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all brought to you by professionals and seasoned volunteers in the world of philanthropy.  

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News You Can Use
Issue 143/November 2014

Board Engagement: What’s the Norm?

Judy KellerJudy Keller
Executive Vice President

Editor’s Note: CEOs and Executive Directors often express concern that their Boards are not fully engaged. Even the most active, professional Boards typically have one or two members who may be fully supportive of the organization, but do not demonstrate that commitment.

We are often asked: How can I keep my Board engaged? And even more common: How can I get my Board to fundraise?
In the following months we will continue to explore various strategies for Board engagement. This is the second article in a series on this topic.
A recent panel of Kansas City’s leading institutional funders was asked to address the issue of nonprofit sustainability.
Their conversation quickly turned to the role of the Board. It is worth noting the panel did not focus on the elements of a specific request for funding or its program effectiveness. Rather they said their decision regarding whether or not to fund an organization (not program) is determined in large measure by their evaluation of the governing body.
How does your Board of Directors compare to these statistics?
  1. Forty percent of all Boards have between 11 and 20 members.
  2. Sixty percent require Board members to make a financial contribution to the organization. The smallest organizations were least likely to make this requirement.
  3. Ninety percent of organizations that require a contribution report that they tell a prospective Board member about that expectation at the time of recruitment.
  4. Only 35% set a minimum gift amount for Board contributions.
  5. The average annual Board gift is just under $5,000. Education organizations report the highest average gift at $12,520.
  6. Only 11% of responding organizations in the religion subsector reported a minimum gift amount, but their average gift is not lower than averages in most other subsectors.
  7. Sixty percent of organizations track the amount Board members help raise.
  8. Board members are most likely to get involved by allowing use of their names (79%), asking friends or associates to attend events (78%), and making personal introductions (76%).
  9. Only 52% of Board members will host events in their home or business.
  10. Board members are least likely to develop the fundraising plan – 52% do, and rate prospective donors – 42% do.
There is no longer an excuse for Board members not to be engaged in fundraising in some capacity for your organization. It is now a widely-accepted best practice that strong organizations have Board members who are actively engaged in supporting the organization. Serving as wise counsel is no longer sufficient.
To further discuss Board effectiveness and how to energize your Board around fundraising, please contact Judy at 




