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Katie Lord

Don’t Fear DAFs (Donor-Advised Funds)

By | Annual Giving, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fiscal Management, Fundraising, Grants, Insights, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Stewardship | No Comments

Katie Lord
Vice President

Over the past several months there has been a lot of negative media attention cast upon the nonprofit sector relating to Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs).  But before I dive deeper into my thoughts about the matter, let’s start with the basics.

I have to say you may have your head buried in the sand if you haven’t read something about a DAF, but here’s a refresher.  A Donor-Advised Fund is a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity.  It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. Whew! That was a very scholarly explanation from AFP.  In layman’s terms, a DAF is a way for individuals or families to save money or “funds” for philanthropic purposes which they can give out over time.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why don’t they just give all the money to charity now? And better yet, why not give it to my charity?”  As we all know, donor intent can difficult to pinpoint. This vehicle allows donors to give money with the intention of charitable purpose while still researching and identifying the impact they wish to make. It’s far more likely the gift wouldn’t be made at all (to any organization) if the donor is not crystal clear on desired outcomes. As a fundraiser, we know purpose and discovery of desired impact is one of the most special roles we can play in a donor’s journey. The DAF gives time for that process.

While DAFs have gained in popularity, the concept has been around since 1931 when the first DAF was created by New York Community Trust. Over the past few years, with the rise of Community Foundations and organizations such as Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard Charitable, DAFs have garnered new attention across the philanthropic and financial industries. It’s fair to say we have come a long way!

According to the most recent data for 2016, it is estimated there were just under 300,0000 DAFs in the United States. Last year alone brought staggering growth.  According to the Giving USA Special Report “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know” giving to DAFs made up 8% of annual charitable giving – $23.27 billion 2017.  Of course, this could have been partially due to the new tax legislation, but there has been a consistent rise in DAFs over the last 10 years.

This pales in comparison to foundations, which hold a total of $890,061,214,247 in total assets, according to Foundation Center’s Aggregate Fiscal Data of Foundations in the U.S. 2015 data, which can be viewed here at http://data.foundationcenter.org.

So how do I feel about the DAF and how do I incorporate it into my nonprofit practice?  I’m so glad you asked (well, read this much of my article, anyway…) Due to my love of all things “philanthropy” and my deep belief in donor-centric strategies, I am a strong supporter and advocate for the DAF.  Any vehicle created for the benefit of the nonprofit sector and gives donors and nonprofits alike another funding opportunity is great news for our industry and the overall advancement of philanthropy.  The more options we have and the easier we make it for people to be charitable, the higher the likelihood we move the needle of American philanthropy from 2% of GDP (around which it’s been hovering for close to 40 years) to higher levels.

Let’s also admit the last thing we want our donors or well-meaning individuals to do is start another foundation that only gives out an average 5% each year. DAFs typically grant 24% of their funds annually.

Tools such as a DAF are not inherently good or bad.  Unfortunately, as with everything, I’m afraid, some funds are not created with the best of intentions of the greater good, but rather for the greater tax benefits of the donor.  This does bring up the discussion and conversation about oversight but let’s remember one bad apple doesn’t always have to ruin the bushel.  As we move into the “new era” of DAFs, I do believe there are some tweaks and regulations needed in transparency,  reporting requirements and time limits for fund inactivity – all to ensure DAFs are dispersing gifts for philanthropic support.

On the other side of the coin however, donors who have DAFs should be able to pay pledges and the tax-deductible portion of events out of their funds.  This account was created for a donor’s philanthropic use and as long as no goods, services or other benefit are provided to the donor I don’t see what the point in making a fuss.

We need to remember as fundraisers, we should seize any and all opportunities to build strong relationships with our donors. We shouldn’t be afraid to discuss giving vehicles other than cash  with our donors.  A DAF is simply another tool in the fundraising toolbox to help donors maximize their impact and giving potential to your organization. It’s our responsibility as fundraisers to understand DAFs and discuss them with our donor prospects.

