Category

Capacity Building

Economic Trends, Philanthropy and Civil Society: Dr. Patrick Rooney and Giving USA 2018 in Kansas City

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Commentary, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use | No Comments

Dr. Patrick Rooney
Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

On June 15, JB+A welcomed Dr. Patrick Rooney, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, back to Kansas City for his 13th year of presenting Giving USA.  This year’s report was presented as part of the 501(c)Success National Speaker Series program of Nonprofit Connect, sponsored by Jeffrey Byrne + Associates and U.S. Trust.

Powered by a booming stock market and a strong economy, charitable giving by American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations to U.S. charities surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, according to Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017. In addition to his presentation covering the sources and recipients of giving (check out the 2017 charitable giving numbers here). Dr. Rooney provided insights about five key areas that impact philanthropy:

  1. Civil Society
  2. Tax Policies
  3. Disaster Giving
  4. Donor-Advised Funds
  5. Generational Giving
  1. Civil Society
    We’ve heard it before from Dr. Rooney:  more people give than vote, and that trend hasn’t changed. A study found that in every presidential election year (for which there is data), more Americans have donated than voted!  As the world of politics becomes more and more turbulent, don’t lose sight of the role charitable giving plays. In some cases, changes in public policy or budgets actually drive giving (think ACLU for example, or “rage giving”.)  But these reactionary gifts haven’t quite “moved the charitable giving needle” overall.
  2. Tax Policies
    Dr. Rooney addressed the misperception that people donate because of a tax deduction. He pointed out the irrationality of that behavior (if someone only cared abut himself he would never give, because one is always in a better fiscal position by NOT giving away money). BUT, theoretically anyway, a tax deduction lowers the “cost” of giving (the after-tax price) and consequently, eliminating the tax deduction increases the cost of giving.  Dr. Rooney’s research concluded a 35% tax rate and an increased standard deduction would reduce charitable giving by more than $13 billion, and that didn’t include impact from dropping corporate tax rates or doubling the exemption for the estate tax. The research also noted that adding an expanded charitable deduction would increase charitable giving by $4.8 billion. Bottom line, tax and fiscal policy decisions impact charitable giving and the nonprofit sector.
  3. Disaster Giving
    Does giving to disasters usurp giving to other sectors? This is an understandable concern, given the phenomenal response we’ve seen over recent years to both domestic and international disasters.  But Dr. Rooney reassures us that research indicates there’s not significant displacement: gifts to disaster response average $50 and are in high quantity immediately following a disaster but tend to (but not always) taper off with time and as media coverage shifts away from the disaster. Studies support that there are no permanent effects on giving – to either disaster relief organizations or other charities.
  4. Donor-Advised Funds
    The dialogue and debates surrounding Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) seem endless – but for better or worse, DAFs are here to stay (DAF asset values have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, from $33.6 billion to $78.6 billion) and are likely to become even more popular with the doubling of the standard deduction, given they are a useful way to “bunch” gifts in a year and maximize tax deductibility. DAFs are often the recipients of “liquidity moments” – meaning, donors can easily place their resources into a DAF and then allocate gifts through the DAF to charities over a period of time.Dr. Rooney cautioned against assuming all gifts to DAFs would have been made directly to either public charities or private foundations if DAFs were not available.  He reminded us all DAFs end up in charities eventually (for example, commercial holders of DAFs have policies in place to ensure funds are donated from “dormant” accounts after a set period of time) and are really permanent commitments to philanthropy.  It’s still unclear if/the extent to which DAFs cause displacement or reallocation of giving.
  5. Generational Giving
    Dr. Rooney shared observations on generational succession in American giving and stressed the importance of understanding differences by generation.  The Greatest and Silent generations (born before 1945) had a sense of common purpose, a high confidence in institutions and were active in civic participation. They overcame the Great Depression and World War II and created Social Security. These generations had a larger percentage of families who gave large amounts than later generations.Boomers, GenXers and Millennials (all born after 1946) place a higher emphasis on autonomy, have a lower confidence in institutions and demonstrate less empathy.  These generations also participate less in formal religion and experienced more political and economic scandals.  These generations have a smaller percentage of families giving large amounts than the Greatest and Silent generations, but among these generational families who do give large amounts, the level of giving is higher than or similar to the level of previous generations. Dr. Rooney stated a critical statistic is that donors are down, and dollars per donor are up but starting to slip. He stressed it seemed unlikely we would increase total giving by applying more pressure to existing donors – rather, we need to have a clearer understanding of why donors are down and better grasp gender differences by generation.

Remaining aware of the deeper variables that impact giving will help us understand our donors and prospective donors better, and enable us to build stronger relationships with them – ultimately improving the overall outcomes of philanthropy, and most importantly, improving our communities.