2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy:
Consistent Trends and Significant Shifts Paint a Bright Future
Editor’s Note: The 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, reports the giving patterns and priorities of America’s wealthiest donors and provides valuable insights into the strategies, vehicles and approaches that can make giving more effective. This Study is a continuation of the 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 reports.
Conducted between April 2014 and September 2014, the Study consisted of mail and web surveys randomly distributed to 20,000 households in high net worth areas of the U.S. Only households with incomes greater than $200,000 and/or net worth more than $1,000,000 (excluding the monetary value of their home) were included in this analysis. Results are based on a nationwide sample of 632 responding households. The Study offers comprehensive information on the charitable giving and volunteering activities of high net worth households that will apply directly to our philanthropic endeavors.
This past June, JB+A partnered with U.S. Trust and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to present Giving USA 2014:The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2013. We are pleased to continue to share valuable information that complements Giving USA data and can be used by nonprofit professionals, donors, volunteers and others interested in promoting philanthropy.
The Good News
The Study reveals consistent trends in the giving behaviors of high net worth individuals and households as well as some departures from past trends. Overall, the giving forecast is bright, supported by several findings:
  • More households gave: in 2013, 98.4% of high net worth households donated to charity, an increase over the 95.4% who gave in 2011. This is also the highest rate of high net worth participation in charitable giving since the Study’s inception in 2006. According to The Center on Philanthropy Panel Study in 2009 by Indiana University, 65% of the U.S. general population donate to charity.
  • These households gave more: the average amount given by wealthy donors increased 28% from 2011 to 2013: from $53,519 to $68,580 respectively. Average giving as a percentage of household income decreased by 1% however, as increases in income levels slightly outpaced increases in giving levels among high net worth households. 
  • Time is also treasure: these high net worth households also demonstrated their commitment to charitable causes through volunteering. Seventy-five percent of the respondents volunteered with at least one nonprofit organization; 59% of them gave more than 100 hours and 34% served more than 200 hours. Volunteering is also tied to giving: wealthy donors who volunteered gave 73% more on average than those who did not ($76,572 compared to $44,137).  
  • These households plan to give as much or more in the future: 85% of high net worth donors plan to give as much (50% of respondents) or more (35% of respondents) in the next three to five years than they have in the past. This is up from 76% who said they planned to give as much (52%) or more (24%) when surveyed in 2012. Why the plans to increase their giving? The top reasons cited are “increased financial capacity” (85%) and the “perceived need of the nonprofits or causes” they support (48%).
Motivations to Give
While there is an assortment of reasons motivating high net worth philanthropy, the following were cited as the top motivators for giving in 2013:
  • Believing their gift can make a difference – 74%
  • Personal satisfaction – 73%
  • Supporting the same causes annually – 66%
  • Giving back to the community – 63%
  • Serving on a nonprofit organization’s Board or volunteering – 62% 
Only 34% of the respondents cited tax advantages among their top motivations for giving.
Why Giving Stops
Unfortunately, sometimes donors stop giving and the top reasons cited for doing so among high net worth donors vary:
  • Solicitations were too frequent/was asked for an inappropriate amount – 42%
  • Changed philanthropic focus/decided to support other causes – 35%
  • Organization was not effective – 18%
  • Organizational change in leadership or activities – 16%
“This year’s Study reinforces that knowing your donors is a must,” says Jeffrey Byrne, President + CEO of Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. “If you don’t get to know your donors, you won’t be able to develop relationships with them. It is well worth the time and effort to understand your donors and learn what they value. This leads to more meaningful solicitation and stewardship and ultimately, greater impact on those you serve.” 
Knowledgeable + Engaged = More Giving
More Giving + Greater Fulfillment = Even More Giving
“This year’s study reveals that when wealthy donors are engaged in their giving and find a meaningful purpose, they give more and are more impactful with the organizations they support,” said Lewis Gregory, CAP, Senior Vice President, Institutional and Private Client Advisor for U.S. Trust in Kansas City. There were strong ties between a high net worth donor’s knowledge of giving and giving behavior. It also indicated that greater fulfillment leads to higher giving levels:
  • Respondents who rated themselves as “expert” in terms of charitable giving (14%) gave a significantly higher amount in 2013 ($150,229) than those who described themselves as “knowledgeable” (72% / $64,599) or “novice” (14% / $19,013)
  • Fifty-three percent monitored or evaluated the impact of their charitable giving. Those who do so give a much higher amount ($104,625) than those who do not ($28,543)
  • Seventy-three percent of wealthy donors reported achieving personal fulfillment through charitable giving. Those who report personal fulfillment donated more than five times the amount of those who were not fulfilled (approximately $80,500 compared to $15,100)
Other Key Takeaways
  • Ask and you shall receive: A direct request from an organization to volunteer inspired the highest proportion of volunteerism (50%) in contrast to when high net worth individuals initiated the volunteer opportunity (17.5%). This is a direct reversal of 2011 trends, in which more high net worth individuals reported volunteering through their own initiative (42.8%) as opposed to being asked (30.7%).
  • And the winner is: education. While many of the nonprofit subsectors benefitted from increased contributions from high net worth donors in 2013, education was the clear frontrunner.
        o   Eighty-five percent of high net worth households gave to education
        o   Education also received the largest share of dollars (27%) – more than religious causes (12.2%), environmental
    causes (5.4%), basic needs (3.3%) or the arts (3.5%).
        o   The highest share of high net worth households also prioritized education as the most important current policy issue (56%) ahead of poverty (34.6%) and healthcare (33.8%).
  • New research: giving pledge participation. Introduced by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, “The Giving Pledge” is a commitment by a group of individuals and families dedicated to giving at least half of their wealth to philanthropy. At the time of the Study, there were 127 households in 13 countries – 108 supporters in the U.S. – as signed supporters. High net worth households were asked about their hypothetical response if asked to participate in a similar pledge.
        o   Would not participate – 65%
        o   Don’t know – 22.4%
        o   Would participate – 12.7 %
To access the full 90-page report, visit





We’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and know that they are synonymous with holiday gift-buying. And now, in its third year, there is #GivingTuesday.
The idea behind the first #GivingTuesday on November 27, 2012 was not to create new nonprofits to support, but to inspire philanthropy and encourage bigger, better and smarter charitable giving during the holiday season.
#GivingTuesday is for all of us – adults, children, volunteers, donors, businesses and nonprofits. The ways to participate are practically endless. And everyone can help spread the word. Visit #GivingTuesday to see all the creative ways people are giving back to their communities and helping create a better world.
In 2012, online charitable donations processed by Blackbaud were up 53 % over the same day in 2011. But even more impressive, on #GivingTuesday 2013 donations were up 90% from 2012!
What will happen this year?
How can you participate?
Spread the word, support a cause, make a gift, share your story… The ways to be a part of “#GivingTuesday are practically endless. And #GivingTuesday is an excellent and timely way for nonprofits to go out and make an ask.
“The opportunities for nonprofits with #GivingTuesday abound,” says Jeffrey Byrne, President + CEO of Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. “We have an abundance of data and case studies illustrating how organizations are having great fundraising success when incorporating #GivingTuesday into their year-end fundraising efforts.”
Check out the JB+A #GivingTuesday toolkit for tips on how your organization can benefit from the #GivingTuesday boost this year. Go to for additional information and be sure to visit, to join the movement as a partner organization and/or as an individual social media ambassador.