I leave you with a few points to ponder as you explore and integrate a DAFs into your fundraising plan:

  • Do your major donors have DAFs? Would they like to contribute through one?  If you don’t have those answers, there’s one way to find out:  ASK them.
  • Does your organization’s website or donate page have a function through which donors can easily grant you a contribution from their DAF?
  • Do you have an organizational profile on your Community Foundation website? Do you update it annually?
  • Do you sit down with your Community Foundation or National Fund officers on an annual basis and ask for your grant report?

If you have more questions or thoughts about DAFs, I’d be more than happy to visit with you.  You can reach me at klord@fundraisingJBA.com. Don’t fear the DAF. Just put it to work for your organization.

Nonprofit Staff Development: Not a Nicety, A Necessity

By | All Posts, Commentary, Insights, News You Can Use, Nonprofit Marketing, Organizational + Personal Development, Stewardship, Strategic Planning, Technology, Uncategorized, Volunteers | No Comments

Katie Lord
Vice President

Between technological advances, the rise of the “gig” economy and the transition to a majority millennial workforce, it should come as no surprise that change is happening across all sectors and it is happening faster than we are able to accommodate. This can be especially true when it comes to the nonprofit sector, where I consider our adaptability to change similar to turning the Titanic. While our industry may be a bit slower to adapt than most due to constraints of resources, the best and most sacred resources most of us have is our staff. Our staff has the ability to lead the charge for change within our organization.

We have all seen the classic business quote below of the fabled conversation between a nameless corporate CEO and the CFO:

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

This is just as true for nonprofits, especially when it comes to development and volunteer management staff. Nonprofits are known to have one of the highest turnover rates in staff with an estimated 19% annually. According to The Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey by Nonprofit HR, 81% of nonprofits said that their nonprofit organization had no employee retention plan. That is astonishing, especially when you consider how much more cost effective it is to keep your high performing development staff than it is to replace them. How can you keep your top talent engaged and decrease your turnover rate? The answer is simple. Invest in your staff through personal and professional development.

Another finding of The Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey states, “Less than 1% of nonprofit funding has historically gone toward supporting nonprofit talent and only 0.03% ($450M) of the sector’s $1.5 trillion annual spending has been allocated to leadership development.” Let that sink in for a minute. The nonprofit sector accounts for 10% of the GDP and is the third largest employment sector behind retail and manufacturing, yet we don’t invest in our biggest asset of all, our workforce!

Investing in professional development for nonprofit staff is no longer a nicety. It is a necessity, especially when you factor in the traditionally lower salaries that sector employees make compared to their corporate counterparts.  According to a study by Execu-Search, 76% of millennial employees (who are the largest generation in the current workforce) think that professional development is one of the most important aspects of a company’s culture. Below are a few suggestion of how you can offer professional development to your high performing staff that won’t break the budget:

  • Choose a business or career development book and read as an office
  • Bring in a local speaker to talk with your employees about a relevant topic to your mission
  • Reimburse or pay for membership in a professional development association
  • Allow staff to take a webinar or attend a seminar once a quarter
  • Have staff select one conference every other year to attend (many provide financial assistance or scholarship opportunities)
  • Encourage your staff to volunteer to serve on boards (Believe me, it gives your staff member an invaluable perspective to be on the other side of the table) and allow flex time for your staff to do so
  • Hire a coach for first time managers or for those you see with leadership potential

It is important for us as a sector to not shy away from investing in our staff’s development. It is our staff who run our programs and who work tirelessly to fill the gaps in our society left by both the public and private sector.  By not providing employees with professional development, we risk continuing to be slow to adapt as a sector and thereby losing our most promising talent and future change makers to others who will allow them to grow.

Why Major Gifts? Why Now?

