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Fundraising Trends in 2018

By | Fundraising, News You Can Use, Nonprofit Marketing, Technology | No Comments

Don’t let your organization miss out on fundraising opportunities in our ever-evolving field. This month we are looking at five small-scale strategies that can be achieved through embracing technology.

  1. AmazonSmile – Make sure your organization is registered to accept gifts from your Amazon-friendly supporters. This program allows a portion of all Amazon purchases to be donated to the user’s preferred nonprofit organization, thanks to the AmazonSmile Foundation. Inform your donors of this easy way to support your organization while buying the things they need. You can register your organization here. While you are there, don’t forget to make a Wish List for your organization. Having a Wish List allows those who want to help get the best possible products for your organization’s needs. Donors can add your preselected items of need to their cart and they will be delivered to your door with no extra hassle to your donor. Advertise your Wish List and AmazonSmile profile on your website and remind donors around Black Friday and other holidays when they will be buying more things online.
  2. Crowdfunding and Giving Days – Crowdfunding projects are becoming more successful because they combine a specific fundraising goal with an urgent deadline. Campaigns in this manner have elements of fun and social sharing that create a mix with the potential to raise serious money. Social circle fundraising is becoming more common as donors who are beginning their giving are deciding where their money goes. Your organization can capitalize on social circle funding by meeting a new donor base. Don’t have a specific project to crowdfund at this time? Host a giving day for your organization and get a flood of new volunteers and first-time donors. Make sure to capture these new donors and send personalized thanks following the day of giving to reinforce your organization’s connection with them. Small and mid-sized nonprofits can have bigger impacts with less monetary commitment with these campaigns – all you need is a little social media “know-how.” Be sure to check out JB+A’s post on crowdfunding.
  3. Facebook Live and YouTube – According to Cisco, by 2019, video content will be responsible for 85% of all U.S. internet traffic. Videos allow nonprofits to have stronger connections with their donors by showing the personal side of your organization. Videos are easy to digest by the viewer and can be shared in your donors’ networks through their social platforms. Showcase your organization and what makes you different and separate from others in your community. Try hosting a YouTube or Facebook Live video to reach your donors as a thank you or progress report. Make sure to showcase your organization’s impact and unique personality. Check out additional tips for using Facebook Live.
  4. Digital Transactions – Here is another way Facebook and YouTube can help your organization fundraise. Digital payments on Social Networks, Facebook Fundraising Tools, Periscope Coins and YouTube Donation Cards are all new ways to make it easier for donors to connect and donate to your organization. With an increasingly large donor base who primarily donates via technology, now is the time to consider accepting these newer methods of payment.
  5. Let your Organization Speak – Be “in the moment” with your donors using communication via Twitter. Twitter can allow organizations to be more transparent with donors by communicating what your organization is doing day-to-day. Having your CEO or President send a message or sharing a client testimonial can help your donors feel informed and like they have an “in” to your community. Add up-to-date progress on campaigns and events to make donors feel more included and involved. Have a gala or special event occurring? Send live in-the-moment updates as your event takes place.

These trends will never replace more traditional methods of fundraising but as competition for donor attention and investment in your organization becomes more difficult, having multiple and varied ways to reach donors and allow them to interact with your organization is becoming more important. The above listed trends have many benefits – including the fact that they require minimal front-end cost and can have an added impact to your already scheduled development plans.

501 (c) Success National Speaker Series 2018

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | No Comments

Mark Your Calendars

JB+A is a proud sponsor of the 501(c)Success National Speaker Series, a program of Nonprofit Connect. Committed to ensuring you have access to solid, informative and thought-provoking discussions on topics that affect your daily work in the nonprofit sector, this Speaker Series brings the brightest national thought leaders to Kansas City, to discuss progressive topics that are relevant and timely in our industry.

You won’t want to miss the fantastic presenters lined up for 2018:

Anne Wallestad – April 26

Anne Wallestad serves as president and CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized nonprofit focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the highest level — the Board of directors.

Dr. Patrick Rooney – June 15 – Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017

Dr. Rooney is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and annually presents Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive evaluation of philanthropic trends in the United States, here in Kansas City.

Erik Daubert – September 11

Erik is regarded as a leader in the areas of financial development and nonprofit management. In addition to a broad based career in nonprofits, he has also served as a consultant and founding partner in multiple nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

All 2018 programs will be held at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.  Stay tuned for more updates and information about our presenters.

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!

Moving the Needle: What Might Be Possible for Philanthropy in America?

