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Inaugural National History Academy

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, Education, News You Can Use | No Comments

Editor’s Note: JB+A is proud to share this special piece with you, which showcases former JB+A Consultant and current colleague and friend, Bill Sellers. Bill is President of Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a nonprofit partnership that promotes and supports civic engagement through history education, economic development through heritage tourism and the preservation of cultural landscapes in a 180-mile corridor from Gettysburg, PA through Maryland and Harpers Ferry, WV to Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA.

Bill Sellers feels there is a “crisis in historical and civic literacy.” A recent report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress concluded that only 18% of high school seniors showed proficiency in their knowledge of American history and 23% were proficient in civics. Of the seven subjects included in the Report, students scored lowest in their knowledge of U.S. history.

Bill is actively doing something to reverse these statistics — by providing future leaders with a “multidimensional, contextual understanding of history and its figures.” Bill developed the National History Academy, a five-week residential summer program for high school students to not just learn American history, but live it.

Bill Sellers describes the vision for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: walking in the footsteps of leaders who helped define and shape the American story including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., and where soldiers fought for the birth and survival of this nation. Students will experience traditional classroom learning, but more importantly, visit 42 sites within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

The region was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of the 11 most endangered places in the United States in 2005, was declared by Congress as a National Heritage Area in 2008, and Route 15/20 was named a National Scenic Byway in 2009. The Journey includes 12 National Parks, nine presidential sites, 30 historic Main Street communities, dozens of Civil War battlefields, and over 100 sites related to the fight for Civil Rights.

The mission of the Academy is to “foster an understanding of key events, people and issues in the country’s history and to engage our nation’s future leaders in the rights and duties of American citizenship through place-based, experiential learning.”  Its motto, “Historia Est Magistra Vitae” is taken from Cicero’s De Oratore and means “history is the teacher of life.”

Highly motivated students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades may apply. The application process includes a short application and a short response to the question, “Tell us why you want to be a part of the National History Academy in two paragraphs.”

Applications will be reviewed by a committee and judged on maturity of response and understanding of the topic. One-hundred students will be accepted into the Academy. Successful applicants will then be invited to register for the Academy, which runs June 24 to July 28, 2018.  A limited amount of financial aid is available.

To learn more about the National History Academy, visit here.

To learn more about Journey Through Hallowed Ground, visit here.

Bill and the Academy are also featured in the May-June 2018 issue of Harvard Magazine, which is published by a separately incorporated nonprofit affiliate of Harvard University, Bill’s alma mater.

JB+A Client Success: Congratulations PKD Foundation: JYNARQUE™ Approved as First Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, Healthcare, JB+A Client Fundraising Success, News You Can Use | No Comments

JB+A is excited to share good news involving its client partner, PKD Foundation. PKD, a chronic, genetic disease, is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidneys and other organs and can lead to kidney failure. Previously, there had been no treatment specifically for PKD in the U.S., with the only option for survival a transplant or dialysis. Today, there is new hope.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval of JYNARQUE™ (tolvaptan) to be the first treatment in the U.S for adult patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), the most common form of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The PKD Foundation not only supported early studies that led to the development of JYNARQUE™ as a treatment, but also helped guide PKD patients to the JYNARQUE™ clinical trials.

Although not a cure, patients who are prescribed JYNARQUE™ for PKD will see a slower decline in their kidney function, leading to improved health and well-being. “Today is an historic day in providing hope to patients with polycystic kidney disease, and we are thrilled to be a part of this first milestone to treat patients with ADPKD,” said Andy Betts, CEO of the PKD Foundation. “For the past 35 years, our goal has been to support PKD patients from care to cure. It is gratifying to play a part in the discovery of this treatment and to see it come to fruition.”

Betts also recognizes all of the patients who graciously took the time and resources to participate in the clinical trials to bring JYNARQUE™ to the PKD community: “This treatment would not exist without these patients,” says Betts. “We hope that this is just the beginning of new treatments on the horizon for patients suffering from PKD. We will continue to stand beside PKD patients until there is a cure, supporting them with access to future studies, to new treatments, and to ensure the affordability of care.”