By | All Posts, Capacity Building, Commentary, Database Management, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Major Gift Solicitation, Prospect Research | No Comments

How many of us wish there were more hours in the day to focus on our major giving program and donors? Some of us may be one-man teams, but even those of us lucky enough to work in a fully-staffed, robust development office wish we had more time to reach out to more donors and have more meaningful conversations. Some of us don’t work on major gifts because there isn’t time and we don’t really see the need: “Why would I spend the time on major gifts if I’m getting by with annual gifts, grants, earned income, etc.?”

Good question. And below is arguably a good answer.

First, let’s reference GivingUSA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy published by The Giving USA Foundation, an arm of The Giving Institute. Of the approximately $390 Billion dollars given by Americans in 2016, 72% was given by individuals.  Add in the 8% giving through bequests (which are also given by individuals, technically) and the 7% from family foundations and the total is closer to 87% received from individuals.  That leaves only 13% given by foundations and corporations. Also, foundations are only legally required and mostly stick to a 5% mandatory distribution requirement.

Donor-Advised Funds and non-traditional giving methods allow for a myriad of possibilities and vehicles for individuals to use to invest in causes and programs about which they care deeply. It is also easier and a better use of staff resources (including time!) to cultivate and grow donors you already have, than to go out and identify new donors.  This is especially true when you look at the national statistics on donor retention. The 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report found donor retention year-over-year averages 45%, meaning more than half of your new donors will not give a gift a second time.

A major giving program gives your donors a path to a deeper relationship with your mission and allows for greater impact through financial investment. With donor acquisition costs on the rise,  spending time examining your current donor base is a better use of time and results in a higher ROI. These individuals have already self-selected and said “yes” to you and your work at least once, but how well do you really “know” them? When was the last time your organization (or have your ever?) conducted a wealth screening? You may know who your top donors are, but do you know who are your most loyal?

To implement a major giving program, organizations should rely on the four pillars of a successful solicitation:

  1. You need a major giving case for support that clearly explains your mission and needs and expresses the impact major giving investments will have on your nonprofit.
  2. It’s imperative that we really “do our homework” and know our donors by understanding their past support, motivations to give and philanthropic goals. This is where the art and science of fundraising converge at the intersection of qualitative and quantitative knowledge.
  3. Utilizing this knowledge, we can develop personalized cultivation strategies, guided by best practices, to present the strongest solicitation possible.
  4. We need to steward our donors by identifying meaningful recognition and continuing communication.

By now, I hope you you’re thoroughly convinced individual donor prospects and major giving are elements you need in your resource development plan.  But do you still wonder if you have the time and resources to implement a major giving program your own organization?

Well, you can quit wondering.

JB+A is pleased to present a solution, in partnership with Softerware, Inc.: DonorPerfect Consulting Services Powered by Jeffrey Byrne + Associates is a 12-month, one-on-one phone and web-based consulting service that will help your organization institute major giving best practices and will offer advice crafted for each organization’s unique needs.  Expert coaching provided by us (JB+A) while utilizing DonorPerfect software and DonorSearch wealth screenings will help you identify and achieve your organization’s major giving fundraising goals.

Want to learn more?  Give me a call at 816-237-1999 or email me at KLord@FundraisingJBA.com.

Giving USA Special Report: “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know.”

By | Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Katie Lord
Vice President

On, Thursday, March 1, The Giving Institute and Giving USA Foundation hosted a webinar to coincide with the release of its latest special report “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know.”  A special panel included three industry experts on the subject: Pam Norley – President of Fidelity Charitable; Una Osili – Professor of Economics and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs, Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; Dave Scullin – CEO of the Communities Foundation of Texas and Mike Geary – lawyer and donor-advised fund holder.