By | All Posts, Commentary, Current Events/News, Fundraising, Giving USA, Legislative + Advocacy, The Giving Institute, Uncategorized | No Comments

Leaders in the nonprofit and fundraising sector are gathering soon, through an effort spearheaded by The Giving Institute, to begin developing a plan to help increase charitable giving in America.

American individuals, estates, foundations and corporations contributed an estimated $390.05 billion to U.S. charities in 2016, according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016. Total giving rose 2.7 percent in current dollars (1.4 percent adjusted for inflation) over total giving in 2015, and giving to all nine major categories of recipient organizations grew, making 2016 just the sixth time in the past 40 years that this has occurred.

This growth in giving is good.  Yet total giving as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to hover around 2.0 percent as it has for the last six years. So, The Giving Institute is coordinating discussions about a national plan to “move the needle.”

JB+A President + CEO Jeffrey Byrne, who served as Board Chair of The Giving Institute from 2015-2017, is among several nonprofit thought leaders who are part of an initial “working committee” to start dialogue about an examination of giving practices and how to increase giving while incorporating input from several people from several sectors (nonprofit, government, corporate, etc.)

Approximately two dozen people will be meeting in Dallas on February 7 to continue developing components of the plan:  focus of the work, organization as a legal entity, potential leadership and staffing, funding, research, information dissemination, federal recognition, communications and building support.

This national examination of giving practices is similar to “The Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs” in 1973-1975, most commonly known as “The Filer Commission.” This historical effort was spearheaded by John Filer, chairman of Aetna Insurance, and initiated by John D. Rockefeller, III, after the Tax Reform Act of 1969 was passed.  The Commission’s report, “Giving in America,”  contained recommendations that fell into three categories: 1) proposals involving taxes and giving, 2) interaction among donors, recipients and the public – those who affect the philanthropic process and 3) a proposal for a permanent commission on the nonprofit sector. The commission scrutinized government inducements to giving and considered alternatives such as tax credits and matching grant systems. Members felt the charitable deduction should be “retained and added on to rather than replaced by another form of governmental encouragement to giving.”

There were six main objectives for the commission’s final report: 1) increase the number of people who contribute significantly to and participate in nonprofit activities, 2) increase the amount of giving, 3) increase inducements to giving by those in low- and middle-income brackets, 4) preserve private choice in giving, 5) minimize income loss of nonprofit organizations that depend on the current pattern of giving and 6) be as efficient as possible (meaning, the new levels of  contributions stimulated should at least approximate the amount of government revenue foregone in order to provide this stimulus.) thought leader and participant in this critical/revolutionary time for philanthropy.

JB+A is excited to be part of this exciting and pivotal time for philanthropy – and discovering what might be possible for philanthropy in America in the years ahead.

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

Tax Reform is Here, but without the Universal Charitable Deduction

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Boards + Leadership, Commentary, Current Events/News, Fundraising, Legislative + Advocacy, News You Can Use, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Through its membership in The Giving Institute (our President + CEO Jeffrey Byrne served as Board Chair for two years) JB+A is a member of the Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC). Below is the statement from the CGC on the final tax reform bill. Join the CGC in reaching out to your Congressional Representatives and U.S. Senators to let them know of the positive impact the charitable deduction has on philanthropy and your organization. 

12/20/17 – CGC DISAPPOINTED CONGRESS FAILS TO ENACT UNIVERSAL CHARITABLE DEDUCTION IN REFORM; VOWS TO CONTINUE PUSH IN 2018

As Congress moves to enact tax reform legislation, lawmakers are failing America’s charities. Instead of preserving a tax incentive that for the past century has helped build a strong and vibrant charitable sector, the final tax reform bill effectively eliminates the charitable deduction for 95% of all taxpayers, dealing a harsh blow to organizations on the frontlines of serving those most in need.

In real terms, more than 30 million taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct their charitable gifts, which will translate to a decline of more than $13 billion in charitable contributions annually. This decline represents between 4% and 6.5% of contributions according to studies by Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and Tax Policy Center.

Along with leaders from charities across the country, the Charitable Giving Coalition has spent the past year urging members of Congress to address the negative impact on giving that will be triggered by increasing the standard deduction. Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers recognized this reality and its negative consequences. Unfortunately, despite clear and convincing evidence that the plans as introduced will reduce giving, the final tax bill does not include a “fix,” such as a universal charitable deduction for all taxpayers who will take the standard deduction. A universal charitable deduction would not only help recoup the anticipated loss of charitable contributions, but would also promote fairness by allowing all taxpayers to deduct their contributions.

