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Donor Cultivation

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.

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.

A Remarkable Act of Generosity

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

John Marshall
Senior Vice President

We have all heard about donors making million-dollar-plus gifts and the impact such generosity had on the recipient charity. Americans are clearly the most generous people on the face of the earth with million dollar gifts occurring annually in the thousands.

Like most fundraisers, I think about what truly motivates a person to give that much away and what I can do to secure such a gift for my clients. There is no doubt a worthy organization with a particularly compelling need can be successful in attracting seven-figure gifts. But, I have found over the years, that what is almost as important is taking the time to get to know your donors and paying particular attention to “the little things.”

I’ll never forget a meeting I had very early in my career with Dr. John Hanna, former president with Michigan State University and one of the most beloved figures in the history of that school. After about a 10-minute conversation he concluded our time together by giving me some sage advice: “John, whatever you do while you are here at MSU, don’t ever forget that people always come first. If you pay attention to them and show you care every bit as much about them as you do their philanthropy, well, truly wonderful things can happen.” It was a lesson I have carried with me ever since.

Some time ago, I was reminded of what Dr. Hanna had said while I was working with The Salvation Army in New York City, one of the Army’s largest divisions in the world.

In early December, The Salvation Army’s Greater New York Division holds its Annual Christmas Luncheon. The luncheon attracts a crowd of approximately 1,600 and serves as the official “kick-off” to the Army’s Christmas Campaign in New York City. It also is an event where individuals are publicly recognized for their extraordinary support to The Salvation Army. Since 1948, luminaries such as General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Catherine Marshall, Dr. Billy Graham, Helen Hayes, Bob Hope, Nancy Reagan, Rudolph Giuliani, Yogi Berra and many others have received the Army’s prestigious Pinnacle of Achievement Award.

In 1993, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, an elderly couple who had for years been very generous donors, were chosen to receive the Army’s Community Service Award. Shy of being in the spotlight, Mr. Smith chose not to attend but his wife Lois did and joined a very distinguished group of VIPs including Mrs. Margot Perot, wife of the noted philanthropist. After receiving the award, Lois spoke very humbly about being honored and simply stated that she and her husband dearly loved the Army and its work with the underprivileged.

The following year, one of the worst hurricanes in history struck Florida, precariously near the home where the Smiths spent their winters. Knowing they were in Florida, we decided to have the Divisional Commander (the Army’s equivalent to a CEO) call the Smiths just to say hello and to ask if they were safely weathering the hurricane.

Lois answered the call and was quick to express her appreciation for the Colonel’s call and to say that she was safe. She also shared with him that just two months earlier, her husband had passed away from a heart attack.

Prior to the conclusion of their conversation, the Colonel asked if he could offer a prayer for her during which Lois openly wept. When he concluded, she said “Colonel, when I return to the city could you please visit me in my home?” Of course, he agreed to do so without reservation.

Several weeks later, the Colonel and I were sitting with Lois in her beautiful and very posh Upper East Side penthouse home. In fact, being very private people, this had been the very first time a representative of the Army had been in her home.

“Colonel,” Lois said, “I can’t thank you enough for your phone call. That was a very difficult time for me and it meant so very, very much to me. I would like very much to make a gift in honor of my husband. Can you please give some thought as to how a seven-figure gift might be put to good use? I am particularly interested in something that will benefit children.”

A series of more visits, conversations with her financial advisor and a site visit to two locations in the Bronx followed.  We showed her two daycare centers that were in dire need of significant renovations. She soon became very interested in helping with these particular facilities and asked that we put together a request that would completely cover the cost of the renovations.

Several weeks later, back in her home and in the presence of her financial advisor, the Colonel and me, Lois signed an agreement outlining the specifics of her gift and how it was to be utilized.

Her gift was for $10 million, at that time the largest gift from an individual the Army had ever received in New York City.

Now, I am absolutely certain that honoring Lois and her late husband played a role in her making such an extraordinary gift. But I am just as certain the Colonel’s phone call, reaching out to her in a time of crisis, was even more of a factor.

The truly successful charities in the world are those which understand that stewardship is far, far more than just sending out a timely thank you letter. As Dr. Hanna said, “Don’t forget that people come first.”  It can make a huge difference – just ask The Salvation Army in New York City.

 

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.

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.