+A is the only Kansas City firm to be accepted to The Giving Institute and has been a member since 2005.

The March Meeting brings together Giving Institute members from all over the country for governance meetings and engaging educational sessions. This year’s meeting also offered a Mentor Series for professionals new to consulting. The Mentor Series involved a full day of educational sessions and workshops for an intimate group of twenty burgeoning consultants.

As Chair of the Board of Directors for The Giving Institute, Jeffrey Byrne opened and moderated Giving in the Golden Years, a live webcast on philanthropy and aging services. The panel included John Feather, Chief Executive Officer of Grantmakers In Aging, and Tom Hofmann, Ohio Living Chief Foundation Officer. John and Tom discussed and took questions on the Giving USA Special Report, Giving and the Golden Years: The Role of Private Giving in Aging Services Organizations, which provides a first-of-its-kind benchmark of the national aging services landscape, including information on state-by-state coverage and how these critical organizations are supported financially.

Here are a few core takeaways from this fascinating discussion on the future of aging services.

Aging is a Hard Sell

“Children are an investment. Old people are an expense.” This is what a philanthropist told one of our panelists recently. Aging is a reality that we tend to have trouble facing and this tendency to put other social services above aging has left us unprepared for the demand. According to their report, only 3% of American philanthropy goes to aging and only 2% from foundations.

Philanthropy to the Rescue

Twenty-five years ago there was no resource for aging organizations to understand how to lead their organizations into the future, and they have suffered as a result. There has been a lag in understanding that philanthropy can have a huge impact on performance. One of the most compelling findings from the report was the untapped potential for the sector to grow and thrive if only aging organizations and their CEOs engaged philanthropy as a serious component of their strategic plans.

All About the Pitch

There is little evidence that the baby boomers and established foundations will organically shift their focus to aging services as they themselves age. And the typical sales pitch for aging services organizations isn’t compelling enough. The panelists argue that a better approach is to focus on how your organization has an impact on the community at large. As a CEO or fundraiser, ask yourself: is my aging center part of a broader context that makes the community a better place to live for everyone, not just our residents? If funders can be convinced that you are part of a bigger philanthropic picture, they will be more compelled to give.

Your Own Worst Enemy

So why have aging services organizations lagged in adopting contributed revenue as a business driver? Mainly leaders struggle to view philanthropy as a long-term investment. When money is already short, investing in a strategy that could take years to produce a ROI feels risky to many CEOs.  There is also an ongoing battle to right the mentality that launching a fundraising component is giving up and/or exploiting fragile seniors. If a CEO is ready to implement fundraising, it’s important to educate staff and the Board as to what philanthropy really means and its potential to transform the organization if it has the right buy-in. The panelists are big believers in forming task forces to change the culture of your organization from within. Find a small group of trusted supporters of your fundraising initiative to have an open dialogue with your staff and Board about philanthropy. Institutional commitment to philanthropy is the key to fundraising success!

No Time Like the Present

Uncertainty in federal budget cuts has made foundations more cautious. If major budget cuts are passed, foundations will be called upon for major support from nonprofit organizations who haven’t considered diversified sources of funding. The panelists warn that we will see more hesitation from foundations to fund major projects/programs until there is more clarity from Washington. NOW is the time to talk to all your institutional funders in your local community. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The bulk of your fundraising should be cultivating individual donors over a long period of time.

To listen to the recording of the webcast click here and to purchase the full report click here. 

Love is in the Air! How Couples Make Philanthropic Decisions

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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.

 

 

 

Tax Reform Under President Trump: What’s Next for Nonprofits?

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, News You Can Use, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. is a proud member of The Giving Institute, and as such, we also belong to the Charitable Giving Coalition. Formed in 2009, the Coalition is dedicated to preserving the charitable tax deduction, which is crucial to ensuring our nation’s charities receive the funds necessary to fulfill their essential philanthropic missions.

Firm President + CEO Jeffrey Byrne served as The Giving Institute’s representative to the Charitable Giving Coalition in 2015 and remains actively involved in the Coalition’s mission to ensure that the charitable deduction and other tax provisions retain their positive impact in supporting essential community services. JB+A will continue to monitor situations that could affect charitable giving incentives and update you with developments or when calls to action are encouraged.

With days to go until the Trump administration takes office, The Charitable Giving Coalition is working hard to ensure the future of the nonprofit sector. Over the past few years, our sector has been subject to increasing scrutiny, and with talk of impending tax reform under the new administration, it is crucial that our government representatives understand the impact nonprofits have on people and communities.

What is at stake?

Charitable giving incentives, particularly the charitable deduction. Congress enacted the charitable giving deduction in 1917 and since then, no other tax provision has generated a more positive public impact. It offers a vital and unique incentive to taxpayers that, in 2015, helped generate more than $373 billion (the highest total ever recorded over the past 60 years) to support charitable causes (GivingUSA).