Fundraising Big Data with DonorPerfect Online

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Database Management, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Prospect Research, Technology | No Comments

Jennifer Studebaker
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

DonorPerfect Online (DPO) Vice President Jon Biedermann and Dr. Nathan Dietz, a published scholar and experienced practitioner of quantitative and qualitative social science research, recently led a webinar analyzing the results of 2.24 million transactions and 427,000 donors over a period of years. So what did these numbers reveal about fundraising behavior?

Demographic data showed most 2017 gifts were to human services at 23%, followed by health and religious organizations. Offline donations remained the most common way to give, though online donations have increased from 4% in 2014 to almost 8% in 2017. First time givers declined from 2015-2017, but Jon noted that the recent declines in first time donors points to increased donor retention.

Not all of these findings may be surprising for the experienced nonprofit professional. However, one of the key parts of data-based decision making is allowing the data to speak. Your assumptions may be correct, but actually testing your assumptions is vital.

The most compelling insights were around the importance of thanking donors and multichannel giving. The DPO data showed only 48.5% of the donors in the data reviewed were thanked for their gifts. Over half of donors in 2017 were not thanked! The impact of thanking showed in the transaction data. While they waited longer to give again, their donations ($50 on average) were higher than non-thanked donors ($35 on average).

Here are some key steps to turn this insight into action:

  1. If you do not currently have a standard protocol for thanking donors within 72 hours of receipt, establish one now.
  2. If you have an acknowledgement process, review any messages that donors receive through your website or other channels, since this may be an opportunity to improve the impact of your messaging through customization. Ensure that the thank you message, whether mailed or email, is properly addressed and matches the campaign or fund to which they are donating.

Multichannel donors gave over twice as much as other donors over the course of their lifetime, and their annual giving average was $325, opposed to $75 offline only and $100 online only. Multichannel includes solicitation via direct mail, telephone, email, face to face, text, social media, events, flyers and newsletters. Knowing this, consider the following:

  1. Donors want to give, so make it as easy as possible for them to donate. I know from my user experience research that hard to navigate websites or poorly organized information will result in people abandoning their efforts, even when highly motivated. If you are able, invite a volunteer to do a test run of completing your donation form or donating online. Ask for their feedback, but while they complete the task, observe where they hesitate or take more time than expected. This combination of feedback and observation will help you identify the pain points your donors may be experiencing. Removing those will help guarantee that giving to your organization is a positive experience that donors will wish to repeat.

Also think about the value of wealth screening in prospecting major donors and cultivating monthly donors.

Click here to view the full webinar.

Giving USA: Interesting Reading or Fundraising Guide?

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Commentary, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, The Giving Institute | One Comment

Jeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO

We’re approaching that most wonderful time of the year: Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 is on the horizon. We’re ready to welcome Dr. Patrick Rooney back to Kansas City as he gives us that coveted first look at giving data for 2017 and provides critical observations and interpretations about the state of philanthropy in the U.S. This will be our 13th year of presenting the report with Dr. Rooney in Kansas City, and I am proud of our partnership and friendship with this nationally-recognized (and fun!) expert on philanthropy.

It’s no secret I’m a fundraising “nerd,” and so many questions come to mind as I eagerly anticipate the release of our most trusted and comprehensive annual giving report: Will charitable giving rise for the fourth straight year? How did rage giving and tax reform affect philanthropy? Will the other recipient sectors continue to close the gap on or even surpass giving to religion? How did the economy impact giving?

But here’s the most important question about Giving USA to consider:  How can nonprofits use the report to improve their fundraising?

Don’t treat Giving USA the way some organizations treat their strategic plan and simply place the report on a shelf as you go about your daily routine. Read the report.  Understand the report.  Share the report.  Refer back to the report.  Make changes to fundraising strategies based on the report.  At JB+A, everyone carries a copy of Giving USA (perhaps my good habits ARE rubbing off on others)and we make notes, discuss the trends, identify nonprofit sector needs, successes and failures, evaluate our clients’ fundraising progress and brainstorm new strategies and tactics to improve fundraising.  Remember that great American Express ad campaign, “Don’t leave home without it”?  The same goes for Giving USA.