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Issue 145/January 2015

Great Opportunities for Nonprofits to Engage Young Volunteers

Rhonda McClung

Rhonda McClung
Vice President

A generation of avid volunteers is growing up – giving nonprofits the opportunity to engage volunteers at a younger age and keep them participating longer. Two surveys released in 2014 confirmed that young adults today are more likely than their parent’s generation to participate in community service.

The Volunteering and Civic Life in America Report, conducted by the Corporation for the National and Community Service, found that 21.7 percent of Millennials volunteered in 2013, a figure that has grown from 13 percent in 1989.* 

In an Associated Press-GfK Poll released in December 2014, young Americans under age 30 were more likely to label volunteering as a “very important” civic duty than the generation before them.** 

The Volunteering and Civic Life in America Report also revealed that in 2014, 29 percent supported volunteer work, a 10 percent increase over the same age group from a similar survey in 1984. At the same time, individuals over the age of 50 are less likely to label volunteering as “very important” compared to the generation before them. 

Individuals under the age of 30 have grown up with organized efforts to promote volunteerism. Unlike their parents and grandparents who found volunteer opportunities through local school projects and church activities, young adults have seen community service programs integrated into the curriculum of their high schools and universities. They have grown up participating in national days of service created around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. 

“We’re on the crux of something big, because these Millennials are going to take this spirit of giving and wanting to change communities and they’re going to become parents soon,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The surveys support the findings of the The 2013 Millennial Impact Report, released by Achieve and the Case Foundation.*** The report is an ongoing study of the generation born between 1980 and 2000 and their involvement with causes. The top take away from this report is that young adults first support causes, not institutions, about which they are passionate. It’s up to organizations to inspire them and show them that their support can make a tangible difference on the broader issue. Once a cause that sparks their passion is identified, young adults choose to volunteer as a means to network with peers and share their expertise and skills.

Volunteering taps into the independent nature of Millennials who support causes with their time, in part because they aren’t at a time in their lives when they have disposable income to give and, in part because they desire to play an active role in changing their communities. 

Reaching young volunteers requires nonprofits to reach out to potential volunteers in meaningful ways: 

  • Utilize social media to share the call to action to your volunteers. Today, young volunteers learn about community projects through social media, not through the flyers and phone calls used to communicate with their parents’ generation. Nonprofits must be active on social media spreading the word about volunteer opportunities. Ask current volunteers to spread the word by sharing your message to their followers and friends.
  • Provide opportunities for young adults to spend time with their like-minded peers and showcase their skills and expertise. Networking and professional development opportunities are top draws for getting young adults invested in a long-term relationship with an organization.
  • Access organized community service programs at local high schools, colleges and universities. Leveraging volunteer opportunities that are easily accessible to young people is critical to the success of community service programs. Develop relationships with the director of local community services programs in schools to increase an awareness about your organization and motivate students to get involved in your cause.

The opportunities are great for nonprofits to strengthen their volunteer networks, with young volunteers who 1) have a proven desire to make a difference, 2) who want to maintain a high level of service to their communities and 3) who aspire to showcase their skills and expertise. Nonprofits simply need to know how to effectively reach these young adults and commit to maintaining relationships with them.

To learn how your organization can more effectively identify and utilize volunteers, contact Rhonda McClung, Vice President, at 816.237.1999 or at 

For more information about the polls and studies referenced in the article above: 





Analyze Your Fundraising Success with a Development Calendar

Mary Ellen ClarkMary Ellen Clark
Senior Vice President

Whether you use an electronic or paper calendar, the first of the year reminds all of us that it’s time to start “new.” It’s time to start your new Development Calendar or if you do not have this resource in your organization, it’s certainly time to create one. A Development Calendar can include much more than just a list of dates and programs. Consider a calendar that includes:

• Estimated costs
• Estimated staff resources
• Prospects
• Number of donors
• Revenue generated
• Net revenue