Consider the following:

  • Nonprofits generate $1.1 trillion every year providing human services
  • 1 in 10 Americans work for a nonprofit, providing 13.5 million jobs
  • For every $1 subject to the charitable deduction, communities see $3 in benefits

Still, some politicians have suggested lowering or even eliminating the deduction in order to reduce the federal deficit. Proponents of preserving the deduction feel very strongly that the government cannot and will not find a better way to leverage private investment in nonprofit and worthy causes.

Why now?

All new administrations bring change, but President-elect Trump’s campaign promises suggest a major overhaul to the current tax code is in the works. We know that taxpayers adjust their charitable contributions based on changes in the tax code. As the President-elect’s team considers restrictions on itemized deductions ($100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples/families filing jointly), it is vital that charitable giving is exempt from these restrictions. If not, the incentive to give is no longer there and the future of many nonprofits is at risk.

What can you do?

The Charitable Giving Coalition is already taking action to preserve the charitable giving deduction. You can read their letter to President-elect Trump here. 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.

Our sector is lucky to have a number of highly competent bodies monitoring situations like this and advocating in support of nonprofits, but it’s up to all of us to make sure they succeed. To learn more about the Charitable Giving Coalition and how you can take action to preserve the charitable giving deduction, visit http://protectgiving.org/.

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.

Success Stories from the Front Lines: #GivingTuesday 2016

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The results are in and #GivingTuesday 2016 was a resounding success raising $168 million and surpassing last year’s total raised by more than 43%. But how has this global day of giving made a difference to the nonprofits who participate and the individuals they serve? Here are two success stories from nonprofits that demonstrate just how impactful this giving phenomenon has become.  

kidsight-logoSaving Sight
Saving Sight is on a mission to prevent childhood vision loss through charitable vision services for the children of Missouri. This past #GivingTuesday, they harnessed the power of social media to support their signature charitable program, KidSight, which provides free vision screenings to Missouri children.

The Saving Sight team credits their #GivingTuesday success to their prep work. When you have a plan in place you’re already halfway to your goal – the rest is just execution! Leading up to November 29, they mobilized their staff, Board, donors and program recipients to participate in #GivingTuesday through email blasts, a dedicated webpage and regular social media posts.

They reached out to their dedicated base of supporters and recruited them as ambassadors to their #GivingTuesday campaign. Ambassadors not only donated, but also spread the word  by posting the #GivingTuesday version of the selfie, the #unselfie.

Take a look at a just a few of the many #unselfies posted by Saving Sight supporters.

ss-gt-collage

So how did they do? 40 individuals donated on #GivingTuesday adding up to $1,040 in total donations. At $5 to screen a child, they raised enough to support KidSight vision screenings for 212 children. Incredible! Well done to the entire team at Saving Sight and KidSight.

urlHealthEd Connect
HealthEd Connect empowers women and children through evidence-based health, education and advocacy. They train volunteer community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa and Nepal and provide free primary (K-7) education for orphans and vulnerable children in the Copperbelt region of Zambia through three community schools. For this year’s #GivingTuesday, HealthEd Connect focused their efforts on their Girls Achievement Program (GAP), which aims to empower, educate and enable 5th, 6th and 7th grade girls in the developing world to focus on their studies and break the cycle of poverty and dependence.

Their goal? Raise $12,000 for 12 girls to study through the 12th grade.

Like Saving Sight, HealthEd Connect credits a great deal of their success to the prep work. Using the JB+A #GivingTuesday Guide, they developed a robust plan with assigned roles, responsibilities and deadlines.

They mobilized their base through targeted pre-#GivingTuesday emails intended to spread the word amongst Board, staff and key volunteers, and through #GivingTuesday-focused newsletters throughout the month of November. They approached social media with precision and efficiency drafting all posts in advance with engaging photos and pre-determined launch times in place. They also developed a unique hashtag for their campaign: #12GX3.

And they didn’t stop at the prep work. Throughout #GivingTuesday, they sent real time updates to their donors and contacts keeping them informed and engaged in the fundraising process.

Lauren Hall, Executive Director of HealthEd Connect, also credits Board participation with their #GivingTuesday success. “JB+A’s Guide helped us communicate the importance of #GivingTuesday to the Board and they got 100% behind the campaign,” says Hall. “We acquired three matching pledges from the Board in addition to commitments to forward pre-written emails to their contacts. Their support was essential to the success of our campaign.”

So how did they do? HealthEd Connect’s goal was to raise $12,000 ($6,000 online, three $2,000 matching pledges) sending 12 Girls to high school on HealthEd Connect scholarships. They more than surpassed their goal raising $32,365 which will get 32 new scholars through high school. They also acquired 41 new donors and reached more than 3,500 people.

Truly an inspirational account showcasing the power of social media to harness generosity and passion.

Congratulations to the entire team at HealthEd Connect!

Interested in getting your organization to participate in this phenomenal day of philanthropy? The next #GivingTuesday is scheduled for November 28, 2017. It’s never too early to start brainstorming your plan of attack! Leading up to #GivingTuesday, JB+A will be posting helpful tips and guides to help your organization make the most of this global day of giving. Stay tuned!