Here five ways Nonprofits can use Giving USA to improve their fundraising:

  1. Understand the correlations between giving and economic factors
    The stock market, personal wealth, personal income, GDP, corporate pre-tax profits and unemployment rates impact giving by all four sources (individuals, foundations, bequests and corporations). Trends are closely monitored by people “inside” and “outside” the philanthropy sector. Be aware of changes in these indicators, anticipate how changes will impact donors and adjust fundraising strategies accordingly.
  1. Confirm or dispel myths about giving
    Economic and political scenarios, complex societal issues, diverse giving platforms, wealth and capacity are just some of the drivers behind philanthropy. Understand the context of these drivers, help manage expectations about giving and set realistic and achievable goals for your fundraising plans.
  1. Educate Board members, volunteers, donors and staff about the broad context of philanthropic giving
    Help stakeholders better understand your organization’s funding patterns and potential. This isn’t so much about “keeping up with the Joneses of fundraising” but rather, what can we learn from their success and what can (or can’t) we emulate?
  1. Be nimble in your fundraising and stewardship
    Nonprofit fundraising must evolve as philanthropy evolves.  We are seeing an increase in the popularity of non-traditional giving vehicles (such as donor-advised funds and non-cash assets) and donors want more evidence of the impact of their gifts. What do your donors expect? Listen to your donors and prospective donors – and tailor your strategies to match their needs and expectations.
  1. Recognize the “individual giving effect”
    An estimated 87% of total giving in 2016 came from individuals, bequests and family foundations. There are human beings involved in every gift, and unfortunately sometimes, we forget this. Focus on developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with not simply the “concept of donor” but on an individual basis…with Bill and Marcia, with Joe and Liz, with Emma, with Peter and with Shane.

One last thought: Americans give an average of more than $1 billion a day to help others. So, you can also use the report to remind yourself (and others): nonprofits are doing very important work.  Good job.

Be sure to register now for the 501 (c) Success National Speaker Series Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 with Dr. Patrick Rooney.  Details are below.

Friday, June 15, 2018
7:30 – 9:00 AM
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast | 7:50 a.m. – Program
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

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.

Fundraising for your Botanical Gardens: If I Can Do It…

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Campaign Planning + Management, Capacity Building, Fundraising, Grants, Major Gift Solicitation, Planned Giving, Stewardship | No Comments

Eric Tschanz
Senior Consultant

When I arrived at Powell Gardens, I told the Board I could build their garden, but I was NOT a fundraiser.  As President and Executive Director, I soon realized the need for outside funding if the Gardens were going to grow and prosper. Membership programs were started, earned income streams were developed, capital campaigns were initiated and finally, endowment campaigns were begun.

Now, 30 years later, the Gardens have been built and are thriving – and I am not only Director Emeritus, I am also a fundraiser.

None of this happened overnight, and my evolution to a successful fundraiser took time, practice and guidance from other knowledgeable professionals. It started out as a task of which I wasn’t too sure and is now one with which I am not only comfortable but enjoy. So how does this fundraising success start?

Two traits you must have before worrying about the mechanics of ‘how to ask’ are 1) a passion for the project and 2) the ability to form nurturing relationships with your donors.  We shouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t have a passion for public horticulture, but it goes further with a complete knowledge and understanding of the project – whether plants, design or programming – and the ability to articulate what the result will mean for the community and the donor.

We often talk about cultivation and donor relations, but I believe it goes deeper: forming a nurturing relationship with the donor.  Although I am Director Emeritus of Powell Gardens and no longer participate in direct fundraising for the Gardens, I have past donors that still call me and invite me for coffee or lunch.  These are nurtured donors and true friends.

Yes, there are tips and tricks (if we must call it that) to the trade.  Over the years I had the great fortune to work with Jeffrey Byrne + Associates (JB+A) and hone my skills. Together we completed two successful capital campaigns for Powell Gardens.  Now, as a fundraiser I never thought I’d be, I work with JB+A in supporting public horticulture professionals like you.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran in fundraising, or just starting out, JB+A and I can help you achieve fundraising success for your gardens. You can benefit from our experience and expertise – and have fun along the way.

Want to learn more about JB+A and our fundraising services specifically for botanical gardens? Contact me here.  You can also give me a call or email me. I’d be happy to visit with you.

Eric Tschanz
Senior Consultant, JB+A
Director Emeritus, Powell Gardens
Past President, current member of the American Public Gardens Association

816.237.1999
Email Eric

Check out Eric’s credentials.

 

Questions about Donor-Advised Funds? Get them Answered Here: The Giving Institute Webcast on Donor-Advised Funds

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, Grants, News You Can Use, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Until this Giving USA Special Report, there has been little aggregate information available about the granting side of the donor-advised fund equation. How much do donor-advised funds give to nonprofits annually? Which types of nonprofits do donor-advised funds support, and which types receive the most and the least from donor-advised fund grants? How have these trends changed over time?

Register now for “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know,” The Giving Institute’s complimentary webcast exploring donor-advised funds – one of today’s hottest topics with donors, nonprofits and public policy experts.