This report is the first of its kind, revealing key insights into the creation of and grants from Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs.)  Want to hear the webcast in its entirety?  Click here

DAF Contribution Key Findings

  • DAFs continue to show annual growth – both in new funds being opened and in assets; Growth of assets in these funds is outpacing the growth of overall charitable giving – by three times the rate
  • Organizations most likely to sponsor DAFs have two characteristics: they receive large contributions and have low revenue
  • 15 organizations – consisting of community foundations, single-issue charities and national fund sponsors – hold 60% of DAF assets and make 60% of all grants

DAF Grants Key Findings

  • Education, religion and public-society benefit receive the most grant dollars from DAFs; education receives the most grant dollars
  • Granting patterns from DAFs mirror those of high net worth individuals
  • Grants from DAF are relatively stable from year to year
  • Differences between large and small DAF sponsors are nominal

After the Giving USA Foundation research was presented, Pam Norley, President of Fidelity Charitable, shared insights from the 2017 annual report regarding Fidelity Charitable’s fund holders.  Some of the myth-busting highlights of her presentation are below, including numbers from Fidelity Charitable’s Annual Report about the demographics of fund holders and the amounts of grants made each year.

  • Demographics of DAF holders (Fidelity Charitable 2017)
    • 55 years and older
    • 85% give to more than six (6) nonprofits
    • 79% volunteer with the organization receiving grants
  • DAF Grants by the Numbers (Fidelity Charitable 2017)
    • 60% of a DAF holder’s total giving comes from DAFs versus 40% from traditional assets
    • There are 9.7 grants per account annually
    • Donors grant out 24% of their assets annually from their DAFs versus 5% given from foundations
    • $4,200 is the average grant size
    • $19,000 is the average DAF account balance

In closing, Donor-Advised Funds are here to stay. They’re a great vehicle for both donors and nonprofits in making philanthropic impact.  As more research continues, it will be up to everyone to build relationships with our donors and DAF holders to maximize the benefits of this charitable giving vehicle.

And be sure to check out JB+A’s post on the continued rise of DAFs.

 

Giving Circles: The Rise in Social Giving and the Power of the Crowd

By | All Posts, Capacity Building, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Grants, News You Can Use | No Comments

Katie Lord
Vice President

If you’ve been involved with philanthropy in the past two decades or so, then you’ve undoubtedly come across a “giving circle.” This giving vehicle continues to gain momentum, as evidenced by the amount of research being done on this emerging form of philanthropy as well as media coverage of investments made by such groups. A very notable example of a giving circle is Women Moving Millions, which focuses on investing in women’s and girls’ organizations, and the Asian American Women’s Circle. A giving circle is commonly defined as a “social investment club,” or a pooled fund, through which members make grants together. Circles are typically organized around a particular issue, area of interest (such as women’s issues, quality of life, the environment) or geographic region.

What kind of impact do giving circles have on philanthropy? They’ve certainly opened up a new type of funding opportunity. In a report published in late 2017 by The Collective Giving Research Group, The State of Giving Circles Today: Overview of New Research Findings from a Three-Part Study, giving circles now number more than 1,600 (they’ve tripled in number since 2007) and have approximately 150,000 total members. Giving circle members have contributed more than $1,290,000,000 to philanthropy so far. With many giving circles being made up of individuals under the age of 40, it is safe to assume that this new form of philanthropy will continue to grow both in numbers and in dollars as Millennials and Gen-Xers begin to move into their peak earning years. Women are also more likely to engage in this type of collaborative giving, which will continue to increase access to this sub sector of donors.

Recently, I had the opportunity to join and participate in a local chapter of a giving circle geared for female givers, known as “100+ Women Who Care/Southland KC.” As the name suggests, this is a group of more than 100 women who get together on a quarterly basis for an hour-long meeting. At each meeting, three charities present for five minutes, followed by a brief question and answer period. All members who are present vote to select a “winning” organization and then all members (whether or not in attendance at the meeting) write a $100 check to benefit the winning organization. Members then nominate charities for the next quarter; three are selected but not shared with the group so as to prevent members from campaigning for their favorite organizations.