The sample Development Calendar below allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of each program from year to year, giving you and your team key data that will direct your goal setting for the next year. While most teams look at year-long goals, the most effective teams also establish weekly and/or monthly goals for their fundraising activities. As you set your annual fundraising goals, you should consider methods, strategies and the resources needed to meet them.
Likely the most difficult portion of this exercise is estimating the necessary human resources. The number of hours required to execute certain programs are relatively predictable. There are others, however, such as some special events, that may change from year to year. Team leaders also share that maintaining and achieving goals with changes in staffing is a management nightmare and their biggest challenge.
This exercise and the examination of year-to-year stats may result in shifting budget resources from one program to another, changing job descriptions or creating new fundraising strategies. Whether the goal is to broaden your donor base, increase your $1,000 gifts, create gift clubs or add a new program, your Development Calendar will offer your team a wealth of information for fundraising planning.
Sample Development Calendar (to download a PDF of the calendar, click here.)
To further discuss resource development planning and how it will help your organization achieve fundraising success, contact Mary Ellen Clark, Senior Vice President, at 816.237.1999 or at

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Issue 144/December 2014

A Note from Jeffrey

Looking Toward the Continued Rise of Philanthropy in 2015


Jeffrey D. ByrneJeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO

2014 was a wonderful year for philanthropy.

Giving USA 2014 reported that charitable giving hit another plateau, with Americans donating more than $335.17 billion to charitable causes in 2013. After four consecutive years of increases in giving, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is optimistic that total giving will surpass peak levels seen in the past and that it will only take a year or so for total giving to approach the pre-recession level of 2007.

As happy as I am about 2014, I am even more excited as I look ahead to 2015.
Philanthropy is about relationships: ties to our co-workers, collaborations with our peers, connections to those who shape public policy, bonds with our volunteers, partnerships with our funders and–most importantly–our commitment to those we serve. Relationships among nonprofits, funders, volunteers and advocates were obviously strengthening in 2014.
Philanthropy is also linked to factors such as economic activity and tax law.  Giving rises as the economy improves and the economic factors that affect giving decisions are rebounding in 2014: consumer confidence is up, unemployment is down, disposable personal income is increasing and the S&P 500 Index is climbing.
So, these early indications – bolstered by feedback from our clients and peers – tell us 2014 has been a strong year for giving. And, if these trends continue and nonprofits persevere in developing and sustaining relationships, we have even more to look forward to in 2015. 
We can reasonably anticipate tax reform in 2015, with a new Congress in place.  Through our membership in The Giving Institute, JB+A belongs to the Charitable Giving Coalition, created to protect America’s strong tradition of charitable giving. The Coalition and its members know that economic recovery in America requires a strong philanthropic sector, and to this end, we are monitoring and working on tax reform (most notably preserving the charitable deduction and making permanent the IRA-Rollover) with our elected officials, as well as educating them about the role of the nonprofit sector as an economic driver.
So how do we develop and sustain the critical relationships with those who will help us advance philanthropy? Through meaningful communication. 
It feels like there are countless ways to communicate these days.  We’ve seen an absolute explosion in the use of social media, and JB+A was proud to continue our participation #GivingTuesday this year.  This phenomenon (which seemed to come out of nowhere three years ago) set another milestone in giving: an estimated $45.68 million in online donations were made on December 2, an increase of nearly 63% over 2013. This giving was accompanied by significant growth in the voice of #GivingTuesday, through 32.7 million Twitter impressions, more than tripling the impressions from 2013. 
As social media grows, so is its use in fundraising. We see increases in crowdfunding, text and email campaigns and we can reasonably anticipate that online giving will continue to grow.  Yet online giving still only comprises less than 10% of total giving.  That tells me donors appreciate personal contact and more traditional means of appeal. 
Yes, I am on Facebook and LinkedIn and I have sent more than a few emails (OK, maybe more than a few thousand) this year.  But I also still enjoy perusing the cards I receive in the mail. I value those gatherings where I can reconnect with my friends and colleagues.  I cherish those once or twice a year phone calls – and even better, the personal visits –  in which I can really catch up with those closest to me.
Similarly, I believe our donors, volunteers, stakeholders and advocates appreciate all the means of communication we have today. We should continue to embrace the new methods, but let’s not obsess over them and throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to remember the tried and true: personal visits, phone calls, handwritten notes. More importantly, we must focus on our message and communicate our missions in clear and compelling ways.  Most importantly, we must listen. Listening tells us what is important to those with whom we have relationships (and helps us as fundraisers know what to ask, when to ask and how.) 
No listening: No giving.  Know listening: Know giving. 
And here’s to a most powerful year of giving in 2015!
On behalf of all of us at Jeffrey Byrne + Associates,

Happy Holidays + Happy 2015!


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