JB+A is proud of PKD Foundation for this milestone achievement, and for the unwavering care and support it provides to those living with PKD.

About PKD Foundation:
PKD Foundation has been dedicated since its founding in 1982 to supporting and improving the lives of patients affected by polycystic kidney disease. These efforts are accomplished through promoting research to find treatments and a cure, as well as providing education, advocacy and awareness on a national level. The Foundation provides direct services to local communities nationwide and is the largest private funder of PKD research.

PKD Foundation is the only organization in the United States solely dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for PKD. Our mission: We give hope. We fund research, advocate for patients and build a community for all affected by polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

To learn more about PKD Foundation, visit here.

To learn more about JYNARQUE™, visit here.

Love your Volunteers. Really.

By | All Posts, Commentary, News You Can Use, Volunteers | No Comments

Veronica Gerrity
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

April 15th through the 21st was National Volunteer Week in the US, powered by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. This special time gave nonprofit organizations the opportunity to remember the great works accomplished by their volunteers.

Established in 1974 and growing steadily ever since, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially each year. The repeated success of this celebration proves honoring the impact of volunteers in our communities will inspire others to serve. JB+A has come up with 10 creative ways to say thank you to your volunteers year-round and show these unpaid, yet highly productive workers for your organization how valuable they and their contributions really are:

  1. Shout it Out – give a public shout out to your rockstar volunteers on your website, Facebook, Twitter or newsletter. Highlight specific volunteers and shine a light on their hard work and the impact they have on your organization.
  2. Let Them be Creative – Do your volunteers wear an organizational t-shirt? Hold a contest to let your volunteers design it. This helps volunteers feel creative and empowered – and really increases wardrobe options for your long-time volunteers.
  3. Share a Gift of Love – Ask those served by your nonprofit to craft personal gifts (letters, art work, poems, pictures from past events) to give to treasured volunteers.
  4. Volunteer Hall of Fame – Have an empty wall in the office? Create a Volunteer Hall of Fame and post pictures of each volunteer. Highlight a new “inductee” each month or quarter.
  5. Have Them Say It – Invite volunteers to share personal stories about why they volunteer and special experiences with your organization, then feature those stories in your newsletter, on your website and social media and on the Hall of Fame wall.
  6. Flexibility is King – Have a volunteer who is always reliable? Show your appreciation by giving them first dibs on working desirable projects or offer more flexibility in their volunteer schedule.
  7. Meet and Eat – Treat your volunteers to a meal with the people who appreciate their time the most – your clients and their families, staff and Board members. Yum.
  8. Remember the Person – Keep records of volunteers’ birthdays and send them a card. Did you hear about a major accomplishment or life event (graduation, new job, wedding or birth etc.) with a volunteer? Send them a quick note and let them know your organization is proud to be a part of their lives.
  9. Make Them Laugh – Have extra candy lying around? Create “punny” thank-you messages and add some candy to surprise your volunteers when they walk in. Sometimes the silliest way to say thank you is the one that will stick.
  10. Show Them the Love – Create an online photo album showing the work your volunteers have contributed over the last year. The visual impact of seeing their accomplishments is a great way to reinforce your organization’s appreciation.

Lastly, remembering to simply say “thank you” and remembering to say it often is sometimes all anyone needs to hear to reaffirm their commitment and love for your organization. Taking the time to be sincere and making each occasion to recognize volunteers meaningful will allow your organization to achieve more and be better.

Cast from the vision of 1,000 points of light shared by founder President George H. W. Bush in his 1989 inaugural address, Points of Light helps mobilize people to take action on the causes they care about through innovative programs, events and campaigns.

Director of Development Opportunities with JB+A Client Covenant Retirement Communities

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

JB+A Client Covenant Retirement Communities is a faith-based organization providing retirement housing and senior care. From the establishment of its first community – Covenant Home of Chicago in 1886 – to becoming the fifth-largest not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) sponsor in the LeadingAge Ziegler Top 150, its goal has been to provide outstanding care and services to senior adults.

A ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Covenant Retirement Communities is headquartered in suburban Chicago and operates 12 Continuing Care Retirement Communities across the U.S. Each community offers a comfortably independent and active lifestyle, creating joy and peace of mind for residents and their families by providing a better way of life.

Covenant Retirement Communities’ 12 CCRC communities are:

  • Covenant Shores (Mercer Island, WA)
  • Covenant Village of Colorado (Westminster, CO)
  • Covenant Village of Cromwell (Cromwell, CT)
  • Covenant Village of Florida (Plantation, FL)
  • Covenant Village of Golden Valley (Golden Valley, MN)
  • Covenant Village of the Great Lakes (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Covenant Village of Northbrook (Northbrook, Ill)
  • Covenant Village of Turlock (Turlock, CA)
  • The Holmstad (Batavia, Ill)
  • Mount Miguel Covenant Village (Spring Valley, CA)
  • The Samarkand (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Windsor Park (Carol Stream, Ill)

Strengthening the Mission of Covenant Retirement Communities through Enhanced Fundraising

Covenant Retirement Communities is taking steps to ensure it is prepared to meet the needs of a growing senior population.  It is currently developing a plan to grow its resources to support a significantly larger Benevolent Care endowment fund, programs and special capital projects. A historic fundraising effort seeking contributions from a variety of donors will help provide the reassurance current and future residents need to live in an environment of grace and peace.

Covenant Retirement Communities is searching for qualified fundraising professionals to serve as Directors of Development in three of its communities:

Background

The Director of Development (DOD) works with the Executive Director to develop and manage a comprehensive fundraising program on the campus. This position has the responsibility to secure philanthropic support through annual gifts, major gifts and legacy gifts with an aggressive focus on outright major gifts from non-resident sources to support the campus benevolent care program needs. The DOD is responsible for the planning, administration and implementation of development goals, objectives and initiatives of the community.

Responsibilities

This position respectfully interacts with and maintains positive relationships, with residents, resident family members, visitors and employees, practicing honesty and integrity in all aspects of job performance. In performance of duties, the Director of Development is entrusted with the following responsibilities:

  • Develop and execute an annual campus fundraising plan (including specific metrics for funds raised and other goals to be achieved).
  • Secure financial support from a portfolio of residents, families, and other individuals as well as vendors, churches and other organizations.
  • Develop, maintain, and track ongoing relationships with major donors.
  • Create and execute the strategy for growing a sustained base of annual fund individual donors (residents, families and other individuals).
  • Monitor and evaluate all fundraising activities to ensure that the fundraising goals are being achieved (including: total dollars raised, total dollars solicited, number of asks made, and number of gifts received).
  • Develop and manage timelines for various fundraising activities to ensure strategic plans and critical fundraising processes are carried out in a timely manner.
  • Develop and manage the donor recognition program including events, the donor recognition wall and donor lists.
  • Oversee the campus fundraising database coordinator to make sure gift entry and acknowledgment is done on a timely basis and ensure that donor/prospect profile information is current and accurate.
  • Perform other related responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • 5-7 years of relationship-building fundraising experience with an emphasis on personal solicitation of annual, major and planned gifts.
  • Demonstrated comfort and experience with identifying, cultivating, closing, and stewarding significant gifts ($20,000+).
  • Demonstrated experience collaborating with site leadership in developing fundraising strategies and plans/metrics to meet fundraising goals.
  • Strong relationship management.
  • A commitment to the mission and values of Covenant Retirement Communities as a faith-based organization.

Application Instructions

For consideration, candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and three professional references. Your cover letter should articulate your experience and qualifications for the position. Please send materials to: CRCExecSearch@FundraisingJBA.com and put the name of the community in which you are interested in the subject line.