My experience was incredibly moving – it not only allowed me to be in a room with like-minded powerful women, but also to see firsthand the impact of collective giving on the organizations receiving more than $10,000. And an added benefit was that many women felt compelled to write checks to one of the other two organizations who did not win the vote.

So what does this mean for your organization and how does it help you with fundraising? First and foremost, giving circles provide you with two major benefits: a sizable new funding opportunity and most importantly, access to an emerging donor base and audience. Many circles have members give their donations directly to the organizations through online giving or traditional check writing. Others choose to preserve the anonymity of members by giving through community foundations, but still offer the opportunity to network with donors at the in-person meeting. If you receive a grant from a giving circle, many will inform you of guidelines for reapplying within a certain time period. While most will not allow for annual support, it is safe to say that giving circles are here to stay and will even increase in numbers – and should therefore be included as part of your resource development plan.

Philanthropy is Business…and That’s OK

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Commentary, Fiscal Management, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

As we close out another year with the turn of the calendar to January, many of us spend some time reflecting on the lessons learned over the past 12 months while setting organizational goals for the year ahead.  We need to take the time, not only to do this on a personal and organizational basis, but as a profession.  I think it is important that as a sector we take stock of where we have been, where we are and where we need to go in order to stay nimble – while continuing to increase our meaningful societal significance.  We can all agree that the times they are a changing.

As we continue to march our way through the second decade of the new millennium, the nonprofit sector looks much different than it did even two years ago, let alone in 2000.   Technological tools, data analytics, interpersonal communication options, physical work environments and service delivery are just a few of the ways our work world is rapidly changing. Corporations are now focused on social enterprise; the conversations and perceptions of how they make social impact are changing.  Are we as a sector ready for this?

Unfortunately, the nonprofit sector is not always known for its adaptability or quick response to change.  Misguidedly, we often reject the idea of “running a nonprofit like a business” which causes our sector to be perceived as accepting a “status quo” or “this is the way we have always done it” mentality.  This also reinforces the expectations of “minimal overhead ratios,” “outputs vs. outcomes” and the proverbial misperception that we need to be “saved” by the for-profit sector.  Not surprisingly, this continues to cause tension and maintain an undercurrent of lack of respect and frustration felt by us as the practitioners of social good.

“Failure” is still a bad word among our sector and is not celebrated as a learning experience, as it is with our corporate counterparts, due to how funding for such projects is obtained.  With few dollars available for venture philanthropy, the competition is fierce, limiting the ability for innovative solutions to be discovered and rapidly implemented across subsectors.

My hope for 2018 is that we as a sector begin to be as recognized for our specialties, expertise and impact as our for-profit counterparts. I hope we embrace the fact that at the end of the day, we too are in business – the business of doing good for our community, country and world.  Our work is vital to the economic and social success of our county.  We are the second largest employer behind manufacturing. Our products are safe housing options, research to find cures for disease and hot meals for the homeless.  Our services include removing barriers to education and job skills training, mentorship, mental health programs and youth interventions.

How can this mentality be implemented in our nonprofit organizations this year? Let’s walk before we run.  Invest in team training on business skills, contribute to cross sector conversations, attend networking events, read traditional “best business practices books” and implement key ideas, have a Board focus group to discuss and update strategic plans.  Set one, three- and five-year program and fundraising goals. Seemingly small steps can make big results for our stakeholders and those we serve. Let’s seize the opportunity to do business in 2018, but not as business as usual!

Avoiding the Thask

By | Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Stewardship | No Comments

The end of the year brings with it two distinct “seasons” in the continuum of our donor relationships within our organizations.  The first of course begins in November with the season of Thanks. This is a time in which we take a moment to truly acknowledge those who have supported us throughout the year by giving of their time, talent and treasure. It is important to be thoughtful in crafting meaningful communications across multiple channels to support your stewardship program.  Hopefully you are doing this all year long when donations are received, however it is worth not letting this seasonal opportunity pass you by.