Thursday, March 1
1:00-2:30pm Central

Register Here 

Expert panelists will discuss the latest Giving USA Special Report on donor-advised funds (DAFs), taking a rigorous, new and in-depth look at where DAF money goes. The webcast will address these pressing questions and offer guidance on how to incorporate this giving vehicle into your fundraising plans.

Panelists include:

  • Mike Geary, Attorney at Law, LLC, at Geary, Porter & Donovan, P.C.
  • 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

The Giving Institute webcasts always include time for questions from the audience, so don’t miss out on your chance to have your most burning questions about DAFs answered!

 

Donor-Advised Funds: Stronger than Ever

By | All Posts, Capacity Building, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Grants, News You Can Use, Planned Giving | One Comment

Heather Ehlert
Vice President of Client Services

As fundraisers and nonprofit managers, we know donor-advised funds (DAFs) have become a very popular – albeit somewhat controversial – giving vehicle in philanthropy. Their role in shaping the charitable landscape continues to grow, as evidenced by recent data reported by both commercial and community foundations about their donor-advised funds in 2017.

Fidelity Charitable, for example, has operated as an independent public charity since 1991 and currently sponsors the nation’s largest DAF program. It is also the nation’s second-largest grant maker, behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In its recently released 2018 Giving Report, Fidelity Charitable shared the following information and insights about the behavior of its nearly 180,000 donors in 2017:

  • There were more than 1 million donor recommended grants, a 25% increase over 2016
  • Donor recommended grants totaled $4.5 billion, a 27% increase over 2016
  • Donor recommended grants went to 127,000 different nonprofits in every state and around the world
  • Individual grants of $1 million or more grew to 505 last year, a 25% increase over 2016
  • 30,000 new donors established more than 21,000 new Giving Accounts

Fidelity Charitable also shared some of the factors behind this DAF activity:

  • Donors gave appreciated assets, such as stocks, which often allows them to give more to charity than by donating cash; non-cash assets made up 61% of 2017 contributions
  • Non-publicly traded assets, such as restricted stock, limited partnership interests and real estate valued $916 million in 2017 donations to Fidelity Charitable
  • Cryptocurrency (such as bitcoin) saw a nearly tenfold increase in usage over 2016 with $69 million in donations; this helps donors eliminate significant capital gains taxes on the appreciation while giving the full fair market value to charity

Donor-advised funds are the fastest-growing way to give in the United States, as illustrated by Fidelity Charitable data: the number of Giving Accounts held at Fidelity Charitable has more than doubled in the last decade and grew 20% between 2016 and 2017. And DAFs are not exclusively for the wealthy: the median account balance at Fidelity Charitable is $19,157, with more than 50% of the accounts having balances under $25,000. The money isn’t necessarily sitting, either. Fidelity Charitable reports donors are actively recommending grants to charities from their Giving Accounts: within five years of a $100 contribution to Fidelity Charitable, $74 has been granted to charities. After 10 years, $88 has gone to charities and only $12 remains to be granted.

Not surprisingly, 2017 saw an emphasis in donor giving from Fidelity Charitable Giving Accounts in response to natural disasters. The American Red Cross made the top of the charity recipients list and Samaritan’s Purse made the list for the first time. The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam and UNICEF also say increases in giving, most likely due to natural disasters, especially those that happened in late 2017. Impact investing was also noteworthy in 2017 – Fidelity Charitable made more than 4,000 donor recommended grants totaling nearly $19 million. Donors are also requesting more frequently that their Giving Account balances be invested in Fidelity Charitable’s impact-investing pool.

There are certainly clear advantages to using donor-advised funds: flexibility, convenience, investment growth, tax benefits and empowering strategic charitable giving and financial planning.

And of course, there’s the flip side to DAFs:  costs to society in tax revenue, oversight and payout requirements, treatment of sponsoring organizations versus community foundations and the overall impact on donors, nonprofits and other forms of giving.

Most importantly, nonprofits should position themselves to work with and benefit from this giving vehicle. DAFs aren’t going away. So don’t forget some basic DAF best practices:

  • Flag the DAF and gifts in your donor database
  • Recognize the donor in stewardship, not the DAF sponsor
  • Seek to engage the donor, even if the initial gift is small
  • Be sure to include DAFs in your organization’s “Ways of Giving”

Don’t miss The Giving Institute’s Live Webcast of “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: Insights You Need to Know.”  You can expect to have your most pressing questions about donor-advised funds and how to incorporate this giving vehicle into your fundraising plans answered.

Thursday, March 1
1:00-2:30pm Central
Register Here

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.

Fundraising Trends in 2018

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Nonprofit Marketing, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

 

Veronica Gerrity
Coordinator of Administration and Consulting

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.

Philanthropy is Business…and That’s OK

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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!