Covenant Retirement Communities believes it is a great place to work. Covenant Retirement Communities believes its employees are inspired to serve. Covenant Retirement Communities believes in making a difference in other’s lives. Covenant Retirement Communities has approximately 3,200 employees serving more than 5,000 residents in its nationwide family of continuing care retirement communities and home health. Construction and development continue on several of its campuses, ensuring ever more exciting opportunities for employees to serve residents.

For full time employees, CRC offers a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance; employer paid group term life and disability, Paid Time Off (PTO) and six paid holidays; a 403(b) with a 3% employer match and other various voluntary benefits such as Life, AD&D; tuition assistance and scholarships; employee assistance program; legal services, home/auto insurance, discount purchasing program; pet insurance and fitness center use at most facilities.

Covenant Retirement Communities is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, disability, marital status, pregnancy, protected veteran status, protected genetic information, or any other characteristics protected by local laws, regulations, or ordinances.

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.

Join JB+A and Nonprofit Connect for Anne Wallestad and 501(c)Success on April 26

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

Anne Wallestad
President and CEO BoardSource

Recognizing the critical partnership between boards and executives, and the impact of that partnership on overall organizational success, BoardSource helps nonprofit leaders invest in their leadership partnership by providing research, thought leadership and practical supports that help transform board structures, dynamics and perspectives.

Check out Anne’s thoughts on the power of boards in “Don’t Just Sit on a Board: Stand for Your Mission” from Huffington Post.

Anne was appointed to her position in 2013, after having served on BoardSource’s leadership team for nearly five years. She has overseen a period of remarkable growth and change, helping BoardSource expand its leadership voice and build a scalable model of program delivery that has resulted in a more than 200 percent growth in the number of leaders served. She has played an instrumental role in the launch of several new leadership initiatives including the Stand for Your Mission campaign, which challenges board leaders to play a stronger role in advocacy and public policy.

With 20 years of executive leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, Anne has worked closely with boards of directors and volunteers in a number of national and local organizations and has cultivated deep expertise in fundraising strategy and leveraging the board’s fundraising role. She has served on a number of advisory committees and panels, including the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations Panel on the Nonprofit Sector and Independent Sector’s 2014 Ethics & Accountability Advisory Committee. Under her leadership, BoardSource has been recognized as a finalist for the prestigious Drucker Prize for innovation and named a Best Nonprofit to Work For in 2016 and 2017. Anne herself has been honored as one of The Nonprofit Times’ “Power & Influence Top 50.”

Anne graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Drake University, with degrees in both sociology and English. She is also a graduate of Stanford University Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders.

Be sure to register for the first 501(c) Success Series program of 2018 featuring Anne Wallestad, President & CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized organization focused on strengthening nonprofit board and executive leadership.

Thursday, April 26, 2018
7:30 – 9:00 AM
7:30 AM – Continental breakfast served
7:55 AM – Program starts

Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Fees/Admission
$25 – Nonprofit Connect members
$50 – Nonmembers
(A light breakfast will be served.)

JB+A’s Katie Lord is Named to Centurions Leadership Program!

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JB+A Vice President Katie Lord has been accepted as a member of the Centurions Leadership Program’s Spring Class of 2020. Katie’s proven career success and strong commitment to greater Kansas City will help her make important contributions as a Centurion.

A program of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the mission of Centurions is to prepare a representative cross-section of the community’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of greater Kansas City. As a Centurion, Katie will spend two years exploring the opportunities and issues of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Since 1976, Centurions Leadership Program has earned its reputation as an unequaled training ground for future Kansas City leaders. Today, the two-year program has more than 80 active Centurions who join more than 1,200 alumni. The program is close-knit group of women and men from diverse backgrounds who are expanding their personal and professional networks within the group and throughout the community they serve.

“I’m delighted for Katie and this honor, but I’m especially proud of her commitment – personally and professionally — to strengthening our community,” says JB+A President + CEO Jeffrey Byrne.

Grateful for the opportunity and support of the Centurion Program, Katie shares, “I am humbled to participate in this unique Kansas City leadership program as I strive to better serve both my profession in the nonprofit sector and our great community.”

Congratulations, Katie!

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 | No Comments

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