The second season that we run into immediately following the season of Thanks is the season of Giving. Kicked off the Tuesday following Thanksgiving with #GivingTuesday and running through year end giving campaigns.  We are all aware that December is the highest giving month of the year, weather that is due to the spirit of the holidays or the last month to make donations for tax deduction purposes.

Thus we come to the point of this article. It should be considered a fundraising faux pas to combine these two distinct messages with each other, creating a THASK or a thank you/ask.  While this may seem efficient through perceived cost and time saving benefits to your organization a “Thask” is the antithesis of a donor centric model, with negative impacts on your organizations culture of philanthropy.   Please enjoy the poem by Stephanie Vorhees entitled “The Thask” to fully understand the ramifications a Thask can have to your nonprofit.

By combining a thank you message with a request for funds, you have thus negated the appreciation of past support, as the donor will immediately focus on the new request for funds.  According to industry best practices, a donor should be thanked or acknowledged between five to seven times before they receive another solicitation from you.  These can be as simple as phone calls, hand written thank you notes, e-cards, social media shout outs, listings in newsletters, annual report materials, appreciation events, or any other creative way that aligns with your mission and donor preferences.

As we look towards the end of 2017 and beginning a new year in 2018, remember to take the time during this busy season of fundraising to truly acknowledge the impact your donors have to your daily operations, programs and services.  By taking the time to express gratitude you deepen the relationship with your donors. Let’s together agree to make “Thasking” a thing of the past.

Making the Case for a Young Advisory Board

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Donor Cultivation, News You Can Use, Volunteers | No Comments

Katie Lord, Vice President

As millennials progress in their careers and experience increases in their income, the corporate and philanthropic landscape will continue to shift. This age group is not only changing the workplace dynamic, it is changing the philanthropic landscape – from expectations to involvement.  It is critical to develop and offer engagement opportunities for those born between approximately 1982 and 2000 (known as the “giving generation”) – both for making financial contributions and volunteering – as millennials spur new and innovative changes to charitable giving.

In a recent report released by Dunham + Company, 22% of millennials plan to give more this year than they did last year. In 2016, millennials gave an average of $580 and an average of 40 volunteer hours. While this puts them at the lower end of financial support, millennials are the largest active generation in the workforce today and are starting to approach middle management levels. The nonprofits that harness this generation’s time and talents early will reap the benefits of their treasures later.

As millennials progress in their careers and leadership journeys, many are looking for ways to give back to organizations they care about – but in very “hands-on” ways that afford them a “seat at the table” or a chance to “lean in.” Millennials who are driven by achievement and a strong sense of social responsibility actively seek civic opportunities for service.  Creating a Young Advisory Board is a fantastic way to engage them.

Service opportunities through a Young Advisory Board allow your nonprofit to cultivate this generation, while simultaneously filling your pipeline with potential high performing Board members in the future.  It is important to set up structure, roles, responsibilities and clear expectations that create accountabilities for this group, which mirror the governing Board of Directors. A challenging aspect of working with the millennial constituency is striking a balance of nonprofit staff oversight with group autonomy. You want the Young Advisory Board to be a working board (and not turn into a social or happy hour club) while achieving goals that benefit your organization and those you serve.

In order to set up your Young Advisory Board effectively, here are some best practices to consider:

  • Young Advisory Boards should have between 12 to 15 members
    • Prospective Board members should submit an application and be interviewed
    • Board members should receive and sign off on a job description
    • Board members should represent a diverse spectrum of companies, gender and ethnicities
  • Officer/Executive Committee positions include President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary
    • Note, the President should be a non-voting member on the Board of Directors and invited to attend meetings
  • Set an individual fundraising “give” expectation – this does not have to be a large amount but does need to be an annual gift not tied to an event
  • Set a group fundraising “get” goal that can to be accomplished throughout the year utilizing peer-to-peer fundraising or an event organized by Young Advisory Board members; this is in addition to the individual fundraising “give” expectation
  • Meeting dates and times and length of meetings should be set and agreed upon by the group for greater buy-in and accountability

The above list contains some good starting points to consider when creating a Young Advisory Board.  Your culture, mission and Young Advisory Board leadership will drive many of the roles and expectations, but these best practices will provide a framework to attract young individuals with the work ethic and drive to support your organization, while cultivating a younger demographic and stewarding them to fill your pipeline of future leaders and loyal donors.