The CGC recognizes that the final tax reform bill maintains the charitable deduction for the limited number of taxpayers who will continue to itemize. The bill also makes two positive adjustments for those taxpayers. First, it allows itemizers to deduct charitable contributions of cash up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI), increasing that limitation from the current 50% level. Second, it repeals the Pease limitation, which had reduced the value of itemized deductions for higher income taxpayers.

While these changes are positive adjustments for the charitable deduction, they will, in no way, make up for the limited availability of the charitable deduction and the loss of billions of dollars in charitable contributions annually.

The stark reality for most charities is that, as government budgets continue to shrink, especially for social services and other programs that benefit communities, charitable contributions are a critical lifeline. Given this reality, it is extraordinarily short-sighted to limit incentives for private contributions to charity. Charitable contributions and the charitable tax deduction are critical for organizations doing vital work in our communities, particularly the small, local charities and congregations already being run on a shoe-string budget that are likely to be hardest-hit by reduced giving. Losing 4-6.5% of their annual budgets will be devastating to these charities and to the vulnerable communities they often serve.

The CGC is deeply committed to pursuing a universal charitable deduction when Congress reconvenes in 2018. In recent months, a groundswell of support has grown among both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House. Several members demonstrated they understood the implications on charitable giving of tax reform proposals. And, they acted, introducing both legislation and amendments during consideration of the tax bill. The CGC is deeply grateful for Members’ outspoken support and will build on this momentum to expand the charitable tax deduction to all American taxpayers.

To learn more about the CGC, visit protectgiving.org

See more analysis of tax reform from Dr. Patrick Rooney with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Charitable Distributions from your IRA

By | Annual Giving, News You Can Use, Planned Giving | No Comments

As you look to year-end charitable giving, you might be wise to look at the many benefits available to you through making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

As a result of the passage in 2015 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH), QCD’s, after years of debate and delays, have finally been made permanent, minimizing the tax bite of Required Minimum Distributions (RMD).

Let’s start by reviewing just what a QCD is.

A QCD is a distribution from an IRA directly to a recognized 501©3 charitable organization. To qualify, a person must be 70.5 years of age or older at the time of the distribution, and the funds must be transferred from the IRA custodian to a qualified charity. The maximum amount that can be donated through a QCD is $100,000 per year per IRA owner. For an IRA distribution to qualify, the check cannot be made to the IRA owner but must be paid directly to the qualified charity.

Making a QCD from a traditional IRA appears to be more tax-efficient as opposed to a Roth IRA which can already be tax-free. Important to consider is that the distribution amount is not included as income on Form 1040. Conversely, the QCD amount is not included as part of the donor’s itemized deduction for charity.

QCD’s can be particularly beneficial to seniors who are more likely to take the standard deduction as opposed to itemizing. Whenever someone takes the standard deduction, the opportunity to generate a tax benefit from donating to a qualified charity is eliminated. So, for those non-itemizers, the only avenue available to receive a tangible tax benefit from their gift is by donating via a direct transfer from one’s IRA.

Of further significance, QCD’s can be counted towards one’s RMD for the year in which the gift is made. So, if you have to take an RMD, but feel that you don’t really need those funds, a QCD from your IRA presents a terrific way to make that mandatory required amount and at the same time receive helpful tax benefits.

So if you have an IRA and are looking for a unique way in which to benefit your favorite charity, make your RMD and benefit from favorable tax advantages, the QCD may be just right for you. QCD’s are now a permanent element of our tax laws and are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. We encourage you to speak with your tax advisor so as to determine if a QCD is in your best taxable interests.

 

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.

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

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#GivingTuesday 2017 is finally here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

#GivingTuesday: Behold…Billboards!

By | Current Events/News, News You Can Use, Social Media, Technology, Volunteers | No Comments

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

Dave Halpin, Sales Manager for Lamar in Kansas City, shared his thoughts on the importance of #GivingTuesday: “As the largest provider for outdoor advertising in Kansas City, Lamar embraces this opportunity to support #GivingTuesday for the fifth consecutive year.  We are committed to doing anything we can to make this community stronger while demonstrating the giving spirit embraced by all of our employees.”

Thank you, Lamar Advertising, for this continued partnership in support of #GivingTuesday!

 #GivingTuesday 2017 is a week away!  (Nov. 28) Every year since its inception, the #GivingTuesday movement has had increasing success.  Last year, 98 countries participated through 2.4 million social media impressions and 1.64 million gifts to raise $177 million online.  What will 2017 bring?

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

Check out the JB+A #GivingTuesday Guide here.

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

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

UPDATE:

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

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

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

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

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

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