Check out Katie’s three-part series on Time, Talent and Treasure for more ideas on strengthening your nonprofit’s Boards.

Corporate Giving – Are You Tapping This Resource for Your Nonprofit?

By | All Posts, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use | No Comments

Katie Lord, Vice President

It’s once again that time of year when our corporate partners/prospects are beginning to look at budgeting and goal-setting for the next fiscal year. It’s also the time of year when we, as nonprofit fundraisers, should be setting up cultivation touch points with this donor segment.  Notice I did not say “annual meetings with our corporate partners.”  As with all of our donors, we should not only be meeting with them to make the “ask,” but to also “take the temperature of the relationship” to further grow the partnership.

According to the Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, Corporate Giving made up 5% or $18.55 billion of the $390.05 in total giving in the United States last year.  While Corporate Giving is the smallest segment of the sources of giving, there has been an increase in Corporate Giving over the past several years: it is up 3.5% from last year alone.  With Millennials emerging as the largest generation in the workforce, it is important to understand the continual emergence and changing attitudes of the corporate sector on social responsibility.

When approaching a corporate entity, be sure you’ve done your research.  Learn as much as you can about the business, the products/services, who customers are, earnings, etc.  This research can be done by looking at the company’s website, LinkedIn page, local business publications and a quick Google search.  Most importantly, do not go into a meeting with your own pre-conceived notion of what the corporation would want or a “standard” offering or sponsorship menu for them to choose from.  Each corporation or business, just like each individual, is unique – with its own identity, goals and needs.

With the continued evolution of the fundraising and business landscapes, one size no longer fits all when building corporate relationships and donor growth.  There are now multiple ways that nonprofits can benefit from corporate philanthropy, including paid volunteer time for employees, matching gift programs, sponsorship dollars, peer to peer internal fundraising campaigns, cause marketing opportunities and corporate foundations just to name a few.  Be sure to explore all of these possibilities and combinations with your prospective/current corporate partner to ensure the optimum outcome.

Be prepared for your meeting.  Before your meeting, have thoughtful and tailored specific questions, be able to discuss what a charitable partnership looks like and how both parties can measure outcomes and success.  Ask open-ended questions and then LISTEN to the answers.  It is important to be able to articulate how a partnership can be mutually beneficial, by helping the business achieve its goals internally while simultaneously having an impact on your organization and the community externally.

If you are renewing a relationship, be able to illustrate the outcomes of your partnership or projected outcomes.  Include numbers such as digital impressions, value of corporate volunteer time to the organization and what sponsorship dollars were able to achieve.   Also share personal results, quotes from any employees about the impact the partnership had on them or stories of people who directly benefitted from the financial support the corporation provided the organization.

Corporate Giving is a vast resource in our nonprofit communities.  Creativity is important and it is mandatory to think outside the proverbial box in order to meet the changing landscape of corporations, their employees and social responsibility. Gone are the days of offering corporations a set menu of charitable options.  We, as nonprofit professionals, have to be able to entice corporations to build sustainable relationships with the positive outcomes of our partnership.  We have to learn and grow with them by offering innovative ways to contribute to the nonprofit organizations in their communities with their donor dollars, the support of their employees and the positive impact of their contributions in time, talent and treasure.

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 6th 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.”

And a special thank you to Dave Halpin and Lamar Advertising for donating several billboards promoting #GivingTuesday around greater Kansas City.